Portland Dining Month 2016 picks

Use these menu picks to navigate the 120+ restaurants participating this March.

Kachka_NolanCalischA family enjoys Russian specialties at Kachka.
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    Nolan Calisch

    In a city like Portland, cuisine options never run dry — and thanks to Portland Dining Month, wallets don’t either. For the entire month of March, more than 120 of the city’s top-tier restaurants (the most ever!) offered three-course meals for just $29. Returning for its seventh year March 1, 2016, Dining Month offered 31 whole days to chew your way down your restaurant bucket list — whether it’s revisiting a Portland classic or sampling something new.

    Culinary Classics

    There’s a reason some of city’s oldest restaurants remain food-lover favorites: Their tried-and-true menus and old-school service gave Portland its start as a culinary destination. Huber’s Café, the city’s oldest restaurant (open since 1897!), returned this Dining Month with their famous tableside meal service. Diners enjoyed a classic Caesar salad with a 6-ounce New York steak entrée, topped with creamy gorgonzola and port wine demi-glace.

    Taking a trip back to the ‘70s at Cassidy’s Restaurant and Bar, the menus were anything but vintage, with options like grilled asparagus with burrata and prosciutto, pan-roasted ling cod with herb risotto or grilled pork porterhouse with polenta, roasted peppers and onions in brown butter.

    For dessert? Papa Haydn East and West locations have been satisfying Portland’s sweet tooth for nearly four decades. Diners picked from their lauded dessert menu, which included decadent banana coconut cream pie, peanut butter mousse cake and raspberry gateau.

    Noteworthy Newcomers

    Every year, the Dining Month restaurant roster gets bigger and better — and this year’s lineup was no exception, with some of the hottest chefs on the block debuting mouthwatering menus. Traditional old Russia was on display at Kachka, with menu options like beef tongue stroganoff, followed by lingonberry jam-covered apple ponchiki donuts.

    The locally sourced yak burger entrée at The Groaning Board came with roasted red pepper aioli, Portobello mushrooms and sweet potato fries (plus dessert of house-made gelato to sweeten the deal).

    Global Gourmands

    During Dining Month, globetrotting menus made it possible to travel the world, one forkful at a time. Diners visited Spain-inspired Ataula, where courses included octopus carpaccio with sun-dried tomato, Spanish tortilla with aged iberico ham and black pasta with toasted noodles, calamari, squid ink and harissa aioli.

    Heading over to Germany at Stammtisch, authentic lagers accompanied a menu of warm asparagus salad with bacon and Lyonnaise dressing, sausage soup and sauerkraut- and mustard-coated bratwursts.

    The journey ended in Asia at famed rooftop restaurant Departure, where celebrity chef Gregory Gourdet served up entrées like Szechuan mussels with ginger, chili and eggplant, or beef short rib with galangal, kaffir lime and chili. For dessert, Gourdet offered options like carrot spice cake topped with cashew cream cheese and carrot citrus sorbet.

    Visit PortlandDiningMonth.com for the full list of participating restaurants and their complete menus.

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