Food & Drink

These are Portland's best wings

Published On 08/23/2013 Published On 08/23/2013
portland's best wings thrillist

It's the ultimate picture of American innovation and frugality: take the most seemingly useless piece of a chicken and transform it into the most delicious. Were it not for the chicken wing, there would be no Super Bowl. No use for blue cheese. No inspiration for Paul McCartney's first solo outing. So here, let us sing praise to Portland's best chicken wings… preferably to the tune of "Jet".

Andrew Zimmer

Pok Pok
The wings that spawned an empire from Portland to New York: Pok Pok's gigantic, signature, fish-sauced wings don't taste like fish at all and are the perfect blend of Thai spice, garlic, and palm sugar. They pair perfectly with the restaurant's signature drinking vinegar, or, if you really want to think outside the box… beer. Because wings are still wings.

Fire on the Mountain Facebook

Fire on the Mountain
This wing spot is so Portlandian, it has its own brewery (out on 57th & Fremont) and a Grateful Dead song built right in. FOTM's Buffalo wings take their sauces extremely seriously: they range from mild lime/cilantro, to raspberry/habanero, to the incendiary El Jefe, a habanero/jalapeno/capsicum fireball so hot, there's actually an eating challenge based around it that's resulted in many people going down the road feeling bad (about not getting their pictures on the wall).

Pearl District
The Pearl's swank Metrovino puts its spin on the popular pub food at their bar in the form of chicken wing confit, which's actually just a very fancy way to say the wonderfully salty, sauce-less wings are super crunchy on the outside and impossibly tender on the inside, and come arranged nicely w/ garnish and rosemary salt.

NEPO Facebook

Adding a little extra rustic action to the mix, NEPO actually smokes its wings before frying them, giving them a nice campfire flavor that holds up surprisingly tenderly when breaded and tossed in oil.

Mee Sen Thai Eatery
Mississippi Avenue
Dubbed Peek Gai Tod -- though not by a guy actually named Todd -- these enormous wings come marinated in a choice of basil, peanut, larb, or sweet and sour sauce. And they're a steal at less than a dollar a pop… because that guy Todd's super generous.

Hopworks BikeBar
Portland's only spot where there's actually a stationary bike on site for you to burn off those calories (even though you totally won't do that), Bike Bar offers up locally raised wings tossed in a choice of chipotle, Buffalo, or ESBBQ sauce made from beer… beer that you should totally drink in lieu of exercising in a crowded bar.

Breakside Brewery
More beer sauce, this time courtesy of Breakside, which takes its signature IPA and transforms it into a Buffalo sauce, which is then slathered across a pile of jumbo wings (also the name of Paul McCartney's band after it because addicted to these suckers).

Alberta Market
Alberta Arts District
No sauce. No gimmick. Just perfectly breaded, slightly spicy, whole wings served with a mound of jojos straight out of a deli window, and best eaten at the bus stop on Alberta. They're $5 for six wings and jojos. Order 20. That bus's gonna be a minute.

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1. Pok Pok 3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202 (Clintondivision)

James Beard Award-winner Andy Ricker's Pok Pok -- the first of a few outposts around the country -- is known for its menu of authentic Thai food. The kitchen hones in on relatively unknown dishes from the North and Northeast of Thailand (don't expect pad Thai here), but a wide range of Southeast Asian flavors and ingredients are represented. Among the roster of family-style noodle dishes, salads, and smoky meats, the chicken wings are a standout. Based on recipe from a Vietnamese street vendor, the wings are marinated in fish sauce and sugar before they're fried and tossed in garlic, resulting in a caramelized finish and a whole lot of flavor.

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2. Fire On The Mountain 4225 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97215 (Overlook)

The hot and spicy wings at this joint claim to be the best "this side of Buffalo" -- check 'em out for yourself and see if they're right.

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3. Metrovino 1130 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209 (Pearl District)

Located right in the Pearl District, Metrovino is an upscale restaurant with a menu inspired by classic French cooking, meaning they're offering up dishes like white cheddar soufflés, foie gras, duck confit, and various cheese plates. On top of that, this spot has a massive wine list, giving you the choice of a half-glass, glass, or bottle of a huge number of whites, reds, champagnes, and sparkling wines from across the globe.

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4. NEPO 42 5403 NE 42nd Ave, Portland, OR 97218 (Ne Portland)

Swing by for gourmet-ish American "pub fare", some beers, and weekly trivia.

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5. Mee Sen Thai Eatery 3924 N Mississippi Ave , Portland, OR 97227 (Mississippi Ave)

This Thai-staurant slings legit SE Asian bites, including killer wings.

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6. Hopworks' BikeBar 3947 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97212

More than just a place to get delicious organic beer, Hopworks' BikeBar is designed with cyclists in mind. From the bike parking spaces and bike tools for public use to the bike-friendly take-out options, Hopworks BikeBar is all about eating and drinking healthy. They won't discriminate if you decide to drive over in a car, so there's really nothing stopping you from dropping by.

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7. Alberta Market 915 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211 (Alberta Arts Dist)

Hiding inside this unassuming little convenience store are some of the best -- and cheapest -- chicken and jojos in town.



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