Weekend in Portland Recipe

Portland is a great city, I'd like to try to get there more often - it's just a short flight from San Francisco. Here are an updated list of a few of the places I always try to get to when I visit.

Weekend in Portland

I'm doing a quick update of this page (as of 1/4/13) the old page was out of date and this short list will at the very least give you a few great places to jump in - it's by no means a comprehensive list or guide, I'll keep adding to it though. Portland is a great city, easy to get around, with incredible food, and an inspiring wealth of creative people making it happen for themselves. Just a super fun city all-around.

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Nicholas'. (Amazing Middle Eastern.) Always crowded, but there is a good reason for that. Go on a Saturday, around 2, and it's not so bad though. Also, Tao of Tea, Vindalho, E-San, Higgins, Delta Cafe, Caprial's Bistro, and Cha Ba Thai. Fabulous. -H


I did a Great Pacific Northwest Road Trip with a couple friends this summer. I live in New York City and so can be a tough critic when it comes to food outside the city. But Pok Pok in Portland was one of my favorite meals I have had (and we went to Cyrus in Healdsburg on the same trip) - waiter was knowledgable, food and drinks wer terrific and reasonably priced. It lives up to all the hype it gets in Portland. Must go there and to the place across the street that they shuttle you to for drinks while you wait for your table - we even enjoyed waiting those drinks were so good!


Loved hearing about Portland. I had a restaurant in the Pearl for 15 years, and saw a huge transition in the city. Miss the farmers' markets and the people. I miss New Seasons Market because of the variety of produce, great wine and friendly service. Paley's Place is by far the top dog for great food and service. I buy Stumptown coffee on line because it is the absolute BEST!


Edgefield is the old poor house / mental hospital that's now a hotel / brewery / winery / distillery. *Definitely* worth a weekend there - my husband and I love it so much we got married there!


Just stumbled upon this blog - terrific! I agree w/ all regarding Kennedy School - fun concept, hideous food. If you're touring various McMenamin's, though, the Mission Theater is a fun place to catch a second run movie. They show various championship games as well. And I'm SO glad someone else mentioned Mint! I'm an ex-Portlander, and I miss this place so much. Those sweet potato fries are fantastic - and if you're there in the summer, the avocado daiquiri is startlingly refreshing. Go earlyish, happy hour on a weekday, and it will be peaceful and quiet - the bartenders are friendly but not intrusive, and all around it's quite relaxing. And: I can't believe no one mentioned Wildwood! It can get up there in price, but is worth every bite. It is amazing. Put it on your list for sure!


wow.. I moved to Portland in 1996 and stayed in the hotel that has been replaced by Ace. It was a total dive!! Crazy how much it's changed. I left in 2006 and don't recognize more than half of the spots you listed. But! next time you are there, if you want a very cool spa for your knees down, go to Barefoot Sage at SE 18th & Hawthorne - you sit high up on a cushy purple velvet couch and they roll up vats of steamy water with stones in the bottom and rose petals floating on top. Total bliss!


Short but sweet: I love and miss Portland. I'm glad you had a good time, and wow--are all of your vacations "foodie" vacations? You sure come up with a list of great-sounding places.

Erin @ Sprouted in the Kitchen

Yay for great cities and new friends. We can't wait to head to the Bay soon and experience the best of what you have to offer. We'll be depending on you two for recommendations. And so, so, so glad to hear you had a good experience at Blue Moon. They're the best and certainly a gem of a camera store we are so fortunate to call a neighborhood spot. XO

Ali and Evan

Check out No Fish, Go Fish on Hawthorne around 40th (they also have a cart downtown) Best soups ever! And the little sandwiches that are accompany them are awesome too, many choices...

Old PTown Res.

Probably duplicating what's already been said. Toro Bravo is a MUST next time. Kennedy School is the hotel/restaurant/bar combo. Sounds like a fabulous, packed trip!


i love the photos, really superb


Last weekend I was in SF, and when I returned I discovered you spent the weekend in my city. I work in the Pearl & it seems I missed my opportunity to spot you on the street & tell you how much I love your books & site. So instead I must tell you in this comment. You are a great inspiration for my cooking. Thanks, Heidi!


