Farm-to-Table Dining Guide: Dinner
The restaurants listed here represent just a sampling of Portland’s many fine eateries. For a more complete list of restaurants, please visit our partner directory.
There’s well-earned enthusiasm for the affordable food and margaritas at ¿Por Qué No?, which has two tiny, brightly painted locations on two of Portland’s funkiest streets — North Mississippi Avenue and Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Expect exceptionally tasty tacos with such authentic fillings as crispy snapper and chipotle chicken. Mexican rock tunes set the Baja-like scene.
When you’re hungry for something healthy, try Blossoming Lotus in the Irvington neighborhood. You’ll find satisfying vegan and raw cuisine with truly cosmopolitan flavors: Jamaican jerk tempeh, pad Thai and lasagna with seasonal vegetables and tofu ricotta. This food is so appealing, even the most dyed-in-the-wool carnivores may not be able to resist.
If crêpes strike your fancy, look for the yellow façade and string of white lights at Le Happy in Northwest Portland. One cook in the tiny kitchen churns out favorites like chicken, ham, cheddar cheese and bacon crêpes. Folks of all ages are welcome at this late-night spot; Le Happy’s kids’ meals include a cheddar cheese crêpe and a toy.
At Nostrana, James Beard “best chef” nominee Cathy Whims cooks regional Italian specialties with Oregon ingredients. Changing daily, the menu at this spacious eatery ranges from bubble-crusted pizzas from the wood-fired oven to al dente hand-cut pasta napped with pork ragù.
Scott Dolich, the chef at Park Kitchen, is so involved in the local food scene that he sits on the board of Portland Farmers Market. His small, casual restaurant, overlooking the verdant North Park Blocks, offers some of the city’s most interesting food. Sample from the long list of small plates, including pork belly with light-as-air gnocchi and beet tartare with shaved apples. And don’t forget to pair your selections with one of the inventive cocktails.
The tables always seem to be filled at Andina, where diners come to experience new Andean cuisine in a lively, music-filled atmosphere. “Mama Doris” Rodriguez de Platt’s family restaurant serves mouthwatering Peruvian specialties like brisk whitefish ceviche or quinoa risotto.
On Portland’s eastside, chef-owner John Gorham has created a welcoming haven for American and Spanish-inspired small plates, reinterpreted with local and seasonal ingredients, at Toro Bravo. Diners enjoy his saffron-scented paellas, crispy salt-cod fritters, a rotating list of vegetarian options, and the seared and roasted house-smoked coppa steak with salbitxada sauce.
Understated and romantic, Castagna, on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, is a quiet space where the focus is on elegant flavors. Dishes such as house-cured black cod with pickled, grilled and smoked onions reflect French and Italian influences through the prism of local ingredients. Castagna’s retro-modern setting offers soft lighting and crisp white linen.
For more than a decade, Paley’s Place has drawn diners to a charming Victorian in Nob Hill’s dining district. James Beard Award-winning chef Vitaly Paley and his wife, Kimberly (who runs the front of the house and the wine program), present French-influenced, locally sourced Northwest cuisine to a loyal following. Signature dishes include the escargots à la Bordelaise, Washington mussels and hand-cut fries, and a delicious Kobe beefsteak tartare.
But when it comes to beef in the form of a big, juicy steak, Portlanders steer themselves to RingSide Downtown. Open the door to this dimly lit den and step back to Portland circa 1944. That’s when this comfortable steak house, with its club-like space and crackling fireplace, debuted. Classics include the porterhouse, bone-in steaks and slow-roasted prime rib. And don’t forget the sides. The RingSide’s onion rings and garlicky sautéed mushrooms are nearly as popular as the steaks.
$ Average entrée less than $14 $$ $14-$20 $$$ More than $20