L ucky for us Portland is awash in great pizza places these days, from late-night joints serving up greasy New York-style slices to handcrafted, wood-fired Italian-style pizza topped with local charcuterie, and/or weird toppings like Chinese BBQ pork or faux meatballs. Portland chefs and restaurateurs have delved deep into what the ingenious concoction of baked dough with tomato and cheese on top can offer, and we’re all the better for it. Here are our picks of the best pizzerias in Bridge City.
DREW TYSON/Thrillist

Life of Pie

Boise

Industria-chic pizzeria with a wood-fired stone oven
A relative newcomer to the wood-fired pizza craze that has gripped Portland, Life of Pie has quickly become a mainstay thanks to a crust that is perfectly charred, but still chewy, and always topped with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Or maybe because of their seven hour happy hour.

Nostrana

Buckman

Casual fine Italian dining with traditional pizzas
Neapolitan pizza from six-time James Beard Award finalist Cathy Whims sounds fussy, but there’s nothing overwrought about the rustic combinations she dreams up to complement her beautiful crust. Just don’t expect to get it sliced. That’s not how they do it in Naples.

Orion Landau

Sizzle Pie

Burnside (& other locations)

Punk rock late-night pizza spots serving greasy slices
Open late with multiple locations, Sizzle Pie is Portland’s favorite punk rock pizza place. The floppy, thin-crust pizza slices are authentically New York (they even have a location in Brooklyn now), and you can always find a pepperoni, meat special, vegetarian, and even vegan option by the slice every night. Best, all locations are open until 3 or 4am, depending on the day of the week, and serve beer and wine until just after 2am, if you want to keep the party going.

Lovely's Fifty-Fifty

Mississippi Avenue

Northwest-style pies with a focus on seasonal, local ingredients
Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty is a decidedly Northwest style pizza restaurant. This ostensibly means they incorporate rich homemade tomato sauces using local ingredients, and an array of toppings that might be frowned at in a New York pizza shop, but reflect the seasonality of Portland cuisine. Think squash and ricotta with brown butter in fall, nettles in spring, and locally harvested chanterelles to mark the end of summer. While it’s tempting to stick to classics like the great margherita, Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty really shines when it plays with local flavors and unexpected combinations.

Drew Tyson/Thrillist

Escape From New York Pizza

Northwest

Iconic Portland pizza dive
We’re assuredly going to get some flak for this. Some might say that Straight from New York or Atlas Pizza have more authentic New York-style slices. Some might also (fairly) argue that Sizzle Pie is the best. Others would likely throw any of our pizzas on the ground and declare them unfit by the rigorous NYC standards. But Escape From New York has been serving its reheated slices of pepperoni and cheese pizzas out of its narrow, dingy space since 1983 to an unending audience, and for that, we’ve gotta give it up.

Apizza Scholls

Hawthorne

New Haven-style pizza that’s worth the wait
The line outside of Apizza Scholls has become as iconic as the pies themselves. Unlike certain other spots in the city that boast a long waiting period, Apizza Scholls is worth it, featuring handcrafted, thin-crust pizza with only the essential toppings. There’s no calling ahead, they have a limit on ingredients for custom pizzas (and no substitutions or omissions on the house ones), and when they run out of dough, you run out of luck. But the pizzas coming out of the electric ovens aren’t just some of the best in the city, but some of the best in the country.

Alan Weiner

Ken's Artisan Pizza

Buckman

Wood-fired, Neapolitan style pizzas
Ken Forkish’s eponymous pizza place has long led the city’s trend of wood oven, thin-crust Neapolitan style pizzas. The pies are simple, with dollops of fresh mozzarella resting in the tangy tomato sauce, with just a few toppings each. Whether you’re getting it with olives, peppers, or soppressata, it’s highly recommended -- even required -- that you add a pile of fresh, bitter arugula on top. Grab a glass of wine or a Negroni for the full “I wish I could be on the Italian coast but I’m broke so this works” experience.

Pizza Jerk

Cully

Bold new pizza spot with unconventional NY-style pies
A New York-style pizza topped with Tommy Habetz’s (Bunk Sandwiches) indulgent toppings, Pizza Jerk has become a mainstay in Portland’s food and drink industry culture, as well as the city at large. While you can always find a slice of cheese or pepperoni, you can also find pizzas topped with char siu and pineapple, ribs, and even chicken Parmigiana. It’s over the top, it’s extravagant, and it’s necessary & delicious.

