Destination Guides,  Restaurant Guides

Where to Eat in Portland: 11 Delicious Spots to Dine & Drink

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Can we agree that it’s a gross understatement to say that “Portland is full of great restaurants?” Or that it’s “one of the best cities in America for foodies?” However you want to try and say it, it’s hard to deny that you can eat really, really well in Portland.

I’ve been to Portland many times in my travels, most recently in both October 2023 and May 2024, and one of the big things that draws me back to the city itself is the chance to sample all the newest spots that people are recommending – and to check in on some of my long-time faves plus discover other places for myself. Through my visits, I’ve eaten some incredible meals and felt that those restaurants, bars, and other places deserved a little love. It’s 2024 – more than a decade after my first visit – and it’s time: here’s my list of where to eat in Portland.

Where to Eat in Portland Hero

Let me be clear: I would never be so bold as to presume I could write a comprehensive guide to ALL of the great places to eat in Portland… there are just too many and I am not that much of an expert in Portland’s dining scene. Instead, think of this as the list your friend sends you when you ask them for advice: it’s not comprehensive, it’s not wide-sweeping – it’s just the places I love, and what makes each one special.

One other thing – the photos in some sections of this post are not great. They date back a decade or more, to the earliest days of my blog (I took my first trip to Portland in 2013!). Hopefully, despite being crappy, you can see that I’ve really eaten at – and enjoyed – these places, and it inspires you to do the same.

Okay, now let’s dig in – here are my top recommendations for where to eat in Portland!

Apizza Scholls

If Portland is a city full of great restaurants, how does one choose where to eat? In my case, I let one of my favorite travelers – Anthony Bourdain – be my guide. He only ate a few places in Portland during his travels, but one of them was Apizza Scholls on the east side… and it’s well worth the trek.

Portland was also named the best city in America for pizza – so you just know a place good enough for Tony in a city renowned for its pizza is gonna be great!

Rather than getting fancy, opt for a half-and-half pizza of any two styles that sound good; if you need a suggestion, my favorite (of the four different pizzas I tried!) was the Amatriciana. The onions and bacon were a perfect combination, and one of my dining companions said it reminded her of flammkuchen from Alsatian France. (Coincidentally this is where Tony died – maybe my mind subconsciously knew that!)

Shigezo

Where to Eat in Portland - Shigezo

During my most recent visit to Portland, I discovered my favorite part of visiting the city: you can wander into an unassuming restaurant by chance, and end up having an awesome meal. My friend Marissa and I were back near our hotel after a morning at the conference we were attending, and decided to pop into Shigezo for lunch. Turns out, it’s awesome.

First off, they have both traditional Japanese and modern seating arrangements with sectioned-off spaces and private dining rooms; if you can, opt for one of the more traditional tables to really immerse yourself in the experience.

Then, the food itself was fantastic. I was able to order my Japanese food power couple: miso soup and chicken katsu curry. They were easily the best I’ve had in years, and Marissa’s sushi looked delightful too.

My only regret was that we didn’t have more time to spend here; I’d love to have a leisurely long dinner with sake and several rounds of sushi and dishes to really enjoy myself.

Hale Pele

As you may (or may not) know, I am a big fan of tiki culture, and I’m working to create a blog dedicated to visiting all the best tiki bars in the world. Every time I’m visiting somewhere new, I consult a few sources (including a giant spreadsheet I’ve been creating) to see if there are any good tiki bars in that town – and Portland is home to one fantastic option!

Located on the East Side, Hale Pele is a bit of a trek if you’re staying downtown, but it’s worth the journey – and the wait (since you’ll probably have to wait for a table!). I think there are no more than 50 seats in the whole bar, but stepping through the door transports you to a moody island paradise where tropical storms (with lightning and thunder effects) punctuate the evening and an occasional volcano (bowl) eruption lights up the whole place in a fiery show!

What everyone loves about tiki is too unique for me to suggest a specific drink you might love, but you can’t go wrong with their 1944 Trader Vics-inspired Mai Tai. If any tiki bar gets this wrong – Hale Pele does not – you can end your night there.

Eat Oyster Bar

I visited Tilt many years ago during one of my Portland trips while living in Seattle; Mr. V and I went down for a quick overnight trip because – if memory serves – a friend of mine and her then-boyfriend were also visiting Portland from California at the same time.

We decided to meet up for brunch at Eat Oyster Bar, which used to offer a dedicated brunch menu. (As of 2024, they have more of a lunch/dinner menu). They did not disappoint: we each tried something quite different: my friend ordered a sweet biscuit with cream, her boyfriend went for a unique plowman’s brunch with pate and thick-cut bacon, I chose a savory biscuit with fried chicken and egg, and Mr. V went for a breakfast sandwich. Delicious all around!

Tilt

Great brunch options abound in Portland, but Tilt has staying power – and great biscuits. What more do you need? They’ve been open for more than a decade at this point, which says a lot as so many places I’ve visited have closed over the intervening years.

I first visited Tilt on one of my earliest trips to Portland, when visiting a friend who was going to school in the city. On each trip, we’d pick a new brunch spot, and the only one still open today is Tilt. (This is why I have so many brunch recommendations!)

Their Pearl District location is still open today, and they’ve added two others in the greater Portland area. You can’t go wrong with the classic biscuits and gravy, though they have lots of other options. As you can see, they also do a mean Bloody Mary if that’s your style. (It’s not mine!)

