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Portland Restaurants: Reviews & Reccomendations


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It might help to start with my tipsheet:

http://www.extramsg.com/uploaded_misc/portland_tipsheet.html

It's a bit out of date, but I'll be updating it before you come out probably. It'd be useful to print out and just keep in your pocket -- at least the top part.

Some places that I have enjoyed and might be up your alley: Carlyle, Olea, 23 Hoyt, Alberta Street Oyster Bar, Giorgio's, Andina.

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We were in Portland this past March and enjoyed really great lunches at Park Kitchen and Ten 01, they are both located in the Portland Pearl District. Ten 01 is really gorgeous building, the food was excellent as was the service. I have some photos posted in my album of our meal there.

We also enjoyed a really nice dinner Lovely Hula Hands, they have a new location on N. Mississippi Ave. Great food in a homey, friendly atmosphere. I also have photos of our meal here in my album on this site.

Another consideration would be Fenouil, also in the Portland Pearl District. A very pretty building with great food and service. Enjoy! :)

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Second that of Park Kitchen and Higgins, Farm is a descent veg option, if you are in the wine counrty - the Joel Palmer House (he does a good job w/ mushrooms and the season is pretty good at the moment) Paleys place is solid (sit at the bar), clarklewis was very good, Mother's for breakfast. Portland is a burgeoning food city, I had some good, and some great meals on my first trip there, and don't miss the house made pickles wherever you go!

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We had an incredible meal at Joel Palmer House last summer. We ordred a lot of different things, there were 3 of us. The mushroom soup, the mushroom tart, caprese salad, the pasta, sea scallops, duck were all excellent. We had the Creme Brulee with fresh berries and the Peach purse (the photo on my profile) for dessert. Everything was beautifully presented and the service was perfect. There is also the "mushroom madness" where you can order several different things made with mushrooms. Great place! I have some photos of our meal there in my album on this site. Enjoy! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

We decided on Olea in the Pearl District for dinner this past Wed. night. Excellent place with very good food. I had the Green Pea Risotto, a very nice salad and the Sea Scallops. We shared the Rhubarb Strawberry Torte for dessert, this was served with Lemon Creme Brulee. I highly recommend a visit here while in the Portland area.

We'll be back in Portland in a few days, looking forward to trying more places there, haven't decided yet. Maybe Toro Bravo, what's good there? :)

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We decided on Olea in the Pearl District for dinner this past Wed. night.  Excellent place with very good food.    I had the Green Pea Risotto, a very nice salad and the Sea Scallops.  We shared the Rhubarb Strawberry Torte for dessert, this was served with Lemon Creme Brulee.    I highly recommend a visit here while in the Portland area.

We'll be back in Portland in a few days, looking forward to trying more places there, haven't decided yet.  Maybe Toro Bravo, what's good there?  :)

Everything is good at Toro Bravo - really! I especially enjoyed the House Smoked Coppa Steak, Crab & Pork Croquettes, Paella Toro and Olive Oil Cake with rhubarb sauce.

More about Toro Bravo on the PortlandFood.org site here.

Edited by John DePaula (log)

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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This past Wed. we had an excellent dinner at Olea in the Portland Pearl District. Very good Green pea risotto, fresh salad with tender greens and my Sea Scallops were perfect. For dessert we had a Strawberry Rhubarb pastry with Lemon Creme Brullee. The ambiance is very nice, upscale and contemporary with great service. This place has it all! :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can't recommend Rocket.

Two new hot spots - Toro Bravo and Country Cat.

Old reliables - Paleys, Park Kitchen, Higgins and Wildwood - All do well with local ingredients.

Wine Country - Tina's or Red Hills in Dundee, 3rd Street Bistro or Nick's in McMinnville. I'm not a fan of Joel Palmer House in Dayton - much overrated in my book.

Weekend Breakfasts - Genies or on Sunday's Simpatico for Brunch.

Edited by Keith Orr (log)
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Just FYI, since ten 01 was mentioned: they have a new chef, Jack Yoss as of about 3 weeks ago (formerly at Postrio in SF, Chinois in las Vegas, and Hotel W in Westwood). Reviews after their opening last autumn were less than enthusiastic, and they've brought Yoss in to create an entirely new menu: ten 01 2.0, as it were. A great improvement, in my estimation. Good cocktail bar, as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We made our annual treck down the I-5 this past weekend for the Oregon Brewer's Festival and our book-buying spree at Powell's. With the Canuck buck almost at par with the US$ it made the weekend even more enjoyable.