Oven & Shaker

Oven & Shaker

Pearl District

Restaurant and cocktail bar with light, doughy pizzas
One of the original ChefStable projects, Oven & Shaker is a collaboration between expert pizza chef Cathy Whims of Nostrana (a fantastic pizza joint in its own right) and venerable bartender Ryan Magarian. Today it continues to deliver on the promise it started with back in 2011: excellent craft cocktails paired with delicious wood-fired oven pizza in a casual, saloon-style atmosphere.

Mississippi Pizza

Mississippi

Family-friendly pizza restaurant and music venue
While the Mississippi neighborhood is best known for its bars and venues, Mississippi Pizza is a great place for all ages. The pizza isn’t the absolute best in Portland, but it’s a totally solid option for the neighborhood and available gluten-free. The space, however, is a welcoming, family-friendly restaurant that also serves as occasional music venue for local and touring acts. So catch a show, feed the kids, have a beer, and kick back.

Kari Young and Emily Krause

Renata

Buckman

High-end Italian bistro with wood-fired pizzas
Renata is mostly lauded for its incredible pasta selection, cocktails, and well-curated wine list, but its pizzas should not be missed. This is especially true during happy hour, which runs both early and late, only on the patio and in the bar. Then you can find margheritas, blancos, and other pizzas for just $6 to $7, and they’re the perfect size to split for an appetizer, paired with one of the great wines on the menu. You’ll want to go ahead and add some Calabrian chilis and arugula for just a few bucks more.

HOTLIPS Pizza

Hotlips

Downtown

A local, family owned environmentally friendly pizza chain
Hotlips specializes in local, organic ingredients on Portland-style pizza. PSU students have ample options for lunch in the food cart pods around campus, but Hotlips offers the best pizza choice, with student specials and happy hours. And while it does offer up some beer and wine, you can also snag homemade organic fruit sodas.

Virtuous Pie

Virtuous Pie

Clinton/Division

Hip vegan pizza spot that’ll redefine how you see pies
New on the pizza scene, Virtuous Pizza is nobly battling the inherent idea that a pizza must have, at the very least, cheese to be considered such. Or, more simply, it champions that idea that pizza cannot only be vegan, but can actually be vegan and good. Cashew nut cheeses, vegetarian meatballs, Buffalo cauliflower, etc... it’s all vegan, and all pleasing. You can even order any pizza gluten-free, for your pickiest, most Portlandish friends. Or, take your most carnivorous friend and watch them fall in love with it.

East Glisan Pizza Lounge

Montavilla

Neighborhood bar with pizza, vegan options, and drinks
East Glisan resembles a classic Portland pizzeria in that it’s a casual, laid-back bar that happens to have excellently prepared, wood-fired licked pizzas. It boasts a selection of vegan options, including pizza, but also sides (like the delightful chickpea fritters), as well as a great tap list of rotating beers. Get in here during happy hour, 4 to 6pm for $2 slices, or come after 10pm for extra-large cheese slices for just a buck.

Nolan Calisch for In-House Co

The Crown

Downtown

Late-night bar with New York-style pizza
Renovating an uninspiring deli into a late night pizza bar was a brilliant move on the part of Vitaly Paley and Co. The Crown, which replaced Penny Diner in the summer of 2017, is a welcome addition to the late-night Downtown scene, providing revelers a spot to grab a slice of pizza or full pie, along with some great cocktails, beer, and wine. Most of the pies reflect Paley’s time living in New York, though the fried chicken with ranch, pickles, and chili honey is a surprising, unconventional treat.

ADAM LINDSLEY

Scottie's Pizza Parlor

Clinton/Division

Worker-friendly pizzeria with games and music
Don’t worry, Scottie Rivera of Scottie’s Pizza is from Brooklyn, so you know he knows what makes a good pie. And while he does, indeed, bake some great pizza, it’s his and his wife/business partner Amy Coplen’s labor ethos that sets the spot apart from the rest of the city’s pizza joints, as they pay their workers a living wage of $15 an hour. You can also pay it forward and help someone else out with a slice. Swing by during happy hour for $2 plain slices, or on the first Friday of the month after 10pm, when they make giant, 28-inch pies with huge slices for $5 each. Oh, and in spring of 2017 they set a world record by baking a 100-cheese pizza.