Olympia Provisions

Where to Eat in Portland - Olympic Provisions

On yet another Portland trip Mr. V and I took during our Seattle era, we stopped for a late brunch/early lunch at Olympia Provisions. They are known for their smoked and cured meats, and charcuterie – another one of my favorite foods!

As you can see from my photo, I ordered the biscuits and gravy (again – when you love what you love, why change?), but we also had eggs benedict (one of Mr. V’s favorites!) and one of their breakfast sausages.

This isn’t a restaurant for meat-free folks, but for the rest of us – it’s a great option to fuel up with protein for a day of adventures in Portland or the surrounding region.

Voodoo Doughnut

I’ve already mentioned Anthony Bourdain once, and it felt weird to include the other food spot on my list that he visited back-to-back – but no list of places to eat in Portland would be complete without a donut recommendation. Everyone has their favorites, but I trust Tony: Voodoo Doughnut is my go-to.

This is in part because their donuts are delicious, but also because they’re quirky, weird, and irreverent. Try the Voodoo Doll – with a pretzel stick through the heart. Or opt for the ODB (named for the rapper) which has chocolate frosting, chocolate cream-filled cookies (not the brand name, but you know what I mean), and peanut butter drizzle. You also can’t go wrong with a bacon maple bar with two strips of bacon atop.

Better yet, just go find something that looks delicious to you and enjoy the treat.

McMenamins Blue Moon Tavern & Grill

Spend any time in the Pacific Northwest – especially Oregon and more especially the Portland area – and you’re going to hear about McMenamins. This hospitality company runs brewpubs, breweries, music venues, historic hotels, and theater pubs in interesting locales and venues in both Oregon and Washington – but over half of their 60+ locations are in the greater Portland area.

It’s hard to choose which one to recommend as each is truly unique, but I like the Blue Moon Tavern & Grill for its simple yet classic burger joint feeling. You can’t go wrong with a delicious burger and a beer, and Blue Moon aces both.

(I also added another McMenamins to my list at the end, but it’s a bit outside Portland so didn’t quite fit this list.)

Salt & Straw

Where to Eat in Portland - Salt & Straw
Photo courtesy of my blogger friend Moani at Appetites Abroad

Like doughnuts and pizza and those other American classics, Portland is also home to some fantastic ice cream shops – but if you ask anyone where the one must-visit place would be, the answer’s gonna be Salt & Straw!

This innovative ice creamery opened in 2011 as a food cart and – and as so many great Portland food carts do, they opened a brick-and-mortar shop just a few months later when people realized how great they are. Since then, they’ve added locations throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as further-flung locations like Miami and Las Vegas – and they’re partly owned by Dwayne Johnson. (Yes, that one.)

What sets Salt & Straw apart is their commitment to reducing food waste; some of their most popular flavors use ingredients like day-old bread (for their “Day-Old Bread Pudding & Chocolate Ganache” flavor) or discarded cacao bean pod shells and pulp (for the “Cacao Pulp & Chocolate Stracciatella Gelato”). They’re also fearless about taking otherwise non-ice cream flavors and making them a reality: Pear & Blue Cheese, Strawberry Honey Balsamic w/ Black Pepper, and Pistachio w/ Saffron & Rose Water are all on the menu as of writing.

Feeling overwhelmed with choices? The Sea Salt w/ Caramel Ribbons is a tried-and-true classic that hits both sweets and salty-toothed folks alike!

Bonus: Portland City Grill

I was on the fence about including Portland City Grill on my list because – to be completely honest – it’s not up to snuff comparing apples to apples for food quality or experience compared to the other spots on this list. It does take the cake in one category though: the view.

Located on the 30th floor of the US Bank tower in downtown Portland, Portland City Grill is certainly the place to go if you want to pair panoramic vistas with your meal. On a clear day, Mt. Hood is prominent and eye-catching, plus you can see the city’s many bridges, nearby hills, and well, everything else around!

The food itself is nice but on the higher end of the price scale compared to how good it is – you’re paying for the view – so a better option is to swing by for Happy Hour drinks and bites before heading somewhere else for a full meal.

Note: I swear I took photos here during my visit, but I’ve scoured my files to no avail. Guess you’ll just have to decide whether to visit and see the view for yourself!

Bonus: McMenamins Edgefield

Last but not least, I promised one more McMenamins location, and here we are. If you’re looking for an adventurous place to eat, drink, and explore, Edgefield in Troutdale is a destination in its own right. In addition to food and drink options (of which there are several restaurants, bars, and more), Edgefield also hosts live music, and there’s a hotel with a variety of different room types.

When I visited, my friend and I strolled around the grounds at length, then grabbed a beer and sat outside to enjoy one of those (not-as-rare-as-the-locals-want-you-to-believe) beautiful days in the Pacific Northwest.

So that’s my list – as I said, it’s not meant to be comprehensive, but rather a quite personal set of recommendations based on my experiences. Are there any places in Portland that I missed? Or do you have questions about these spots? Let me know in the comments below!

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I was born on the East Coast and currently live in the Midwest – but my heart will always be out West. I lived for 15 years in Alaska, as well as four years each in California and Washington. I share travel resources and stories based on my personal experience and knowledge.

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