Creating a list of the best restaurants in Portland is an impossible task. I’ve lived in Portland my entire life and even I find the task daunting.
Indeed, it wasn’t until I left my comfortable office job to peruse writing about Portland full-time that I started viewing the restaurants in Portland from a different perspective. I found myself captivated by the stories of the bold business owners who pushed through the pandemic and refused to let Portlanders go hungry.
Below is a personal list of the best restaurants in Portland, Oregon that have survived COVID, based on firsthand experience. I have tried each of these restaurants myself and feel they are worthy of being shared.
In fact, this is the exact list I share with my own family and friends whenever they ask about the best restaurants in Portland.
Also worth mention — we all have different taste buds. Some locals might disagree with my list and that’s alright. Let me know if i missed anything in the comments below, but don’t do it on an empty stomach. 😉
Best Restaurants Portland, Oregon
First, let’s talk about affordable restaurants in Portland
Before the hate mail starts coming in I want to be clear: what used to be affordable 10 years ago is not the same as what’s affordable now. For the sake of this list, I’m considering meals under $20 as affordable. To that end, the Portland restaurants listed below are great options for casual and unfussy dining where the food truly shines. Let’s get to it!
Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.Ruth Reichl
Bar Casa Vale
Let’s start our list of the best restaurants in Portland with a personal favorite of mine, Bar Casa Vale. I selfishly don’t want to list this restaurants because I love it so much and am growing tired of long lines, but they deserve the accolades and business!
Focusing on vibrant Spanish wood-fired tapas, this Portland restaurant is the perfect place to go when your friends are visiting town. Order any dish that sounds tempting and split them among friends. I’m partial to the paella and lamb meatballs.
Image courtesy Bar Casa Vale
Ken’s Artisan Pizza
If God ate pizza, they’d order the Brooklyn pie at Ken’s Artisan Pizza.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza hails from Portland’s best baker, Ken Forkish, the two-time James Beard Award wining mastermind behind Ken’s Bakery in NW Portland. This iconic Portland pizzeria self promotes as Italian-inspired with an American accent.
Forkish recently relocated to Hawaii after twenty years in the baking business, but not before perfecting the pizza dough at Ken’s Artisan Pizza.
The new dough promised to be better than ever and (surprisingly) exceeded expectations. I say surprisingly only because it was hard to imagine the pizza getting any better.
The long-fermented sourdough/yeast blend creates generous airy bubbles within the soft crust. Pies are expertly charred in a trusty wood-fired oven immediately after being topped with locally sourced ingredients like hand-stretched cheese.
You can’t go wrong with a single item on the menu, but I’m partial to the Fennel Sausage and the Brooklyn (Mike’s Hot Honey steals the show). The Caesar Salad is non-negotiable and the cocktails are equally delicious.
Address: 304 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Further Reading: 15 PERFECTED Portland Pizzas (Ranked by Pizza Type)
Image courtesy Ken’s Artisan Pizza
Lil’ Shalom is the sister restaurant to (now closed) Shalom Y’all, one of the best restaurants in Portland for Mediterranean food. Lil’ Shalom is more geared toward take out and quick bites, which means handheld is the name of the game.
Their pita sandwiches are knockouts but it’s the creamy hummus that does it for me. Order the Shalom Y’all plate to see what all the fuss is about.
A round of applause for Eem, the Portland restaurant we didn’t know we needed but can’t imagine living without. The secret? A Thai BBQ fusion that makes you question why you haven’t heard of this masterpiece before.
Eem was started by three big names in Portland’s culinary scene, so it’s not surprising that they’ve effectively concocted one of the best restaurants in Portland.
Earl Ninsom is a highly decorated chef hailing from Bangkok. He is single-handidly responsible for some of the best restaurants in Portland and his most popular restaurant, Langbaan, has a 6-month wait list at times.
Matt Vicedomini is a national treasure. He’s the man responsible for the outlandish success of Matt’s BBQ food truck, one of the best in Portland. And the icing on the cake is Eric Nelson, the mastermind behind the outstanding cocktails (which are worth going for alone).
Together, the three named the restaurants after the first letters of their names, which coincided with the Thai word for satiated.
