Explore the roots of Portland’s acclaimed dining scene as well as newer favorites along bustling Northwest 23rd and 21st avenues.
At Paley’s Place, an early proponent of the Portland ethic of local, sustainable cuisine, James Beard Award-winning chef Vitaly Paley serves upscale, French-inspired meals in a historic Victorian home. In early 2014, acclaimed French restaurant St. Jack relocated from its original home in Southeast Portland to Northwest 23rd, bringing updated Lyonnaise classics like oxtail bourguignon and lamb shoulder confit, along with an impressive selection of cheeses, to this larger dining space.
Justifiably popular for its scrumptious but affordable happy hour offerings, 23Hoyt offers redefined tavern menu (pan-roasted sockeye salmon, beer-braised beef cheeks) and sidewalk tables right on Northwest 23rd Avenue.
Romantic Italian bistro Caffe Mingo offers Old World delights like hand-cut pasta and fresh risotto, while the modest Red Onion Thai Cuisine produces inspired Asian dishes like Chinese sausage and shrimp laced with Dungeness crab chunks, and a zippy stir-fried green curry beef.
Warm and inviting light emanates from Fireside, a corner restaurant on Northwest 23rd specializing in dishes that showcase the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Snack on small plates of fried cauliflower and beet chips while sipping craft cocktails, or tuck into a succulent plate of Carlton Farms pork loin topped with bacon jam.
Bamboo Sushi, the first certified sustainable sushi restaurant in the country, was such a hit in its original eastside location that a second branch was inevitable. The fishery-friendly menu includes standouts like house-cured wild ivory salmon and a gorgeous seafood charcuterie board. Olympia Provisions NW, which also got its start on the east side, plates up lunches of house-cured meats, deli salads and sandwiches, and rustic Italian and rotisserie chicken at dinner.
Tucked-away tapas spot Ataula will transport you to Spain with offerings like montaditos topped with house-cured salmon, marscapone yogurt and black truffle honey, seafood-laden paella and fruity sangria.
Born from a monthly pop-up dinner, Boke Bowl redefines ramen. The handmade noodles are swimming in pork dashi or seafood miso, and steamed buns come stuffed with fried chicken, grilled zucchini and even peanut butter.
The scent of fresh-baked bread wafting from Ken’s Artisan Bakery is irresistible, as are the hearty croque monsieurs, piled with gruyère and thick-sliced ham, and the fruit-laden pastries.
A Portland staple for homey comfort food since 1903, Besaw’s serves up classic dishes with a fine-cuisine twist, like chicken and waffles with Korean fried chicken and gochujang, or curried chickpea ragoût. Before dinner, stop by the attached Solo Club for a highball or a happy-hour negroni.
Kim Jong Smokehouse focuses on two beloved Korean street-food dishes: bibimbop and steamed buns. Top steaming bowls of scorched rice and yam noodles with galbi short ribs, salmon or mushrooms, and pair it with a cold Korean beer for a truly authentic experience.
Save room for dessert
Salt and Straw has been scooping out its acclaimed ice cream on Northwest 23rd since spring 2012. In addition to beloved “farm-to-cone” ice cream in flavors like honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, this location also includes an on-site bakery.
Local landmark Papa Haydn offers European-inspired, Northwest-inflected dishes — but its legendary desserts elevate it to destination status.