Food & Drink

An editor's guide to eating around town

Published On 04/18/2013 Published On 04/18/2013
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1. Departure Restaurant & Lounge 525 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97204 (Downtown)

Located in the Nines Hotel, The Departure serves authentic pan-Asian cuisine -- such as sushi, dim sum, and kushiyaki, along with vegan and gluten-free items-- and creative cocktails in a scenic, double balconied setting with a great outdoor seating area and sweeping views of downtown PDX. Try the Tasho Macho, the venue's longest-surviving drink, which is an Asian fusion take on the Moscow mule.

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2. Ox 2225 NE Martin Luther King Blvd, Portland, OR 97212 (Ne Portland)

MLK Blvd smells a lot like grilled meat thanks to the arrival of Ox, the bovine baby of a husband-and-wife team that's dropping Argentinian techniques on meat charred on a Hades-hot, custom-made Grillworks wood-fired grill.

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3. Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen 835 SW 2nd, Portland, OR 97204 (Downtown)

Luc Lac sports an interior reflecting French influences and an expanded menu of recipes from a grandma nice enough to treat you to greens with Hennessy-seared cubes of tenderloin (Damn, you ballin’, nana!), and tomato fried rice or tamarind-lemongrass-broth-steamed mussels, aka Mike Katz if you steal his t-shirt.

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4. Cartopia 1200 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214 (Se Portland)

Cartopia is exactly as it sounds: a mecca of food trucks and foodies alike, all looking for the one that's going to do them in.

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5. 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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6. Riffle NW 333 NW 13th, Portland, OR 97209 (Pearl District)

Seafood joint Riffle NW does some of the craziest stuff with fish since Piranha 3D, but, unlike that movie, it's really good. Case in point: Oregon Coast Petrale Sole covered in urchin sauce and served alongside its own deep-fried skeleton. Which you actually eat. And is delicious.

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7. Firehouse 711 NE Dekum St, Portland, OR 97211 (Concordia)

Occupying an old fire station, Firehouse's got a wood-fired oven, a rotisserie, and a grill firing up fresh Italian food.

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8. Samui Thai Kitchen 3616 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214 (Hawthorne Dist)

Samui is an island in southern Thailand, the region of the country that shares a border with Malaysia. The proximity of the two countries has resulted in a large crossover of cultural particularities, and cooking has certainly been influenced. The people at Samui Thai Kitchen decided to bring their favorite food from home all the way to Portland, turning out American favorites like pad Thai and drunken noodles alongside more authentic dishes like Massaman curry, green curry with beef filet, and soup nuer.

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9. La Bonita 2839 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211 (Ne Portland)

With two locations in Portland, the family that owns & operates La Bonita must be on to something, right? Right. Find out for yourself as you make your way through their straight forward, no nonsense menu filled with Mexican classics from huevos rancheros to chicken tamales and chimichangas to what may be the best enchiladas in the whole damn city.

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10. Stanich's 4915 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213

The unembellished exterior of this Roseway houses on of the city's most beloved sports bars, open since the 1940s. Despite the small space and the eerie graveyard in their backyard, veteran customers have been returning here on a regular basis to admire their wall-to-wall team pennants and sink their teeth into The Special, a portion-defying beef and ham cheeseburger with bacon, egg, and all the fixings your (very hungry) heart desires.

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11. Burnside Brewing Co 701 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214 (Lower Burnside)

Despite what the name may suggest, Burnside Brewing Co. isn't just about the beer. Yes, they've got plenty of it, with over 25 to choose from, including house beers, seasonal favorites, and permanent tap fixtures. But it isn't just about the booze here, as this spot also challenges typical notions about bar food by offering, alongside the expected burgers and fries, dishes like gnocchi, smoked salmon carpaccio, hanger steak, and a take on the Thai Massaman curry.

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12. Big-Ass Sandwiches 304 SE 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97214 (Buckman)

Big-Ass Sandwiches delivers on their promise, loading bread bombs with a mountain of meat before cramming French fries for good measure.

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13. Skyline Restaurant 1313 NW Skyline Blvd, Portland, OR 97229 (Ne Portland)

Skyline offers diner-ish digs (Red-checked floor? Check!) where you can scarf your usual steak burger, but wash it down the right way thanks to an full bar rocking delicious cocktails.

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14. Bluehour 250 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209 (Pearl District)

One of the best aspects of PDX's food scene is that most of our upscale places have rooms tucked away where you can just kick it and eat happy hour food. Case in point: Bluehour, where haute cuisine is served in a chandelier-filled dining room while the cocktail lounge produces cocktails and $5-$7 mini-entrees.

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15. Raven & Rose 1331 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 (Downtown)

Housed within a historical landmark, Raven & Rose serves upscale comfort food and a nearly overwhelmingly large wine list. The beautiful dining room is inspired by the Irish and British countryside, as does the menu. Take dining to the next level by experiencing a bison cheeseburger paired with a craft beer you can't pronounce.

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16. Levant 2448 E Burnside St, Portland, OR (Portland)

This restaurant specializes in creating modern twists on Middle Eastern cuisine, and the open kitchen and fireplace-style grills give chef & owner Scott Snyder freedom to get as creative as possible. Between the selection of house cocktails, draft and bottled beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages, there's something for pretty much everyone here.

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17. Hot Pot City 1975 SW 1st Ave, Portland, OR 97201 (Downtown)

Downtown's Hot Pot City has an all-you-can lunch buffet that's under $10, making midday the ideal time to check out this cross between a Mongolian grill, a dim sum-ery, and a Korean BBQ.

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18. Equinox 830 N Shaver St, Portland, OR 97227

Equinox is a hidden gem where you can score high-end eats and hair of the dog cocktails without the wait. Just don't tell anyone. Wait... dammit!

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19. The Original 300 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204 (Downtown)

The donut burger's become something of a weird staple, but Portland's The Original claims ownership of it, and's probably responsible for a spike in national diabetes.

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20. Blue Star Donuts 1237 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205 (Downtown)

Blue Star's donuts are made from a brioche recipe that originated in France, and the buttery dough takes 18 hours to process before it's fried in rice oil the next morning and served fresh. The sophisticated flavors are a stark contrast to what's on the shelf at Portland's other doughnuttery, the eccentric Voodoo Doughnut. Look there for slabs of bacon and Oreo cookie bits; here you'll find blueberry bourbon basil glaze and chipotle chocolate ganache, and okay, a bacon donut dotted with crunchy bits.

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21. Pok Pok 3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202 (Clintondivision)

James Beard Award-winner Andy Ricker's Pok Pok -- the first of a few outposts around the country -- is known for its menu of authentic Thai food. The kitchen hones in on relatively unknown dishes from the North and Northeast of Thailand (don't expect pad Thai here), but a wide range of Southeast Asian flavors and ingredients are represented. Among the roster of family-style noodle dishes, salads, and smoky meats, the chicken wings are a standout. Based on recipe from a Vietnamese street vendor, the wings are marinated in fish sauce and sugar before they're fried and tossed in garlic, resulting in a caramelized finish and a whole lot of flavor.

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22. Fire On The Mountain 4225 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97215 (Overlook)

The hot and spicy wings at this joint claim to be the best "this side of Buffalo" -- check 'em out for yourself and see if they're right.

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