Food & Drink

The 10 Most Romantic Bars and Restaurants in Portland

Published On 01/28/2015 Published On 01/28/2015
Le Pigeon
Dina Avila
Urban Farmer Portland
Dina Avila
Siteworks | Design
David Reamer
John Valls
Lang Baan kitchen & family style dining
David Reamer
Ava Gene's
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1. Coopers Hall 404 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

The wine-heavy Coopers Hall has become one of the best places for large parties to party, mostly thanks to a space designed by the same cats who took that little hotel on Stark and turned it into the powerhouse combination of the Ace Hotel, Kenny & Zukes, and Stumptown.

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2. Urban Farmer 525 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97204 (Downtown)

An actual sustainably sound restaurant (not just another trend-follower...), Urban Farmer boasts "barrel to bar" drinks, beef-cut options that will make you pound your chest, and sides like Asparagus and Lefse (asparagus and what?), which consists of crème fraîche, confit lemon, and dill. It's located on the 8th floor atrium of the Nines Hotel and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner. There's also a popular weekend brunch complete with a Bloody Mary bar.

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3. Lardo 1212 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97205 (Downtown)

With a motto like "Bringing Fat Back," Lardo promises some of Portland's most indulgently carnivorous sandwiches. The term "lardo" actually refers to a specific cut of fatback pork salami that's typically cured with rosemary and other herbs. In the spirit of artisanal salami-curing, this narrow red sandwich joint is all about repurposing traditional meat cuts and charcuterie in more contemporary iterations, as evidenced by the double burger topped with pork pastrami or the spicy meatball banh mi. Even the fries here are loaded with crispy fat and Parmesan. And because no plate of fatback is complete without a beer, Lardo has a rotating selection of craft beers on tap.

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4. Pips & Bounce 833 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214

This beer hall is the place to be if you're into ping pong because there are tons of ping pong tables, and everyone knows that playing ping pong is way cooler than playing pool.

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5. Grassa 1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205 (Downtown)

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.

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6. Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar 7937 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215 (Montavilla)

The husband-&-wife chef team at this cute little spot (decorated with tons of wooden tables) turn out fresh, Southern-inspired comfort food.

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7. LangBaan 6 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

LangBaan is the Thai word for "back of the house". This spot prides itself on providing the complete experience of Thai-style dining from the century-old inspiration. The food is traditionally prepared from the fresh local and seasonal ingredients.

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8. Le Pigeon 738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214 (Buckman)

Yes, it's named after a pigeon, but their amazing upscale fare draws no comparison a common bird. They specialize in French food and they always have market-fresh fish and seafood, as well.

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9. Ava Gene's 3377 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202 (Se Portland)

You'd expect a restaurant by Stumptown Coffee Roasters founder to serve good coffee, but Ava Gene's also excels at vegetable-focused, Roman-inspired New American fare. The chef, Joshua McFadden, honed his green thumb during years spent working at Maine's Season Farm, and puts his experience to use in elemental dishes that are packed with flavor, from carrot and beef slaw to roasted cauliflower with chili and anchovies. That's not to say meat doesn't sing here: duck leg is sweetened with pomegranate, and buttery porterhouse steak is served with mussels. The menu is "aggressively seasonal," so while you can't count of it being the same during every visit, you can be sure it will be fresh, with a different farm or producer highlighted on that day's list. Family-style meals, which the chef will craft based on the harvest, are worth splurging for.

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10. Base Camp Brewing Company 930 SE Oak St, Portland, OR 97214 (Se Portland)

For Base Camp Brewing Company, it's not just about the beer. Okay, so maybe it's mostly about the beer, but that's a good thing! They're constantly devising new recipes and strategies for their brewhouse, and the extensive selection of beers they've concocted should speak for itself.

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