I second Andina for great tapas/Peruvian food. Their drinks are good too. Make sure to hit Rimsky-Korsakoffee house in the evening: really good desserts, neat coffee drinks and live classical music in a quirky-fun atmosphere. Also, for a cheap lunch: Cha Cha Cha on Glisan. Great burritos for $5-6 and I think they use natural/local ingredients now. For non-food activities: Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, Rose garden are all worth more than admission price (rose garden is free), go when it isn't pouring down rain of course. Also visit the Pittock Mansion- beautiful views above Portland, hiking trails and you can get a tour inside the old mansion.


I feel so lame, I've lived next to Portland for most of my life, and haven't been to half these places. I had to pull out my pen and paper to write down all of these fab places. Can't wait to check out the Meadow. Great blog!


I am so bad about writing things down that I don't remember half the places I went during my quick trip there. I'm hoping to go back there again this summer for a longer trip. We had some delicious pie (pie!) at Half & Half (http://www.urbanhonking.com/halfandhalf/) and I love my pink t-shirt that I got there. And yes, we got lost in Powell's (more than once!) but I also loved browsing all the indie bookshops too. (There are so many.) I've got plenty of places to recommend for NY and/or SF! (The places I frequent so often that there's no opportunity for me to forget their names.)

Jen Bekman

I am so glad to see you post on Portland. It really is a beautiful place. In addition to a few small visits, I lived there for one summer during college. My time there was mostly spent on the east side (where I lived) and the Pearl district (where I worked). On the east side, Hawthorne is pretty much the main drag ... and it is a great place to window shop. You could walk up one side and go to American apparel, the Red Spot, and Naked City. Cross the street and go to the smaller (and much less intimidating) satellite of Powell's books. I think there is a Buffalo Exchange around there somewhere too. After all that shopping you can stop and take advantage of the insanely good pizza meal deal at Vincente's, and then walk a little farther to it's sister cafe Palio, in the beautiful Lad's Edition. Let's see ... there's Thai Thai, Pix Patisserie for some of the most delicious, innovative, almost-too-pretty-to-eat pastries ever. In the Pearl, there is a little cafe/yoga place that I can't seem to remember the name of. There are many others whose names I have forgotten, but I will post again if I can remember. On your next trip, might I suggest a trip out to the Colombia river. It is a bit of a drive, but the hikes are well worth it. And if you are in town the weekend of August 10th, try out the Bridge Pedal. It is pretty intense, but by the time you are done you have burnt so many calories you'll have room to sample lot's of great Portland foods!


A big shout out to Oregon. So great that you popped up for a visit to our home state. Glad you enjoyed your time.

Tom Marsh

I have to add a few comments to Heidi's list of what we did last weekend. She neglected to mention that we rented a 2-door economy car that turned out to be a Mustang. I was amused, after driving it for a while, she was not. Zeb at Blue Moon Camera was especially friendly and helpful. If you are into film photography, this place is one of the best camera shops on the west coast. Heidi listed off some of the good places we ate, Portland clearly has a lot going on food-wise, but Nutshell was especially great and interesting.


Very cool blog on Portland. My nieces own a salon very near where you stayed. It's called Bouffant. It's on 9th and Couch, 2nd floor, southwest corner. Hope you can go in there sometime on a return trip. It's a huge loft/warehouse looking space, very wonderful. And I'm not even that biased! Kathy

Kathleen Supove

So many great suggestions. Navarre, Por Que No, so good. Higgins and The Ringside (west) happy hour. Also,Toast in SE for breakfast. I think the best, so sweet. Fresh, local, nice service.


Just a quick correction--the Rogue Brewery is in Newport on the coast. I don't think they brew any beer in the Portland pub houses. There are some great links here and I'll be bookmarking this. Thanks!


