Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Portland Right Now

Updated On 03/19/2018 at 05:51PM EST Updated On 03/19/2018 at 05:51PM EST
Tiffin Asha
Tiffin Asha | Aubrie LeGault / Thrillist
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Courtesy of Bistro Agnes

Bistro Agnes

Downtown

Portland’s premier Francophile destination
Agnes has a French menu so traditional you’ll be surprised no one is smoking inside. Here you’ll find classic French dishes like beef bourguignon, steak frites, and cassoulet, all at classic French prices. It’s casual enough to stop in for a martini and charcuterie, but fancy enough for an expensive three-course dinner with wine pairings. And those who lament the lost SuperBite (its predecessor), need not despair: the truffle spaghettios are hidden under the pan-roasted chicken breast… OK, so maybe it’s not 100% authentic French.

Courtesy of Roe

Roe

Downtown

Ode to the Pacific’s bounty
Roe has returned after almost a year hiatus to a new spot tucked in the back of Morgan’s Gallery -- essentially a fancy strip mall Downtown. There, Chef Trent Pierce and Chef de Cuisine Patrick Schultz make all manner of elegant, exciting fish dishes using locally-sourced seafood and a variety of methods and approaches, from Japanese to Pacific Northwestern. Guests can order from a four-course or seven-course tasting menu full of inventive items like olive oil and compressed pear poached salmon or butterfish sashimi with shaved truffles. Dinner here isn’t cheap, especially when accompanied by the exciting wine and saké pairings, but Roe makes it all worth it.

Hem 23

Hem 23

Northwest 23rd

Hip Vietnamese street food and cocktails
Portland has no dearth of good Vietnamese restaurants, but Hem 23, named for the Vietnamese word for ‘alley’ combined with the fact that it sits on 23rd Ave., is still a welcome addition to the crowded scene. The focus is on Vietnamese street food, including some dishes rarely found elsewhere in town, like lemongrass frog legs, and some ubiquitous dishes, like Vietnamese chicken wings, with a tried-and-true approach. Owner Tuan Lam also brought in some alumni from The Whisk{e}y Library to bust out a hip cocktail menu, complete with Asian influenced drinks like a vodka cocktail with strawberry boba.

Nimblefish

Hosford-Abernethy

Portland’s freshest new sushi
Nimblefish opened with little fanfare but a solid reception, and quickly established itself as a sushi powerhouse in the city. Rather than the trendy omakase style, where a chef prepares a meal to a price set by the guest, sushi here is served à la carte. Find handrolls, as well as fish flown in from Japan served as either nigiri or sashimi, with only minor embellishments and the emphasis on the meat itself. You’ll also find saké, beer, and wine, all served in a beautiful, serene space.

Stoopid Burger

Kerns

Temple to burger-fueled gluttony
Slowburger may be gone, but its mantle has been assumed by the new resident, Stoopid Burger. Questionable spelling aside, Stoopid Burger is sure to be a new favorite burger spot for many, with hamburgers stacked to obscene levels, like its titular stoopid burger, a patty topped with lettuce, onion, pickles, cheddar, bacon, ham, hotlinks, and an egg, served with fries. And sure, you can always order a “boring burger” without eight extra meats, but why do that when you can flirt with cardiac arrest in the form of the Ignorant Burger, a triple patty monstrosity with all the stoopid burger accoutrements, plus steak, chicken strips, onion rings, mushroom, and pineapple jalapeno chutney. It’ll cost you $40, but you likely won’t need another meal for the next month.

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Courtesy of Ken's Artisan Pizza

Ken's Artisan Pizza

Kerns

The true king of Neapolitan pizza
The debate about who serves the best Neapolitan style pizza in town has raged for years, and it often comes down to Ken’s Artisan Pizza and Apizza Scholls. Both are great, but Ken’s is unbeatable with its thin, wood-fired oven-baked pizzas, dolloped with imported cheeses and topped with high-quality meats. Plus, it now sports a full cocktail bar, along with its already impressive wine list. Just be sure to add a heaping pile of arugula to any pizza you get.

