Portland’s food scene is saturated with options and most city residents eat out more often than they do in. The variety of street-food trucks, seasonal farm-to-table restaurants and jolly independent outposts make for a very happy tummy indeed. Here are just a few of our favourites.

Never Coffee Lab

Tiny and bright, Never Coffee Lab not only stands out because of its Matisse-style painting on the back wall, but also its creative speciality lattes. Ones to try include the “Holy Grail” with warming turmeric and ginger and the “Oregon”, with dulce de leche, and a pinch of sea salt. Best of all, drinks are served in colourful, locally made ceramic mugs.

Cheese & Crack Snack Shop

What began as a humble cheese cart has turned into a fully fledged shop where cheese-lovers can order curated bites of cheese, accoutrements and beer. This tiny, 20-seat café offers an array of plates to share, sandwiches, salads and even its famous vanilla soft serve with chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of espresso dust for afters.

Screen Door

If you’re looking for Southern classics, head to Screen Door on East Burnside. Famous for its fried chicken and waffles, the menu also offers shrimp, grits and praline bacon too. You’re better off heading over during the week to avoid queues but in the meantime, you can always grab a coffee at Heart Roasters round the corner.

Blue Star Donuts

When you need a sugar fix, there’s nothing quite like the fluffy doughnuts from Blue Star and luckily it has a few outlets dotted around Portland. Endlessly creative and fun, it offers a whole host of options ranging from cinnamon sugar to chocolate buttermilk old-fashioned. These will go down even better with one of Blue Star’s coffees.

Matt’s BBQ

A popular pit stop for American barbecue, king of the food cart Matt Vicedomini
offers some of the finest Texas-style beef brisket and rib around (he even took a pilgrimage to the Lone Star State to make sure he returned to the West coast with authentic recipes). For around $16 you can try the whole shebang: every meat and side.

Salt & Straw

If ice cream is your thing, you have to try Salt & Straw – people line up around the block for a scoop or two, so you know it’s good. Working with local chefs, candy makers and bakers, it creates innovative and head-turning flavours such as Peppermint-cocoa and Arbequina olive oil with goat cheese marionberry habanero.

Coquine

Situated on the shoulder of Mount Tabor, Coquine is a welcoming place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A cosy and comfortable setting, it serves sourdough pancakes slathered in seasonal compote by day and juicy roast chicken and pork ragù pasta come evening. It’s best known for chocolate chip cookies, which can be ordered in advance to take home at the end of your meal.

Pok Pok

Pok Pok’s Thai food is the stuff of legend in Portland and luckily there are two spots depending on which side of the river you’re on. Head to the original SE Division location for its charming multicoloured lights and brightly patterned tablecloths. The papaya salad and chicken wings are the bestsellers, though you can’t go wrong with any of the traditional dishes here.

La Taq

Set on Killingsworth Street, La Taq is as much a bar as a restaurant, and a place where you’d usually find locals tucking into some of the best puffy tacos and margaritas Portland has to offer. Sourcing its meat locally, this humble Mexican spot boasts great chicken tango and smoked brisket tacos and is a great place to sit and people-watch as the sun goes down.

Tusk

The fact that it’s named after a Fleetwood Mac album alludes to how cool Tusk is – you can’t help but notice the neon pink sign outside or the giant photograph of Keith Richards above the bar as you walk in. Combining the best of Californian and Middle Eastern flavours, it uses the finest local ingredients to create shareable dishes such as flavoured salads, chicken skewers and smooth dukkah.

Ava Gene’s

Decorated with marble, brass and dimly-lit bulbs, Ava Gene’s is not only known for its extensive wine list and hand-kneaded pasta but also its salads; all made using a selection of the Pacific Northwest’s finest produce and meats, so expect some pleasant surprises depending on the season. This is one of the city’s best Italians, so it’s best to make a reservation.

LucLac Kitchen

If you find yourself in downtown Portland in the afternoon, be sure to factor happy hour at Luc Lac into your plans. From 4-7PM, this buzzy Vietnamese offers a menu of two and three dollar plates, including favourites like LA LOT (grilled minced beef rolled in wild betel leaves), spring rolls, papaya salad and coconut prawns alongside a quirky beverages like ca phe dong (traditional Viet coffee) cola and tropical cocktails.

  • +1 503 222 0047
  • Go to Website
  • 835 South West 2nd Avenue
    Portland
    97204

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