Food & Drink

The Best Date Spot in 20 Portland Neighborhoods

Published On 09/08/2015 Published On 09/08/2015
Courtesy of Alyson Levy Photography (edited)
Courtesy of Lincon Barbour
Andy Kryza/Thrillist
Andy Kryza/Thrillist
Andy Kryza/Thrillist
Flickr/blese
Courtesy of Carly Diaz
Andy Kryza/Thrillist
Andy Kryza/Thrillist
St. Jack
Papa Haydn
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1. Andina 1314 NW Glisan Street, Portland, OR 97209

Between the romantic ambiance and the shareable plates, Andina is by far the best date spot in the Pearl District.

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2. Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade 511 NW Couch St, Portland, OR 97209 (Downtown)

Classic arcade 'n drink emporium Ground Kontrol has been remodeled/upgraded to version "3.0", which brings new comfy flooring, an LED-heavy Tron grid-esque interior.

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3. Noble Rot 1111 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214 (Lloyd District)

Offering scenic views of Portland, Noble Rot's a wine bar with a serious vino menu (they've got 300+ bottles in stock from small wineries in the Pacific Northwest and across Europe). Noble Rot's always topping out best of Portland lists, and for good reason; It's a solid date spot with great happy hour specials, and awesome dinner menu, and a great rooftop bar.

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4. Hokusei 4246 SE Belmont st, Portland, OR 97215 (Belmont)

This restaurant saves you the trouble of hopping a cargo ship to Hokkaido by serving up fresh, authentic Japanese sushi right in South Portland. The full bar features a host of specialty cocktails and enough saki to make a samurai weep, and there are also a number of Japanese and locally-brewed beers available on tap.

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5. Luce 2140 E. Burnside, Portland, OR 97214

Enjoy classic, artisanal Italian food without having to step foot on a plane.

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6. Raven & Rose 1331 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 (Downtown)

Housed within a historical landmark, Raven & Rose serves upscale comfort food and a nearly overwhelmingly large wine list. The beautiful dining room is inspired by the Irish and British countryside, as does the menu. Take dining to the next level by experiencing a bison cheeseburger paired with a craft beer you can't pronounce.

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7. The Observatory 8115 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215 (Montavilla)

Not to be confused with the landmark/museum, THIS Observatory serves upscale dinners, quick lunches of the sandwich and salad variety, and signature cocktails that offers fresh and fruity takes on your go-to classics.

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8. Smallwares 4605 NE Fremont, Portland, OR 97213 (Beaumont Wilshire)

Smallwares serves inauthentic Asian cuisine one small plate at a time. Inauthentic as in take your expectations and turn them on its head. With fare like chicken lollipops and pork skin ragu, there's no better place to get your weird bar food on. For a slight return to normalcy, hit the bar for your choice cocktails, beer, and wine.

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9. H.K. Cafe 4410 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97266 (82nd Ave)

This place serves great dim sum as well as a fabulous brunch. If you think noodles for breakfast seems weird, then you've clearly never tried it. Pro tip: go for the sticky rice. It may be the best secret hangover cure.

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10. Aviary 1733 NE Alberta, Portland, OR 97211 (Alberta Arts Dist)

On the off, off chance that the bird ISN'T the word, it's probably a good bet that this restaurant/bar is. Aviary's got a great selection of cocktails and beers for you to wet your beak, and the food menu's organic, locally sourced ingredients will leave you questioning why you've been choking down millet seed all your life. Ok, no more puns, we promise!

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11. Radar 3951 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227 (Mississippi Ave)

Radar is named in honor of the owner's father and is now pouring craft cocktails on Mississippi in a narrow, exposed-brick-featuring space that's serving American small plates while also showing the best European football (the one in which feet & a ball actually interact) from the continent's top leagues.

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12. Old Salt Marketplace 5027 NE 42nd Ave, Portland, OR 97218 (Concordia)

Old Salt Marketplace is a Concordia-based old-timey-style grocer, butcher, and resto, serving up huge entrees like half-chickens w/ wheat berries and steak tartare with toast.

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13. The Baowry 8307 N Ivanhoe Street, Portland, OR 97203

You have to check out their steamed buns and kimchi. It will change your life.

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14. Cibo 3539 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97214 (Se Portland)

Cibo, a restaurant opened by NW's mastermind Marco Frattaroli, serves wood oven-fired hand-pulled pizza, stromboli and other adventurous takes on traditional Italian cuisine. Entrees alters when head chef Frattaroli changes his mind, but though you'll likely be happy to notice.

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15. Swift and Union 8103 N. Denver Avenue, Portland, OR 97217

Great cocktails, delicious steaks, and beautiful ambiance make this new Kenton eatery a perfect date spot.

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16. St. jack 1610 NW 23rd, Portland, OR 97210

St. Jack is run by a former 23Hoyt chef and named for the man's encouraging grandfather (it's also an Americanization of "coquille St. Jacques", French for "scallop"). There is an elegantly-tiled patisserie with pastry domes and Stumptown coffee as well as a bistro side serving rustic continental fare. Snack on bones marrow gremolata and seared foie gras or, for something heavier, a whole roasted trout with lentils, arugula and brown butter vinagrette.

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17. Café Castagna 1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214 (Se Portland)

Chef Wesley Johnson serves up small plates loaded with local produce in this modern venue. Café Castagna also launched an Eastern Mediterranean, Sunday-only brunch menu. The eggs Benedict has lamb ham, there are cardamom donuts, and you can add bacon to the grilled halloumi cheese and bread.

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18. Pono Farm Soul Kitchen 4118 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97212

Pono Farm Soul Kitchen books itself as Japanese soul food, although there’s certainly some French influence. The menu is divided into your choice of protein, but there are plenty of vegetarian or seafood options, including an entire sushi menu too.

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19. Sidecar 11 3955 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97211 (Mississippi Ave)

The emphasis that Sidecar 11 pays to rare and vintage bottles of alcohol is rare these days. The Mississippi bar has become renowned for uncorking historical concoctions that management mysteriously acquires -- from a 99-year-old vermouth to a Blandy's Bual Madeira from 1920 -- and pouring them as monthly specials. Sure, sometimes that means what results is a $40 Manhattan, but it's about the love of discovery. Of course, contemporary sips are on offer, too: from a wide-ranging list of takes on the Manhattan to vintage-style cocktails recreated with today's booze.

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20. Hale Pele 2733 NE Broadway, Portland, OR 97232 (Lloyd District)

You might be a landlubber, but there's no reason you can't pretend to be a pirate and taste more than 50 different rums from all over the map, earning monikers that were previously reserved for guys with birds on their shoulders. Hale Pele in the Lloyd District rejects your average tiki cocktails and instead adopts more inventive cocktails. Don't forget to order the Zombies, which are so strong they are limited to two per person.