Portland for Foodies

Three days, nine meals and several stops for snacks offer just enough time to devour a buffet of pancakes, fish sauce wings and olive oil ice cream in Portland.

4 min read

Mixing fresh, local ingredients with a colorful community of inventive chefs, Portland’s restaurant scene is a recipe that can’t be recreated anyplace else. So strap on some loose-fitting pants and dig into it with this three-day tour de fork.

Day 1

There’s no getting around the calories on this trip, so burn them early by walking to Mother’s Bistro, located in Portland’s easy-to-traverse downtown. Reservations are recommended, but it’s worth waiting in line for their Pacific Northwest take on traditional dishes, like wild salmon hash.

After breakfast, explore downtown by foot. From Portland’s Saturday Market (open Saturdays and Sundays from March through December) to Pioneer Courthouse Square (Portland’s “living room”) and Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, you’ll find plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, shop for souvenirs or just sit and admire the city.

Evening fare will all be on the east side, so wrap up your downtown exploration and head to Southeast Division Street, where the original Stumptown Coffee location will fuel your eat-a-thon into the night. Hailed by critics as one of America’s best dining streets, Division is home to Pok Pok, the daring Thai street food joint known for chef Andy Ricker’s rich, spicy fare like fish sauce wings and drinking vinegar that’s tart and delicious. Other dinner options on and near Division include Ava Gene’s(owned by Stumptown Coffee founder Duane Sorenson), Nuestra Cocina, Xico and many more. For dessert, choose homemade pie from Lauretta Jean’s or ice cream from Salt & Straw, where flavors like Arbequina olive oil and pear with blue cheese provide a culinary finish to a delicious day.

Day 2

Rise and shine with a trip to downtown Portland’s Tasty n Alder. A line routinely forms for brunch, so get here early. Representing a new guard of eateries in Portland, the neighborhood restaurant helmed by chef John Gorham has a regularly changing menu with international flavors.

Next, it’s back downtown to Little Bird Bistro, a great place to sample dishes from chef Gabriel Rucker, two-time James Beard Award winner, without having to wait for dinner at Le Pigeon. The French-cuisine-meets-comfort-food menu highlights Rucker’s taste for fine, rich ingredients, so don’t overlook the burger, or if you do, at least get a side of fries.

Whatever you get, you can walk it off by strolling through the Pearl District (or to the nearest streetcar stop) to Northwest Portland, where another Beard Award winner, chef Vitaly Paley, has been delighting diners since 1995. Paley’s Place is set in a Victorian home and seats just 50 people, so reservations are recommended; if the weather is nice, try for the front porch. From every seat, the focus is on fresh, Northwest preparations of seasonal ingredients. There’s a lot to choose from, and thankfully a tasting menu is available upon request.

Try to save a little room for one of Portland’s favorite late-night treats at Voodoo Doughnut. From their bacon maple bar to their purple-licious “grape ape” doughnut, these sweet treats aren’t just for breakfast. And that’s a good thing, since the raucous location in the Old Town entertainment district is open 24 hours a day.

Day 3

Start your last day with a local legend, The Original Pancake House. Located in Southwest Portland, and beloved by Portland native James Beard, this is the historic 1953 home of the national chain. Their Dutch Baby is a massive air-filled, apple pancake that’s more than big enough to share (though you won’t want to). After cashing out (and we do mean cash — this old-school eatery doesn’t take plastic), spend the rest of your morning exploring nearby Multnomah Village, home to quaint boutiques and toy and book shops.

Head back to the east side for lunch, where Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard’s Por Qué No serves up street tacos and bowls that are big on ingredients but reasonable on the wallet. Beat the lines by timing your trip before or after peak meal times.

Explore Hawthorne until it’s time for your reservation at Northeast Portland’s Beast — with only two seatings (6 p.m. or 8:45 p.m.) Wednesday through Saturday, calling ahead is a must. Chef Naomi Pomeroy’s six-course pix-fixe dinner of French-inspired dishes are all made fresh with ingredients bought at farmers’ markets that week. Served in a communal setting, this artfully prepared, fresh and local food is what dining in Portland is all about.

