Considered as one of the top food destinations in the U.S., Portland is on every food-lover’s list. It’s where the food truck craze began, craft breweries have taken flight, and home to several Top Chefs. With so many tasty restaurants and cleverly crafted libations, finding the perfect place to eat here can be a challenge, so we've rounded up our favorites to get you started.
For the perfect fuel to your morning, start your day at the Stumptown Coffee HQ tasting bar. Energize with a cup of warm joe, or enjoy a refreshing draft of Nitro Cold Brew. For true coffee lovers, the store offers free daily tastings, tours of the headquarters and a class to help you become a better brewer at home.
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley has become synonymous with some of the finest wines in the world. If you plan a day trip to the Willamette Valley wine region during your stay, stop at Angela Estate vineyards, managed by winemaker Ken Wright, one of the pioneers in the region. No car? Check out Enso Urban Winery + Tasting Lounge, which offers a lively urban atmosphere to taste hand-crafted, old world style wines in Southeast Portland.
Craft Beers and Ciders
Did you know: Oregon has the highest ratio of craft breweries per capita in the nation? And, Portland is its greatest hub. Visit tasting rooms for well-known favorites like Rogue and Deschutes, or explore smaller breweries like Base Camp Brewing Co. that offers tasty beers for the adventurous palate. To celebrate the best of Oregon beer in one place, check out Loyal Legion Beer Hall, which features an incredible 99 taps of local beers and ciders.
Get an education while sipping a handcrafted cocktail at Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library. Learn about the history of your favorite spirit while your dapper bartender expertly mixes your cocktail from a classic, wooden bar cart. The smell of cedar from the wood fireplace adds to the ambiance that makes you feel like you traveled back to the Prohibition era.
TRAVEL TIP: For another fun library experience, book a room at The Westin Portland and join other guests and hotel staff for Libations in the Library, held every Friday evening in the lobby library room. Sip on refreshing libations poured by the week’s featured Oregon brewer, winemaker or distiller.
To come up with the perfect signature cocktail, Urban Farmer at the Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Portland invited its 10 best bartenders to design a cocktail to fit the restaurant’s modern, rustic appeal. The winner of the contest, Urban Farmer’s Farmer #3 Cocktail is a refreshing mix of Absolut vodka, St. Germain liquer, rooftop honey and grapefruit.
The food truck craze is still alive and well throughout the country, and mobile dining devotees have Portland to thank for that. For cheap eats on the go, explore one (or more) of the food cart “pods” located throughout the city. A few of our favorite dishes include: the can’t-miss Khao Man Gai (Thai chicken and rice) from the legendary Nong’s Khao Man Gai cart; the Schnitzelwich from Czech outpost, Tabor; and the flavorful Tom Yum soup from Thai Sky’s bright yellow food cart.
Portland has farmers’ markets in just about every neighborhood, but none of them are more impressive than the Saturday market at Portland State University. The year-round market showcases Oregon’s finest bounty of produce and locally made goods every Saturday, rain or shine. Peruse the vendor stalls to sample bites from local food makers or find the perfect souvenir to take home.
Benefitting from an abundance of fresh produce, seafood, beef and more, chefs in Portland are fortunate to have some of the finest ingredients in the world to work with. For a true taste of the Pacific Northwest, make a reservation at any of these local favorites: Southpark Seafood, Park Kitchen, Tasty n Alder, and Mother’s Bistro. Your stomach will thank you.
If you consider yourself a foodie, book a winter trip to PDX now! Offered only in December, Departure chef Gregory Gourdet’s Peking duck is a four-day labor of love that cannot be missed. Chef Gourdet and team cures, smokes and roasts each duck to perfection and serves the bird with an array of accoutrements, including candied kumquats, plum sauce and steamed pancakes. The best part though, is the duck-fat fried rice that’s made from the trimmings!
Famous for their creative and often strange flavors, Salt & Straw is helping to “Keep Portland Weird,” in a tasty way. If you find yourself in Portland around Thanksgiving, don’t miss the whimsical ice cream shop’s take on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner spread that includes surprisingly delicious flavors like Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey and Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans.
Special thank you to Sage Restaurant Group and Nicole Browning of The Westin Portland for contributing their Portland favorites to this article!