A Day in Portland: Where to Eat and Drink
Here in Portland, good food isn’t simply a necessity, it’s a way of life. So when visiting the beautiful, evergreen City of Roses, be sure to leave plenty of room in your itinerary for eating…or better yet, just plan your trip around it. From the food cart pods offering a one-stop crash course in international cuisine, to the farmers’ markets teeming with sustainably-grown local produce, to the farm-to-table restaurants tucked away in Portland’s many charismatic neighborhoods, you’ll have no shortage of memorable meals as you explore this uniquely delicious city, fork first.
Edible Feast has teamed up with Expedia to offer a West Coast food and drink tour with stops in Seattle, Portland, Marin & Wine Country, San Francisco, Monterey Bay, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Reno Tahoe. Here are a few of Edible Portland’s must-visit picks if you have a day to spend.
Stumptown Coffee + Tasty n Alder Once properly caffeinated at iconic local roaster Stumptown Coffee’s hip Ace Hotel shop (1026 SW Stark St.), join the brunch crowd at Tasty n Alder (580 SW 12th Ave.) where hearty plates of tasso hash, flaky biscuits, and lemon ricotta pancakes drenched in Oregon blackberry syrup will fortify you for a morning of exploring Washington Park, home to the world-famous International Rose Test Garden and lush Japanese Garden. Or, stick around downtown’s West End district and shop the indie boutiques.
Union Way Once you’ve found this modernist retail arcade’s elusive entrance (Union Way 1022 W. Burnside St.), do all your souvenir shopping in one short stroll—pick up Portland-made Danner boots, Will Leather Goods’ sturdy totes (perfect for your Portland Farmers’ Market haul), and Quin Candy’s hand-made apricot gumdrops, popcorn caramels, and pinot noir lollipops. On the way out, stop at Little T Baker for a Best of Oregon cookie, studded with chunks of bean-to-bar Woodblock Chocolate.
Maurice After getting lost for a while in the generously-stocked cookbook aisles of legendary Powell’s Books, cross the street to chef Kristen Murray’s tiny alabaster atelier, just the spot for a leisurely fika. Maurice’s (921 SW Oak St.) simple, winsome aesthetics, inspired by Murray’s Scandinavian roots, make the perfect backdrop for her equally comely food. Watch from the marble bar as everything is made by hand in the open kitchen, then snack on exquisite dishes like the gooseberry and celery leaf soup and Oregon bay shrimp and radish smørbrød topped with dill fronds.
Olympia Provisions Hop the downtown streetcar and ride through the Pearl District, an urbane enclave rife with boutiques, breweries and bakeries (suggested pit stop: Nuvrei Bakery for fresh croissants baked hourly). From the NW Northrup and 18th Avenue station, it’s a short walk to Olympia Provisions (1632 NW Thurman St.) for lunch. First impressions of this bright, bustling neighborhood gem, well hidden down a quiet Alphabet District side street, are that meat reigns supreme, but the beautiful seasonal salads hold their own. After a charcuterie board, Little Gem lettuces with house-pickled beets, and the incomparable rotisserie chicken, stop by the butcher case and stock up on Olympia’s signature salamis, handmade right in Portland using Oregon pork and freshly ground spices.
Smith Teamaker After indulging in Olympia’s apricot and blueberry crostata, head next door to cozy Smith Teamaker (1626 NW Thurman St.) for a digestive tea flight. From the bar, watch the production of small-batch teas so meticulously sourced that their lineage is trackable via the batch number on the box. Ask about limited edition blends like the Oolong Ice Cream, a collaboration with popular local scoop shop Salt & Straw.
Division Street Currently one of the city’s most vibrant culinary frontiers, this formerly sleepy Southeast street is home to an impressive array of eateries, all within walking distance. To experience Portland’s much talked-about food cart scene, visit Tidbit Food Farm and Garden (SE Division St & SE 28th Pl.), where nearly two dozen food trucks peddle everything from Belizean chicken to tonkotsu ramen. Satisfy your sweeth tooth with an iced Americano and kouign-amann at Roman Candle Baking Co. (3377 SE Division St.), fresh cherry pie á la mode at homey Lauretta Jean’s pie shop (3402 SE Division St.), or an ice cream cone from Salt & Straw (3345 SE Division St.), whose inventive flavors celebrate the area’s best ingredients, like wild-foraged huckleberries, Rogue Creamery blue cheese, and Bee Local’s urban rooftop harvested honey. And if you simply must try Pok Pok, but can’t stomach the line, slip across the street to their sister bar, Whiskey Soda Lounge, for a tamarind drinking vinegar and the famous Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings, sans the famous wait. (3131 SE Division St.)
The Commons Brewery Before dinner, whet your appetite at The Commons (630 SE Belmont St.), one of the most beloved breweries on Portland’s ever-expanding suds circuit. Order the flagship Urban Farmhouse Ale at the bar, then queue up at the window of Cheese Annex, a tiny embedded cheese shop run by cheese guru Steve Jones. Try the NW Board, featuring a trio of the region’s best raw milk cheeses.
Renata This sleek newcomer to the blossoming Central Eastside is attracting early accolades for their stellar craft cocktails, handmade pastas, and wood-fired pizzas (Renata, 626 SE Main St.). After dinner, sneak a peek at adjoining Ancient Heritage Dairy’s state-of-the-art creamery, as well as local darling Alma Chocolate’s production and retail space, then pop into the restaurant’s adjoining Mi Piace specialty shop for gourmet goodies like neighboring Jacobsen Salt Co.’s Oregon sea salt, hand-harvested 80 miles away in Netarts Bay.
Oso Market It’s a three-block walk to Oso Market (726 SE Grand Ave.) and wine bar, where owners Colin and Holly Howard strive to stock locally-made foodstuffs and small producer wines, making this an excellent spot to procure both a glass of Love and Squalor’s Willamette Valley pinot noir and picnic provisions for the next day’s trek to wine country, the Oregon coast or Hood River.
Shift Drinks Bring your day of epicurean wanderings full circle by returning downtown for a nightcap at the stylish new corner bar, Shift Drinks (1200 SW Morrison St.). Expert cocktails, a winning wine list and warm hospitality have quickly earned it a loyal following, particularly among industry types who appreciate the night owl hours. Pick a midnight snack from chef Anne Garcia’s succinct menu of bright salads and heaping bruschetta—the PLT (prosciutto, arugula and tomatoes) is a favorite. As your last hurrah, get the ethereal olive oil cake, topped with whipped cream and a jumble of ripe seasonal fruit.