Interesting how everyone has their opinions...I respectfully disagree that, for example, Saburo, Vita, the Lucky Lab, and Saucebox are all that. Or at least, they used to be on my regulars list, but I feel like the bar has been raised in the last few years and I'm no longer satisfied with them. And I love Le Pigeon and Beast too, but I think they're both particularly non-veg-friendly. I had forgotten about Broders...that's a charming spot. Of course, brunch in Portland these days has become saga of waiting over an hour outdoors. I've lost my taste for it, and would rather make my own, but I still understand the appeal.


There is a staggering range of food carts to be sampled in Portland -- vegan fare included! I do love being back in the Bay Area once again, but it doesn't take much to make me miss living in PDX.


Wow, sounds like an awesome trip!


I can't believe that no one has mentioned Le Pigeon! It's our best restaurant here in Portland. Also, next time you're in town, I recommend Hopworks brewery and The Lucky Lab down on Hawthorne. Their food is so so, but the beer more than makes up for it. Also, if you can make it to The Horse Brass over on Belmont, it's a must.


...and BRODER'S for breakfast (scandinavian style) with the very best baked eggs (and other fab breakfast foods) and the most charming environment. (i've chosen it for the start of my birthday next month.) otherwise you really hit most of the best, and everyone's tipped you off to the rest! cheers!


i second everything trina said. her and i, and our respective others, have had THE most wonderful meals at toro bravo, broder, and lovely hula hands the last few times i've been back in town. i agree with other commenters as well that new seasons is probably the thing i miss most since moving away from portland.


Someone mentioned Saburo's Sushi House, but didn't do it justice..... There's always a line out the door, so expect a wait....but, you can also expect some of the largest, best quality fish around. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, one of the best sushi joints on the west coast.


Not related to food, but you must go to the Bagby Hot Springs. It's a short and beautiful hike through the forest to get to the natural hot springs. Very neat experience :)


I'm sorry you missed Kenny & Zukes, the deli downstairs from the Ace Hotel. Even though Kenny & Zukes is known for their pastrami, they have the most amazing veggie reuben sandwich, subbing grilled zucchini, mushrooms, and onions for meat. It's my favorite sandwich ever, and is especially hearty for the cold fall and winter months. Huge salads, too. Two blocks west of Powell's, on 13th Ave, is Cacao Drinking Chocolate. They have an exceptional array of both eating & drinking chocolate and are quite generous with samples - the owners really want you to be happy with your purchase! And yes, Toro Bravo is outstanding and McMenamins locations are more about atmosphere than food/drink.


You all have me yearning for a trip to Portland now. The Southwest is great, but the food just doesn't compare. While living in Portland, some of my favorite places to hit up were: *The Stumptown Annex on Belmont--they have daily "cuppings" each day at 11 and 3, and it's super fun to taste the different coffees. *Mint--I had the best sweet potato fries and pork chops of my life there. *Andina--best cocktails in the city with delicious Peruvian food to match. *Park Kitchen--always something different and amazing. *New Seasons Market--my favorite grocery store in the world. I miss it dearly. You really did it up right. Most importantly you made it to the farmers market! Can't wait to see what you create using your salt and chocolate purchases! -Kathleen, Tucson


People are really steering you to all of the good places. Might I add: Tin Shed...it has yummy breakfasts...and in the summer: live music on the patio is so perfectly Portland. Also, not a restaurant, but the place I miss the most since leaving Portland: New Seasons grocery store. The perfect blend of local, organic, natural food offerings and your must haves from the mainstream. Yummy prepared food and the nicest employees I have ever encountered in retail and I've worked retail. They are doing something right to have such consistently pleasant and helpful staff. Kudos to New Seasons.


No one has mentioned Kinta on SE Belmont, http://www.kintarestaurant.com/index.asp Wonderful soups and noodles dishes; I particularly love the miso lemongrass noodle soup. I do like Hopworks for the beer, but their food is only passable pub grub. The mushroom burger isn't bad. Bridgeport Brewing has horrible food, though; I wouldn't even go there for a drink!