La Moule

La Moule

Clinton-Division

Portland’s best mussels complemented by Portland’s prettiest wallpaper
Stylish and sexy yet unpretentious, La Moule has spent the last few years since its inception nailing down and perfecting its Franco-Belgian influenced menu. An excellent cocktail list, Belgian beers, and French wine make it a great casual date spot, but the food elevates it to a full-on restaurant. Find roast duck, lamb shank, and a hearty burger with thick bacon and brie, or just stick to the namesake: bowls of moules, with a variety of styles from the classic butter, shallots, and capers to Alsatian, with braised cabbage and caramelized onions. Just be sure to grab a side of shoe-string fries to help sop up the mussel broth.

Courtesy of Tasty n Sons

Tasty and Sons

Boise

The Spanish brunch that started it all
One of the earliest installations of John Gorham’s eventual city-wide food empire, Tasty and Sons is still one of his best. Its Spanish influenced, tapas-style service redefined the brunch scene in Portland, and years after opening still sees daily lines for the chocolate potato donuts, radicchio salad, shakshuka, and moroccan chicken hash. A list of great coffee cocktails and bloody marys cements it as one of the city’s best brunch spots.

Jennie Huang

Marukin

Buckman and Downtown

Japan’s #1 Portland export
Portland didn’t use to have the plethora of ramen restaurants it has now. And as such, we’re positively rife with Japanese noodle joints, many of them ranking good-to-great. Marukin, though, stands apart: an import straight from Japan, the counter service restaurant serves its sizeable bowls of creamy broth and freshly made noodles for around $11 each. If it has a downside, it’s that the vegan bowls aren’t as remarkable as the ones with pork belly and egg, but for those that eat meat, it’s hard to find a better ramen spot in town. Plus there are two locations, one on Alder and one in Pine Street Market.

Courtesy of Xico

Xico

Division/Clinton

Simply fancy-ass Mexican food
Any Californian or Texan moving to Portland will opine the common testament that “Portland has no good Mexican food”. What they really mean is “Portland doesn’t have good, cheap tacos”, which is arguable, but it’s also not the only kind of Mexican food out there. Xico serves exemplary high-end, casual Mexican cuisine with fresh, local ingredients whenever possible. Find dishes like enchiladas, mollete, gorditas, and more, along with mezcal, tequila, and even Mexican wines.

Little Bird

Downtown

Le Pigeon’s little sister all grown up
Gabriel Rucker’s fabulous marriage of Northwestern cuisine and French dining is Le Pigeon, which helped set Portland on the food map of America. But his second restaurant, Little Bird, is just a bit roomier, a bit prettier, and slightly more affordable for a casual night out, all without sacrificing any quality. Plus, it has a full cocktail bar and happy hour. Le Pigeon may be the queen of Portland dining, but Little Bird is easily the princess.

Dan Schlegel/Thrillist

Basilisk

Kerns

Proof that Portland CAN do Nashville-style chicken
While we've been given every rendition of a burger possible, we're in want of a reprieve from all the beefiness with a zesty non-fast food chicken sandwich. Basilisk made this possible, and we are so very grateful for it. For the full experience, order up some Dan Dan fries, covered in peanut sauce, and chili oil, then top it all off with Kool-Aid flavored soft serve ice cream.

Christine Dong

Hat Yai

N Portland

Fried chicken and curry from Thailand
Chef Earl Ninsom of praised Thai restaurants Langbaan and PaaDee proves he can run a casual counter-service restaurant without compromising quality. The southern Thai-style fried chicken is the focus here. Served best as a combo plate with sticky rice, rich curry, and roti (pan-fried bread), the chicken is aromatic and juicy with a thin but crunchy layer of well-spiced breading. For a truly indulgent experience, mix up a little bit of everything in the curry and wrap it in a piece of roti. Wash it down with a sip of Tamarind Whiskey Smash.

Jordan Fox

Nomad PDX

Northeast

Hip prix fixe menu and stylish bar
Nomad.PDX has long given up its nomadic roots in exchange for a beautiful, spacious building filled with plants and exposed brick. The multi-course tasting menu varies from day to day, based on seasonality and availability of ingredients, and is always a bold, striking exploration of food and its source. It’s also got the stylish and sexy Ash Bar attached, where you can find à la carte items, cocktails, and wine.

