There are few things in life that can compare to an excellent meal with a loved one or friends. For all gourmets, the list of best restaurants in Portland alone should be enough to help them decide to move to the West Coast and the Beaver State.
After moving to Portland, it would be ideal to get to know the local flavors to settle in quicker. Even better, most of the prices are well adjusted to the cost of living in Portland. Without further ado, let’s move on to our guide to the top dining destinations across Stumptown, grouped according to the kind of food they serve and cuisines they draw their inspiration from.
Best Restaurants in Portland That Serve American Dishes
Yes, we Americans adopted pizza as our own and enjoy Chinese or Thai take-out like no other nation in the world. But if you ask anyone what defines American cuisine, the answer would be simple. It’s barbecue. And Portland’s gunning for the big league.
While Oregon is not famous as a barbecue haven, Texas definitely is. So, Matt Vicedomini decided to bring Texas-style BBQ to the Beaver State. And he nailed it. There are lines of people every day in front of his truck, waiting for their slice of briskets or pork ribs. Though they are leading celebrities, sausages aren’t to be dismissed easily, nor are macaroni and cheese. Matt’s BBQ is where you can just get a nice lunch since the meat is almost always sold out before the official closing hour at 7 pm.
For more than 70 years, Ringside Steakhouse has been one of the cornerstones for the community. Steaks are served by waiters in formal attire, and the entire place has that distinct old-school vibe. Even though steaks are the unchallenged stars of the show, Ringside Steakhouse offers probably the most exquisite fried onion rings in town.
Also, wine collection is vast, including some great vintage wines. All the elements of great dining are there.
Jacqueline Serves Some Really Good Oysters
When you enter Jacqueline, what immediately hits you is a large picture of Bill Murray above the counter. Once you decide what that means to you, you may turn your attention to food. And it is a delight for all lovers of seafood and fish, under the crafty guidance of chef Derek Hanson and his experiments with ingredients.
Dining in Jaqueline amounts to exploration, with every bite a possible new experience. The most famous dish of all is probably the Dungeness crab, with Calabrian chilies and saffron hollandaise. The prawns are also top-notch, as is fried sea bass with salsa. All that matches ideally with local, French, and other European wines that fill up the menu.
And one insider tip: happy hour is every day from 5 to 7 pm, a perfect opportunity to try some of the renowned vinegar and sauces along with oysters that are just 1 dollar.
To top it all, Jacqueline sits in Clinton, one of the best neighborhoods in Portland.
Le Pigeon Is a Perfect Example of Experimenting With French Cuisine
There are many places where you can eat foie gras, but foie gras served at La Pigeon is unique. Not in small part thanks to famous beef cheek bourguignon. The entire menu is inspired by France, and the wine list is extensive.
Le Pigeon is the playground of award-winning cook Gabriel Rucker, who introduced foie gras to Stumptown in the form of profiteroles. If you feel especially hungry (or adventurous), or you’re in a larger group, you may get five dishes for 90 bucks, and seven dishes for 115 dollars.
Italian Food Is as Good as Ever
A city can’t be complete without several eateries serving Old Country dishes. Luckily, Portland has quite a few Italian joints spread around.
First, Renata, the perfect spot for lunch or dinner in Italian fashion. Spouses Nick and Sandra Arnerich made it a cozy and friendly place with the most excellent pasta in town, great wines, and dedicated service. Even after some staff changes, Renata’s menu is still focused on pizzas made on wood, plates of pasta, and meat. Other meals worth trying are puttanesca, corzetti with clams, ground sausage, and grilled pork.
In case you’re moving with kids, you’ll find few joints that are more child-friendly than Renata, with the special offer for the youngest patrons, at 15 dollars. Now you know where to go after lessons are over in one of the Portland schools.
The bar is open for happy hour every day except Sunday from 5:00 to 6:30 pm.
The walls of Nostrana are filled with awards and honors. And for a good reason. Whether you opt for a salad, Neapolitan-style pizza, flavored pasta, or grilled meat, the house won’t disappoint. Order the namesake Insalata Nostrana, which is essentially caesar salad but with red radicchio in place of romaine. And while you’re at it, down a Negroni, Nostranas’s house cocktail. Or go with pasta or a delightful pizza topped with crab. You can also try out the meat dishes: lamb, pork, or chicken.
Important note – Happy hour starts at 9 pm and lasts as long as the restaurant is open.
Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
In Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, cook Sarah Minnick combined her two great culinary loves – pizza and ice cream. Pizzas are made on wood and topped with local organic ingredients, from mushrooms to cheese.
House favorites are bean soup, little gems, and a carafe of Gamay noir. And while the Lovely’s maybe doesn’t serve the most fabulous pizzas in the city, it certainly has the best ice cream.
Spanish and Mexican Restaurants
From tapas to tacos, a full array of Iberian-inspired and Latin American eateries awaits you in Stumptown. Here are our top picks.
Our first pick is Ataula, probably the finest Spanish joint in the area. It’s a cream-of-the-crop tapas bar with whole legs of hams smoked on the oak wood hanging behind the bar. With slices of ham, you’ll get bread and tomato jam.
Whatever you order there, the chefs will play with ingredients, providing you with an exciting culinary experience. You can also try traditional and not-so-traditional paellas as well, counted among the tastiest in town. It goes without saying that the drink of choice is sangria. Dining here offers a view of the open kitchen.
