Searching for the best ways to savor Portland’s most iconic dishes? Locals suggest taking it one bite at a time – especially when it’s at one of these favorite eateries.
Portland’s favorite dishes
Le Pigeon Burger
For years, James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker made only five of these a night at his eastside Le Pigeon, to avoid turning the bistro into a burger shack. (He’s since relented and no longer enforces a limit.) The coveted ground round comes pierced with a knife and oozes with aged white cheddar, iceberg slaw and pickled onions on a sturdy Ken’s Artisan Bakery roll. Insider tip: Le Pigeon’s sister restaurant, downtown’s Little Bird, also offers the burger all day.
Bacon Maple Bar
Voodoo Doughnut has been serving outrageous creations 24 hours a day for nearly a decade: Toppings have ranged from Cap’n Crunch cereal to a NyQuil glaze (an option quickly quashed by health officials). But the doughnut that launched a thousand bacon-themed spinoffs — the Bacon Maple Bar — celebrates the same happy marriage of pork and syrup found on the breakfast plate. As the ultimate sinful indulgence, it’s earned a big nod from famous globe-roaming diner Anthony Bourdain and inspired an eponymous ale from Oregon brewery Rogue
Pok Pok’s fish sauce wings may be Portland’s most successful culinary export. After conquering the Rose City with three acclaimed restaurants, Thai grilling expert Andy Ricker took his Southeast Asian authenticity to the streets of New York, where Ike’s Wings were extolled as “New York’s Best Wings” in 2012 by New York Magazine. Try them at their original home (or sibling locations, Whiskey Soda Lounge and Pok Pok Noi) and plan to lick your fingers.
The Reggie Deluxe
From its humble farmers’ market beginnings to a full-blown biscuit empire, Pine State Biscuits has garnered a serious reputation for hefty North Carolina-style butter biscuits and creative fillings. The pièce de résistance: a towering sandwich stacked high with buttermilk-fried chicken, a fried egg, cheddar, bacon and sausage gravy. Dubbed a “hangover cure” by Esquire, this one’s worth the sometimes lengthy wait at the original Alberta location or second shop on Southeast Division. Also available at Portland Farmers Market at PSU on Saturdays or a Lloyd District take-out window.
Foie Gras Bon-Bon
While no two menus are ever the same at Naomi Pomeroy’s dinner party- like restaurant Beast, the Foie Gras Bon-Bon happens to be one luxurious staple. This goose-liver gem appears on Beast’s charcuterie plate alongside chicken liver mousse, steak tartare with quail egg on toast, and pork and pistachio pâté. But the buttery lobe crowned with a quivering slice of salted gelée of Sauternes (a French dessert wine) is in a league of its own
Khao Man Gai
Portland’s biggest food-cart crush serves but one dish: Khao Man Ghai, a Thai street-food staple that’s as simple as it is delicious. Succulent poached chicken and rice comes wrapped in butcher paper, along with a soybean sauce infused with concentrated garlic, ginger and Thai chili heat, and a simple, brothy soup. Owner Nong Poonsukwattana’s cart is no one-hit wonder — demand is so strong for her specialty that she now boasts three separate Nong’s Khao Man Gai locations, including an eastside brick-and-mortar to-go storefront, and her signature sauce is sold by the bottle for an edible souvenir.