Portland is truly one of the most underrated culinary destinations in the USA. It’s a city blending foreign cuisines and embracing local foods at the same time. When you come to town, be sure to make reservations wherever you can, and show up early at places where they’re not accepted. The lineups may be long, but with a bit of planning, you can experience the best that Portland has to offer without too much hassle.
Here’s a look at our five favorite restaurants and bars to visit in Portland, Oregon.
1. Screen Door
This is the place to celebrate Southern cuisine. Screen Door is truly one of the best restaurants in America in our books. Open for dinner from 530PM – 930PM Sunday to Thursday and until 10PM on Friday and Saturday, you’ll need to arrive early to avoid a huge wait. Trust us though, it’s worth it. Order the Hot Pimento Cheese and Hushpuppies to start, and follow it up with the Crispy Fried Buttermilk-Battered Chicken for your entree. It’s out of this world. The Beef Brisket is another specialty you’re going to want to try.
2. The Multnomah Whiskey Library
Open at 4PM Monday to Saturday, The Multnomah Whiskey Library is one of the best drinking experiences you’ll find anywhere in the world. They have a great food menu, but when you visit what you’ll really be after is the Whisk(e)y list. With over 1,500 spirits to choose from, you’ll be taken on a tour of Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States and more – whatever whiskey you’re looking for, you can be confident it’s at Multnomah. Show up early and put your name down – a three-hour wait or more isn’t uncommon. While you’re waiting go to a nearby restaurant or bar and sit tight until they call you, or have a drink in the Green Room if it’s not too busy.
Yes, it’s a long wait. But like a fine scotch, good things are worth the wait.
3. Pok Pok
Serving food specifically from the North and Northeast of Thailand, Pok Pok is a household name in Portland. Again, the wait can be long, but they’ve opened a Whiskey Soda Lounge across the way for you to relax and enjoy a drink at until a table becomes available. Food is served family-style (order at least two dishes per person) and be sure to order the Kai Yang (full chicken), Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings, and Kaeng Hang Leh (sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry).
This is a restaurant where you can’t go wrong when ordering. Ask for recommendations and enjoy an amazing dinner.
4. Bijou Cafe
There are plenty of great brunch restaurants to choose from in PDX, but for our money, Bijou Cafe is the place to visit. The daily specials are always phenomenal, but at this French-inspired cafe, you should try the specialty: omelets. They come on the runny side, which might be something new to you. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be cooking your omelets in a new way after you give it a taste. The eggs benedicts and scrambles are also great options.
5. Farm Spirit
With nearly 200 reviews on Google and a 4.9/5 rating, Farm Spirit isn’t leaving any diners disappointed. In our opinion, a 4-star rating for this restaurant is a crime against food. Their plant-focused tasting menu is as delicious as it is beautiful – and that’s saying something. Their goal is to connect diners to “the Cascadian bioregion’s bounty of the forest, farm, and field through the offering of seasonal, local dishes emphasizing the beauty of natural simplicity.”
You don’t just show up at Farm Spirit, you purchase tickets in advance. Check for available dates on their website.