Why Seattle’s Food Scene Dominates Portland’s

Chona Kasinger/Thrillist
Chona Kasinger/Thrillist

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Having seemingly come to terms with the fact that Portland, while pretty sweet, just isn’t quite as good as Seattle, our neighbors to the south have decided to claim their food scene is, at least, the best in the northwest. Strangely enough some people actually agree with them, but we know better: we know eating in Portland is great and all, but it’s like going to college parties -- the music is a little too loud, it’s exhausting, and they all start to look exactly alike after a little while. In fact, it brings to mind an old college sports chant: OVERRATED. Seriously, here are 13 reasons The Town’s food scene destroys the one in PDX...

We actually have ethnic food

Sadly, it seems like if you want anything outside eats in the European tradition, it’s relatively hard to get it in Portland (except for like, dim sum apparently). Seattle meanwhile has everything from hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurants (not to mention one of the best in the country), to high-end Vietnamese spots, as well as a Korean fried chicken bar, and Cambodian soup joints. Seattle has food from all over the world, and even better...

You can sit down while you eat

Thankfully, not every one of Seattle’s best eateries is a food cart/truck, meaning they have dining rooms with these things called tables, and chairs. We know! It’s amazing.

Chona Kasinger/Thrillist

Our trucks are actually trucks

There’s every chance one of Seattle’s sweetest mobile eateries will actually come to your ‘hood instead of making you schlep to some “pod” somewhere.

There’s more than one restaurant designer in Seattle

Did you just walk into a French café? Or a Greek bistro? In Seattle, there’s an easy way to tell: look around. In Portland, it doesn’t matter what restaurant you’re in, there’s the exact same reclaimed-wood tables and Edison bulbs as everywhere else, and your Mason jar full of water is on the table next to your silverware -- rolled up in a kitchen towel repurposed as a napkin.

Maximilien/ Alvin Ngan

The seafood is better

The thing about seafood is… it comes from the sea, something Seattle is actually located on. Portland, on the other hand, has a (debatably) lovely river. But it’s not called riverfood.

It’s called Seattle-style teriyaki

As many as 10% of the restaurants in the 206 serve what’s come to be called “Seattle-style teriyaki” (it’s basically the city’s signature food), but so does pretty much every teriyaki restaurant on the West Coast. Oh, and despite its aforementioned distance from the sea, that includes Portland.

Flickr/Joey Rozier

We have the best hot dogs

Part of having a fully developed restaurant scene is having local specialties -- the kind of food that is ingrained in the city’s culture and omnipresent. Seattle has two: the aforementioned teriyaki and the cream cheese-topped hot dog. Portland has… reclaimed-wood tables?

Better alcoholic beverages

We don’t care what a certain lifestyle site that rhymes with “illest” says, we think Seattle is a better beer city (eighty breweries opened in Washington -- most of them in Seattle -- last year alone), and so would everyone else if we spent more time bragging about our brews, instead of actually drinking them. But whatever… what’s actually clear is that Washington wine -- and its wide range of varietals -- kicks Oregon’s pinot noir lovin’ butt; given that Washington produces more apples than any other state, so does our burgeoning cider scene; and oh, by the way, there are more craft distilleries around here than the rest of the country combined. ‘Nuff said.

Flickr/Jessica Spengler

Better coffee

There was a time when this might have gone to Portland, back when Seattle was stuck in a Starbucks rut and Portland had already discovered third-wave cafes. But that was then -- Seattle coffee is back with a vengeance and poor Stumptown can’t keep up.

We have the best stadium food in the country

OK, so we do care what a certain lifestyle site that rhymes with “illest” says.

Chona Kasinger/Thrillist

Seattle has the country’s best farmers' market

Three words: Pike Place Market… no, seriously we’re not gonna say anything else.

Seattle actually has high-end dining

Like that college party where the Bud Light Limes are plentiful but you can’t get a decent IPA to save your life, Portland has a glut of mid-level restaurants. What it doesn’t have are the high-end classics: places like Canlis, the Herbfarm, or Altura, where you can classily wine and dine everyone from the love of your life, to your grandparents (especially when they’re paying).

Anthony's Restaurants

P.S. Portland, we see your “airport food scene”...

… and raise you the most popular airport restaurant in the country. So there.

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Naomi Tomky is the rare born-and-bred Seattleite and is perfectly willing to defend it against less-superior cities to the south. Follow her on Twitter @Gastrognome and Instagram @the_gastrognome.