And I’ll be the first to confirm that this Portland restaurant is aptly named. The fried chicken from Eem renders me speechless. I helplessly point at the menu through weeping eyes while bracing myself for heaven on a plate.
Website | 3808 North Williams Avenue st, 127, Portland, OR 97227
Image courtesy Eem
A homey Portland restaurant offering a hodgepodge of South American and Asian cuisine. Dare I ask, is there anything better? Well, if I’m being honest – yes, their cocktails seal the deal.
Started by folks behind Portland’s popular Carte Blanche food cart, Malka was a huge hit from day one. The symphony of flavors is hard to describe, the best I can do is describe it as a restaurant that offers unique twists on classics.
My favorite dish is the Helmet for Outer Space, which is best described as a glorified rice bowl topped with fresh vegetables and flavorful pork. Everything comes together flawlessly and I dream of this dish often.
This Portland restaurant is not offering dine-in options at the moment, but they are happy to prepare a to-go order for you. The process is simple, give them a call and place your order (note: (you may need to try a few times because they’re so busy).
Make an effort to dine inside when this popular Portland restaurant re-opens for dine in, the decor make me want to redecorate my apartment every time I visit!
Address: 4546 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206
Image courtesy Malka
How do I know Nacheaux is one of the best restaurants in Portland? They went from food cart to restaurant in less than two years, oh and their food cart opened a few months before the pandemic lock downs. The fact that they thrived during the worst time only speaks as a testament to their passion and skill.
The brain child of a creative husband-wife duo Anthony and Stephanie Brown that hail from L.A. and Louisiana respectively, these two serve creative Mexican-Cajun fusion cuisine. It’s the perfect meal if you have a hankering for comfort food because their fried chicken is out of this world.
Image courtesy Nacheaux
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Seeing a place that exclusively serves chicken and rice listed as one of the best restaurants in Portland might sound surprising to folks that haven’t yet visited Nong’s Khao Man Gai. It’s just chicken, right?
Well actually, no. Turns out not all chicken and rice is created equal, far from it.
Helmed by the venerated chef Nong Poonsukwattana, Nong’s Khao Man Gai started as a food cart in 2009. Chef Poonsukwattana moved to the US from Bangkok in 2003 with only $70 to her name. She worked at the most iconic restaurant in Portland, Pok Pok while saving up to open her own place.
Her ethos was simple: excel at one thing. Rather than presenting a mile-long menu, she kept things simple with a single dish: chicken, which would sell out daily. Word of her unforgettable chicken and rice spread like wildfire and within a few years she opened a brick-and-mortar shop.
The only way to understand the warranted hype around this place is to check it out for yourself. You’ll know in no time why locals consider this one of the best restaurants in Portland, myself included.
Website | Two Locations:
- 609 SE Ankeny Street, Suite C Portland, OR 97214
- 417 SW 13th Ave. Portland, OR 97205
Image courtesy Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen
Luc Lac is my go-to Portland restaurant when I’m in the mood for delicious Vietnamese street food. The fact that it was located two blocks from my office definitely didn’t hurt. The unfussy restaurant has an awesome ambiance and exudes an easy-going vibe, no easy feat considering the kitchen is always so busy.
The food is borderline addictive, making it hard to stay away for longer than a week. I’m partial to the signature Luc Lac dish but my husband swears by the pho.
Proud Mary Cafe
Proud Mary hails from Melbourne, Australia where it cultivated a cult following before deciding to expand to America by opening a small restaurant in Portland, Oregon.
The result? An overnight success. Proud Mary Cafe fills to the brim with eager locals and tourists alike every weekend morning, everyone eager to get their hands on the brunch menu. Plus, the coffee is hard to beat.
The food is delicious and equally photogenic, they clearly know their target audience (ahem, millennials) and have the rave reviews to prove it. My personal favorite items on the menu include the avocado toast, potato hash and the cakey ricotta pancakes (which are unlike any pancakes I’ve every had before).
The Screen Door
While we’re on the topic of brunch, it would be inexcusable not to mention the Screen Door. The secret has been out for a while now: Screen Door is one of the best restaurants in Portland and the long lines prove it.
