F&W names the best restaurants in Portland, Oregon, from Best New Chef 2012 Jenn Louis’s ingredient-driven spot, Lincoln, to one of the greatest sandwich shops in the country, Bunk. A revered food city, Portland is also known for its fantastic bars and coffee scene.» F&W’s Full Portland Travel Guide

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Portland Restaurants: Insider Picks


At this Pearl District stalwart, chef Hank Costello celebrates Peruvian cuisine, and its Spanish, Caribbean, African and Japanese culinary influences. The extensive menu includes modern creations and traditional classics like arroz con pato (duck with rice), which Costello serves with duck both as a crispy duck confit and pan-seared duck breast. andinarestaurant.com

Beaker & Flask

Two Portland restaurant veterans—chef Ben Bettinger (longtime chef de cuisine at Paley’s Place) and Kevin Ludwig (bartender and front-of-house manager at Park Kitchen)—preside over this industrial-chic space with concrete floors and a curved wall of windows. Food and drink are given equal measure: Bettinger delivers big, knockout flavors in New American-style dishes like smoked beef short ribs with grilled onions and snap peas, while Ludwig’s cocktails are all served with custom-cut ice in beautiful vintage glassware. beakerandflask.com


Jenn Louis’s minimalist, ingredient-driven approach to sustainable cooking at Lincoln produces incredibly delicious food without glamour—just straightforward, comforting dishes like her signature appetizer of baked eggs with cream, chopped Castelvetrano olives and herbed bread crumbs in a skillet. Louis is a seriously committed eco-cook; she composts all of the food and butchers all of her own lamb, using every single part of the animal. That green ethos also extends to the restaurant space itself, located in a renovated warehouse outfitted with reclaimed wood furniture. Louis and her husband, David Welch, also run the casual, bar-focused Sunshine Tavern. lincolnpdx.com

Little Bird

Gabriel Rucker’s second spot, the Little Bird, opened in 2010 in a two-level space in downtown Portland with pressed-tin ceilings, butcher paper–topped tables and French-inflected dishes that are a notch more accessible than the offal-heavy food at his flagship Le Pigeon. Here, he prepares classic bistro dishes and the tightly focused wine list consists of all French labels, plus French-inspired local wines, like a private-label white by the Willamette Valley’s Belle Pente. littlebirdbistro.com

Toro Bravo

This smart and unpretentious tapas restaurant brightens an otherwise quiet street in Portland’s East Side with its inviting ruby-red walls and polished dark wood tables. Chef John Gorham uses local ingredients to create Spanish-inspired dishes like marinated sheep’s cheese with rose-petal harissa and mint. There’s also an incredible paella tossed with chicken, chorizo, clams, shrimp and mussels. torobravopdx.com

Portland Restaurants: Splurge


Photo © Lauren Coleman.


Indie restaurateur Naomi Pomeroy calls her cooking style “refined French grandmother”: simultaneously exquisite and accessible, with a major focus on local ingredients, including whole hogs that she butchers herself. There are just two communal tables and two seatings a night for Beast’s $75 six-course, weekly changing menus (there is also a four-course brunch on Sundays). Recently, Pomeroy started adding a once-a-month vegetarian dinner—a reminder of her surprising past as a nonmeat eater. beastpdx.com


Chef Justin Woodward trained at the boundary-pushing wd-50 before cooking at Castagna and has distilled the modernist techniques he learned into visually stunning and avant-garde dishes for his five- and 10-course prix fixe menus. Organic and foraged vegetables—as well as roots, leaves and seeds—are the focus, like a dish of cauliflower prepared three ways accompanied by an oyster. castagnarestaurant.com

Laurelhurst Market

Butcher shop by day, steak house by night, Laurelhurst Market focuses on all-natural hormone- and antibiotic-free meat. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., chef and co-owner David Kreifels assembles spectacular sandwiches combining house-made deli meats with breads from local bakery Fleur de Lis. In the evenings, Laurelhurst offers eight kinds of steaks as well as other meat-centric dishes like marrow bones served with toasted soft pretzel. laurelhurstmarket.com

Le Pigeon

Wunderkind chef Gabriel Rucker was just 25 when he opened this brick-walled bistro in 2006, with a distinctive brand of sophisticated offal-centric French cooking. Despite opening a second spot, Little Bird, in 2010, the tattoo-covered Rucker can still be spotted in the open kitchen at his flagship most nights, challenging diners with lamb tongue salad and beef cheek bourgignon. The menu changes from week to week, but there’s often an eccentric foie gras preparation (like the foie gras Monte Cristo sandwich, filled with duck ham, rhubarb and Emmental cheese) and, for the less adventurous, an excellent burger topped with pickled onions and blue cheese dressing. lepigeon.com

Portland Restaurants: Classic

Higgins Restaurant & Bar

In 1994, Greg Higgins quietly and obsessively built his restaurant around relationships with the area’s best farmers, ranchers and fishermen—long before local, organic and seasonal became national buzzwords. Higgins’s philosophy of sustainable cooking is still going strong; the terrific French-accented Pacific Northwest menu includes an excellent house-cured charcuterie plate, confit of duck and grass-fed beef burger on a toasted hearth-baked roll. But the Portland veteran doesn’t take itself too seriously: It houses both a white-linen-clad restaurant and a happily raucous, pressed-tin-ceiling bar. higginsportland.com

Paley’s Place

Homey, rustic and decidedly untrendy, this 50-seat restaurant has occupied a restored Victorian house in a quiet part of Nob Hill since 1995. Chef Vitaly Paley eschews trends and focuses on a short but sweet menu of traditional French dishes made largely with local, organic ingredients. He and his wife, Kimberly, are always circulating among the tables, while serving up house-made charcuterie and classics like escargot à la bordelaise with roast marrow bones and garlic. paleysplace.net

Park Kitchen

Chef Scott Dolich envisioned a neighborhood restaurant when he opened this Pearl District spot in 2003 with mismatched tableware and a glass garage door. But Dolich soon attracted national attention with his ingredient-driven approach to cooking, making even the most basic dishes—hush puppies, salt cod fritters—taste sublime. His best dishes incorporate unexpected ingredients in everyday iterations, like serving matzoh balls soup laden with sumptuous chanterelles. parkkitchen.com

Pok Pok
Photo courtesy of Pok Pok.

