Where to Eat in Portland Right Now
With Thrillist’s Eat Seeker, we've made it our mission to curate an ever-changing list of the very best things to eat at any given moment, from the brand new spots in town to the hottest of the last couple of years. Even during a global pandemic that is decimating the restaurant industry, new restaurants are opening up -- some in response to the changing industry, and others in spite of it. As you scroll you’ll find the ones that have opened up in the last few months, then the ones that have shaped the last few years. There’s also information on the best way to order food from said spots, with takeout, delivery, and a few in-house dining options available.
The gist: When cocktail and whiskey bar Scotch Lodge was closed due to the pandemic, the team came up with Oui Chippy, a takeaway fish and chips shop that operates out of the space. Now that Scotch Lodge has reopened with a patio, Oui Chippy is still the food program.
The food: The french fries are the base of Oui Chippy’s whole deal -- golden, crispy, and thin, they go just as well with the fried fish or tofu as they do as poutine. There’s also fried crab sandwiches, fried chicken sandwiches, a variety of slaw, and Scotch Lodge’s addictive fried brie with verjus.
The cost: Mains are $12 to $19, house chips and snacks start at $6, and slaw is $4. Drinks range in price.
How to order: Order online for takeout and dining in. For delivery, visit Postmates.
The gist: A Cuban restaurant from the chef at the now-closed taco shop Mi Mero Mole, Havana Cafe shares its massive rooftop patio seating with cocktail bar Botanist.
The food: The Cuban comfort food here includes sandwiches like the classic Cubano or a vegetarian variation, plus rice and bean bowls with a variety of meats, including lechon con mojo, mojito chicken, and Cuban picadillo: ground beef with raisins, olives, spices, and tomato. There’s also a vegan picadillo bowl with soy curls and chickpeas. They each come with savory and sweet plantains.
The cost: Sandwiches are $12.75, rice bowls are $12.75 to $14.50, and sides are $3 to $6.
How to order: Diners use QR menus for in-house ordering, with table service.
The gist: Owner Alfredo Climaco used to serve hollowed out pineapples filled with non-alcoholic piña coladas out of his mobile cart at events. Now, he has his own brick and mortar bar with a wide patio to park his cart, and is still serving his whole-pineapple piña coladas, only now with the option to have rum in them.
The food: Alongside a variety of piña coladas, margaritas, and other drinks, Tropicale offers a short food menu with Mexican staples like tacos, tostada, and ceviche. But it’s the big blended piña coladas served in a pineapple that are the real star here.
The cost: Tacos are $5 or two for $9, plates range from $7 to $13, and drinks vary. A whole pineapple worth of piña colada is $16, or $12 sans rum.
How to order: Order directly at the cart.
The gist: Southern fried chicken pop-up from a chef from a native Tennessean, Reckon shares a space with Mediterranean restaurant and bar Culture.
The food: Golden crispy fried chicken, vivid red Kool-Aid pickles, fluffy buttermilk biscuits, collards, and slaw go best with a gallon of sweet tea. For dessert, the Reckon serves hand pies with seasonal fruit filling. Fried livers, chicken and dumplings, and Nashville style hot chicken wings are also on the menu.
The cost: Sides start at $2 and go to $6. Fried chicken is available in a range of sizes from two pieces, two sides, and a biscuit for $11 or $12, to a full bird with each side, four biscuits, and a gallon of sweet tea for $54.
How to order: Order at the front counter or call (503) 719-4158 to place an order for pick-up.
The gist: Maya Lovelace’s blue-hued love letter to Southern cooking may have kicked off the fried chicken crazy that seemed to have swept the city in 2019. Yonder is the permanent location for her previous pop-up Mae.
The food: Buttermilk fried chicken is served either dusted with spices or dipped in North Carolina vinegar sauce. While it’s the main draw, the sides aren’t to be missed either, including pimento cheese macaroni salad, bacon braised collards, and the fantastic biscuits.
The cost: Fried chicken bucket meals are $55 and come with 10-piece fried bird, four biscuits, and two 16 ounce sides. A half bucket is $28, with five pieces of chicken, two biscuits, and two 8 ounce-sides. An assortment of salads, sides, desserts, and drinks range in price.
How to order: Order online via Tok at the website for pickup or via Caviar for delivery.
The gist: Arguably Portland’s biggest opening of 2019, Thai barbecue and cocktail spot Eem combined the efforts of three of Portland’s culinary big names -- Thai chef Earl Ninsom of Hat Yai and Paadee, pit boss Matt Vicedomini of Matt’s BBQ, and bartender Eric Nelson.
The food: Eem currently has two menus -- one is a grab and go menu of curries with smoked meats, as well as sides like fried chicken, papaya salad, and BBQ fried rice. The other menu is a menu of full dinners with four dishes meant for two to three people, each with papaya salad, fried chicken, BBQ fried rice, and a choice of meat curry.
