Pull up a chair, grab a fork, and prepare for a mouthwatering journey through some of the most incredible restaurants in Portland, Oregon!
El Salto PDX
Having lived in Portland for a while now, I've had the opportunity to explore many eateries, and I must say, finding El Salto PDX was like discovering a culinary treasure!
It's a gem that offers vegan Venezuelan food, and trust me, even if you're not a vegan, you'll fall in love with their dishes.
When you step into El Salto PDX, the staff greets you with the warmest of smiles.
They instantly make you feel welcome, and the fresh, scrumptious food adds to the delightful experience. The texture of their vegan 'meat' is just right, and they do not compromise on flavor at all.
Now, don't even get me started on the desserts! They're like little bites of heaven.
My personal favorite is a unique combination of guava, plantain, and cheese.
It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing dessert, but believe me, it tastes absolutely incredible.
The local favorite from El Salto PDX, however, has to be the arepa served with a tangy green sauce.
The sauce is perfectly balanced and adds a zing to the Venezuelan flatbread.
And do not forget to try their mint lemonade - it's refreshingly different!
Mi Pueblito Magico
You know, there's something special about finding a hidden gem in your own city.
That's exactly what I discovered with Mi Pueblito Magico.
This small, unassuming spot has become my regular haunt, and for good reason. Their Quesabirria, let me tell you, it's something else.
The flavors are rich and authentic and it's lovingly prepared to perfection.
From the moment you walk in, the warmth and hospitality wrap around you like a comforting blanket.
The people manning the counter are always a delight - courteous, friendly, and ready to help you customize your order.
For all you foodies out there, this is a game-changer.
You can have your food just the way you like it.
My personal favorite? I go all in with everything except sour cream. It's just not my cup of tea.
And if you're one for social media food snaps, then this place won't disappoint.
The presentation of the dishes is so visually appealing that you can't help but share it with your friends.
Take my loaded nachos, for example. Not only were they a feast for my palate, but a feast for my friends' eyes as well.
Every city has its gem, and for us in Portland, that sparkling jewel is none other than PDX Amore - an Italian eatery that paints a delectable portrait of the Italian cuisine on your palate.
Nestled in the heart of our bustling city, visiting this place teases your culinary senses with its authentic Italian aromas wafting through the air.
Oh, the wood-fired pizza! It's like having Italy served right on your plate.
The dough has that perfect thickness and texture, and the flavors are so rich that they linger on your taste buds for a long time.
It is certainly the best pizza you can find in Portland, and I dare say, even beyond.
But PDX Amore is more than just their pizza. Their pasta dishes are nothing short of a culinary masterpiece.
The flavors are incredible, and the warm ambiance of the place heightens the experience.
While you are there, the Triple P sandwich is a must-try.
It's a dream in the form of a sandwich, and one bite into it will have you coming back for more.
When someone asks me about my top dining experiences in Portland, I always remember the night I visited L'Orange.
It was one of those evenings where everything, from the food to the ambiance to the service, was simply perfect.
I remember being greeted by the friendliest staff, who seemed to know exactly how to make me feel welcome.
The wine list was full of surprising choices you wouldn't find anywhere else, making the dining experience even more unique.
L'Orange is all about comfort food, but they somehow elevate it to another level.
The rich, warming onion soup was nothing like the usual cheese-slathered mess I've had elsewhere. It was balanced, nuanced, and simply divine.
The duck, with its familiar palette, was transformed by the Dijon sauce into something beyond a typical dish.
I still dream about their chicken crepe. It was unbelievably tender and reminded me of a chicken pot pie, but ten times better.
And the gnocchi, oh, the gnocchi. Soft, supple, and served with squash and other vegetables in a sauce that was so delicious that no one at our table could speak for a moment.
Every bite at Noodle Point is a sublime experience! The flavors dancing on your tongue will make you want to samba across the dining room.
Just last week, I sunk my teeth into their BBQ squid, and let me tell you, it was nothing short of heavenly.
The juicy, tender meat, perfectly seared and slathered in a tangy BBQ sauce, was just the gastronomical adventure I needed to break the monotony of the week.
