Food & Drink

The 17 Most Important Restaurants in Portland

Published On 05/18/2015 Published On 05/18/2015

Little Big Burger

Old Town/Chinatown (& Other Locations) 
Now that Micah Camden’s brand of fast-casual has become an international sensation, it’s only a matter of time before a majority of his concepts seep out of our fair city. And this polished miniature burger joint is bound to be the next.

Flickr/Robyn Lee

Pok Pok

Multiple locations
The first Portland restaurant with a legitimate claim to a Michelin star, Pok Pok is fast becoming a national sensation for more than its wings. Andy Ricker’s authentic Thai food is a revelatory addition to America’s tastebuds.
 

Paley’s Place

Alphabet District
Established in 1995, Paley’s Place has been the French restaurant in Portland for 20 years (it seems like longer!). Chef Vitaly Paley has trained a legion of successful local chefs and continues to enrich our culinary scene through enthusiastic support and delicious ideas.
 

Flickr/Anne Jacko

Castagna

Ladd’s Addition
What started with Chef Matthew Lightner, who found further success in New York City, has blossomed into something special under James Beard nominated Chef Justin Woodward at this modern leaning restaurant unassumingly located on Hawthorne at the edge of Ladd’s Addition.

DAVID REAMER

Le Pigeon

Buckman
James Beard Award-winning Chef Gabriel Rucker’s recipe of northwest-influenced French dining transcends city limits and has a case to be one of the West Coast’s best restaurants.

Thrillist

Apizza Scholls

East Tabor
When a Pacific Northwest pizzeria becomes one of the best in America you take note. It’s no surprise that it’s a daily race to get in before they run out of dough.

DREW TYSON/Thrillist

Nong’s Khao Man Gai

Multiple locations
Nong Poonsukwattana’s American dream story is well document and a testament to her skill and determination. Most importantly, her simple chicken dish is addictively good.
 

Huber’s Cafe

Downtown
Portland’s oldest restaurant features a classic bar setting and damn good turkey sandwiches. Not to mention the folks here invented the Spanish Coffee.

Clyde Common

Clyde Common

Downtown
It’s not the food that sets Clyde Common apart from the rest, but Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s award winning bar that pioneered barrel-aged cocktails and directed eyes towards Portland’s cocktail scene.

Nostrana

Nostrana

Southeast Portland
An Italian staple helmed by Chef Cathy Whims who has six James Beard nominations under her belt. Plus its pizza is unbeatable. Except maybe by Apizza Scholls, but whatever.

Bamboo Sushi

Bamboo Sushi

Kerns
Bamboo is important not only for being some of the best, most forward thinking sushi in the city, but also for pushing the needle on sustainable fishing and how a seafood-centric restaurant should go about its business.
 

Ken's Artisan Bakery

Alphabet District
Amid the recent pizza frenzy you might have forgotten that master baker Ken Forkish began with a modest bakery in a quiet northwest neighborhood. This bakery has earned him two nominations for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef while his book won the award in 2013.

Flickr/Ron Dollete

Ha & VL 

Southeast Portland
Quite possibly Portland’s best, most authentic noodle shop, an obsession for local chefs, and proof that you can find quality without pomp and circumstance.

Flickr/George Kelly

Screen Door

Kerns
Arguably the punchline to most Portland brunch jokes, Screen Door got there by embracing queue culture and serving food that’s worth the wait.

DAVID L. REAMER

Toro Bravo

Eliot
John Gorham’s noisy tapas restaurant is nestled next to the Wonder Ballroom, and while another legendary line may be off putting, this is the place that launched the Gorham rmpire -- and now has its own cookbook.

Besaw's

Besaw’s

Alphabet District
One of our absolute favorite places for breakfast is also really solid for lunch and dinner. Unfortunately recent legal battles threaten this century old institution -- perhaps a glimpse of something that will become more common as Portland grows.

DREW TYSON/THRILLIST

Lardo

Multiple locations
Classic Portland storyline, cart turned brick-and-mortar turned chain. It's ahead of the curve collaborating with chefs for the monthly Chefwich, plus it has one of our favorite sandwiches.

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