The 17 Most Important Restaurants in Portland

Portland has some of the best restaurants... well, anywhere, but what are it's most important restaurants? Which places, whether it's because they're beloved institutions or because they're uniquely "Portland," have had the greatest impact on PDX's culinary community? Not to put too fine a point on it, but they are these 17 sweet eat spots... which you're totally free to disagree with us about in the comments below:

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Little Big Burger</a></h2>

<em>Old Town/Chinatown (&amp; Other Locations)&nbsp;</em><br />
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. <a href="…; target="_blank">And this polished miniature burger joint is bound to be the next</a>.

Flickr/Robyn Lee

<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Pok Pok</a></h2>

<em>Multiple locations</em><br />
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.<br />

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Paley’s Place</a></h2>

<em>Alphabet District</em><br />
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.<br />

Flickr/Anne Jacko

<em>Ladd’s Addition</em><br />
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&nbsp;modern leaning restaurant unassumingly located on Hawthorne at the edge of Ladd’s Addition.


<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Le Pigeon</a></h2>

<em>Buckman</em><br />
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.


<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Apizza Scholls</a></h2>

<em>East Tabor</em><br />
When a Pacific Northwest pizzeria becomes <a href="…; target="_blank">one of the best in America</a> 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

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Nong’s Khao Man Gai</a></h2>

<em>Multiple locations</em><br />
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.<br />

<h2 class="venue-text input"><a href="; target="_blank">Huber’s Cafe</a></h2>

<em>Downtown</em><br />
Portland’s oldest restaurant features a classic bar setting and damn good turkey sandwiches. <a href="…; target="_blank">Not to mention the folks here invented the Spanish Coffee</a>.

Clyde Common

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Clyde Common</a></h2>

<em>Downtown</em><br />
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.


<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Nostrana</a></h2>

<em>Southeast Portland</em><br />
An Italian staple helmed by Chef Cathy Whims who has six James Beard nominations under her belt. <a href="…; target="_blank">Plus its pizza is unbeatable</a>. Except maybe by&nbsp;Apizza Scholls, but whatever.

Bamboo Sushi

<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Bamboo Sushi</a></h2>

<em>Kerns</em><br />
Bamboo is important <a href="; target="_blank">not only for being some of the best, most forward thinking sushi in the city</a>, but also for pushing the needle on sustainable fishing and how a seafood-centric restaurant should go about its business.<br />

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Ken's Artisan Bakery</a></h2>

<em>Alphabet District</em><br />
<a href="…; target="_blank">Amid the recent pizza frenzy</a> 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

<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Ha &amp; VL&nbsp;</a></h2>

<em>Southeast Portland</em><br />
<a href="…; target="_blank">Quite possibly Portland’s best, most authentic noodle shop</a>, an obsession for local chefs, and proof that you can find quality without pomp and circumstance.

Flickr/George Kelly

<h2><a href="…; target="_blank">Screen Door</a></h2>

<em>Kerns</em><br />
Arguably the punchline to most Portland brunch jokes, Screen Door got there by <a href="…; target="_blank">embracing queue culture and serving food that’s worth the wait</a>.


<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Toro Bravo</a></h2>

<em>Eliot</em><br />
John Gorham’s noisy tapas restaurant is nestled next to the Wonder Ballroom, and while <a href="…; target="_blank">another legendary line may be off putting</a>, this is the place that launched the Gorham rmpire -- and now has its own cookbook.


<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Besaw’s</a></h2>

<em>Alphabet District</em><br />
<a href="…; target="_blank">One of our absolute favorite places for breakfast</a> 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.


<h2><a href="; target="_blank">Lardo</a></h2>

<em>Multiple locations</em><br />
Classic Portland storyline, cart turned brick-and-mortar turned chain. It's ahead of the curve collaborating with chefs for the monthly Chefwich, <a href="…; target="_blank">plus it has one of our favorite sandwiches</a>.<br />
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