Up Next
xlb | Christine Dong
Food & Drink

Portland's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
A nyone who predicted that Portland’s restaurant boom would slow down in 2017 would be in the same boat as those who said the Cubs would never win the World Series... or someone who bought all-inclusive tickets to Fyre Festival. We had more than 100 restaurant openings this year, and likely as many closings. A few spots even qualified for both categories.
We saw a good bump this year in the areas that we’ve previously had trouble with, notably Chinese and high-end Mexican destinations. Otherwise, it has been an eclectic mix, including more Thai, coffee shops, and pizzerias. And while the trend is still on vegetables like it was in 2016, it’s also oscillating a bit towards the meatier ends of things.
Jordan Fox/Rabbit Hole Photo

Nomad.PDX

Kerns

Portland’s hottest new prix fixe menu in a beautiful space
Nomad.PDX is not entirely new, as the dinner program was floating as a pop-up for a few years, most notably in a room above Shift Drinks. But in early 2016, it lost its nomadic ways and eventually settled into a beautiful brick-and-mortar space. Chef and owner Ryan Fox offers his tasting menu for $135 twice a night, at 6 and 8:30pm, a multi-course extravaganza of bold, inventive modern Northwest dishes featuring unique flavor combinations and ingredients. Those looking for a smaller sample of the menu can go into the gorgeous Ash Bar, which provides cocktails for the whole restaurant, as well as smaller à la carte plates and drinks. Either way it’s a unique and memorable experience.

Chalino

Boise

Hip, modern Mexican cuisine from pedigreed chefs
Chalino is a Mexican restaurant inspired by the chefs’ trips through our neighboring country to the south. That said, dinner is reminiscent of Northwestern dining, with a mix of smaller and larger plates meant for sharing , as well as an option for an omakase-style chef’s tasting menu, La Experiencia. Luckily, the food here is exceptionally well prepared, with albacore ceviche, lamb barbacoa, smoked pork chop, mushroom quesadillas, and more. The bar is similarly impressive, adding another destination to the city’s growing mezcal scene, including some fun agave-based cocktails.

Proud Mary

Proud Mary

Alberta

Inventive coffee roaster with the best coffee house food in town
Coming all the way from Australia, Proud Mary throws its cork-brimmed hat in the Portland coffee shop ring. While they roast their own coffee here and offer brews that challenge the top shops in town, the food is what elevates the spot. It’s eminently Instagrammable, with bright colors from local, organic fruits and vegetables topping parfaits and ricotta hotcakes, mushroom sauté, and potato hashes. Creative items like watermelon salad with sticky pork and harissa-marinated avocado on toast help to define it as a daring, innovative restaurant as much as it is a coffeehouse. It’s all served by friendly, knowledgeable servers with Aussie accents in an owner-designed-and-built space.

Tiffin Asha

Alberta

A beloved food cart heads indoors and only gets better
Tiffin Asha, one of our picks for Thrillist’s Prime 13 best new restaurants of the year, already had its fair share of stans for its N Mississippi food cart that first opened in 2013. Now that it's moved to a brick-and-mortar -- the downstairs of an apartment building -- in August, the restaurant's voice is stronger than ever, ensuring their South Indian plates get the attention the underserved cuisine is due. Cart favorites like the Hot Chick (a chicken pakora, pickled kale, and black cardamom infused-honey stuffed dosa) carried over to Tiffin Asha 2.0's menu, but the expansion of new dishes parade chef Elizabeth Golay's virile curiosity into the cuisine that her co-owner and partner, Sheila Bommakanti, grew up eating. Don't sleep on the Sweet & Salty dosa, where blue cheese and honey is flourished with fleur de sel, or the idli fries dipped in a house-made curry ketchup. 

