I’m going to be honest – my *favorite* activity is eating. Frankly, I think I spent more time eating than anything else during this trip.
I tried to squeeze all of Portland’s top dining spots within a five day trip.
Here are some spots you should check out:
Tasty and Alder: This place gets PACKED. I was staying around the corner at The Sentinel Hotel, got to Tasty & Alder at 9:04, and the restaurant was fully seated AND there was a line to put your name down that went down the street. And get this – it opened at 9 AM. SO a) plan accordingly and b) eat solo. A lot of people in line were told there was a two hour wait, but I got to sneak on inside because there was a bar seat available (CLUTCH). Although I’m never really one for spice or savory meals in the morning, I took the waitress’s advice and got the Korean breakfast bowl. SO good.
Cheryl’s: This spot was also pretty packed around 9 or 10 in the morning. The waitstaff was really nice and the food was even better. Pro tip, always ask for recommendations. It’ll save you from getting the same old stuff restaurant after restaurant. I got salmon benedict from their weekend menu with cheesy hashbrowns on the side and DAMN. Go for it!
The Daily Feast PDX: Service was subpar, but the Notella smoothie made up for it. Kind of a smaller spot, but if you’re in the area, it’s pretty cute.
Lardo: Are you into sandwiches and brews? Make a note to come here and pig out. My shoulder sandwich had house kimchi, chili mayo, cilantro, lime, and it was soooo good.
Pok Pok: Get the fish sauce wings if you’re lucky enough to get a seat. I tried one night and gave up, and made a note to return at like 4PM on a weekday. I got seated right away and was so thankful that they provided a whole stack of wet wipes because those wings get messsssssy (but deliciously so).
Uchu Sushi: Located on Mississippi Ave, take advantage of a nice day and eat sushi outside! Though the sushi wasn’t really anything to write home about, the experience is what made it fun.
Bollywood Theatre: Okay, so I have a strong opinion about this one being south asian. The decor was straight out of my dad’s dreams for his home movie theatre (more on that later), but the food was – I’m going to say it – very Whole Foods microwavable Indian food. I’m super critical about it because it’s the food I grew up eating, but if you’re looking to try Indian food for the first time, Bollywood Theatre is a safe bet. I’m picky – so while the food wasn’t at all impressive, it gets props for the ambiance.
Nong Khao Man Gai: I was told not to miss this food cart, and conveniently they were all lined up next to my hotel. Maybe I wasn’t as fascinated by NKMG because I was practically raised on rice and chicken, but it was still pretty good. Good if you’re on a budget and want to eat on the go! Cash only.
Departure: This one is probably my favorite restaurant in all of Portland. The service was so, so, so incredible. The food was amazing, and the views, even better! To make matters even better, the sun was setting and the dessert was coming — heaven. I made my reservation far in advance and I’m so glad I did because it was the best dining choice I made that whole trip.
Blue Star Donuts: Valrhona chocolate crunch. That’s all you need to know. In the great donut debate, Blue Star wins in my book. It’s less crowded, has delicious but accessible gourmet donuts to choose from, and has plenty of indoor seating by the window.
VooDoo Donuts: Another donut shop that people talk about is VooDoo Donuts. I was lucky enough to catch it during a lull, and got my donuts relatively quickly. The decor and donuts were so creative and cute, and hello, a pink box? It’s like the Tiffany blue of donuts. Although I ordered three, I could barely stomach one and had to dispose of the rest (I was eating constantly around the clock and basically almost died. Still worth it though). I’d advise that you get there early, because when I passed it even an hour later, the line wrapped around Disneyworld style. FYI, they’re cash only.
Random Order Pie Bar: This choice was a little random. I was shopping around Alberta when I popped in here for a coffee. Well, that’s when I saw their pie and I thought, “why the hell not?” So many pies, so little time. I ordered their Lemon Meringue pie. Stop by if you’re in the area!
Salt & Straw: I told you guys that my hotel (The Sentinel) delivered Salt & Straw on demand to guest rooms, right? Well, that wasn’t enough for me. I actually went to the brick & mortar location to get more flavors and see if all that hype about lines was really true. Spoiler alert: there were crazyyyy lines, and the additional flavors were incredible. Never thought I’d be one for olive oil ice cream, or even honey lavender but I was and they tasted like ice cream paradise.
Tea & Coffee
Heart Coffee: If you’re in downtown PDX and need a vanilla latte to power through doing some reports for work during your vacation, this is the place to go and actually enjoy it. Yes, I actually enjoyed pulling those reports on my downtime because I was seated outdoors in the most beautiful Portland weather with a vanilla latte by my side. Worth it.
Coava Coffee: I had to power through another 2PM crash and work on a few things. I headed over to Coava Coffee, where a honey latte damn near saved my life. Not only was it delicious (that’s a given), but the seating inside and outside + wifi made for the perfect coffee shop workspace.
Tea Chai Té: Located near NW 23rd street, this spot has EVERY kind of tea you can imagine. I opted for a lavender boba milk tea, popped in some headphones and took in the beautiful sight of Portland from their 2nd story outdoor seating area. Don’t miss this spot, it was delicious.
Stumptown: Stumptown is also in New York, but if you’re looking for a cold brew I’d pop by. It’s located near the Ace Hotel in Portland (attached to it, actually). You can pop onto the couch at the Ace Hotel and sip down your drinks. It’s like a coffee happy hour!
At this point, you’re probably wondering how I fit alllll these places in five days.
The answer is happily! Haha – I was constantly full, and loving every gastronomic second.
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