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.
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, Lloyd, Southeast Division or NW 23rd. Also available at Portland Farmers Market at PSU on Saturdays.
Learn More About the Portland Food Scene
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What is the food culture like in Portland?
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Nong’s Khao Man Gai
One of Portland’s favorites started out selling just one signature dish: khao man gai, a Thai street-food staple that’s as simple as it is delicious. At the eponymous Nong’s Khao Man Gai, succulent poached chicken and rice come wrapped in butcher paper, along with a soybean sauce infused with concentrated garlic, ginger and Thai chili heat, and simple, brothy soup. Owner Nong Poonsukwattana has since expanded to brick and mortar locations in Southeast and Southwest Portland and has added even more Thai food specialties to her menus.
Bacon Maple Bar
A staple in the Portland dining scene, 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 earned a big nod from the late Anthony Bourdain and inspired an eponymous ale from Oregon brewery Rogue. The shop now has two locations: the original in Old Town and a newer one in Northeast Portland.
White Curry Brisket With Burnt Ends
This specialty from North Portland restaurant Eem is a mash-up of Thai-inspired Texas BBQ and tropical cocktail flavors. The fatty brisket in this dish is served on a white curry made with white vinegar and sugar and topped with burnt ends, scallion and roasted cauliflower. It’s no wonder that this highly creative dish is a hit. The team behind it has a long list of credentials, accolades and successful restaurants under their belts. Earl Ninsom, Eem co-owner, is the genius behind the Thai flavors. Co-owner Matt Vicedomini is the master of barbecue, while the third co-owner, Eric Nelson, is the powerhouse behind the drinks. Chef de cuisine Colin Yoshimoto brings it all together. The members of the group own several other renowned Portland restaurants and food ventures, including Matt’s BBQ, Hat Yai, Langbaan, and Mee-Sen Thai.
Fresh Clam Chowder With Smoked Marrow Bone
Argentinian-inspired restaurant OX often tops the best-of lists in the Portland food scene. James Beard Award-winning chefs Gabrielle Quiñónez and Greg Denton are the masterminds behind the unique cuisine that includes beef tongue, heart and oxtail. True to its name, the fresh clam chowder is made with fresh in-shell clams in a broth spiced with jalapeños and topped with green onion. The bone marrow is smoked, topped with toasted garlic breadcrumbs and jalapeños, and served dipped into the chowder.
Local diners can order up a wealth of delicious taco variations, from meaty morsels to vegetarian creations made with mushrooms, cactus and scrambled egg.
Get your comfort food fix — whether you’re hankering for mac and cheese, fries topped with gravy or a steaming bowl of pho, these local dishes don't disappoint.
Rather than being overwhelmed by the hundreds of food carts in Portland, choose a day's worth of meals from these popular food carts.
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