David Alvarado

Güero

Kerns

Casual Mexican spot helping make Portland a sandwich mecca
Guero is the Mexican restaurant Portland needed. Its speciality: tortas, sandwiches with a variety of toppings, from the Mexican-style hamburguesa to the vegetarian refrito with refried beans. However, the one that reigns supreme is the classic ahogada, with carnitas, habanero slaw, and cilantro on grilled bolillo (a sort of Mexican baguette). The entire thing is drenched in achiote, a spicy tomato sauce, making for a deliciously sopping mess. The restaurant also serves a rice and bean bowl, a pozole, mezcal, cocktails, and beer.

Stacked Sandwiches

Stacked Sandwich Shop

Buckman

Breakout sandwich shop vying for dominance with homemade ingredients
Between Bunk, Lardo, East Side Delicatessen, and others, Portland has no dearth of sandwich shops, and adding another one to the mix could have been seen as redundant. But that was before Stacked landed, a creation from Gabriel Pascuzzi, where every ingredient in the sandwich (save for the bun) is made in-house, including cured meats and pickled vegetables. The turkey Reuben, oxtail French dip, and vegan gyro are all standouts, and should definitely be ordered with a side of salt and vinegar chips. Stacked also has a happy hour that features snacks, burger and drink specials, and a recently added Saturday brunch menu with, of course, breakfast sandwiches, as well as sweets and hashes.

Christine Dong

XLB

Boise

Chinese comfort food with a great happy hour you’ll wanna bring friends to
Chinese comfort food is the focus at XLB, and its main dish is its namesake: xiao long bao, garlic and ginger pork dumplings. The bao menu includes other tasty treats, including steamed buns with pork and cabbage, mushroom and chives, and chili shrimp wontons. Delicious noodle dishes and shared plates of five-spice popcorn chicken or bok choy with oyster sauce makes it a great place for groups or dates, especially during happy hour from 5 to 6pm each day when you can find discounted beer and wine, as well as a bao and beer special.

Ray

Boise

Jenn Louis finds her best cuisine by going Israeli with small, shared plates
Restaurateur Jenn Louis closed Sunshine Tavern in 2016, and then Lincoln in 2017, but what she lost in those she gained back in her best venture to date with Ray. The restaurant celebrates Israeli street food with a series of small and large shareable dishes. The vividly pink beet hummus is a must for any table, topped with grated egg and turmeric pickled cabbage. Split some small plates with a group, like lamb flatbread and carrots with Moroccan spices and honey, or just go all in with shakshuka for four, a beautiful dish of eggs poached in spiced tomatoes.

Mark Mediana

Jackrabbit

Downtown

A famous chef’s monument to meat and excess
It’s one of the few places in the city where you can order brains. Famous chef Chris Cosentino opened his first non-Californian restaurant in March, and it happened to be in downtown Portland at the base of the new Duniway Hotel. Cosentino brings his signature loves to Jackrabbit: gin and indulgence. The bar is stocked with over 60 gins, and on the dinner menu you can find a whole roasted pork head with brainaise (yes, it’s brain mayonnaise), a full braised rabbit stuffed with 60 cloves of garlic, steak with vegetables and bone marrow dip, and a dinner featuring 36 oysters, 12 clams, house charcuterie and “untraditional garnishes.” The vegetable dishes, as well as the breakfast and lunch menus, are slightly more reserved, though no less meat focused.

Short Round

Hawthorne

Strong contender for best Vietnamese drinking snacks in Portland
Lighting strikes twice with Short Round, the eastside offshoot of Fish Sauce. Here you can find Vietnamese street food and drinks all day, including lunch and two happy hours. And while the banh mi and bibimbap are great, it’s the Vietnamese drinking snacks that steal the show. The best way to come here is in a group; grab some cocktails or beer, and every small dish on the menu -- anchovies, soy sauce geoduck, grilled tofu, salt and pepper squid, and, of course, the wings. Select a choice between fish sauce, lemongrass, or chojang vinaigrette, or just place an order of each, and you’ll be wondering if Pok Pok’s famous wings still rule Portland.

Virtuous PIe

Virtuous Pie

Division/Clinton

Hip vegan pizza and ice cream shop that’s redefining what counts as great pies
Who knew vegan pizza could be so good? That’s the question surrounding Virtuous Pie, an entirely veggie-based pizza shop that joined the lower Division crowd. Cashew nut cheeses, mushroom meat substitutes, and more manage to mimic traditional pizza ingredients without seeming like they’re pretending to be anything they aren’t. And because pizza and ice cream are the consummate”junk food” couple, Virtuous Pie also offers vegan ice cream, with flavors like double chocolate and salted caramel, or lavender and lemon. You can also find locals beers and wine by the glass and bottle, and on-tap kombucha.

