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 downtown Portland restaurants — pretty much always emphasizing local, seasonal ingredients.
Know Before You Go
To slow the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, effective Aug. 27, a statewide mask mandate is in place. Oregonians and visitors ages 5 and up are required to wear face coverings in all public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status, unless actively eating or drinking in food establishments.
Additionally, some restaurants may require proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID test for entry (see a running list from Eater Portland). Please check with individual businesses on their policies and hours of operation before visiting, and continue to be patient, flexible and kind, especially if asked to mask up or share your vaccination status. These measures are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Classic Downtown Portland 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.
Portland’s selection of more than 500 food carts, most grouped in “pods,” has drawn raves from the likes of Bon Appétit and CNN.
Portland’s flagship farmers' market perfectly embodies the city’s foodie sensibilities and independent spirit.
Portland’s bean scene is as accessible as it is diverse. In fact, you don’t have to leave downtown to sample some of the best cups.
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.
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 way east to find Maurice, a modern pastry luncheonette — their unique blend of Norwegian and French fare includes both 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 menu of Vietnamese bites and cocktails. As an added bonus, they’re open until midnight daily and 4 a.m. on weekends.
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.
Learn More About the Downtown Restaurant Scene
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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 serves authentic Japanese curry in the Pacific Northwest, making it well worth a visit the next time you’re downtown.
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.
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.)
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