Everyone and their dog has had brunch here and lived to tell the tale. Offering incredible southern dishes, Screen Door has perfectly executed fried chicken and waffles and folks wait for hours to get their hands on it.
Don’t make the mistake of skipping the biscuits and grits, especially if you’re brunching with a group of friends, both dishes stand out. And if you’re in the mood for something sweet, the french toast is out of this world!
Come early, and even then expect to stand in line. But I assure you, the wait is so worth it. Simply swing by a nearby cafe and grab a drink while you wait.
Swiss Hibiscus is quite possibly one of the most well reviewed restaurants in Portland I’ve ever come across. In fact, the raving reviews are the reason I decided to pay them a visit, I was intrigued!
This great Portland restaurant serves authentic Swiss and European food in a low-key bistro setting. Locals are drawn in by the delicious schnitzel and other traditional dishes and return for the friendly service.
The inside is very cozy, there’s limited seating so reservations come highly recommended. The staff are always accommodating and happy to help get you in whenever possible. The atmosphere is casual but you can tell the owners put a lot of effort into making the place feel homey and nice. The meals are served beautifully and the flavors will stay with you a very long time.
Image courtesy Swiss Hibiscus
Fried food isn’t revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination but Lardo is different. This beloved and popular Portland restaurant is a perfect example of elevating something traditional by making it better than what people are used to.
Folks come here for the meaty sandwiches and juicy burgers, paired with satisfying loaded fries. This isn’t a restaurant you go to after the gym, but it is the best restaurant in Portland before a long night out with your old friends.
Gado Gado was first recommended to me by my coworker. My in-laws were coming to town and I was asking coworkers on their opinion about the best restaurants in Portland, hoping to glean new gems.
Helmed by a husband-wife duo, the menu at Gado Gado is inspired in part by one chef’s Chinese Indonesian heritage and in part by the couple’s extensive travels through Southeast Asia. The restaurant has a modern feel with a fun and colorful vibe.
The a la carte menu is manageable and doesn’t overwhelm with options (huge perk), every item we ordered exceeded expectations. Seems like they only list what they’ve perfected, which means anything you order is sure to impress. Shout out to the show stopping siu-mai (Chinese dumpling), roti canai (Indian flatbread), Coca-Cola clams (yes, really) and the must-order tuna belly salad.
I took my in-laws to this popular Portland restaurant and it did not disappoint, in fact they still mention the meal to this day.
Website | Address: 1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd, Portland, OR 97212
First things first, the style of pizza served at Apizza Scholls is hotly debated. Some call it Neopolitan, while others swear it can only be an east-coast pie. I’m with the latter, I’ve dined at Apizza Scholls more than twenty times — this is definitely a NYC-style pie.
Technicality aside, Apizza Scholls is a Portland institution. Founded in 2005, this beloved Portland pizzeria has been serving Portlanders for almost 20 years and doesn’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. The restaurant has two cozy dinning areas and neither are very large, which means snatching a table on a weekend evening is nothing short of a feat but well worth the effort.
If you’re one of the lucky few that snatches a reservation, the large pies are reward enough. Cooked in an electric oven with one mission: simple and fast. They don’t complicate the art of pizza making, the menu is perfectly curated with the proper toppings-to-crust ratio.
Clear standouts are the New York White (garlicky cheesy perfection) and the classic pepperoni (the pepperoni cups curl at the edges – mercy!). Whichever pizza you decide to order, make sure to start with the Caesar salad, it’s one of the best in Portland.
Address: 4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Unless you are a pizza, the answer is yes, I can live without you.Bill Murray
Rose VL Deli
Rose VL Deli is known to locals as the only place to go when you get a hankering for soup. Any soup. Indeed, this is what most of us wish our mother’s soup actually tasted like so that we could be honest when we said strange things like “nobody makes soup like my mom.” Because most of the time, that’s not a bad thing.
Rose VL Deli excels at Vietnamese fare but it’s the soup that shine. Order whatever the special of the day is and you won’t regret it. I especially love the Friday special, the phenomenal fermented fish noodle soup.
