Dining in downtown’s West End

A range of restaurants make this downtown neighborhood a dining standout.

patatas-bravas_tasty-alder-_-kirk-k-via-flickrBrunch lovers flock for Tasty n Alder’s Spanish-inspired patatas bravas, topped with eggs and aioli.
Kirk K. via Flickr

Comfort is king at the line-up of West End eateries that have opened recently in downtown Portland. For those who believe in dessert first, Blue Star Donuts‘ original location offers unexpected delights like blueberry-bourbon-basil glaze over a raised puff of goodness (made fresh with organic and sustainably certified ingredients for guilt-free indulgence); Saint Cupcake features scrumptious fresh-baked cupcakes (including vegan options); and celebrated “pastry luncheonette” Maurice offers sweets, spices and Scandinavian flavor in unexpected treats like black pepper cheesecake.. Just down the street, renowned sandwich purveyor Lardo is settled into a second brick-and-mortar incarnation since its days as a celebrated food cart. In summer 2013, Lardo chef Rick Gencarelli also opened adjacent fresh pasta-focused Grassa, focusing on fine-dining-quality pasta in a more casual dining atmosphere.

Across the street, Cheryl’s on 12th offers accessible homestyle cooking and a chocolate-caramel tart worthy of repeat visits. Meanwhile, John Gorham’s much anticipated Tasty n Alder features the famed restaurateur’s signature small plates with Korean and Mexican twists. Farmers market favorite Petunia’s Pies & Pastries opened a bakery café, bringing owner Lisa Clark’s splendid gluten-free sweets and savories (as well as coffee, cocktails and local gluten-free beer) to her fans from morning until night. Perfectly crafted espresso is available across the street at Heart Coffee, where they roast their own carefully sourced coffee.

Shift Drinks celebrates the importance of a quality beverage after a hard day’s work. Enjoy a handcrafted cocktail or something from their mile-long wine list, which you can also get to go. (That’s right! Late night wine to go!) One block north you’ll find Kask, an itty bitty “modern saloon” with a dizzying assortment of booze and delicious drinking snacks.

If you’re looking for seafood, local sustainable seafood icon, Bamboo Sushi, has a location in the West End. The team behind Bamboo Sushi also founded Quickfish around the corner, a restaurant dedicated to Hawaiian poke. Grab the Fire Bowl to go, with Kodiak sockeye, kaiware, candied Thai chiles and habanero masago sauce.

The food and drink power team of Nate Tilden and Jeffrey Morganthaler is behind the acclaimed Clyde Common at the stylish Ace Hotel; stop by the subterranean speakeasy Pepe le Moko in the same spot for throwback drinks and bites from the same team. Looking for something even cozier? Across the street in the Union Way shopping arcade, Boxer Ramen serves up steaming bowls of Japanese noodle soups.

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