By now most people know that Portland, Oregon, is the city to go to for food. Portland’s food scene just keeps getting better year after year. We have teamed up with Meagan Wristen, a Portland expert and travel writer at Mommy Travels, to find out where to go for the best food in Portland.
When planning a trip to Portland, one of the most daunting tasks is deciding where to eat. There are literally dozens and dozens of amazing restaurants with award-winning chefs to choose from. There is no way to try them all, but hopefully you can try a great variety here and leave satisfied.
I would kick off your gluttony-filled visit with a stop at SE Wine Collective for happy hour. This urban winery has a small yet profound wine list and delightful food. I highly recommend pairing the Riesling by Jasper Sisco Wines with the stracciatella cheese appetizer. Their chef makes the cheese in-house and serves it salted with figs, crispy prosciutto, and pickled melons. If you need more than just one appetizer, try their egg flight.
Another happy hour worthy of popping into is Imperial’s. Imperial is one of Vitaly Paley’s restaurants; he’s a James Beard-award-winning chef. You can find many of their most popular items discounted during happy hour, like their fried chicken and oysters. I highly recommend the Vieux Carre cocktail with the kale and vegetable salad.
For dinner I would head over to nearby Ava Genes, a farm-to-table experience where you can enjoy the freshest ingredients from local farms and handmade pastas. For a more in-depth experience, sit at the chef’s table, where you can watch each dish being made. Nothing at Ava Genes is prepared in bulk; each and every dish is prepared individually and to perfection. You are going to want to try at least one of their toasts and one of their salads.
Another dinner spot worthy of a visit is the Argentine-inspired OX. I suggest ordering the Asado Argentino for two to try a variety of the meats and a few of the sides. To go with it, you must order the hominy stew: heirloom hominy, braised pork belly, chiles, and cilantro, topped with a fried duck egg. Unlike those of other restaurants in town, I do not love the chef’s table here; it gets a little too warm, and the counter is so high that you don’t have a clear view of what’s happening.
If you have another night available for dinner, consider a visit to Acadia: a New Orleans Bistro. This cozy Cajun restaurant serves incredible dishes like fried Louisiana soft-shell blue crab and Louisiana barbecue shrimp. You will definitely want to order the shrimp, because the sauce is phenomenal. And be sure to save room for dessert—they change seasonally, but there is always a top-notch bread pudding.
Brunch can be an especially difficult decision to make, because Portland knows how to brunch. Many of the area’s most popular restaurants open early on the weekend to offer brunch.
Over at the Screen Door, they are heaping out massive portions of fried chicken and waffles, bananas Foster French toast, and more Southern favorites. Keep in mind that there is always a line and you are in for a fairly long wait.
For the best biscuits and gravy in town, dine at Fireside. I guarantee you haven’t had biscuits and gravy like this before. It’s all the comfort you seek, with a kick. The only downside to Fireside is that they offer brunch on weekends only.
Gravy is a super-cute little cafe in north Portland, open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch. Here you will find one of the most over-the-top, tasty oatmeal creations in town. Plus, they have the best chili verde in Portland.
One of Portland’s newest restaurants is the Heathman Hotel’s Headwaters, also by chef Vitaly Paley. They have a heavenly brunch menu with a special selection of French egg dishes available on weekends. My personal favorite is the cinnamon babka French toast with pecans and bananas.
After eating all that, hopefully you still have room for dessert. Lauretta Jean’s is a tiny pie shop with two locations. The pies here are amazing, but it’s the fantastic salted-caramel brownie that I insist you try. The other must-try dessert I recommend is found at Red Star Tavern: the warm sipping chocolate topped with housemade marshmallows. This creamy combination will knock your socks off.
This list of places where you can get a great meal could go on and on, but hopefully these suggestions ensure you have one excellent meal after another while you are in Portland.
Meagan Wristen is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit travelocitygnomads.com.
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