Address: 6424 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97206
Image courtesy Yelp
Hat Yai is named after a Thai city near the Malaysian border. This great Portland restaurant has a casual vibe and strives to serve authentic Southern Thai street food, like fried chicken and curry.
The fried chicken (satisfyingly crispy and moist) is the star of the show. Blindingly beautiful, this thing could launch a thousand ships. Frankly, if those ships were Thailand-bound, I’d be the first onboard. Because of COVID they’re only offering outdoor dining, but that only adds to the great vibe of this place.
Website | Address: 1605 NE Killingsworth St. & 605 SE Belmont St.
Image courtesy Hat Yai
Olympia Provisions is known nationwide for having some of the best charcuterie meats in the country. In fact, chances are good you’ve seen their salami at specialty grocery stores across the country, but nothing beats a visit to their restaurant in Portland.
This is one of my go-to spots for brunch in NW Portland but I definitely enjoy having a proper date night here as well. Since charcuterie boards are the specialty you won’t want to miss ordering one, regardless of the meal you’re having. The meat board never fails to impress.
Website | Address: 107 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214
Image courtesy Alex Lau for Bon Appetit
What can I say about Tusk that hasn’t been said before? This place is a gem and seems to be a favorite Portland brunch spot for most locals.
The creative Middle-Eastern menu is described as “locally sourced, aggressively seasonal” and the proof is in the pudding. The dishes are sensational and the bright and cheery decor can lift the spirit of any winter-weary Portland native (*raises hand).
A plethora of shared plates await you at this trendy restaurant, where seasonal produce takes center stage and pleasantly surprises guests with clean, bright notes that demand a second, third, and fourth bite.
As you can imagine, the wait is usually out the door. Tusk was named restaurant of the year by Food & Wine magazine in 2017.
Website | Address: 2448 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
Image courtesy Tusk
Pine State Biscuits
We can’t talk about the best restaurants in Portland without mentioning Pine State Biscuits, the granddaddy of all biscuits.
It’s inevitable that all Portland visitors know to swing by Pine State Biscuits while visiting Portland. This brunch spot has a cult following for a reason – their biscuits are arguably the best in Portland.
Pine State Biscuit is a perfect example of mastering one thing rather than focusing on a plethora of dishes.
Pine State Biscuit is a perfect example of mastering one thing rather than focusing on a range of dishes. The best selling brunch options are obviously biscuit-centered (but guests can also order pancakes and hash browns) and the breakfast sandwiches truly shine.
It’s not uncommon for the line to wrap the block and a long wait is all but guaranteed during the weekends. Try to get there at opening hour to avoid the wait, however, even if you’re forced to wait I can attest that these biscuits are worth it.
Don’t leave without trying the Reggie Deluxe, it’s my favorite breakfast sandwich in Portland.
Best Special Occasion Restaurants in Portland, Oregon
Going to a restaurant is one of my keenest pleasures. Meeting someplace with old and new friends, ordering wine, eating food, surrounded by strangers, I think is the core of what it means to live a civilized life.Adam Gopnik
What first attracted me to Han Oak was an episode of the Netflix show Ugly Delicious. The episode focused on notable Portland restaurants and shone a light on Han Oak. As I watched the chef’s 4-year old son dart past the dangling legs of happy diners, I was intrigued by the work/life balance of the chef.
Well, it turns out this venerable Korean restaurant is located right next door (literally) to Chef Peter Cho’s home. If you’re lucky enough to get reservations for the tasting menu at Han Oak, the first thing you notice upon arrival is how homey the restaurant feels.
The half-outdoor, half-indoor restaurant consists of long communal tables and makes you feel like an invited guest, which you technically are.
Eager to leave the City that Never Sleeps, Peter Cho and his partner, Sun Young Park, opened Han Oak in 2016 in Portland — a city known for easy-going locals and a speedometer forever stuck in the cruise position. The result? Nothing short of instant success, quickly earning praise as one of the best restaurants in Portland.
Focusing predominantly on Korean cuisine, Chef Cho likes to change things up with the seasons. But fret not, quality is never compromised. After closing down for 21 months due to COVID, Han Oak re-opened with a new concept, Han Oak Hot Pot.
