Ethnic communities from around the world call Portland home, adding rich diversity to the city in the way of arts, music and — perhaps most of all — food. In Portland, the question “Where do you want to eat?” takes on a whole new meaning. Visit Portland’s international restaurants to bounce from country to country, experiencing authentic cultural traditions on the tip of your fork.
The small plates at Kachka, ranked on several national “Best Restaurant” lists, will leave you wanting a bigger table. Zakuski (drinking snacks) like short-rib borsch, beet caviar and herring “under a fur coat” cover the restaurant’s floral tablecloths. Plates mingle with house-made breads, traditional dumplings and khachapuri (bread filled with smoked cheese). Wash it all down with ample amounts of vodka, including the house horseradish variety, and shots of pickle juice.
A Portland staple since 1985, Nicholas offers traditional Lebanese and Mediterranean fare. Dig in to succulent, grilled lamb gyros, spiced shawarma and garlic-laden hummus platers. You may literally lose sight of your dining partner if you order a mezza platter, which arrives with a tall, puffy dome of oven-fresh pita bread. Fear not, however! You’ll find your way back to each other, bite after scrumptious bite.
Uno Mas Taquiza offers up Guerreo-inspired street tacos at two convenient Portland locations, where fillings like fresh rockfish smothered in garlic-lime marinade share the menu with slow-cooked barbacoa, classic al pastor, homemade blood sausage and vegetarian options like cactus. Wash down your taco medley with a refreshingly spicy michelada (a Bloody Mary-like beer cocktail) for a true south-of-the-border experience.
Serving Portland since 2000, Pambiche doles out classic Cuban comfort foods. Come in for ajiaco “pepper pot” stew, braised oxtail and maduros (plantains) so juicy and sweet they border on dessert. Round out your meal with one of their many Cuban pastries, including guava cheesecake. Thirsty diners should opt for a carajillo cocktail (the rum-, coffee- and cream-laden inspiration for Spanish coffee).
Tear off a piece of East African home cooking at Bete-Lukas, where dishes are served in hearty dollops atop spongy, plate-sized injera bread. Here, eating with your hands is encouraged — rip off a piece of injera and scoop up traditional Ethiopian flavors like tender curried lamb, spiced shredded beef, sautéed mushrooms dripping with herb-infused butter and slow-cooked garlic-ginger kale.
Test your strength with a one-liter stein of frothy Dunkel at this classic German pub in Northeast Portland. Follow that up with one of their famous Bavarian pretzels, which arrive with cheese, mustard and schmaltz (goose fat). Stammtisch artfully exhibits Germany’s affinity for simple, yet hearty, fare, including spaetzle and all things wurst.
Across the street from downtown’s Waterfront Park, you’ll find the fiery cooking of Lechon. The South American eatery showcases cooking styles from Argentina, Patagonia and Chile. Come in for house-made, cheese-filled empanadas, ceviches and savory cazuelas (stews), along with tapas and mouthwatering slow-roasted meats.
Kim Jong Smokehouse
This brick-and-mortar restaurant, born from the beloved Kim Jong Grillin’ food cart, features two Korean street food staples: bibimbap bowls and steamed pork buns. A generously sized rice bowl comes with your choice of smoked-in-house protein, like galbi short ribs or pork. Delectable bibimbap toppings include kimchi, egg and soybean sprouts. Douse your Kim Jong Smokehouse meal in one of four house-made sauces and enjoy.
With three locations in Portland, Broder is a top brunch destination for visitors and locals alike. The eatery specializes in Scandinavian classics like baked eggs, farmers’ cheese and chicken-apple sausage. Sweeter options include fresh aebleskiver (pancake puffs) with lingonberry jam, peach fritters and cardamom-laced pastries. Either pairs wonderfully with coffee, served with a dainty saucer of warm milk and brown sugar cubes on the side.