Food, glorious food! 10 points to anyone who knows what musical that’s from. That’s right, this post is all about Portland’s incredible food scene so don’t read on an empty stomach.
I was lucky to visit Portland, Oregon this summer with a friend who had lived there for several years. This meant that we never got lost, but more importantly, she knew where to get some good food! Most Portland food posts include Voodoo’s colorful donuts or Salt & Straw’s epic ice cream. And while I thoroughly enjoy self-induced sugar comas, there is just so much more to eat in Portland. Let’s get started…
This Nordic restaurant is a unique addition to Portland’s dining scene. It’s a cozy and colorful space with some of the nicest (and attractive) waiters I’ve ever encountered.
You can’t visit Cafe Broder without ordering the Aebleskivers, or Danish pancakes, to share with the table. They have a mix of a pancake and donut texture and are deliciously sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with the tastiest homemade lemon curd and lingonberry jam.
If you’re looking for something more savory, I’d highly recommend Förlorade Ägg which translates to lost eggs. This consists of two eggs on a bed of sliced ham, spinach, and cream, baked under a parmesan-panko crust in a cast iron skillet. The presentation of their food is on point and everything is fresh and flavorful. Two thumbs up!
If you’re craving some comfort food in the morning, Mother’s Bistro is where you want to be. They make everything from scratch, taking traditional homemade favorites and refine them with classical cooking techniques. As their website says, “[It’s] like mom’s cooking, only a bit better.” This is quite a big promise but they certainly deliver.
I ordered the biscuit breakfast which is served with homemade buttermilk biscuits topped with country sausage gravy, and two eggs on the side. Even if you’re starving, this dish can easily feed two people! It was so, SO good. I also had a bite of my friend’s crunchy french toast, made with challah (egg) bread, dipped in cornflakes, and grilled until golden brown. If I lived in Portland, you’d find me here every weekend.
We had brunch at Screen Door for one reason and one reason only. Four words: fried chicken and waffles. To be more specific, three buttermilk battered fried chicken breasts served over a sweet potato waffle. My friend really built this place up for me. She said we had to get there right at 9 AM when they opened for their weekend brunch because she’s waited over an hour before. I am so glad we did because the crowds weren’t there yet and we got a great spot at one of their picnic-style tables outside.
Their fried chicken and waffles completely lived up to all of my expectations but what really pushed me over the edge was their praline bacon. That’s right, bacon coated with pecans and cayenne brown sugar. Luckily, we didn’t have a heart attack after eating it but we could hardly move after. Worth it? Absolutely.
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of food tours. What better way to get to know a new destination than through food?!
Portland is known for their food carts and have over 500 carts available at any given time. So I think it’s safe to say, you’ll never go hungry in this city. Most carts are organized into “pods” which you’ll learn all about on the Food Cart Tour.
With way too many carts to choose from, taking a tour with Brett was such a great choice. He not only shared the history of food carts in Portland, but also shared his favorites with us. We stopped at several different carts where we sampled dumplings, Persian food, vegetable soup, BBQ and even some fish and chips! I loved the variety and enjoyed everything, especially the famous cheeseburger dumpling from The Dump Truck!
The Food Cart Tour costs $50 and runs Monday – Friday. Click here for more info!
I quickly discovered that Portland has some fantastic happy hour spots. Cheap drinks and cheap food, what’s not to love?! I was only in Portland for three days and somehow managed to hit up four restaurants for happy hour. It’s a hard life, I know.
My absolute favorite was Clyde Common! Their Pacific Standard Cocktail was one of the best drinks I’ve ever had. It’s so simple – vodka, lemon, ginger, honey, and soda. It tasted like spiked fizzy lemonade and I was so into it, especially on a hot summer’s day. My favorite happy hour dish of theirs was the Shitake Lumpia which is essentially a Filipino pork and mushroom spring roll.
Their happy hour is SEVEN days a week, from 3-6 PM, so there’s no excuse not to visit!
We visited Portland City Grill immediately after Clyde Common. We were already full and a little buzzed so why on earth did we come here? THE VIEWS!
Portland City Grill can be found on the 30th floor of an unassuming building downtown. I’ve heard it’s overpriced for dinner but their happy hour is 7 days a week and the tables are right beside floor to ceiling windows. This place is definitely a hidden gem and a secret probably most of the local’s want to keep. I’m pretty sure I was the only tourist there with my camera out at all times. Can you really blame me though?
Renata is located in the Central Southeast Industrial district of Portland which is quickly becoming one of the city’s top dining destinations. Renata serves upscale Italian food and every dish retains the authenticity of its Italian origin. The restaurant is spacious with high ceilings and has simple, yet stylish, decor. In other words.. it was pretty hip.
Good news about this place, their menu is seasonal which means it’s always fresh and exciting! Bad news, I forgot to take a picture of the menu, and so I can’t tell you exactly what I ordered! The menu has changed since! Just know that their pasta is handcrafted and, hands down, the star of the show. I ordered some sort of chili spaghetti which had a bit of a crunch to it. It was perfection. My friend ordered meat-filled ravioli and her portion was very generous. You know how some fancy restaurants will serve you three small raviolis? Not this place.
I’d also highly recommend their cocktails. I ordered the 2+2=5 (great name) which consists of vodka, elderflower, fresh strawberry, lemon, and prosecco.
Have you been to Portland before? Which restaurant catches your eye the most? I’d love to know in the comments below!