Diners get a set menu of shaved meats to dip into a satisfyingly rich bone broth, with a side of the much-beloved hand-pulled noodles and signature dumplings. If you’re looking for a great Portland tasting menu more akin to a comfort meal, made a beeline for Han Oak.
Image courtesy Han Oak
One of the best seafood restaurants in Portland is Jacqueline (a personal favorite of mine). This chic seafood-forward restaurant is dressed to impress and exudes a welcoming vibe. Between the quirky decor (shout-out to the Bill Murray portrait) and the knowledgeable staff, you’ll feel right at home.
The easy-going vibe is not to be misunderstood, the folks that run this joint take seafood very seriously. Every dish is thoughtfully prepared with ingredients scored the morning of, ensuring the meal is as fresh as possible.
If you’re unsure what to order, the 8-course tasting menu can’t be beat. The portions are generous without overwhelming. Perfectly spaced, you can take in the intricate flavors of each respective dish and leave completely satisfied at the end of the meal.
I’ve visited Jacqueline on two separate occasions and found myself impressed both times. A dish worth calling out is the decadent Dungeness Crab toast, which is best-described as arrestingly delicious. Seriously, the thing could launch a thousand ships and might (might) turn the most platonic relationship into something more — but no guarantees.
Also worth mention, at $75 per person for seafood, this is one of the most affordable tasting menus in Portland. I can’t recommend it enough.
Coquine is one of my favorite special occasion restaurants in Portland. Every detail of this restaurant oozes with celebratory vibes, from the charming ambiance to the unforgettable food, the only thing missing is a dash of pomp (kidding, of course).
This award-winning Portland restaurant is best known for their toothsome farm-to-table French-inspired tasting menus. In fact, many seasoned Portland chefs turn to this very restaurant when they’re in need of a good meal and some inspiration.
Helmed by Katy Millard, a well-regarded chef that trained in multiple Michelin-starred French kitchens, Coquine was welcomed with open arms when it opened in 2015. The restaurant was named Restaurant of the Year by Eater Portland that same year.
It’s not hard to see why Coquine is laden with praise. The seasonal dishes are thoughtfully cooked to perfection using masterful techniques. Effectively resulting in one of the most delightful tasting menus in Portland. Complete your meal with the optional wine pairing (considered one of the best in Portland) or opulent supplements like oysters and caviar.
Ask any Portlander about their favorite Italian restaurant in Portland and the honest ones will mention Nostrana. The dishonest ones will try to keep it a secret.
Nostrana is a high-end Italian restaurant owned by acclaimed James Beard Award finalist Kathy Whims. Focusing on seasonally influenced Italian dishes using local ingredients, anything Kathy touches turns to gold. Heck, Nostrana serves some of the best pizza in Portland and it’s not even a pizza restaurant — the Funghi verde pizza is a must-order. As is the famous radicchio salad.
If you’re in the mood for a different type of carb, try the stunning bolognese (or any pasta dish really).
Le Pigeon has graced the top of many “best restaurants in Portland” lists since opening in 2006. I always heard the hype but it wasn’t until I visited for myself that I could confirm, with authority, the merit of the praise.
I mean, Le Pigeon is credited for single-handedly putting Portland on the national culinary map. I’m not exaggerating. Since opening, the restaurant garnered praise from food critics and notable chefs across the nation. Naturally, Chef Rucker (who was 25 when he opened the restaurant) pocketed not one, but two prestigious James Beard awards. To this day, serious foodies make pilgrimages to Portland specifically for this gem.
Let’s talk about the food. Le Pigeon focuses on seasonal French-inspired cuisine using ingredients sourced from the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. Offering two exceptional 5-course tasting menus (one for vegetarians) in a relaxed setting, I recommend opting for the brilliant wine pairing to cap off your experience.
Brace yourself for five unforgettable dishes that look deceptively small but deliver an unforgettable experience en masse — you can’t leave hungry. Everything on the plate is intentional and nothing vies for attention at the expense of something else. Harmony is the name of the game at Le Pigeon.
The attentive waitstaff are eager to share their knowledge to ensure you get the most from your evening. The entire tasting menu affair feels inviting and approachable, largely thanks to the pretension-free service.