The Kennedy School is a cool building, but the food and beer are only mediocre. If you're interested in excellent local micro brews and yummy food next time you are in town you should check out Hopworks brewing (new urban eco-pub) or Laurelhurst brewing.


my husband and i went to portland and the oregon coast for our honeymoon (fantastic!)... and i still talk about our lunch from the whole bowl in the pearl district. (http://www.thewholebowl.com/) judging from your yummy recipes, i can bet you would LOVE it if you try a whole-bowl on your next trip. (and then you could make up a recipe for us that decodes the mysteriously delicious tali sauce!)


Just spent part of my honeymoon in PDX - what a great city - we just wanted to up and move there! Loved Adina for dinner - upscale Peruvian food - delicious! Mother's for brunch - very busy but a fun atmosphere and loved that they served French press coffee. If your into wine it is definitey worth the short drive out to Willemette Valley wineries - to name a few - Rex Hill, Tori Mor, Penner Ash (my fav). We had a couple of cases shipped home! Hopefully we will get back soon but being from the east coast - it's not a weekend trip!


Saucebox Saucebox Saucebox. Divine late night drinks and snacks. Mind you, that was 2 years ago before I got pregnant and had a baby and stopped doing late night drinks and snacks altogether...so I might be idealizing a bit. : )


i was recently up there, and Clyde Common was definitely the culinary highlight of my trip. i adored their farmer's market too.


Hi Heidi: I'm a huge fan of this site and thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. Absolutely love it. I visited to Portland this past July and had a fabulous time. Both of our trips seem to have a great deal of overlap, but next time I would suggest having dinner at Sel Gris — I don’t think it would be too far-fetched for me to say that it’s probably going to rank up there as one of my favorite meals of the year. I also loved Pok Pok for Thai and Ten01 for happy hour. We ended up going to the movies as well but at The Bagdad, which is run and operated by the people behind The Kennedy School (terrible food, boring beer but interesting ambiance). I wish we had been able to go to Lovely Hula Hands though…! You can read about my trip here.


For sushi go to Saburo's, and the best Thai is Mai Thai on SE Belmont.


You didn't so much as touch the NE! The Alberta St. area is completely charming, in a non-pretentious sort of way. It's become quite gentrified over the past few years, but it makes for an interesting mix of boutiques, nice restaurants, and barber shops straight out of 1950s harlem. I'd suggest Vita for big bowls of unceremonious yes delicious grain salads, la bonita for the best burritos (amazing mole) in town, and random order for a fabulous latte. Of course, there's also the renowned tapas bar lolo, but being a student it's not quite in my budget. Until the folks visit for thanksgiving, that is...


i would recommend also trying ya hala next time you are in town. It is some of THE best middle eastern food I've ever had. They also have the biggest variety of vegetarian/vegan middle eastern dishes I've ever seen.


What a lovely PNW post! I'm a transplanted Oregonian in Virginia and I miss it more and more as each year passes. I'm totally flush with nostalgia over your visit! Thanks for posting!


I've always wanted to go to Portland. Perhaps next year I can get Mr Chiot's to take me and swing by a few of these recommendations.


Off the top of my head - -beast (fantastic dinner and brunch) -vindalho -higgins -navarre


Love this website, have tried several of your recipes (the crusty polenta the other day - ingenious idea! My husband loved it!!) We live in Portland, as do both of our families. I'm so surprised there are so many pans of McMenamins - not a true chain, well, ok, a homegrown one, theirs were some of the first microbrews in Oregon. All of their pubs have whimsical handpainted decor, true to the sixties/seventies hippie origins of the brothers who founded and own the business (check out the website for a small sample of the delightful whimsy of this amazing business). Their beer is good, and I've never had a bad meal there, and my tastes range from sandwiches to jambalaya - The Cornelius Pass Roadhouse and the Rock Creek Tavern are our favorites, though Edgefield and the Kennedy School are good too. The service can be a little slow, and it seems that the fewer diners, the slower the service becomes, but these places are terrific, in my opinion. Ohhhhhh, it dawns on me, this is a vege website, and McM's isn't exactly vege, although they usually have a good vege sandwich, a lot of salads, and often have a pasta with spicy black bean sauce, or something similar. But, the not vege thing is why you're getting a few negative remarks. Well, it's good anyway, and fun, too.


