Learn about 15 places to eat and drink in Portland, Oregon, the largest, most progressive culinary center in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve enjoyed many other Portland food and drinks on past trips, but these recs are more current, based on a visit from February 13-15, 2016.
Numbers on the map correspond to listings below and appear in alphabetical order instead of order of preference.
Removed March 1, 2018: Taylor Railworks (Closed)
1. Albina Press
In Portland’s robust specialty coffee scene, Kevin Fuller has managed to keep a low-profile, not even bothering to build a website. However, he’s still gained popularity for Albina Press, which now has two locations. His Alberta Arts District classic debuted more than a decade ago. Now, the space features art-lined white walls, wood furniture and floors, mismatched couches, and picnic tables outside, along with bike racks and murals. Gibraltar with superior artistry, Stumptown Hairbender, espresso shots pulled on two-group La Marzocco.
MUST ORDER: Espresso Drinks
2. Ava Gene’s
Ava Gene’s is a seasonal Italian dream that debuted in Southeast Portland in November 2012. The space features a peaked roof, art lined walls, marble bar, and pill-shaped lightbulbs. Executive Chef Joshua McFadden and Chef de cuisine Jason Hegedus combine on food. McFadden’s Submarine Hospitality partner Luke Dirks has co-owned the restaurant since July 2016, replacing co-founder Duane Sorenson. During my dinner, gnoccho fritto resembled savory beignets and came with prosciutto, Parmigiano, chiles, and honey. Plates from Giardini (garden) formed satisfying combos like spicy chicories with satsuma, celery root, and prosciutto; with citrus, parsnips, pistachios, Castelvetrano olives, and parsley served on parsnip puree with yogurt. Ava Gene’s was particularly strong on pasta. Radiatore verde tossed ridged pasta with bitter, spicy mustard greens, pistachio, and ricotta salata. Agnolotti filled with rabbit and whipped ricotta came topped with black trumpet mushrooms and butter.
MUST ORDER: Gnocco Fritto, Citrus Parsnips Pistachio Castelvetrano Olives, Chicories Satsuma Celery Root Prosciutto, Radiatore Verde, Agnolotti, Cocktails
Chef Naomi Pomeroy has become a force of nature in Portland, first with her seasonal, prix fixe restaurant, Beast, and now with a globally inspired bar called Expatriate that she runs across the street with bartender/husband Kyle Linden Webster. Dinner is the main draw at Beast, which varies depending on the ingredients and occasion. The red fronted space features mauve walls, a bar overlooking an open kitchen, exposed rafters, and two communal wood tables. Brunch ($45 with tip) started with spiced heirloom apple clafoutis with whipped creme fraiche and maple-glazed house bacon. Beast hash hosted red wine braised beef short rib, a bevy of vegetables, poached duck egg, and chive whole grain mustard Hollandaise. Their cheese course paired Crescendo, cow’s milk cheese from Rhode Island; Prubache, a cow’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees; and Local Cascadian goat cheese from Farmstead Artisan Cheese in Molalla with kumquat marmalade and Gathering Together greens with aged balsamic vinaigrette. Bete Noire amounted to rich chocolate cake with vanilla rum Chantilly.
MUST ORDER: Brunch (Prix Fixe)
Tony Petraglia and Scott Lawrence opened their first brewpub in Woodlawn Triangle and now run three Portland outposts. The original brewery features a rust colored coat and picnic tables on the patio. Inside, the two-tiered gastropub houses a central bar, exposed wood rafters, and roll-up garage doors for warmer weather. Brewmaster Ben Edmunds‘s beers are available by the pint, glass, or 5-ounce Whoopi. I’d recommend all three beers I tasted: La Tormenta, a tart, dry hopped sour ale; Cedarbaumbier, brewed with Western red cedar leave; and Hop Delivery Mechanism, a bright, but funky double IPA.
MUST ORDER: La Tormenta, Cedarbaumbier, Hop Delivery Mechanism