You probably spent most of your time this summer eating at Portland's best Boozy Brunch spots, drinking Oregon's best beer, and explaining to people from out of town that yes, this is what we consider unseasonably warm weather. On the other hand, you probably spent zero time keeping track of PDX's best new restaurant openings. Don't worry, we did that for you...
The 11 best new restaurants in Portland
Occupying the old Esparza’s space, TBG's slinging Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. That means margaritas and tacos, sure, but you’ll also find carne adovada, smoky brisket, and enchiladas. Not surprisingly, the bar is stocked with more than tequila, giving the city’s rising collection of mezcal spots another standout.
Opened on a bright corner of Alberta by a couple who just blew in from El Paso, this laid-back Mextaurant has super-garlicky salsa and posole, plus an assortment of quality tacos that make it easy to get distracted from the main attraction: the giant margarita machine!
John Gorham’s latest addition to his roster, MEC (as it’s often shortened), channels the stalwart chef’s extensive time in Israel and the surrounding area. Think orzo, lentils, eggplant, and hummus. In typical Gorham style, most of the plates are smaller and you’re encouraged to get a few to share, which you'll probably be in the mood to do once you start in on the cocktail list from barman Jamal Hassan.
Speaking of Portland restaurateurs, Micah Camden’s latest challenge is to go after Popeyes and other fried chicken slingers from a giant blue building. Once its doors opened, and what might be Portland's best fried fowl for the money was dispensed, it quickly became the most popular destination on an already quality-packed street.
What’s being called the city’s first not-for-profit brewery, Ex Novo, has been open for a few weeks on N Flint. Here's what you need to know: the space is airy, the brewing takes place mere feet from the bar, and they're currently splitting profits between four charities, including Impact NW, Friends of the Children, MercyCorps, and International Justice Mission.
A new restaurant on Division that serves artisan wood-fired pizza? You don’t say! Despite the neighborhood’s almost comical attempt to replicate Portlandia, Pizza Maria (like most other restaurants in its sights) is damn good. They have a very limited menu of marinara pies, salads, and five appetizer options. The cocktails are good, but pricey, and there are only two taps for beer. Considering their current selection though (Barley Brown and Pfriem’s Wit), you won’t be disappointed.
The new restaurant in the recently revamped Hotel Rose, B + K is serving a full menu (breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour, etc.) of "new-American" eats -- including Painted Hills Beef Tartare, Pacific NW salmon, and duck roasted in Pinot Noir -- in a dining room dominated by a brick and tufted-leather clad wall and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace.
Sure, it's sad when a bar/restaurant closes, unless, like Bar Dobre, it only closes so it can reopen and start slinging an expanded version of its badass sandwich menu, including choices like their beloved Do'Burger and a bunch of other meat-and-veggie-based options. Everything's served with a dollop of potato salad or hand-cut fries too.
You'd be forgiven for thinking they meant to call it "Seoul Kitchen", but this Japanese/American hybrid is actually serving Asian-flavored takes on what Southerners would recognize as good-ol'-fashioned BBQ, including grilled spare ribs w/ hoisin BBQ glaze and braised meatballs w/ baby bok choy. Plus there're NW seafood options like Dungeness crab croquettes and roasted wild king salmon, oh, and an entire range of sushi options.
With three food carts and a successful Kickstarter under their belts, owners Heather and Joe were facing high expectations for their first attempt at a brick-and-mortar, which they're meeting with paleo-centric offerings in a casual, kid-friendly space.
Billing itself as a “finer diner”, this old-school space feels a bit like the diner in Twin Peaks. There’s a magazine and candy counter in one corner that no one seems to touch; just quick enough service that once you start questioning whether or not you’ll get another cup of coffee, one arrives; plus a menu full of classics. All-in-all it’s one of the only places you can go in Downtown and feel like you’re transported somewhere else entirely.
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1. Blue Goose2725 SE Ankeny Street, Portland
2. Stella Taco2940 NE Alberta, Portland
3. Mediterranean Exploration Company333 NW 13th Ave, Portland
4. Son of A Biscuit2045 SE Division St, Portland
5. Ex Novo Brewing2326 N Flint Ave, Portland
6. Pizza Maria3060 SE Division St, Portland
7. Bottle + Kitchen50 SW Morrison St, Portland
8. Stan'wiches3962 SE Hawthorne, Portland
9. Pono Farm Soul Kitchen4118 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland
10. Cultured Caveman8233 N Denver Ave, Portland
11. Dime Store837 SW 11th Ave, Portland
The Blue Goose offers another take on Southern food by offering New Mexican and Tex Mex cuisine. This means margaritas and tacos, sure, but you’ll also find smoky brisket and Hatch enchiladas too.
Stella Taco has quietly given the hipster neighborhood a legit Tex Mex joint, thanks to super garlicky salsa and posole and an assortment of quality tacos, plus there's a giant margarita machine!
Think orzo, lentils, eggplant and hummus. The plates are smaller so get a few and share, which is easy to do once you start in on the cocktail list that rarely disappoints.
This new fried chicken joint serves some of the best quick meals in Portland, all for a fairly reasonable price.
Ex Novo is the first not-for-profit brewery and splits it's earnings between different charities.
Pizza Maria is damn good despite a very limited menu of marinara pies, salads, and five appetizer options. It’s easy enough to eat a whole pizza so we recommend getting a couple and sharing a salad or app.
Bottle + Kitchen is serving your typical “New American” fare. The prices are decent (especially for a hotel restaurant) if the food is somewhat uninspired.
This sammie shop has a menu that's divided into meaty sandwiches, vegetarian sandwiches, and burgers. All come with a dollop of potato salad, and it’s definitely worth spending an extra buck to get their hand cut fries.
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.
With three food carts under their belts, owners Heather and Joe opened their first brick-and-mortar. Their paleo-centric offerings are not only proving delicious to casual diners, the open, kid friendly space has made the restaurant a haven for families in the neighborhood.
This “finer diner” serves all the classics you've come to expect from a less-than-finer-diner. It’s one of the only places you can go when you're Downtown and really feel like you’re transported somewhere else entirely.