Nolan Calisch

The Crown

Downtown

The casual pizza bar Downtown needed
Vitaly Paley’s sandwich and cocktail shop, the Penny Diner, never quite clicked. It always felt like more of an afterthought to Imperial, which it was attached to, than its own project. Luckily, its replacement, The Crown, shares none of those drawbacks. Instead, it’s a bold new pizza shop that reflects Paley’s time in New York while offering some unique takes, like a fried chicken pizza with ranch, honey, and hot sauce. It also benefits from having Nick Cifuni, formerly of Bit House Saloon holding down the bar, which is open until the early hours of the morning, something that Downtown badly needed. Even the wallpaper is an improvement, a mélange of animals and merrily crowned figures.

Farmhouse Kitchen Thai

Hawthorne

Michelin recognized Thai restaurant that really warrants more Thai in our city
At first glance, Portland didn’t really need another Thai restaurant, especially on Hawthorne, which already has its fair share. But Farmhouse Kitchen Thai, an offshoot of the Michelin recognized restaurant of the same name in San Francisco, distinguishes itself with rarer, street-food inspired items in an eclectic, wild atmosphere. You can still find the ubiquitous red curries and pad kee mow, but you can also grab things like larb tuna, diced raw with herbs and spices and served with mango and wonton chips, or a wagyu beef salad. The cocktail menu, too, is a mix of classic Thai and modern takes. Try an iced Thai beer and shot of Mekhong “golden spirit,” or a tequila drink with tamarind vinegar and dehydrated chili.  

Alan Weiner

OP Wurst

Division/Clinton

Grownup hot dog stand with great wine and cocktails
Poor Honky Tonk Taco. It never stood a chance against a bevy of criticism and slow traffic, lasting only a few months before shuttering forever. Luckily, owners Nate Tilden and Co. decided to keep the space and do what they do best: make sausages, hot dogs, and drinks. So they brought the OP Wurst model over from Pine Street Market to Division, where you can find delicious meats like the Portland dog, with kale, pork belly and hazelnuts, or the Pok Pok dog, honoring the neighboring Thai spot with pickled green papaya salad and red curry ketchup. And of course you can always order a platter of sausages with sauerkraut and potato salad. All of it is best with a bottle of riesling or a few cocktails.

Heart Pizza

Downtown

Community minded, wood-fired pizzeria where your purchases go to charity
Micah Camden placed his mark on the city’s food scene long ago with Little Big Burger, Boxer Ramen, and Blue Star Donuts. But in February he branched into the pizza scene with Heart Pizza, a small-scale pizzeria with simple, wood oven-fired Neapolitan style pies for $12 to $13. The name is not mistake: $1 from each pizza sold goes to a charity or nonprofit.

Kati Porland

KaTi Portland

Division/Clinton

A joint that proves Thai needs no meat to be delicious  
Thai food naturally lends itself to good vegetarian and vegan dishes, more so than many other cuisines. KaTi is no exception, working not in spite of the lack of meat, but because of it, with a focus on delivering the best possible vegetables, sauces, tofu, tempeh, and more. Even dishes traditionally made with fish sauce are made with a specially crafted vegetarian substitute, and KaTi’s incredibly popular pad Thai is just as good without the eggs for those that are vegan. It also boasts a great cocktail program, with Asian-inspired drinks.

Alto Bajo

Downtown

Casual, Oaxacan fine dining at its absolute best
An elegant restaurant featuring modern takes on classic Oaxacan cuisine, Alto Bajo is helping to rid diners of any bias toward hotel restaurants. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with items like the carne asada fries and chorizo corn dog making it a great lunch destination, though it’s at dinner that the restaurant truly shines. Its signature item is the mole. Chef Chip Barnes has made three: the slightly sweet tamarindo; a rich and spicy rojo; and tart amarillo, each of which is paired with specific dishes. However, the main act is the shareable pollo carbon, perfectly roasted Mary’s chicken served with rice, beans, and tortillas with pickled onions and habanero slaw. It’ll surely keep diners coming back for more.

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