Moving on to the main course, their selection of noodles is nothing short of a culinary masterpiece, each dish more mouth-watering than the previous one.
I remember the first time I walked into this place, it was lunchtime, and I was in search of something delicious to satiate my hunger.
And did Noodle Point deliver? The flavors, the portion sizes, everything was just right.
I felt so satisfied and content that it quickly became my go-to place for all my noodle cravings.
A Taste of Greek
There's nothing quite like the sizzling sound of gyro meat on the grill.
Discovering A Taste of Greek in the bustling food carts area of downtown Portland was nothing short of serendipitous for me.
With a plethora of food options around, it was the tantalizing aroma of Greek gyros that lured me in.
The moment you step foot into this roadside treasure, you are welcomed with a warm, friendly vibe that resonates with the charm of the city.
The owner's claim of serving some of the best gyros in the world might sound like an exaggeration, but let me tell you, the reality surpasses the claim.
I ordered a lamb gyro, which was assembled right on the spot with ingredients that appeared to be fresh and of supreme quality.
The lamb was exquisitely seasoned, and the generous servings of veggies added the perfect crunch.
The entire combination was tucked inside a soft, warm pita, which held all the goodness together.
Not just this, during one of my visits, one of my friends who was not particularly hungry was offered a free sample of gyro meat and a freshly prepared chicken and rice dish, which was equally delectable.
This kind gesture has made me a loyal customer of A Taste of Greek.
Titos Taquitos Swan Island
Every now and then, I crave an authentic taste of Mexico right here in North Portland, and Tito's Taquitos Swan Island has become my go-to spot.
Nestled in the heart of the Swan Island industrial area, this unassuming gem is more than just a lunch spot.
It's an experience that sets a high bar for all other food stops in the city.
As soon as you step inside Tito's, the mouthwatering aroma of fresh tacos wafts through the air, tantalizing your senses.
The taquitos with shredded chicken are a must-try, along with the variety of tacos they offer.
But it doesn't end there! The shredded beef taquitos and fish tacos are highly recommended.
I must say that these dishes have a flavor so rich and authentic they will transport you straight to the heart of Mexico.
But what makes Titos Taquitos Swan Island truly stand out is the warm and friendly service.
The staff is incredibly kind and always checking in to see if you're enjoying the food.
During the lunch rush, they are quick to tidy up and ensure a comfortable dining experience for all.
You know, I've been on the hunt for a scrumptious Cuban sandwich.
It's the kind of craving you can't shake, a yearning that takes you back to those sunlit streets of Florida.
Trust me, the longing ends when you step into Caiman Cafe.
This cafe is a vibrant and bustling haven in our city, offering an authentic taste of Cuba that is hard to resist.
The moment you set foot in the cafe, you're welcomed by an energetic atmosphere and a friendly team.
I remember my first visit clearly. It was during an OAME event when they served a range of delicious delights.
The spread disappeared in the blink of an eye, and when I managed to get a bite of one of those treats, oh boy, I knew I had to come back for more.
Since then, Caiman Cafe has been my go-to spot for some of the tastiest Cuban cuisine in the city.
I'm particularly hooked on their Cuban sandwich. It's a beautiful medley of flavors that leaves you wanting more.
And let's not even get started on their other offerings - every dish is a delight.
What started as a chance encounter turned into a culinary journey I'll never forget.
When I walked into Plumb Restaurant one evening, I had no idea what was in store for me.
The friendly mixologists greeted me with a smile and introduced me to their drink of the day.
I don’t recall exactly what it was called, but the meticulous process of crafting it was mesmerizing to watch.
A sip of the exquisite, silky, fruity concoction was enough to make me realize that I had stumbled upon a gem.
But the surprises didn't end there.
The food was a delightful explosion of flavors, each dish perfectly balanced and served in just the right portions.
What impressed me most was how the food was satisfying but still felt light.
I ate to my heart's content without feeling weighed down, a rare find in the world of fine dining.
The Plumb Restaurant shares its space with the Deadshot Bar, a combination I found both intriguing and delightful.