Pok Pok

When Andy Ricker opened Pok Pok in 2005, it was little more than a Thai takeout shack outside of his house in a residential neighborhood in Portland. But in the years since, it has transformed into a sit-down restaurant that is one of America’s best Thai restaurants. The onetime house painter first visited Thailand in 1987 and returned over and over to study its cuisine; to replicate what he learned, he works with Oregon farmers to grow herbs like cilantro the way they are cultivated in Thailand (harvested younger, before the stems get massive and the leaves toughen). pokpokpdx.com

Portland Restaurants: Best Value

Bunk Sandwiches

Photo © David Reamer.

Bunk Sandwiches

At the outrageously popular Bunk Sandwiches in the Industrial District, co-chefs Tommy Habetz and Nick Wood update iconic sandwiches with stellar ingredients and chef-y touches: They prepare luscious tuna melts with locally canned albacore, and top pulled pork with crisp apple-cabbage slaw. That first spot has spawned two outposts: the nearby Bunk Bar, which combines a slightly longer sandwich menu, cocktails, live music and a 2 a.m. closing time, and in 2011, a sandwich-only outpost in downtown. bunksandwiches.com

Olympic Provisions

This combination salumeria and restaurant takes cured meat seriously enough to have a “head salumist.” That’s Elias Cairo, who oversees the two locations of this Portland restaurant. Pork lovers can buy Olympic’s fantastic European-style salamis (all made with local meat) to go, or order from the bistro-style menu, which offers great sandwiches at lunch, simple French and Italian food at dinner and incredible charcuterie at any hour. olympicprovisions.com

Pine State Biscuits

Started by three North Carolina transplants in 2006 as a booth in the Portland Farmer’s Market, this Southern-style diner now has a full-time location that’s eternally crowded. Their specialty is over-the-top biscuit sandwiches, like the Wedgie, with buttermilk fried chicken, a fried green tomato, iceberg lettuce and blue cheese dressing. Even more decadent is the Reggie Deluxe, with fried chicken, bacon, cheddar, gravy and a fried egg. pinestatebiscuits.com


David Kreifels, Jason Owens and Benjamin Dyer expertly tapped into the Portland dining zeitgeist with this weekend-only, reservation-only restaurant. The four-course menu that ranges from $30 to $45 each day features superseasonal dishes that incorporate DIY everything, from charcuterie to condiments, all served at a long wooden communal table. Their Sunday brunch has a cult following—and one of the longest waits in Portland—for creative comfort dishes like chicken-fried bison and curry-seasoned fried chicken with cakey waffles. The trio followed up with Laurelhurst Market in 2009, which is a butcher shop by day, steak house by night. simpaticacatering.com


At this Mediterranean-inspired bistro, $30 buys an excellent three-course dinner, including house-made pastas like ravioli with Swiss chard, ricotta and a poached egg. The bar, which takes up one side of the narrow, intimate dining room, features Portland beers on tap, flights of sherry and cocktails made with house-infused spirits like lemon verbena vodka and basil gin. tmbistro.com

Portland Bakeries, Coffee Bars and Breakfast Spots

Tasty N Sons

Known for stellar tapas at Toro Bravo, chef John Gorham also runs this brunch-focused restaurant in a long warehouse space in North Portland. The egg-heavy menu (even at dinner) jumps around the globe with dishes like a bold-flavored Burmese pork stew and Moroccan chicken hash with harissa cream—both topped with an over-easy egg. tastynsons.com


Duane Sorenson’s commitment to finding the best beans on scouting trips around the world has made his Stumptown espresso the gold standard of the farmer-obsessed “Third Wave” coffee movement, fueling nine locations in Portland, Seattle and New York City. Opened on Division Street in 1999, Sorenson’s very first café—an airy space with a garage door outfitted with a vintage Probat roasting machine—is still where Stumptown roasts many of its beans. stumptowncoffee.com

Voodoo Doughnut

The Portland food scene isn’t all about local, sustainable and organic. Voodoo Doughnut offers giant, wacky doughnuts, like the pork-topped bacon maple and Captain Crunch–studded Captain My Captain. The doughnut shop now has three locations; all are open around the clock, seven days a week. voodoodoughnut.com

Portland Bars

Clyde Common

Star mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler oversees the innovative cocktail program at this all-day gastropub in the Ace Hotel. Morganthaler is especially famous for his barrel-aged cocktails; negronis (a mix of gin, vermouth and Campari) acquire a sweet, oaky finish after six weeks in Tuthilltown whiskey casks. The menu has inspired small plates (popcorn with pimentón), offbeat sandwiches (fried egg sandwich with corned beef and pickled cabbage on a biscuit) and a handful of pub-style entrées. clydecommon.com


At this hyper-modern Pearl District lounge, cocktail craftsmanship is treated as high art. Owner Daniel Shoemaker and other detailed-obsessed bartenders scoured two-centuries worth of cocktail books to create their classic and original libations behind the circular bar, making their own tonic water and specialty liqueurs for drinks like the Devil You Know (green Chartreuse, Amaro Nonino, Dolin Blanc vermouth and lime juice shaken with an egg white). teardroplounge.com