Portland, Oregon is a great place to visit on a long weekend. Other than the city’s eco-friendly values and impressive public transportation system, what really stood out was its food scene. Portland is well-known for its donuts, amazing coffee, and of course, the food trucks. Read on to find out where to eat in this wonderfully hippy city!
1. Tasty n Sons
Tasty n Sons was my favorite brunch spot in Portland. We decided to take advantage of Portland’s efficient (and cheap) public transportation and bused there from downtown. It was a bit further away from other places (about 20 mins from our hotel), but the food and atmosphere made up for it. We started with the maple bacon wrapped dates, then ordered the breakfast board and the cast iron frittata.
2. Blue Star Donuts
Though we heard a lot about Voodoo Donut online and from guide books, Blue Star Donuts seem to be the one locals go to. Whenever I go somewhere new and hop on Uber/Lyft, I always ask local drivers where to eat. Blue Star Donuts only bake until noon and close when they sell out. We ordered the blueberry bourbon basil and real maple bacon (both were delicious!). Even if you’re not a huge donuts person (I’m not), it’s worth it to make a stop for the unique flavors.
My absolute favorite bakery in Portland. Nuvrei has two storefronts, the main store selling all the bread and pastries is upstairs with some seating. The main bakery itself is downstairs (take the small flight of stairs), and has a small counter selling macaroons. We went down to get some macaroons and as we were debating what to get, the owner just baked a fresh batch of croissants and gave us 2 each for free! It was hot, flaky and perfect.
4. Salt & Straw
Salt & Straw is the most popular ice cream store in Portland, and even though it was still quite chilly when we went in March, the line wrapped around both inside and outside the store. They have seasonal flavors that change each month, and their classic menu that is always there. Their flavors are the most creative I’ve seen so far (e.g. pear & blue cheese, strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper, dill flowers & fennel pollen). I tasted a couple flavors and chose almond brittle with salted ganache and Stumptown coffee. Salt & Straw now is one of my all-time favorite ice cream stores, and thankfully they’ve opened a store here in Los Angeles.
5. Pok Pok
Pok Pok started out as a food truck and expanded into a restaurant. Now it recently opened on in LA’s Chinatown. We ordered the papaya pok pok salad, the famous wings, and satay. Maybe it was because I grew up in Asia, I didn’t think it was amazing Thai food. However, I did really enjoy the wings that are marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, and caramelized with more fish sauce & garlic.
6. Food Trucks
You can’t go to Portland without stopping by the food trucks. Unlike usual food trucks, these park and stay at the same location everyday. They have multiple “pods”, or grouping of food trucks, around the city. We went to the pod at the intersection of SW 10th Ave and SW Alder St. My favorite stand was Nong’s Khao Man Gai, selling southeast Asian chicken and rice. Very jealous of people who work around here and get all these selections for lunch.
7. Paley’s Place
Paley’s Place is the one fancier restaurant we stopped at for dinner. After a full day of eating, we weren’t very hungry so ordered a la carte instead of the full tasting menu. We had the Wagyu beef tartare, clams, squid ink risotto, and a selection of cheese to finish.
We spent most of our time eating in Portland with a bit of shopping. Some worthwhile stops are Will’s Leather Goods, Powell’s City of Books, record stores, and multiple boutique stores spread around the city.
Portland is on my list of cities to return to. Next time we plan to drive out of downtown to visit Multnomah Falls and Colombia river gorge. What are your favorite restaurants to eat in Portland? Let me know what I should put on my list for next time!