The creative dishes they serve are captivating without being bizarre.
Favorites like the pork chop, Gouda potatoes, and cauliflower had me wanting more even when I was full. The gravy or sauce, whatever you want to call it, was absolutely incredible.
I can't even begin to describe how amazing it tasted.
And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I tried their phenomenal Manhattan cocktail.
I was already a fan of Deadshot, but the Plumb Restaurant was a revelation.
From the roasted squash with mind-blowing sauces to the tuna tataki and pork croquettes, each dish was an experience in itself.
Buranko Cafe & Bar
When you've lived in a city as long as I have, you begin to think you've seen it all.
But then, hidden among the hustle and bustle of Portland, you stumble upon a gem like Buranko Cafe & Bar.
Dining here feels like being on a culinary rollercoaster of flavors, all in the best way possible.
My adventure began with a delicious Orange chicken. At Buranko, the orange chicken was a delightful blend of tangy and crunchy, with tender chicken that melted in my mouth.
Then, I discovered the side of chicken gyoza, perfectly cooked and complemented by a delightful sauce. But the star of the night was the Korean Seoul Bowl.
The perfect ratio of chicken to rice and a spice level that hit just right.
An interesting feature of Buranko is its child-friendly atmosphere.
An inviting play area ensures kids are entertained while adults can enjoy their meals in peace.
But, if you're in for a date night, the egg chairs are a hit. They provide a fun element to the dine-in experience and are quite the conversation starters.
When you step into the welcoming warmth of Casa Zoraya, you're instantly transported to the vibrant heart of Peru.
This gem has rapidly become a regular haunt of mine, a culinary sanctuary that offers an authentic experience of the Peruvian lifestyle right here in the city.
The ambiance is a perfect blend of laid-back relaxation and cultural immersion with its lively music tones, beautiful patio setting, and exotic décor that radiates Peruvian charm.
The icing on the cake, of course, is the mesmerizing array of Peruvian cuisine.
My taste buds have embarked on quite the adventure here, from diving into fresh salads and succulent prawns to savoring hearty servings of paella and pork belly rice.
Let me tell you, the chocolate ice cream here is divine, sprinkled with bits of Mexican chocolate and drizzled with blue corn syrup.
It's like a symphony of flavors that speaks to your soul.
Casa Zoraya also caters to dietary needs, clearly marking out vegetarian and gluten-free options on their menu.
Every dish promises a visual feast as well, vibrant with colors and exuding mouth-watering appeal.
But what truly sets Casa Zoraya apart is the genuine warmth and pride that the family-owned establishment puts into their craft.
Each dish is a piece of their heritage served on a plate, a beautiful story of their homeland.
The service remains impeccable without being stiff, making every visit a delightful experience.
Whether you're craving an exquisite meal or looking for a cozy spot to unwind with a cocktail and some live music, Casa Zoraya always hits the spot.
There's something incredibly satisfying about walking into Love Belizean on a typical weekday lunch break.
The menu may be small, but don't let that fool you. Each Caribbean dish is packed with so much flavor it leaves your tastebuds dancing.
For $11, I usually find myself ordering the Single Belizean Chicken.
A tender chicken thigh served with Belizean rice that is just to die for.
An arugula salad or a spring mix accompanies the meat, I personally prefer the tartness of arugula.
The separate container with sauce for the meat and rice, pickled onions, and lime juice is a beautiful addition.
The lime juice makes the salad more tart, but it's perhaps one of the things I love the most about this place.
On other days, I find myself craving for their original hot sauce served alongside the single chicken plate.
The hot sauce lives up to its name, the arugula is fresh, and the chicken thigh.
The restaurant has a casual interior, you'll be greeted by a beautiful mural of a Mayan building on the wall.
It's a wonderful combination of counter seating and a few tables.
And yes, this place has two clean restrooms.
The Pocket Pub
There's a little culinary gem nestled in the heart of the city, a place where comfort, flavor, and charm meet - The Pocket Pub.
This isn't your typical pub; it's a home away from home that serves up some of the most delectable dishes you can imagine.
