Elisa Told Me You Needed Food So Here We Are: A Feeder’s Guide to Portland
Cappelletti at Arden. Not truffle-shy.

Welcome To the City.  Let’s Feed You.


Let’s start with dinner.  You will likely want to make reservations, but most places can accommodate walk-ins, especially if you go early.  Here are my absolute favorites:

Arden (417 NW 10th Avenue)
Flying beneath the radar in an elegant little restaurant space you might walk right by without noticing it is one of Portland’s most talented chefs, Erik Van Kley. The seasonal, seafood and local-produce heavy menu never has a missable dish. Erik’s technique is so strong that it becomes invisible. His pasta (if the duck liver ragu is still on the menu, order it… if there’s cappelletti, order it) is perfect and the salads, usually highlighting the season’s best, play with different textures, flavors, and preparations of single items to create unlikely harmony that always works. Order the tasting menu. It’s a steal. There’s a malted corn ice cream topped with shaved foie on the menu. It is my favorite dessert in all of Portland.

Dame (2930 NE Killingsworth)
Chef Patrick McKee spent ten years in the kitchen of recently-shuttered Paley’s Place, honing French technique under Vitaly Paley. At Dame, McKee cooks the food of his Italian-American childhood, inspired by his mother’s recipes. You will not find better pasta in Portland. The star here is the squid ink bucatini with prawns: spicy with house-fermented hot sauce and perfectly funky with a broth rich with seafood and Italian fish sauce; but you can’t go wrong with any dish. (Cutting into one of the goat cheese raviolo with the side of my fork and letting the unctuous orange soft egg yolk pour out is one of my great pleasures.)

Ox (2225 NE MLK Jr. Blvd)
James Beard Award winners Gabi and Greg Denton have been cooking Argentine-inspired Portland asado here for a decade. Get the flank steak, the Maitake mushrooms (with sweetbreads!), get the pork chop. Vegetable sides (now that it’s late summer, the summer squash and prawn dish is back on the menu, zingy with white wine and herb-garlic butter) are big enough to share and compliment the bounty from the grill. Now that it is fall, I don’t have to pretend that it’s seasonally-appropriate to order the bone marrow clam chowder, or the tripe and octopus stew… which are two of the best dishes in the city.

Langbaan / Phuket / Eem (1818 NW 23rd Place / 3808 N Williams Ave)
You have not had Thai like this… and it is not to be missed. Langbaan is the tasting menu… if you can get in (and you can… also check for last-minute cancellations) it is /very/ special. At Phuket, order the pork chop. At Eem, make sure to get the white curry with brisket burnt ends. (Eem is also open for lunch… and there’s brunch at Phuket on the weekends… I think…)


The Necessities 


Coffee: PushXPull (they roast daily, and they have an amazing selection of truly delightful (and funky) beans.  You will not find better service or nicer people.  
Breakfast: Proud Mary, Broder, Tin Shed. If you’re downtown, Screen Door is a Portland classic, and The Daily Feast is the pluckiest little diner (my daughter and I have been regulars there since they opened, and it all just feels like family now. Up the block, the owner also recently opened Taylor Street Kitchen, with pantry staples and grab-and-go meals. I hear the pizza is great.)
Pastries: Jinju
Gelato: Pinolo.  The fruit sorbets taste more like the fruit itself.  

Favorite Tasting Menu: Coquine.  Check for same-day cancellations.  
Sushi: Nimblefish

Chinese: Tasty Corner

Greek:  Bluto’s
Peruvian: Casa Zoraya
Wine & Neighborhood Molecular Gastronomy: OK Omens
Best Food Cart: Matta (Vietnamese. Go for breakfast.)
Burger: Jojo (just opened brick & mortar in the Pearl District)
Beer: Little Beast, Breakside, Cascade (not being a drinker… these recommendations come second-hand.)
Cocktails: Expatriate, Pacific Standard (and Sunset Room: can’t see the Sunset, also not a room.)

Author: `aqaq`

Tasia Bernie is an essayist, and editor of FeederPDX.com.  She enjoys used bookstores, offal, and hard laughter.  She is a very good eater.  She lives with her daughter and two orange cats in Portland, Oregon.


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