Within easy walking distance of downtown hotels, you’ll find everything from budget lunch options at a multitude of food carts to fine dining dinners at acclaimed central city restaurants — pretty much always emphasizing local, seasonal ingredients. Read on to find Downtown, Northwest/Nob Hill and Pearl District restaurants for any time of day.
Classic Downtown Portland and Central City Restaurants
A legendary destination for regional cuisine, Higgins Restaurant & Bar was opened in 1994 by Greg Higgins, a pioneer in the movement to feature fresh, sustainably sourced ingredients.
Brunch favorite Mother’s Bistro & Bar serves comfort food made using recipes from mothers around the world, while the historic Jake’s Famous Crawfish (opened in 1892) is a Portland landmark sticking to American favorites.
Opened in 1879, Huber’s Cafe holds the title of “Portland’s oldest restaurant.” Tucked inside the historic Oregon Pioneer Building, Huber’s features “Old Portland” charm, a stained-glass ceiling and a menu of hearty, traditional fare. Don’t miss their Spanish coffee, made tableside with panache (and fire) by seasoned bartenders.
A Portland staple for homey comfort food since 1903, Besaw’s serves classic dishes with a fine-cuisine twist, like chicken and waffles with Korean fried chicken and gochujang, or curried chickpea ragoût.
Learn More About the Downtown and Central City Restaurant Scene
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The West End is a perfect place to seek out great Portland restaurants downtown. Here you’ll find Chef Rick Gencarelli’s famous-food-cart-turned-restaurant Lardo, and his pasta-focused, casual-service spot Grassa. You read it right: enjoy two delicious, affordable dining options at the very same address.
Head a little east to find Maurice, a modern pastry luncheonette — their unique blend of Norwegian and French fare includes savory dishes (like chicken liver pâte) and decadent desserts (like black pepper cheesecake, or lemon soufflé pudding cake). On the other side of downtown, Luc Lac offers a diverse Vietnamese bites and cocktails menu. As a bonus, they’re open until midnight daily and 4 a.m. on weekends.
Portland for Foodies
There’s a reason foodies flock to Portland restaurants and bars — follow our three-day tour de fork for an ample taste of the best food city in America.
Restaurants With a View
Whether atop the city's tallest buildings or nestled next to a river, these Portland restaurants with a view offer a feast for the eyes (as well as the appetite).
James Beard Award-Winning Chefs
With such a highly praised 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 Best Bakeries
Nibble a Danish or slice of rustic bread with our expert guide to Portland’s best bakeries, including gluten-free and dairy-free options, plus award-winners galore.
Comfort Food Favorites in Portland
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.
Healthy Food in Portland
Portland may be known for its ice cream, doughnuts, cured meats and fish sauce chicken wings, but it’s also a heavenly spot for healthy eats.
Vegetarian Guide to Portland
Nearly every Portland menu features vegetarian options made from fresh, local ingredients, and many restaurants serve vegetarian food exclusively — experience the Portland vegetarian scene that foodies of all stripes have come to love.
Vegan Guide to Portland
From ice cream to comfort food to fine dining, Portland’s vegan restaurants and businesses make the city a herbivore haven.
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.
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.
Chart your course for adventure at Mediterranean Exploration Company, where lamb kebab pie and Egyptian duck confit make for delicious discoveries. Oven and Shaker showcase the talents of six-time James Beard Award-nominated chef Cathy Whims, whose skill with wood-fired pizzas is complemented by well-studied cocktails that keep the place hopping.
Offerings like stuffed piquillo peppers and house-made ceviche have made the upscale Peruvian restaurant Andina a long-standing Pearl District hot spot. The great food is complemented by nightly live music.
Lunch and Light Fare
For Thai treats, try Nong’s Khao Man Gai, which serves up its famous eponymous dish of poached chicken, jasmine rice simmered in chicken stock and an aromatic sauce with a vinegar kick.
Established in 2010, Kalé specializes in a single dish: Japanese curry. Extremely popular in Japan, but less well known in the United States, this savory, complex dish is downright addictive. Kalé is one of the only restaurants that serve authentic Japanese curry in the Pacific Northwest, making it well worth a visit the next time you’re downtown.
For a feel-good boost on the run, grab a chickpea salad and organic green juice from Kure, a gluten-free vegan health haven serving nutrient-packed snacks like quinoa porridge, acai bowls and superfood smoothies.
The Portland Farmers Market, which has several seasonal downtown locations, is a dazzling — and palate-pleasing — display of Oregon’s bounty, with dozens of growers and food vendors. It’s the perfect place for an impromptu picnic.
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. Located in the heart of Nob Hill, Little Big Burger serves Portland’s take on gourmet fast food: a quarter pound of Cascade Natural Beef with local cheese on a brioche bun, paired with a root beer float and a side of truffle-oil fries.
Bamboo Sushi, the country’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant, 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.
Grab a window seat or lounge on the patio at airy Lovejoy Bakers and watch the streetcar glide by as you nosh on a delicious array of soups, salads and sandwiches on every type of bread imaginable, from baguettes and buns to brioche, all made in-house. Nuvrei offers handmade French pastries — some traditional, some with a modern twist. The colorful macarons and flaky croissants are a must.
Options over at Deschutes Brewery tend more toward the homegrown (or should we say homebrewed) variety. Select from more than a dozen craft brews, including the amber Green Lakes Organic Ale and the smooth Black Butte Porter, while enjoying upscale pub fare.
If you’re looking for something deliciously healthy, Verde Cocina piles plates of carne asada and tofu mole with veggies fresh from the farmers’ market. They’re especially accommodating of gluten-free, paleo and vegan eaters — but no matter your diet, the food is always fresh and locally sourced.
Downtown is home to many of the great Southwest Portland restaurants — it’s also a great place to find something sweet. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to 1927 S’mores Company for excellent, artisanal s’mores, or Saint Cupcake for bite-sized baked goods. If you’re craving chocolate, you can find it in just about every form at Moonstruck Chocolates: bars, truffles, drops, hot cocoa and more. (You could also head back to Maurice for unique Scandinavian pastries.)
Savor culinary creativity by the scoop at Portland's top ice cream spots, including regional chains, frozen yogurt shops and vegan options.
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Salt & 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.
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