The cost: Complete meals are $49 each. Grab and go prices vary.
How to order: Meals can be ordered on Tock, while a grab and go window is walk-up only with limited outside seating.
The gist: Another of Portland’s favorite “food cart to brick-and-mortar” success stories, the colorful Gado Gado sits in an unassuming strip mall and serves Indonesian cuisine.
The food: At the moment, the restaurant’s titular Indonesian salad is absent, but the menu includes roti; pork and shrimp dumplings; tuna belly salad with melon, cucumber, and spices; and a pile of oregon crawfish with chile jam and sweet rolls.
The cost: Gado Gado dishes range from $10 to $25. Oma’s Takeaway ranges from $6 to $12, with the nasi lemak being $12.
How to order: Place orders takeout online.
The gist: A cozy cafe from celebrated Portland chef Carlo Lamagna, Magna is a celebration of Filipino family cooking. While the pandemic has been hard on the intimate restaurant, the team has adapted, and now serves to-go rice bowls and sides with plaza seating on the street outside.
The food: Dinner sees rice bowls with Filipino pickles and a choice of main -- options include inihaw na baboy (cola and gf soy marinated smoked pork ribs), tortang talong (eggplant omelet), and the classic chicken adobo. Sides include pancit bihon noodles, ube cookies, and the iconic, flaky pork lumpia.
The cost: Rice bowls are $17 and sides range from $2 to $11.
How to order: Pre-order for takeout at the website or drop in to the walk-up window.
The gist: A charming, art-strewn restaurant for Indonesian street food, coffee, and snacks.
The food: Dinners are best started with some snacks, like gorengan (deep fried fritters), meat skewers, and some fruit and vegetable salads. For entrees, dishes like gado gado (a warm vegetable salad) and ayam goreng (Indonesian fried chicken) are good intros for those who haven’t had the opportunity to sample much Indonesian food. The nasi uduk offers a nice sampling of components, with deep fried egg in hot chile sauce, pickled vegetables in turmeric peanut sauce, and sweet and spicy stir-fried tempe served over rice with a tapioca cracker.
The cost: Snacks run from $4.50 to $7.50, while the entrees run from $12 to $17.
How to order: Order online for takeout or via Caviar for delivery
Holy Trinity Barbecue
The gist: Another food cart proving that Portland, weirdly, knows how to do Texas-style barbecue, Holy Trinity was one of the first food carts in the rapidly developing John’s Marketplace food cart pod on Powell Boulevard.
The food: Brisket, pork ribs, and burnt ends, sausage, and pulled pork are all slow smoked, running with limited orders each week and often selling out. The pro move is to build a sampler plate with a number of meat options, as well as a few sides like cheesy grits.
The cost: Meat is priced out by the half-pound, usually with prices around $13 for brisket, $10 for pork ribs, and $9 for pulled pork, while sausages are $5.50 each. Family packs are $60 or $120 based on size. Due to fluctuating meat availability, prices are liable to change.
How to order: Walk up to the cart for à la carte meat and sandwich options, or order ahead online.
Lady of the Mountain
The gist: A sleek Nordic bar and restaurant in the sleek hostel Kex, Dottir serves cocktails, wine, beer, and Nordic cuisine, while the upstairs rooftop bar Lady of the Mountain focuses on snacks and low-proof cocktails and highballs.
The food: For Dottir, the menu is built around three-course set menus which change regularly for the season and whim. Sides like pickled eggs and the fabulous onion rings are also available. For Lady of the Mountain, the menu is smaller fare with dishes like crudite, salmon rillettes, and popcorn shrimp schnitzel.
The cost: Onion rings are $12, three-course dinners are $45. Lady of the Mountain small plates range from $7 to $18.
How to order: In-house ordering, with reservations available via Tock.
Khao Moo Dang
The gist: A casual, counter service restaurant for rice and pork bowls, with a number of delivery options.
The food: The titutal khao moo dang is the star of the show here, for good reason. It’s an exercise in Thai comfort food -- five spiced pork loin, crispy pork belly, chinese sausage, and soft boiled egg over rice with sauce, cucumber, and a side of soup. Variations on the main dish, noodle bowls, soups, and pork sides are also available.
The cost: $12 for Khao Moon Dang, while other bowls and variations range from $10 to $13.50. Add ons and sides are $1.50 to $9.
How to order: Order at the shop for takeaway and dine in, or with Postmates, Door Dash, or GrubHub for delivery.
The gist: A food cart turned glamorous brick and mortar with a successful crowdfunding campaign, Malka opened just in time for the pandemic to hit. The restaurant now serves its eclectic, maximalist bowls and sandwiches for takeout and delivery.