oh, you did good! Yes, definitely do lovely hula hands, pok pok, toro bravo. Also... the best french onion soup i have had is at Chez Machin creperie on SE Hawthorne and it's made vegetarian and still such good deep flavor but not too heavy Broder on SE Clinton and 26th for Scandinavian breakfasts Nuestra Cocina on SE Division and 21st for amazing upscale/country mexican (not tex mex) and amazing Sangria! Khun Pic's Bahn Thai on SE 34th and belmont Best thai food I have ever ever had. The wife is the (only) cook and the husband is the waiter and they are wonderful! Bara Sushi on SE Clinton and 21st for sushi that rivals what we had in Tokyo. Fresh and tasty! Sounds like you had a beautiful time. You've given me more places to add to my ever growing list of restaurants to try around here. :)


Oh I'm so glad you went and sounds like you love it! I'm from there but live in PA now and really miss my Pacific NW. Anyway, yes, that schoolhouse brewery is a McMenamins and it's awesome :) Also, if you like McMenamins, check out Edgefield! http://www.mcmenamins.com/index.php?loc=3


it was really great meeting you!! next time you're in Portland, you have to let me know. we'll meet up intentionally this time. :) I'm glad to see you went to Blossoming Lotus - my absolute favorite. I work really close to there, and eat there at least once a week!


I am a Portlander of a mere 10 years and counting though. I love this town dearly after being raised in the SF Bay Area. So much in common! Some spots to stop in the future . . . Alma Chocolate on NE 28th makes the most amazing stuff. My favorite is the salted peanut butter cup and her absolutely fabulous ginger creations. Screen Door makes great southern food plus a very local, seasonal special menu that is wonderful. Full of greens and veggies my favorite! I love Poc Poc too. Plus Nostrana on Morrison for seasonal Italian food that is well . . . fresh cream for your coffee . . . you add the adjective! I also love the smaller neighborhood farmer's markets like the Eastside on Thursdays and the Hollywood on Saturdays. PSU will remain a favorite but these small markets are a favorite for so many reasons. Oh and finally - the delicious baked goods at Baker and Spice in Hillsdale and at their FM post. The hand pies are amazing. Come to Portland a foodies wonderland!

mary b

I've spent a ton of time in Portland over the last couple of years, since my boyfriend lives there. Ken's and The Farm are two of my all-time favorites. I definitely agree with the folks who said the Kennedy School is cool for atmosphere but their food is AWFUL and their beer's just so-so. Noble Rot is a great wine bar. Can't remember what neighborhood it's in. And I love beer and cheep movies at the Laurelhurst. I could go on forever! Lovely Hula Hands in the Mississippi neighborhood is fantastic, as is Por Que No, a little taqueria in the same area. Lovely Hula Hands has the best burger I've ever had, and Por Que No's Watermelon margarita is dee-licious. If you get a chance to get out of the city a bit on your next visit, I definitely recommend heading out to the Columbia River Gorge for some hiking -- Multnomah Falls is lovely, if a bit crowded (less so if you hike all the way to the top).


I would highly recommend the Pearl Bakery. It's one of the best bakeries in Portland. Their selection of bread and cakes are just heavenly!


I'm a student in Eugene, and my sister is at PSU...I LOVE PORTLAND! McMennamins (I think it's the owner of the Kennedy School) has some AMAZING brews. My personal favorite is the Ruby made with raspberry and is light and fruity. I wouldn't eat there though...the food can range from great to lousy and it would stink to waste a meal when there are so many amazing restaurants. But at least have a beverage!


I second Lovely Hula Hands- one of the best meals I've had in PDX. If you do go to Kennedy School next time- Kenny is right, the food and drink are missable, but check out their soaking pool- $5 for non-hotel guests- or catch a 2nd run flick in their movie theater- recliners set up in what was formerly the gymnasium. In the Pearl try Bluehour for a fab happy hour (or dinner if you have the time/bucks).

