A Chefs’ Guide to Eating Out in Portland, Oregon
Compared with cities like New York and Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, is relatively small—which only makes its sheer density of destination-worthy restaurants more impressive. Where else can you find a spot for Russian comfort food, a fabulous Thai tasting menu behind a secret door in another restaurant, and pizza made with freshly milled local flour, all in the span of a few miles? There are so many renowned places to eat, including breweries and fine-dining establishments, that even locals have trouble deciding where to sit down for their next meal.
Since you can’t try them all without picking up and moving to the City of Roses (which, honestly, you wouldn’t be crazy for considering!), we’ve turned to a few experts to point out some tried-and-true neighborhood gems.
We polled seven knowledgeable chefs—Carlo Lamagna of brand-new Filipino destination Magna; Sam Smith of upscale Middle Eastern restaurant Tusk; Bonnie Morales, the chef-owner of Russian restaurants Kachka and Kachinka; Nong Poonsukwattana of Nong’s Khao Man Gai; Katy Millard of celebrated French restaurant Coquine; Maya Lovelace of Southern restaurants Mae and Yonder; and Earl Ninsom of beloved Thai hot spots Langbaan, Hat Yai, PaaDee, and new Thai/American barbecue mash-up Eem—to learn their favorite places to eat and drink in Portland.
Below, you’ll find their picks for late-night eats, which are shockingly hard to come by in Portland (and yet the dive-bar fried chicken couldn’t sound better); excellent cocktails, un-shockingly very easy to come by in Portland (we’re making a beeline to the sunken bar at tiki lounge Hale Pele…right after we check out the rare bottles at Scotch Lodge and natty wines at Sardine Head); splurge-worthy menus; and the dish you can’t leave town without trying. Spoiler alert: This last one was the hardest for everyone to answer, because, well, the options are just that good.