Late-night dining

With gator bites and gravy-drenched poutine, Portland's late-night menus can keep up with the wildest evenings out.

11064203-essayDeparture's late-night bites are worth staying awake after hours for.

It wasn’t always like this. Well sure, Portland has long loved booze and had a wicked crush on gourmet cuisine. But it’s a relatively recent phenomenon that bars and restaurants have kept their kitchens open late, serving high-quality food into the night.

Since the days when the after-hours pickings were slim, Le Bistro Montage has been a reliable favorite. Here, a moderately abusive waitstaff patrols the loud dining hall, serving up Cajun-style fare like fried gator bites, buffalo mac ‘n’ cheese with blue cheese crumbles, and jambalaya with a choice of Louisiana meats until 2 a.m. during the week and 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Or, if you’re looking to steam your eyelids to sleep with a big bowl of beef broth, the pho at Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen keeps revelers rolling in the door until 4 a.m. on weekends. Located downtown, it’s a popular destination after the bars signal last call (2:30 a.m. in Oregon), and their sugarcane shrimp will give you sweet dreams, indeed.

Sometimes, the only thing you want to eat with your drink is a toothpick full of olives. The swanky, laid-back Driftwood Room will graciously oblige, and serve up sizzling forest mushrooms, Texas shrimp skewers and a slice of Gorgonzola cheesecake, for good measure. Restaurant industry workers favor the Night Light Lounge, where the menu offers up simple fare like salads prepared just right and house-made burgers, minus the grease you’ll find elsewhere.

Then again, sometimes greasy food is exactly what you want. With locations on both East and West Burnside, Sizzle Pie brings late-night pizza relief to the masses until 3 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. on weekends, with every kind of slice imaginable: cheesy, meaty, vegetarian and even vegan. If your cravings call for french fries, Potato Champion is where Portland goes for its after-dark starch fix. Specializing in gravy-drenched, cheese-curd-topped poutine, the food cart neighbors other late-night favorites like Pyro Pizza, serving up an impressive variety of delicious food in the wee hours of the morning (they’re open until  3 a.m.). But if you just can’t wait, they open at 6 p.m. weekdays and at noon on the weekends, for the early birds.

In the mood for greasy Mexican goodness? Head to Robo Taco before the clock strikes midnight to order mountains of “supernachos” and platters of corn tortillas piled with fried Oregon oysters, tender lengua or spicy soy curl pastor. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, admire the twinkling lights of the downtown Portland cityscape from atop the Nines Hotel as you munch on midnight snacks of maki rolls, guava mousse and spicy tuna bowls at futuristic Asian eatery Departure (open until 1 a.m. on weekends).

Record-spinning DJs keep energy levels high at merry Korean snack spot Revelry, where James Beard Award-nominated duo Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi serve up mochi donuts and jackfruit curry pancakes until 12 a.m. nightly. Another Central Eastside favorite, Noraneko, invites patrons to slurp flavorful bowls brimming with handmade noodles, fried tofu, pork belly and corn butter. With chefs slinging pork dumplings and Japanese-style fried chicken until 2 a.m., there’s no need to rush to this hip ramen shack, which is tucked beneath the Hawthorne Bridge.

Craving something greasy after last call? How about some breakfast before your 5 a.m. flight? Sounds like you need to grab a seat at The Roxy, downtown Portland’s old-school, jukebox-rocking diner slinging towering burgers and deep-fried snacks alongside four-egg omelettes and mammoth pancakes, 24 hours a day, every day (except Mondays).

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