An surprising discovery on the lounge front was District. It was late-ish (after 9) after an afternoon of beer sampling and reservations hadn't been made anywhere. We're "regulars" in town and do our research (eG, Nick's list, etc.) so has a list with many options. District was closest, and had room for our group of 6.

I say District was surprsing not because of the drinks, which were excellent. I stuck to wine, but J and our other travelling companions enjoyed assorted cocktails that were very well received. J's Kir & French 75 were a perfect change from micro-brews. All drinks ... $8

No, District was surprising because of the top notch nibbles that came from the kitchen. Gnocci with Mushroom Ragou, Cuban Sandwich, Chicken "Bits" with Curried Chick Peas, and a kick-ass burger. All food ... $8. Very well executed and really good value.

(A heads-up on District ... the music gets loud and clubby after about 11. Fortunately for us "old-folk" we were finished by then.)

It was, however, no Clyde Common. What a great addition to my Portland dining list! It reminded me a lot of clarklewis, but with a "domestic and foreign" flare, :laugh: 4 of us dined to near bursting for under $150 (n/incl tip). Standout dishes were: Roast Corn Salad, Chitarra and the Confit Lamb Heart (mmmmm ... crispy aorta!) The Poutine was the only thing to disappoint, but only the Quebecois have ever gotten that right IMO. Desserts of Blackberry Clafouti and Ligurian Lemon Cake w/ Blueberries were also very well done ... as was my espresso (ristretto no less!).

The best part of the evening for me was being seated right beside the kitchen. We had a clear view of the burners and were able to receive running comentary from who I assume was the garde manger ... salad and cold plates dude. We even received a taster of the apricots they used on the cheese plate (mmmmm ... sauterne-ey goodness!).

You damn Portlanders are very lucky indeed!

A.

Edited by Daddy-A (log)
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I think some of the disappointing places like Ten 01 and Rocket seem to be getting their acts together. I've just had lunch at Ten 01 since the change, but it was excellent. And the pastries (done by an eGulleter) were very good.

Ate at Rocket tonight and had a good meal with only a few relatively minor problems. But some of the dishes were both interesting and very tasty. And the room is fantastic.

Clyde Common is my current fav. I'm so happy that I'll be working right next door soon.

Toro Bravo is great and has some of the best service in town, yet I've never been able to spend more than $30/person there.

btw, I just updated the Portland Dining Guide and Tip Sheet to v2.5. 3.0 coming hopefully not too long -- perhaps by labor day.

Don't miss out on places like Biwa putting out great food, too. And Hiroshi may supplant Murata for sushi king. Masu East makes interesting and tasty Japanese as well.

Edited by ExtraMSG (log)
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We had a very good lunch at Portland City Grill last week, the 3 kids met us there for lunch and we had a great time together. Our oldest son loves this place for dinner and took a group of his friends here last month when they were in Seaside at our beach cottage. We had a couple of orders of Suishi, the Dragon Roll and the Spicy Tuna rolls were excellent, I had the Strawberry and Pink Grapefruit salad that was perfectly prepared and the Mahi Mahi was very good, also. We all shared the Homemade Cookies and Haagan Daz ice cream, other orders were the Crab and Mango salad, and a couple of orders of burgers. Loved everything about this place, the views were stunning, we spent over two hours there for lunch taking it all in. I can only imagine how gorgeous the views must be at night with all of the lights in Portland.

Hope to try Toro Bravo and Clyde Common when we are in Portland, possibly next week. :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am going to be heading to Portland for long weekend next month. Looking forward to the Rembrandt exhibit. Instead of a fast turn-around, I thought I would treat myself to a road trip back to San Francisco.

I am open to suggestions on where to dine in the city proper, but then also which would be the most culinary-advantageous route south. I've got all the time I need with no reason to rush; I can take the 5 or head over to the coast if there are any out-of-the-way spots worthy of a side-trip (or the main trip!)

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Lots of good eats in Portland, not too far away from the Portland Art Museum is the Heathman Hotel where we had a very good dinner and brunch last summer. In the Portland Pearl District, Olea is fantastic, we had dinner there this summer. Fenouil is another place to check out in the Pearl District, Park Kitchen in this same area is great as is Ten 01. Bluehour is a trendy, buzzy sorta place with very good Gnocchi with Black Truffles.

