In a city like Portland, cuisine options never run dry — and thanks to Portland Dining Month, wallets don’t have to either. For the entire month of March, more than 120 of the city’s top-tier restaurants are offering three-course meals for just $29. Returning for its eighth year March 1, 2017, Dining Month offers 31 whole days to chew your way down your restaurant bucket list — whether it’s revisiting a Portland classic or sampling something new.
There’s a reason some of city’s oldest restaurants remain food-lover favorites: Their tried-and-true menus and old-school service are what gave Portland its start as a culinary destination. Diners can sit inside a cozy red velvet booth at Clyde’s Prime Rib, where their signature slow-roasted prime ribs and fresh seafood are served alongside the sounds of a crackling fireplace and live jazz, R&B and blues.
The family-owned Wilfs Restaurant and Bar also offers retro fare, classic cocktails and live jazz. Head in for their Irish cheddar stout fondue (which comes with brussels sprouts, fried cauliflower and rustic bread cubes for dipping), followed by gorgonzola cream-topped beef medallions with spring vegetables.
The renowned RingSide Steakhouse brings a strong dose of old-school atmosphere this March. The steakhouse (which has been at its original location on West Burnside for nearly 70 years) is known for serving up some of the best steaks in Portland. RingSide’s tuxedoed servers will deliver tender, aged-in-house steak medallions with sauce chausser and garlicky mashed potatoes, followed by Madagascar vanilla bean crème brûlée for dessert.
If you still have a hankering for something sweet, head to Papa Haydn East and West – sister restaurants that have been been satisfying Portland’s sweet tooth for nearly four decades. Diners can pick anything from their lauded (and extensive) dessert menu, including their famously decadent banana coconut cream pie, peanut butter mousse cake and raspberry gateau.
Every year, the Dining Month restaurant roster gets bigger and better — and this year’s lineup is no exception, with some of the hottest chefs on the block debuting mouthwatering menus. Food cart-turned-brick and mortar Burrasca enters the ring for the first time, offering delectably authentic Italian fare. A plate of fried polenta crostini with lardo and sauteed mushrooms is followed by handmade pasta with duck ragu and budino di pane, a warm bread pudding covered in gelato.
Another first-timer, Spanish hot-spot Chesa is offering entrees like fried potatoes with milk aioli and brava sauce and croquettes with porchini aioli. (Still hungry? Hop next door for authentic churros and drinking chocolate at Chesa’s sister restaurant, 180 Xurros & Xocolata).
Head to newly-opened Headwaters, located inside the glamorous Heathman Hotel, for hearth-fired flatbread topped with spinach, radicchio, lemon and pecorino; seared, herb-crusted albacore with potato salad and spring vegetables; and a vanilla Chantilly cream-topped butterscotch pudding with hazelnut flakes and sea salt to sweeten the deal. (If you’re feeling fancy, the restaurant offers special wine pairings for each course.)
During Dining Month, globetrotting menus make it possible to travel the world, one forkful at a time. Start at Spain-inspired Ataula for platefuls of pulpo (octopus) carpaccio with sun-dried tomato, pimiento and Parmesan; a “chorizo-dog” with honey mustard, mushrooms, toasted noodles and Romesco sauce; and pa amb xocolate i oli d’oliva, a dark chocolate ganache with olive oil, sea salt and brioche cracker.
Travel to India with a meal at East India Co., where your meal begins with a plate of papdi chaat (crispy poori bread) topped with spiced garbonzo beans, curd, tamarind and mint chutney. Dig in to their navratan korma, a vegetable blend of ginger, raisins and creamy cashew gravy served with saffron rice and dal, before finishing up with a trio of mango, cardamom and chocolate kulfi, Indian-style ice cream.
Diners can end their journey in Asia at famed rooftop restaurant Departure, where celebrity chef Gregory Gourdet is serving up entrées like shrimp and long bean prik khing curry and szechuan beef noodles with shiitake, chili and scallions. Their inventive dessert options (including frozen citrus mousse with kumquat, calamansi and almond or coconut ash chocolate cake with passionfruit and coconut caramel ice cream) will be sure to bring you back next year.
Visit PortlandDiningMonth.com for the full list of participating restaurants and their complete menus.