You know that feeling when you bite into a pizza and can instantly tell that the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced?
That’s exactly what you get at The Pocket Pub.
Their seasonal salads and pizza toppings add a unique twist to the menu, making every visit a new adventure for your taste buds.
Trust me, their pizzas are something you wouldn't want to miss out on.
What's a pub without good drinks, right?
Their selection of beers is impressive, and the cocktails are simply divine - I must have tried about six of them, and each one was a delight.
Aside from the drinks, their appetizers are worth mentioning as well.
The Garlic Knots and the Jalapeño Poppers are just out of this world - and I've heard rave reviews about their Chocolate Panna Cotta, too.
The Pocket Pub doesn't just serve great food and drinks; it also boasts a comfortable and spacious setting with a covered outdoor patio and picnic tables.
One thing I love about this place is its always buzzing with a welcoming vibe, yet it never feels crowded.
The staff is amiable, and the service is swift, even during peak hours.
You know the feeling when you stumble upon something truly special and unique? That’s how I felt the moment I first stepped foot into Jacqueline in my city.
The ambiance is intimate, with quirky and interesting artwork adorning the walls.
I was looking for a place to enjoy an exceptional seafood-centric dining experience, and Jacqueline absolutely did not disappoint.
When I was seated, the friendly server came over with a platter of fresh oysters.
Each oyster was paired with a range of sauces and oils, from spicy to fish oil flavored.
She took the time to explain the origin and unique flavors of each oyster, which made the whole experience even more engaging.
I would highly recommend getting a dozen to explore the variety of combinations they offer fully.
The sides came out first: toast and lobster roll - so simple, yet so appetizing.
I was pleasantly surprised by the timing of the meal.
Nothing felt rushed or delayed, and I was able to relish each dish without feeling overstuffed before dessert.
One dish that caught me off guard was the broccoli toast.
It was such a simple dish, yet the flavor took me by surprise.
It contained a small piece of fish that paired beautifully with the broccoli.
Monday evenings are my favorite time to visit Jacqueline.
The place has a different vibe, calm yet vibrant.
Plus, you might get lucky and grab a seat at the bar without a reservation.
The cocktail menu is extensive and each drink is crafted to perfection.
One particular cocktail stood out to me, it was paired perfectly with the seafood.
Every city has its hidden culinary treasures, and for us in Portland, one of those is certainly Xiao Ye.
A fusion of Asian classics, Italian pasta, and French pastries, Xiao Ye is nothing short of a gastronomic adventure.
The first thing you notice when you walk in is the warm and inviting space.
The ambiance sets the mood for a delightful family-style dining experience.
Sharing dishes with friends is a must, allowing you to sample more of their unique menu.
Each dish is a work of art, elegantly executed and understated, blending the familiar with the exotic.
Their drink selection is as exceptional as their food, and the staff? Simply wonderful.
They are as passionate about their craft as any self-respecting foodie is about their meals.
And speaking of meals, let me tell you about their Tom Yum Shrimp Dumpling.
It's a flavor burst, tasting just like the traditional Tom Yum Soup but in dumpling form.
Another standout is the pear with beef tartare. The sesame oil and seasonings bring out the rich flavor of the beef, and the pear adds a delightful crunch.
But don't let your culinary adventure end there. Make sure you save room for dessert!
Simple yet decadent, their desserts are the perfect culmination of your dining experience.
Have you ever savored a meal that lingered on your palate long after the plates were cleared?
That's exactly what I experienced at Mucca Osteria, a chic Italian restaurant nestled in the heart of Portland.
This romantic spot, with its organic fare and handmade pasta, is more than just a restaurant — it's a culinary journey to Italy under the roof of a Gothic flair establishment.
From the moment I booked a table for my partner and I, the staff at Mucca were nothing but helpful, kind, and flexible.
The atmosphere of the restaurant was a bit dim, but it added to the romantic charm and created a vibe I've come to adore.
The welcome bread was the first hint of the gastronomic delight that awaited us.
Our server, a true professional, suggested we share our dishes.
We were surprised to find each of our selections split into two plates, allowing us to savor the variety of flavors.
