While everybody else is focusing on bacon, here in Portland we know that it’s almost always better to eat that pure, uncured pork belly. Don't believe us? You will after checking out these 11 PDX dishes...
Pork belly skewer
The American Local (address and info)
The simplest iteration on the list, one of our favorite local izakayas skewers and grills hearty pieces of pork belly and serves them with a dollop of Sriracha and maple syrup. It's a sophisticated way of convincing yourself you’re not sitting at the bar eating fatty chunks of bacon.
Boxer Ramen (address and info)
Okay this may be a little bit of a stretch, but hear us out. While the pork belly is properly balanced with the other ramen toppings, the overwhelming porkiness of the underlying tonkotsu is what makes this a contender for best ramen in town.
El Diablo Arepa
Teote (address and info)
Teote’s buttery corn cakes topped with spicy slow-cooked pork belly is what dreams are made of. Maybe it’s the warm sun on a lively outdoor patio, maybe it’s the micheladas, whatever it is, there’s no better way to enjoy it than savoring every bite of the signature arepas.
Pork Belly Benedict
City State Diner and Bakery (address and info)
Anyone can quickly upgrade their breakfast game by swapping bacon with pork belly, but it takes a measured hand to achieve perfection. City State does this by properly cooking a slab of belly and slapping it on an English muffin with arugula and apricot jam followed by a dill hollandaise bath.
Pork Belly Mac & Cheese
Grassa (address and info)
It should be no surprise that the crew behind Lardo easily whips up a decadent rendition of bacon mac. It’s a classy Southern homage with handmade macaroni, barbecue pork belly, and jalapeños topped with cornbread crumbles.
Ate-Oh-Ate (address and info)
Is it bold to say that this burger sets the standard for how pork belly should be used on all other burgers from here on out? We don’t think so. Granted, it’s complemented by the perfect brioche bun smeared with spicy mayo and topped with shredded iceberg lettuce and funky kimchi relish, which helps, but the belly's the star of this show.
Pono Farm Soul Kitchen (address and info)
One of our favorite restaurants to open last year, Pono Farm Soul Kitchen uses only its own farm-raised beef and pork, which really shines in dishes like this 10-hour braised pork belly with tatsoi and a soft boiled egg in umami-rich soy and black truffle broth.
Ox (address and info)
Pork belly is an obvious dish when you’re serving “Argentine-inspired Portland food.” Ox makes it special by presenting it with braised pork belly, chiles, cilantro, and a fried duck egg. There’s a reason why it’s one of the busiest restaurants in the city.
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1. Double Dragon1235 SE Division, Portland
2. The American Local3003 SE Division St, Portland
3. Teote1615 SE 12th Ave, Portland
4. City State Diner and Bakery128 NE 28th Ave, Portland
5. Grassa1205 SW Washington St, Portland
6. Ate-Oh-Ate2452 E. Burnside Ave, Portland
7. Smallwares4605 NE Fremont, Portland
8. Pono Farm Soul Kitchen4118 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland
9. Ox2225 NE Martin Luther King Blvd, Portland
Brought to you by a dude whose resume includes NYC's famed Momofuku, Double Dragon's bursting with next-level banh mis, featuring meats like five-spiced, hoisin-sauced, and 6hr-braised pulled pork.
Though a modern izakaya is not exactly what you’d expect from a place called The American Local, the food delivers. Expect everything from octopus skewers to grit cakes, fresh-baked Parker house rolls to shrimp-fried quinoa.
A fun and festive late-night spot and casual eatery, the Eastside's Teote is a super-authentic Latin American spot that serves up tasty street fare and grilled meat entrees alongside mezcal cocktails and cervezas aplenty. Known for their crave-worthy arepas, tossed with jalapenos, cheddar, and haberno lime crema, they're so good, you won't even mind that they're gluten free. Teote's semi-hidden upstairs bar area on the top floor, with its own bar area and fire pit, is a great summertime lounging locale.
Happiness is on the menu at City State Diner and Bakery in Portland's Kern neighborhood. Sandwiches with names including Croque Madames and Fancy Pants, can only make you smile.
From the same team that brought you Lardo, Grassa's an Italian resto that dishes out house-made pastas like radiatori, chitarra, and strozzapreti with delicious Boot-inspired sauces and toppings.
Be sure to try the Aina Burger with crispy pork belly, kimchi relish, shredded iceberg, and shaved onion --proving that not all Hawaiian-style burgers come with teriyaki and pineapple.
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.
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.
MLK Blvd smells a lot like grilled meat thanks to the arrival of Ox, the bovine baby of a husband-and-wife team that's dropping Argentinian techniques on meat charred on a Hades-hot, custom-made Grillworks wood-fired grill.