Carlo Lamagna's Portland City Guide

The 2021 Best New Chef stumps for food carts, secret spots, and stress relief in The City of Roses.

Learn more about the 2021 class of Food & Wine Best New Chefs.

Portland Proud

"The food cart scene here is pretty epic, and I would consider it a defining quality of Portland. Places like Kim Jong Grillin, a Korean food cart; Matta, which serves Vietnamese; and Bing Mi, a Chinese pancake place, are quite representative of the amazing food carts that show off the many different foods the city has to offer."

Secret Spot

"There are so many unique experiences around town, but one in particular that stands out is an underground backyard dinner experience at JEM by Joel and Emily Stocks. Joel is an amazing chef, born and raised in Portland, and brings his fine-dining experience to his garage, which he has turned into a dining space. It's a unique, interactive experience, from cocktails in their backyard garden to a multicourse dinner paired with amazing wines, all executed at a high level you could expect in any fine-dining restaurant."

Simple Pleasures

"I am a simple guy and love greasy spoons! My go-to dish is corned beef hash with solid hash browns. I hit up Dockside Saloon when I am craving it. Their hash browns are probably the best in the city."

Wines of Oregon

"Les Caves is my go-to wine bar. I completely trust [co-owner and winemaker] Jeff Vejr and his selection of wines, as well as his own label, Golden Cluster. They make some amazing wines representative of Oregon and showcasing the expansive repertoire we have to offer, not just Pinot Noir."

Prize Pastry

"The mushroom tart at JinJu Patisserie is one of the best pastries in this city, if not the country. I guess that's what happens when you team a master chocolatier (Jin Caldwell) with a pastry chef (Kyurim Lee) who trained with some of the best in the craft under one roof. Honestly, everything at that shop is amazing."

Feel-Good Pizza

"Chef Shardell Dues from Red Sauce Pizza is a badass when it comes to slinging pizza. Her experience at some of the best pizza joints in town has helped her develop a solid crust that stands up on its own. Plus, she supports local farms with her seasonal pies and is a pillar in the community. My go-to pizzas are the Hot Nancy, with ricotta, red onion, hot honey, and sea salt, and the Princess Sarah, with sausage and house-pickled peppers."

Don't Miss

"If you only have a limited time in Portland, the Japanese Garden is a sight to behold, followed by some shave ice at Wailua Shave Ice!"

After Dark

"I am a beer and a shot or a gin and tonic kind of guy, and I love going to Dots Cafe, an iconic Portland watering hole known for its really chill vibes. If I want something fancy, though, I often go to the Bit House Collective or for cocktails at the Rum Club."

Decompression Destinations

"For stress relief, I hit the mats at Workshop Jiu Jitsu or practice Filipino martial arts with my students at the park. But if I'm craving the outdoors, the best thing about Portland is that there are hundreds of hikeable trails within the city and so many more in close proximity. If I am here in the city, I usually hit up Powell Butte Nature Park or the Lower Macleay Trail. If I am up for a drive (under 2 hours), I usually head to the coast toward the Cascade Head Trail (with a pit stop at Kelly's Brighton Marina for a fresh crab lunch!) or toward Mount Hood to hike the Mirror Lake Loop Trail."

Local Artists

"Portland is full of artists, and there are amazing independent makers showing up at various markets and pop-up shops. Adored Vintage has a great selection of unique clothing and artwork. Plus, artist Shiela Laufer produces some amazing and unique pieces."

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