Megan PDX

I'll be in Portland next month (visiting family) and I can't wait to try some of the places you mention


Head over to the Kennedy School to check out the atmosphere, but then hie yourself back to Alberta Street and wander around. There are tons of fun shops, and while it's not home to anything like what's in the Pearl, it's got some good, cheap food. Plus the people-watching is divine.


I'd put Bridgeport Brewery on your list for next time. Their cask-conditioned ale is *almost* as good as the real ale we had in England.


Wow, you really did Portland well! You must have had some good advice. For next time, you may want to consider: Lovely Hula Hands Pok Pok Screen Door Navarre I really don't like Masu (next to Ken's). It's one of those places that has too many ingredients and the sushi gets all mushy-flavored (IMHO). The Kennedy School is really beautiful and fun, but their beer is mediocre and their food pretty darn bad. Go for a drink and the scenery, but don't waste one of your dance card spots on it. If you'd like to bike next time you're here (when in Rome...) please drop me a line and I'd love to get you set up with maps and routes. The Ace actually has two beautiful Dutch loaner bikes for guests. I've also made a google map of my very favorite places in Portland - many restaurants and cafes, but also parks, theater pubs, shops, and quirky only-in-portland stops. I'm happy to send it to you if you like, just email me at this address. HS: Pok Pok was on my list too! I wish we would have made it there. There were a bunch of things on the menu I wanted to try. And YES I saw the loaner bikes at the Ace, they were huddled up in the lobby like the rest of us trying to stay dry. I'll absolutely hit you up for your map the next time I'm headed up.


I haven't been to Portland, but I love your pictures and the places you visited - great suggestions for when we get to visit.

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

hrm... the rest of my comment was deleted or something. Anyhow, glad you enjoyed your visit here. Next time, definitely try Bamboo Sushi (right next to Ken's) - I'll be there on Saturday. They're supposedly the first sustainable-only sushi place in the US. HS Hi Devlyn, It looks like your heart emoticon was giving Movable Type some trouble (reading it as HTML)....so I spelled it out - all fixed. The sushi place next to Ken's looked great as well. What a cute street that is....certainly looking forward to a trip back there at some point.


I 3rd Toro Bravo, and feel a little guilty that I've not yet been downtown to 1/2 of what you hit, after 8 years here. thanks for the re-inspiration.


Aw, I *heart* Ken's. I've never stayed at the Ace (well, I live in PDX), but walk past it all the time on the way to Kenny & Zuke's. Directly next to Ken's is a re-opened sustainable sushi spot, Bamboo Sushi (which I'll be enjoying on Saturday). At least you got some sunshine on Saturday, eh? It rained heavily *all day* yesterday (thought there was some sunshine today)... glad you enjoyed your visit. :)


Wow! You were haunting some of the same places as me this weekend! The PSU farmer's market is where I pick up my fruit and vegetables each week. And that Whole Foods? I'm there almost every week as well. You definitely hit some of the greatest places here, but I would also recommend the Veritable Quandary (VQ) near the waterfront - the food, service, and atmosphere are all amazing. Glad you had a good time, despite the rainy weather!

Lauren Denneson

Portland is such a fun (and foodie) city. I stayed at the Ace back in July and loved having delicious coffee AND a b+w photo booth downstairs. I'm looking forward to visiting again and checking out the places you mentioned. HS: Hey Jen, yes, I loved the photo booth and the lobby with the huge windows and nice light. The Ace worked out great as a base where we could walk to quite a lot of places and then hop in the car if we needed to without too much of a hassle. Would love to see your Portland hit-list as well - (or any other city for that matter)

Jen Bekman

The Kennedy School is the brewery you're thinking of. And I would definitely second Toro Bravo for your next trip - but man, did you pack in the best that Portland has to offer! -amy in portland


Unfortunately, I've never been to Portland beyond a quick stop at Powell's books once on a day trip up from Eugene. However, I have been planning a visit there sometime in the next year to visit a good friend. Part of me desperately wants to go to the Meadow, and another part of me realizes it could very well be the ruin of me...at least financially. Sounds like a great trip! Welcome back. :)


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