The next one is Urdaneta. It is a tapas bar, too, only it’s in the style of Basque Country, so it’s technically a pintxo bar.
Once you leave the linguistic dilemmas aside, you’ll find perfect hams but also cheesecakes. If you’re in the mood for a more hearty dish, don’t hesitate to order lamb marinated in a mix of red wines and Coke, known in Urdaneta as kalimotxo.
If You’re After the Best Restaurants in Portland With Mexican Specialties, Head to Xico
Tacos and their price in Stumptown may not be to the liking of Texans or Californians, but that doesn’t mean there’s no Mexican food to die for. Because there is, and most of it in Xico.
It is a place for high-end Mexican dishes, where enchiladas, gorditas, and others go perfectly with a shot of tequila or mezcal. Even Mexican wines are on offer.
Jake’s Famous Crawfish – a Landmark Culinary Spot
Jake’s Famous Crawfish is one of the oldest still active joints in Portland, first opened in 1892. It has grown into a local institution and a landmark spot for those in search of marvelous seafood delicacies. After all, it’s not for nothing that downtown is one of the best areas to live in Portland, Oregon.
The food and the menu haven’t changed much in the past century. Main staples to order: the namesake crawfish (naturally), salmon roasted on cedar, Dungeness crab, but also seafood pasta. The restaurant itself is a traditional-looking place with a wooden bar and lots of paintings.
The Finest Thai in Downtown and Buckman – Nong’s Khao Man Gai
If you wish to taste the flavors of Thai cuisine, there’s no better place than Nong’s Khao Man Gai. Owner and chef Nong Poonsukwattana came to the US and opened a street cart with traditional Thai chicken and rice, known as Khao Man Gai. Today, she owns two brick-and-mortar eateries, but the cart is still out there.
Order chicken with cilantro, cucumbers, and jasmine rice, along with a tasty soup – it is a flagship dish at Nong’s. Don’t miss it if you’re looking for new culinary experiences since it is only one of the few of its kind in the US.
Indonesian Cuisine Is the New Story in Rose City
Previously virtually unknown, Indonesian cuisine is conquering Portland by storm. We’ll present to you two shining examples of the advancing culinary niche.
In Wajan, you can try out Indonesian food prepared traditionally. Dishes may have strange names, but excellent meals are guaranteed. Try out gado gado (salad of steamed vegetables with peanuts), rendang sapi (beef stew with eggs), or ayam goreng kalasan (essentially fried chicken with addition od rice, cabbage, and chili sauce with shrimps).
Having that, curry, noodle soups, and snacks seem quite ordinary. The atmosphere is not neglected, with walls covered in pictures depicting mythological tales of Java.
Named after a traditional Indonesian dish, Gado Gado is all about flavor. Spicy melon salads, dumplings with onions, noodles with crabs, or meatballs. Another treat are creative cocktails. What makes them so special is a slight touch of Indonesia or China, with this ingredient or that.
Meals From All Over The World
You might say that you can find a Mexican and Italian joint wherever you turn and you’d be correct. Portland won’t leave wanting those who crave new, yet untasted flavors.
Take a Glimpse at the Russian Cuisine at Kachka
When Kachka opened in 2014, Portland was taken by surprise by zakuski, dumplings with pork, beef, or veal, Russian snacks to be taken with alcoholic beverages. Since then, the locals fell in love with pumpernickel and now-famous herring under a fur coat – fish with seven layers of dressing. Another go-to meal is a rabbit in the clay pot, but you won’t be mistaken if you opt for sausages.
Kachka is – no surprises there – the spot with the finest vodka in Stumptown. To round up the perfect atmosphere, above Kachka’s tables looms the house of Russian fairy tale villain Baba Yaga.
Abyssinian Kitchen, a parlor turned into a restaurant, is Portland’s culinary hidden gem. Presenting to the locals rich and spicy East African cuisine, it has become something of a must-visit for all gourmets. To most people, stews are unchallenged favorites, and awaze tibs stand out among them. It’s based on beef, and it’s great in winter.
Portland is often named among the best cities for vegans. If you wonder why or have doubts, visit Sudra. This vegan Indian restaurant, walls covered with posters of Bollywood movies and actors, offers meals consisting of lentil kofta and meatless tikka masala, which have been the mainstays since the opening. In the meantime, more and more items have been added to the menu, and now it contains many soups, salads, and plant-based dishes.
Happy hour comes two times a day, first between 4 and 6 pm, and then from 9 pm until the closing.
The Oldest Joint in Stumptown – Huber’s Cafe, Est 1879
We couldn’t wrap up this list without mentioning the oldest restaurant in Stumptown. Huber’s Cafe has been there since 1879 (it began its life as Bureau Saloon) and is run by heirs of the original chef, Chinese immigrant Jim Louie. Even though the menu has been expanded over time, turkey sandwiches and Spanish coffee are as hip today as they were more than a century ago. And there’s a happy hour two times a day.
The joint has its own legends, too. The one we love most is the story of Louie rowing a boat and serving patrons from it when Huber’s was hit with a flood at the end of the 19th century.
Open Your Senses for Exciting Culinary Experiences
So there is our list. We’re sure that it has at least nudged you towards packing up your belongings and moving. If it has, feel free to contact Portland movers and order auto transport as well, so you’re able to reach these and many other restaurants around Stumptown. Though, when we think about it, walking may be the better option for burning all those calories, along with all other things to do in Portland.