If you venture over to Mississippi Ave, there is Lovely Hula Hands which is housed in a saltbox-style home with very good food. Cozy ambiance, very good service and food here. Over in the Nob Hill District you will find Wildwood and Paley's Place, right across the street from one another. These places offer a very good example of fresh Pacific Northwest cuisine.

If you want some great views with your meal, head over to the Portland City Grill, we had a very good lunch there this summer, excellent Sushi, salads and the Mahi Mahi was excellent as were the fresh homebaked cookies and Haagan Daz ice cream for dessert. I have photos of most of these places on my photo gallery here if you're interested. Have a great trip! :)

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There are so many great dining choices in Portland that it is almost unreasonable to name names without a better sense of what kind of experience you are looking for: name chefs with established reputations and Beard Awards, neighborhood hideaways offering a taste of the PDX culture as well as ingredients, new, cultish, and buzzworthy, or reliable classics, NW-ingredient focused or more international in focus, ethinc-oriented or more Western, traditional favorites or cutting edge, etc. I heartily suggest visiting the tip sheet at ExtraMSG for some great guidance.

A few personal favorites, without going into food styles, include Andina, Fenouil, Alberta Street Oyster Bar, Vindalho, Lauro, ten01, Pok Pok, Sungari Pearl, Paley's . . . I'm missing many others . . .

As for dining while going south . . . well, the immediate I5 route itself is pretty much fine-dining-free between Portland and Eugene, and then between Eugene and Ashland. In all cases you have to get off the long and boring I5 to find good stuff. In Eugene I heartily recommend Marche at the 5th Street Market. Also Cafe Zenon and Adam's Place.

The Medford/Talent/Jacksonville/Ashland area offers many options, all off the highway and you need to get a local map to find, but good choices include Sammy's New Cowboy Bistro in Talent (if you can get in . . . I'm eating there next week, but have had reservations for a long time), Gogi's in Jacksonville, Amuse, Peerless, Chateaulin, Thai Pepper, Monet . . . all in Ashland.

If you want to go south from Portland and do it slowly, head down 99W and visit some Willamette Valley wineries (Penner-Ash, Domaine Serene, Archery Summit, Lange, Bergstrom, Domaine Drouhin, Argyle, Carlton Winemakers Studio, Panther Creek, Cana's Feast, Scott Paul, Solena, Bethel Heights, Cristom, J.K. Carriere, Stoller, Erath, Sokol Blosser, Dobbes, Tyrus Evans, . . . I could go on and on). For dining, in Newberg there is The Painted Lady, in Dundee there is the Dundee Bistro, Red Hills Provincial Dining (I had dinner there last night with some winemakers and it was superb), and Tina's. In Carlton there is Cuvee. You can keep going down 99 to Eugene and then pick up I5 . . . unless you get stuck wine tasting (go for the Pinots, Dijon Chardonnay, and bone dry rieslings).

As for the coast, besides being quite beautiful when you're not in the major towns, the dining concentration will be in the area of Newport north. There is precious little in the way of good dining on the coast south of Newport (the only exception would be Bandon Dunes in Bandon, very far south), though there is spectacular scenery. And as for dining north of Newport on the coast, I have no specific suggestions (besides Fulio's in Astoria) since it's been a long time since I've been through there . . . I'm sure others can chime in!

-Cole

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Ashland is really a foodie's heaven, we had an excellent meal at Amuse this summer and have enjoyed several great meals at Chateaulin, also. Peerless is fantastic, outdoor dining, innovative menu and friendly staff. We were not so impressed with Lark's at the Ashland Springs Hotel, the ambiance is nice here, we love the hotel but the food is not on the same level as Peerless or Amuse. We still have to make it over to Sammy's sometime. If you're around Cenral Point, stop by the Rogue Creamery there, amazing Blue cheese, here. The Crater Lake Blue and Oregonzola have won numerous awards.

We have dined all over the northern coast, let me know if you would like recs. Two of my favorites are the Nehalem River Inn and the Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach, both fine dining venues featuring excellent food, ambiance and service. Stephanie Inn is a Fixed Price venue, so call ahead to see if they are serving something you would like. For $45/pp you are served 4 courses, including dessert, corkage fee is only $10/bottle, ours was waived when we shared some of our 2005 Willamette Valley Estate Pinot Noir with the staff. Reservations are mandatory and you must secure with a credit card here. :)

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