Pizza Jerk

Cully

Portland’s ultimate pizza darling
An industry darling, Pizza Jerk repeatedly proves that no pizza concept is too absurd for Tommy Habetz, the man behind Bunk Sandwiches, to pull off. It’s a truly Portland pizza spot, in that it’s inventive, laid back, boasts just enough pretension, and is a lot of fun. It’s also just really, truly good pizza. And soon the Buckman crowd will be getting their own Pizza Jerk location, making the already crowded restaurant area even better.

Dina Avila

Tiffin Asha

Alberta

Food cart-turned-brick-and-mortar specializing in dosas
Tiffin Asha started its life as an Indian food cart before launching a brick and mortar in early 2017 (the now-classic Portland restaurant story). Unlike other Indian spots though, don’t expect plates of Tandoori chicken or flatbread -- Tiffin Ash specializes in dosa, a fermented crepe made of rice and lentils, filled with tasty bits like chutney, cheeses, or chicken. “Gun powders,” a dried mix of spices and lentils, are eaten as flavorful sides, or as a topping for the dosa and other dishes. Don’t miss out on our favorite time to go: the Sunday brunch.

Stacked Sandwiches

Stacked Sandwiches

SE Industrial

Best sandwiches in Portland
In the year since it opened, Gabriel Pascuzzi’s Stacked Sandwiches has quickly defined itself as one of the best sandwich shops in the city. It helps that the sandwiches are, well, different. Rather than the classic sub style found at many other spots, Stacked offers an array of sandwich types, including a fantastic turkey Reuben and what’s arguably the best French dip in town. Stacked also goes beyond sandwiches, with great happy hour food items, sides, and cocktails. All meats are smoked, cured, roasted, or brined in-house, and only the breads are made elsewhere, at Pearl Bakery.

Nong's Khao Man Gai

Nong's Khao Man Gai

PSU, Downtown, & Buckman

Chicken and rice absolutely perfected
Nong’s is perfection in simplicity. Nong Poonsukwattana’s impressive story took her from Bangkok to the US with just $70 in her pockets, to restaurant work, and then a food cart where she served Thai chicken and rice: Khao Man Gai. Today she has multiple food carts, a brick and mortar, and another restaurant set to open. At all of them, the dish is seasoned and poached chicken served with rice, a light soup, cucumbers, and cilantro. You can get it with peanut sauce and broccoli if you like, and the PSU location offers pork simmered in Coca-Cola and herbs, but the original reigns supreme. It’s not only a defining dish for Nong, but one for the city.

Matt's BBQ

Alberta

Texas-style brisket and sausage served truckside
This North Portland-based BBQ food truck is open Wednesday through Sunday until 7pm (or until it sells out of its Texas-style smoked meats, and it always sells out). Matt Vicedomini is an unexpected character to be making Portland’s best Texas-style ribs and brisket, as the Long Islander worked at Michelin restaurants in New York before studying barbecue in Australia of all places, but there’s no denying the quality. While the pork ribs and beef brisket are the star of the show, a la carte or on a bun, his sausage shouldn’t be passed over either. You’ll want to get The Whole Shebang for $20, which is each of his meats and all the sides.

Carly Diaz

Kachka

Buckman

Russian dumpling powerhouse
“Get the dumplings” is something you’ll hear when you announce you’re going to Russian restaurant Kachka. It’s the right move, too, as the beef, pork, veal, and onion dumplings are one of Portland’s most treasured culinary items, as are the tvorog vareniki dumplings with scallions and goat cheese. That being said, basically everything on the menu at Kachka is delicious, with signature dishes like rabbit in a clay pot (exactly what it sounds like) or Herring Under a Fur Coat, a Russian-style seven-layer dip. And be sure to sample the drinks. Even the most anti-clear-spirits whiskey drinker will be trying to pronounce a Russian toast while ordering another flight of chilled vodka to go with their Zakuski (drinking snacks).