Foodie favorites

James Beard Award-Winning Chefs

With such a talked-about and delicious food scene, it comes as no surprise that Portland chefs have racked up a few James Beard Awards over the years.

Portland’s Foodie Chains

Portland infuses independent spirit into everything, even its restaurant chains. Discover locally-owned businesses similar to your favorite national brands.

Farm-To-Fork Dining in Portland

Close proximity to farms mean hyper-local offerings are nearly as common at Portland food carts as they are at fine restaurants.

Culinary events

Editor's Pick
Tender Table
Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019

Tender Table

Social Justice Action Center Free

Tender Table, a monthly event series started in Portland in 2017, gathers people together around food, stories, and community. The series features stories by women, trans, and nonbinary folks who are black, indigenous, or people of color. Tender Table creates spaces that increase the visibility of our community and provides a platform for these individuals’…

Editor's Pick
Cultural Communities
Food & Drink
Readings & Talks
Editor's Pick
BrewLights
Friday, Nov. 22, 2019

BrewLights

Oregon Zoo $39.95

Enjoy the twinkling magical wonderland of ZooLights – without any kids! Join up for the third annual BrewLights, a ZooLights brew festival experience just for the 21-and-over crowd with dozens of local beer, cider and seltzer vendors to sample from. Enjoy local food carts, dance to live music, meet wildlife close-up and get your photo…

Editor's Pick
Beer
Food & Drink
Editor's Pick
Wine Country Thanksgiving
Nov. 29–Dec. 1, 2019

Wine Country Thanksgiving

Multiple wineries $0-$40, depending on winery

During Oregon’s premier tasting and cellar-stocking event, more than 150 wineries open their doors to the public, offering samples of favori

Editor's Pick
Fall
Wine
Winter Holidays
Editor's Pick
Holiday Ale Festival
Dec. 4–8, 2019

Holiday Ale Festival

Pioneer Courthouse Square $40

The Holiday Ale Festival, set beneath the region’s largest decorated holiday tree, returns every year with more than 50 big, bold beers designed to keep revelers warm on cold winter nights.

Editor's Pick
Beer
Festivals
Winter
Winter Holidays
Editor's Pick
Tender Table:
Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019

Tender Table:

Louiza Free

Tender Table, a monthly event series started in Portland in 2017, gathers people together around food, stories, and community. The series features stories by women, trans, and nonbinary folks who are black, indigenous, or people of color. Tender Table creates spaces that increase the visibility of our community and provides a platform for these individuals’…

Editor's Pick
Cultural Communities
Food & Drink
Readings & Talks
Editor's Pick
NW Coffee Beer Invitational
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020

NW Coffee Beer Invitational

Goose Hollow Inn $25 entry includes festival glass and 10 taster tickets. Tickets at the door only.

The Northwest’s two favorite brews are in the spotlight again for the seventh NW Coffee Beer Invitational. Twenty talented brewers and beverage makers were asked to create freshly made beer with locally roasted coffee. With the emphasis on flavors and an ABV requirement of 7% or less, this event promises inspired combinations. Entries will be…

Editor's Pick
Beer
Food & Drink
Willamette Valley Wine Tasting Tour
Ongoing

Willamette Valley Wine Tasting Tour

Director Park $139

Offered by Wildwood Adventures. World-famous Pinot Noirs, crisp Chardonnays and sweet Rieslings are just a taste of the dozens of wines that Oregon has to offer. On this adventure through the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley, you’ll visit three carefully selected vineyards. Guests will partake in tasting flights and experience a behind-the-scenes view of…

Food & Drink
Guided Tour
Outdoors
These Beers Are Made For Walkin' Tours
Ongoing

These Beers Are Made For Walkin' Tours

Deschutes Brewing Free

This tour is a great way to experience Portland’s beer scene on foot, and great for small groups or families traveling with kids. Check out the history and culture of popular areas in Portland by foot. You choose the neighborhood, and we’ll show you around to three breweries. Walking tours provide a great overview of…

Food & Drink
Guided Tour
Show More Events Show Less Events