The food: Malka’s food is tough to pin down, but often involves rice bowls and salads loaded with fresh fruits, marinated meats, herbs, spices, and sauces. For instance the Important Helmet For Outer Space is a bbq curry pork and rice bowl with avocado, mushrooms, tamarind slaw, crispy shallots, lime, and more. The Bellflower is a jasmine rice salad with fresh fruit and vegetables, piles of herbs, nuts, sesame, a choice of protein, and coconut-lime fish sauce. Somehow, it all works.
The cost: Entrees are $16 to $18, while smaller items like the pulled pork sandwich is $10.
How to order: Call (503) 899-4245 to place an order for pickup or visit Caviar for delivery.
The gist: Canard was Portland’s restaurant of the year for just about every publication when it opened in 2018. The casual bistro offshoot of the landmark restaurant Le Pigeon, Canard feels like a Parisian cafe but with Pacific Northwest flair.
The food: Most of the food at Canard is playfully indulgent and rich -- the signature duck stack includes duck fat pancakes topped with duck gravy and duck egg; the addictive steam burgers come as single or in a six-pack with slider patties on Hawaiian rolls with American cheese; and the fried chicken wings are a must with truffle ranch and truffle honey.
The cost: Duck stack and chicken wings are each $16.50, a six-pack of steam burgers is $26, while salads, fries, pancakes, and other dishes range from $6 to $30.
How to order: Orders for takeout and delivery are both available on the website.
The gist: An upbeat bistro with a heavy seafood component, Normandie combines French and Northwest cooking but isn’t afraid to draw inspiration from cuisines across the world. It’s also a place for local and European wines, as well as apple brandy cocktails.
The food: Normandie offers à la carte items like burgers, BBQ carrot salads, ceviche, grilled octopus with green beans, shrimp rolls, and the stunning corn and padron pepper beignets. It also has a family meal, with tamarind glaze pork, rice with pickles and herbs and lettuce for wraps, a cabbage wedge salad with lardon, and sorbet.
The cost: Family meals are $55, burgers are $14, beignets are $10, and other dishes range from $5 to $28
How to order: Order online at Normandie’s website or out on the patio for dining in.
The gist: Quick, affordable, and healthy Kashimiri dining from chef Deepak Kaul, who worked at some high end restaurants in New York and San Francisco.
The food: Rice bowls are the mainstay at Bhuna, including a pleasantly spicy pork vindaloo, comforting Chettinad chicken, and a number of vegetarian options including kohlrabi and collards, Kashimiri tomato and eggplant, and Kashmiri palak paneer. Chickpea-battered calamari and lotus root fries are a great way to start a meal here, and sides include extra vegetables, rice, naan, and dal.
The cost: Rice bowls are $11 to $15, except at happy hour when they’re all $11 with a beer or soda. Starters and sides range from $3 to $9, while a family meal with multiple rice bowl mixings, starters, sides, and dessert is $55.
How to order: Online orders for pickup and delivery are available at the website, or diners can drop in for orders at the counter.
The gist: A fried chicken and jojos food cart at the John’s Market pod with a hilariously iconclastic Instagram account.
The food: The Southern fried chicken sandwich is a great starting place, with golden-fried chicken thighs of monstrous proportion atop fluffy buns with slaw, pickles, and Jojo sauce. Variations like bacon ranch and spicy chicken are also worth the visit, as are the crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside jojos that give the shop its name. While it’s mostly known for its chicken and jojos, the burgers served at Jojo are just as good as the sandwiches.
The cost: The Southern fried chicken sandwich is $12, and jojos start at $4 for a small order, are $7 for a large order, or $10 for loaded jojos with either American or cheddar cheese. Cheeseburgers are $8 to $12, with the option for doubling or add-ons.
How to order: Order online, call in at (971) 331-4284, or visit the cart.
The gist: A Texas-meets-Portland restaurant from acclaimed chef Doug Adams, Bullard was one of most anticipated restaurants when it opened in December of 2018.
The food: Navigating the complexities of a COVID-19 world, Bullard offers its food as a series of daily meal packages: one day of the week might be a TexMex night with ground beef and queso burritos, another sees a dry-aged burger kit or San Antonio roasted chicken. It always serves a small group and comes with sides and dessert.
The cost: Prices vary based on the meal, usually between $50 and $75.
How to order: The restaurant’s website has delivery and takeout options for each meal.
The gist: Self-described a “reverse steakhouse,” G Love is a bright and cheerful bistro that puts vegetable plates as the entrees, with meat dishes as sides and starters.
The food: G Love’s approach to contemporary American dining focuses on seasonality and locality, expressing the cuisine of the Northwest in fresh and light ways while borrowing from other regions. Here, tomato crudo with Thai chilis and basil, melon salad with grilled peppers, corn and squash pappardelle pasta, charred hanger steak, and blackened albacore tuna are paired with local and Old World wines.
The cost: Dishes at G Love range from $7 to $17, with a two-person takeout meal for $45.
How to order: Order online for takeout and delivery at the website.