We were particularly impressed by the pasta - it was some of the best we've had outside of Italy, cooked to a perfect al dente.
The main course was equally delectable, and the dessert was the perfect end to a fantastic dining experience.
And let's not forget the wine!
The sommelier's recommendation was a perfect match to our chosen dishes, elevating the entire meal.
From the moment you set foot in Jeju Restaurant, you're welcomed into a sensory adventure.
Nestled in the heart of our city, this cozy spot has been my go-to place for a culinary getaway.
The place pulsates with an energetic vibe and a warm mix of indoor and outdoor seating, perfectly designed for those who love to dine under the open sky.
Whether it's a casual dinner or a special occasion with friends visiting from afar, Jeju never fails to put on a gastronomic show.
The star of the evening was undoubtedly the dessert – the bingsu.
This delicate, not overly sweet dessert was a refreshing finale to the meal.
It could be the best bingsu in the city, with its perfect balance of sweetness and a light, airy texture.
"Cheesesteak Heaven" - that's what I fondly call The Block, my go-to spot for, you guessed it, the best cheesesteak in the city.
Their cheesesteak sandwich has been my comfort food for as long as I've worked downtown.
Conveniently tucked away in the Pioneer Square plaza, The Block has been serving up this scrumptious delight for years now.
What sets their cheesesteak sandwiches apart from the rest is the way they harmoniously blend together the meat, veggies, and cheese.
Every bite is a medley of flavours that leaves you craving for more.
With three sizes to choose from, I usually go for the large, because it's generously sized and perfect for sharing with a friend.
But if you think The Block is all about cheesesteaks, think again!
I've also tried their Reuben and the Black Garlic Burger and they were simply to die for.
The ingredients are always fresh, and the seasoning is spot-on, showcasing their commitment to quality.
I can still taste the succulent chicken and perfectly cooked rice from my recent visit to Dosirak Restaurant.
The place is a hidden gem downtown, and it's always my go-to spot when hunger strikes in the middle of a hectic day.
What gets me every time is the delectable pot stickers.
I'm telling you, the filling on these bad boys is out of this world.
It's just one of those dishes that never disappoints, regardless of how many times you've had it before.
I typically order the chicken and rice combo, which is generously portioned and won't leave your wallet feeling too light.
Trust me when I say that you'll have a good amount left over to take home and enjoy later.
The service is another reason why I love this place.
The staff is quick and friendly, always ensuring that your order is just the way you like it.
During my last visit, I decided to try something new and went for the chicken and brown rice.
And boy, was it a good decision.
The meal was flavorful and satisfying, making me even more excited to return and try other dishes on their menu.
And let's not forget about their teriyaki.
The sweetness is balanced just right, not overpowering but enough to leave you craving more.
It's a joy to savor every bite, especially when you add their sauces that are available at the counter.
You can even request little cups to take some sauce home, a small but thoughtful detail that boosts the overall dining experience.
5 Star Food
If you find yourself in downtown Portland after dark, a bit hungry, and looking for a place that doesn't close early, I've got just the spot for you.
Tucked right across the street from the Hoxton Chinatown/old town, there's this gem of a place called 5 Star Food.
Staying open until 2 a.m. every day, it's become my regular late-night fix.
Their gyros are something to write home about, particularly the lamb gyro.
Paired with their succulent falafels and topped off with the sweetest baklava, it's a meal that hits all the right spots.
The owner always goes the extra mile, generously loading up the gyros with meat and slathering them with an unbelievably good garlic sauce.
If you're more of a pizza fan, their toppings might seem a bit sparse and the crust a tad doughy, but the meatball on top is a fun touch.
Trust me, once you've tried their food, you'll keep coming back for more.
Portland's culinary scene is a delightful mix of cultures, flavors, and experiences.
Each restaurant mentioned above brings something unique, from the authentic Greek dishes at A Taste of Greek to the beloved taquitos at Titos Taquitos Swan Island.
This city truly is a foodie’s paradise, where each visit to a restaurant becomes a memorable experience, leaving you eager for the next bite.