Canard is an off-shoot restaurant of Le Pigeon, one of the best (if not THE best) restaurant in Portland. I’ve visited Canard on several occasions, but my favorite meal is brunch — by a mile.
And honestly, it all comes down to one dish for me — the duck stack pancakes. Buttermilk pancakes cooked in duck fat and topped with duck sausage gravy, topped with duck eggs. Oh, and did I mention the foie gras? Let all of that sink in.
The creative menu paired with the unbelievable taste of these perfectly executed dishes makes this one of the best restaurants in Portland, regardless of the meal you choose to have here.
Website | Address: 734 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
The aptly named Langbaan restaurant comes from the Thai word for “back of the house,” a reference to the area in a Thai home where the dinning room is located and meals are lovingly shared.
True to its name, the dining experience at this tiny restaurant seats 24 people and feels like being warmly welcomed to sit at the table in someone’s home.
Opened by Earl Ninsom, a beloved Portland chef with several award-winning Thai restaurants under his belt, Langbann is a tasting-menu only restaurant that feels exclusive for one reason alone – the notoriously long wait-list is up to 6 months long at times.
Inspired by the energetic buzz of Thai kitchens, Langbann serves authentic and traditional Thai cuisine in the form of a mouth-watering tasting menu curated using local ingredients. Rest assured, you can feel the love poured into every dish — a perfect harmony between old-world recipes and this morning’s farmers market score.
Christine Dong/Courtesy Langbaan
Nimblefish (the best sushi in Portland)
Nimblefish is hands down the best restaurant in Portland for sushi (most of the fish is flown in directly from Japan). Everything from the rice to the fresh cuts of fish is expertly prepared by seasoned chefs. Focusing on ingredients local to Japan and the northwest, the magic is in the simplicity and the details.
Come here for the knockout sashimi, omakase and nigiri enjoyed in an intimate setting. The restaurant only seats 12 so reservations are required and you may need to wait a while to get in. This is one of the best restaurants in Portland after all, and the secret has been out for a while.
I really enjoy the chef-selected omakase tasting menu, at $85 per person, the price-to-quality ratio feels like a steal of a deal.
Website | Address: 1524 SE 20th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Argentinean-inspired fare cooked on a wood-fired grill using local ingredients from the Northwest. I feel like I can just stop right there, no?
Serving Portland since 2012, OX is a staple in the community. The meat-centric restaurant is helmed by two James Beard Award Winning Chefs — Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton. With such high accolades it’s no wonder this is considered one of the best restaurants in Portland!
I enjoy coming here for special occasions, like birthdays and anniversaries, and look forward to the occasion without loss of enthusiasm. I can wax poetic about the steak, but I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. This is a Portland restaurant you can’t easily put into words, you simply must try for yourself.
Website | 2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97212
Image courtesy OX
Note: Ava Genes is temporarily closed.
Ava Gene’s has a very special place in my heart and I’m always surprised when I don’t see it mentioned on a list outlining the best restaurants in Portland. I was first introduced to this gem during a special birthday dinner and the experience has stayed with me for five years since.
The cozy interior is half the charm, but it’s the food that truly shines. Ava Gene’s professes to be seasonally aggressive and it shows. This is one of the best restaurants in Portland for fresh flavorful vegetables and satisfying pasta dishes. I can’t recommend this Portland restaurant enough!
Image courtesy Ava Genes
Best Restaurants Portland, Oregon (Post Summary)
In sum, here are the best restaurants in Portland, Oregon.
- Bar Casa Vale
- Ken’s Artisan Pizza
- Lil’ Shalom
- Han Oak
- Nong’s Khao Man Gai
- Proud Mary Cafe
- The Screen Door
- Luc Lac
- Swiss Hibiscus
- Gado Gado
- Apizza Scholls
- Pine State Biscuits
- Rose VL Deli
- Hat Yai
- Olympia Provisions
- Han Oak
- Ava Genes
- Le Pigeon
Map of the best restaurants in Portland, Oregon
I truly hope you enjoyed this list of the best restaurants in Portland, Oregon as much as I enjoyed writing it!
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