The city of Portland is where some of the most unique restaurants call home. The city's reputation for being eco-friendly extends to its food scene, with locally sourced and sustainably grown ingredients. From traditional Russian salads to vegan doughnuts, there's no denying that the locals love their food and they're always willing to queue for the best.

    Portland’s close proximity to the coast means that you can enjoy freshly caught salmon and shellfish in Portland, and craft beers and wines are very popular accompaniments to meals. Make sure to include these local restaurants to your must-try list the next time you plan your vacation to Portland.

    1

    Tasty n Alder

    Start your day at a local Portland favourite

    • Food

    Tasty n Alder is a modern steakhouse located in Downtown Portland. It’s a popular family-style eatery, with dishes coming to your table in no order – you might be enjoying your mains (try its steak tartare) before your entrees and sides arrive.

    If you’re looking for an adventurous take on milkshakes, be sure to also try Tasty n Alder’s cognac-spiked chocolate milkshake. The restaurant doesn’t accept reservations, so you’ll have to expect a queue for a table, but its atmosphere and delicious food makes the wait worthwhile.

    Location: 580 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from noon to 8 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 503-621-9251

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    photo by Bill Stilwell (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Grassa

    Ask for the meatballs prepared from an old family recipe

    • Food

    Grassa is a no-frills Italian restaurant that’s known for its large eagle motif painted on its dining walls. There's little happening on the menu besides fresh handmade pasta, but it manages to capture the hearts of the locals in Portland.

    The restaurant’s atmosphere is very casual, with communal tables laid out so you could share a meal and maybe strike up a conversation. Queues at Grassa move quickly, so there are no reservations needed – you won’t have to wait for long before you get seated.

    Location: 1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 503-241-1133

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    3

    Kachka

    Try the traditional Russian layered salad

    • Food

    Kachka is a Russian restaurant loved for its selection of zakuski – small sharing plates of snacks – and an extensive list of vodkas. Its signature dish is called the Herring Under a Fur Coat. It’s actually a traditional Russian salad, made of potatoes, herring, carrots, beets, onions and topped with hard-boiled eggs, which makes for a great Instagram picture.

    If you’re in a hurry, Kachka also offers an array of grab-and-go items available through lunch. You can find them at the Lavka Deli, located above the main restaurant.

    Location: 960 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA

    Open: Daily from noon to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 503-235-0059

    Map
    4

    OK Omens

    More than OK bites and wines

    • Food

    OK Omens is a gastrobar set in the heart of Downtown Portland. They feature a long list of wines and spirits varying in prices, with playful names such as Salty, Chalky, Minty Oregon Goodness, and Good Cheap French Red up for picks.

    Every Sunday, you can enjoy happy hour deals all day with house pour wines starting from $7 a glass. The food at OK Omens is highly influenced by Asian flavours, offering bites such as oysters with sansho dressing and their own take on the Vietnamese banh mi.

    Location: 1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday from 5 pm to 11 pm, Friday–Saturday from 5 pm to midnight, Sunday from 5 pm to 10 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 503-231-9959

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    5

    Nimblefish

    Try the omakase and wash it down with premium Japanese sake

    • Food

    Nimblefish is a Japanese spot that has become a local favourite since 2017. The small, 20-seat restaurant specialises in fresh sushi and handrolls. While prices are quite steep, the high-quality ingredients and service make it a worthwhile experience.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, do give omakase courses a go – in which the chef chooses what to prepare for you. You won't be able to make reservations before your visit to Nimblefish. Most locals leave their names at the door and head over to a place nearby for a drink while waiting for their turn.

    Location: 1524 SE 20th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA

    Open: Daily from noon to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 503-719-4064

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    6

    Nong’s Khao Man Gai

    Enjoy Portland’s most popular Thai chicken and rice dish

    • Food

    Nong’s Khao Man Gai in downtown Portland is known for its namesake khao man gai (Thai-style chicken rice). Owned by a Thai chef, this establishment originated from a food cart selling only a single dish before moving into the brick-and-mortar store it is today.

    While there are more dishes on the menu, many locals still order the flavourful khao man gai for their main dish. At the end of your meal, remember to also bring home a bottled sauce as a nice souvenir for your friends and family.

    Location: 609 SE Ankeny St C, Portland, OR 97214, USA

    Open: Daily from 10.50 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +1 503-740-2907

    Map

    photo by Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Master Kong

    A master of Chinese comfort food

    • Food

    Master Kong is where you’ll find the locals of Portland visit for Chinese comfort food on most weekends. With large portions to share and cooked-to-order food, you’ll find congee, dumplings, and jianbing, a crepe-like snack available on the menu. We also recommend the roujiamo (Chinese burgers featuring jalapeño seasoned pork), stuffed within Master Kong’s homemade buns that gave this family-run restaurant its fame.

    Tables are usually taken up by 10.30 am, especially on weekends, so it’s best to make your way to the restaurant earlier in the day to avoid a long queue.

    Location: 8435 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97266, USA

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 971-373-8248

    Map
    8

    Doe Donuts

    Choose from an array of ice-cream and doughnuts

    • Food

    Doe Donuts is a locally owned doughnut store serving fresh vegan doughnuts and artisanal ice-creams. Long queues form outside this wooden-clad store every day. Flavours such as Portland Fog – organic earl grey glaze, fresh whipped cream, and vanilla bean – and Cookies & Cream gracing its menu. Can’t make up your mind? Order the Baker’s Choice in-store and the staff will pick their favourite flavours for you.

    Doe Donuts also specialises in custom orders for a set of 6 pieces and above, including unique alphabet shaped doughnuts – ideal for birthdays or if you’re looking to pop the question in a delicious way.

    Location: 4110 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97212, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 503-333-4404

    Map
    9

    Eb & Bean

    Sample frozen yoghurts made from the heart

    • Food

    Eb & Bean is Portland's first frozen yoghurt store, run by a passionate home baker who was inspired by her children. Flavours at Eb & Bean rotate regularly, with sauces such as Cold Brew Bourbon and Citrus Curds making frequent appearances on the menu.

    You could also opt for an array of toppings, such as organic toasted nuts, fresh fruits, and crumbles sourced from local pastry chefs. Eb & Bean also has seasonal flavours made with almond and coconut milk, welcoming those looking for vegan and lactose-free options.

    Location: 1425 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 3 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 503-281-6081

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    10

    Salt & Straw

    Scream for one of Portland’s most popular ice-cream spots

    • Food

    Salt & Straw will serve you well if you’re a fan of sweet treats. It’s one of Portland’s most popular dessert spots, with locals and visitors lining up for a scoop of ice-cream even when it’s raining out.

    Salt & Straw serves over 36 rotating flavours on any given day, adding new flavours to the menu every month. A must-try is honey lavender or pear and blue cheese, all handmade with fresh cream from a local dairy farm in small batches for quality control.

    Location: 838 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97210, USA

    Open: Daily from 3 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +1 971-271-8168

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    Elie Lam | Contributing Writer

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