Few cities the size of Portland have as vibrant and creative a restaurant scene. The numerous farmer’s markets and urban gardens illustrate that Portlanders take their food seriously. The bar has been raised so high that one can expect to find excellent, affordable fare even from the food carts parked around downtown. This has made the restaurants work even harder to please their guests with innovative cooking and sustainably produced food.
Influxes of various immigrant populations have made authentic food from every continent easily accessible. Excellent Lebanese, Ethiopian, Indian, Thai, Japanese, French and Italian dining can be found within a few mile’s radii. Every neighborhood in this city has its own flavor. This particular top-ten list shows a range of what Portland has to offer. From farm to table restaurants like Quaintrelle to tapas bars like Can Font we have selected the best. From the new and experimental to the traditional favorites, this list provides a range of suggestions from the cream of Portland’s restaurant crop.
All of these restaurants are partially open during Covid or available as take out for now.
The Waiting Room is churning out Louisiana southern comfort food in a casual old house steps away from popular NW 23rd Street.
From fried okra to fried chicken to dishes made with pimento cheese this is truly southern food. Their small portion of fried chicken can easily feed two or three people.
For seafood lovers, they have steamed clams, BBQ shrimp, hamachi Crudo, cornmeal catfish, and 4 or 5 different delicious preparations or oysters including grilled, fried, fresh unique toppings, and more.
Save room for dessert, because their Grand Marnier butterscotch pudding is mind-blowing good.
They offer a nice happy hour Tuesday – Friday from 4 PM – 6 PM when open for in person dining. For now they are available as take out and delivery.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Waiting Room is the ultimate in southern comfort food.
Meagan’s expert tip: Be sure to order the Ginger BBQ Shrimp they are fabulous.
Read more about The Waiting Room →
Bhuna is an Indian restaurant in NW Portland serving up flavorful Indian soul food. They’ve crafted together unique thoughtful dishes utilizing Pacific Northwest ingredients like their gluten-free Kashmiri Tomato & Eggplant rice bowl made with Indian eggplant fried and stewed with tomato, Kashmiri spices & mustard oil.
Bhuna has one of the best happy hours in Portland. Happy hour is daily from 11 am – 6 pm with discounts on rice bowls, beer, and wine.
In addition to rotating beer, cider, and wine, Bhuna also offers classic cocktails like a Manhattan or a Paloma.
No matter what you order be sure to get a side of Lotus root fries. These tasty little snacks are quite addictive.
Bhuna is available by pick up or through delivery.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Bhuna is a hidden gem in NW Portland with delightful Indian soul food.
Meagan’s expert tip: Unsure what to get? Try the slightly spicy Goan Pork Vindaloo a savory combination of pork, chilies, and rice.
Read more about Bhuna →
Gumba’s fresh food is so good it’s hard to believe it’s just a food cart. In fact, one visit here may change the way you view food carts forever.
Their menu changes often to reflect the chef’s creativity, but their hand-cut pasta dishes are permanent fixtures on the menu. For example, the Tagliatelle Carbonara topped with housemade burrata. The combination of the cheese, fried candied shallots, breadcrumbs, chili oil, and sesame seeds woven throughout the pasta is outstanding and the presentation is divine.
To see spontaneous seasonal dishes of the day like pizzas, sandwiches, desserts, and more keep an eye on their Facebook page.
As always, Gumba is available by pick up or through delivery.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Gumba is one of the top food carts in Portland, Oregon. It’s so good it deserves to be listed with the restaurants.
Meagan’s expert tip: Do not wait too late in the day to visit, they tend to sell out on a regular basis.
Read more about Gumba →
Quaintrelle is a cozy restaurant with exquisite food perfect for a fall day. The menu changes seasonally and the ingredients are locally sourced as much as possible. Chef Bill is an absolute whiz with salads and vegetables. He takes all the best offerings of the fall season and turns them into exquisite plates like the apples, celery, pine nuts, currants, shiso, and breadcrumbs. Even the appetizers highlight falls harvest with choices like sweet potato and broccoli tempura, chili honey, smoked pecorino. The cocktails like the “Path to Fortitude” featuring Dystopia Vodka are inventive and fresh, created by Camille Cavan.
Happy hour is available every day 5-6:30 PM in the bar.
You can enjoy Quaintrelle on their heated, covered patio.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Quaintrelle is curating some of the most beautiful food in town.
Meagan’s expert tip: Kick off your meal with one of their specialty cocktails like the Path to Fortitude.
Read more about Quaintrelle →
Luc Lac is an outstanding Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Portland. The only thing more outrageous than their low prices is how delicious the food is. The chicken curry is jammed pack with veggies, the honey chicken is a large portion with rice and spring roll, and their secret family recipe pho comes in heaping portions. On top of great food, they have incredible cocktails, beer, and wine.
Luc Lac is open for lunch during the weekdays and opens for dinner every day. They stay open until midnight on weekdays and 4 am on weekends making this a go-to place for late night dining.
Currently available to-go.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Luc Lac offers some of the best food in Portland, Oregon.
Meagan’s expert tip: If you are unsure what to order try the combination so you can try several things at once.
Read more about Luc Lac →
Southern cooking is done right at the Screen Door Restaurant. Considered one of the best weekend brunch spots in Portland, Screen Door is also open for dinner five nights a week.
Preparing the best of southern food without pretense, the menu caters to palates with the most simple to most sophisticated tastes. Some southern classic dishes include fried buttermilk-battered chicken, Low Country shrimp and grits and Carolina pulled pork.
For those dining with you looking for lighter options there is also an extensive menu of salads and vegetable dishes which changes according to availability. Screen Door offers great comfort food creatively prepared.
Currently the Screen Door is available as pick up and delivery.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Screen Door continues as one of the top restaurants in Portland year after year.
Meagan’s expert tip: Be prepared to wait for seating for the weekend brunch and remember it’s worth the wait.
Read more about Screen Door Restaurant →
A taste of New Orleans in the Pacific Northwest. That’s what you’ll find at this intimate bistro located in the northeastern section of the city. From classic Cajun and Creole favorites like seafood gumbo jambalaya and shrimp Creole, the menu is sure to please.
You’ll find a mix of meat, pasta and vegetable dishes as well as down-home desserts that seem to come right from a homey, Southern kitchen, including bread pudding, butter cake and Creole pecan pie.
Be sure to try the Louisiana BBQ Shrimp. It’s a combination of Gulf shrimp, pepper, wine, lemon, and butter that’s truly one of the best things to eat in all of Portland.
Currently Acadia is offering a full range of menu options through delivery.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Acadia a New Orleans Bistro creates wonderful rich food using seasonal ingredients.
Meagan’s expert tip: Be sure to try their fried green tomatoes if they are available and the bread pudding.
Read more about Acadia →
Podnah’s Pit BBQ makes honest, slow-smoked, Texas-style barbecue for their patrons fresh every day. All of Podnah’s meat is slowly smoked using 100% oak hardwood without electric, gas assistance, or charcoal.
Brisket, pulled pork, sausage, prime rib, collard greens, broccoli casserole, potato salad, pecan pie and banana pudding are just a few of the reasons you will love eating here.
The portions here are big enough to split between two people. They offer a daily special each day until it sells out.
Podnah’s offers their own cocktail creations like the Dr. Salty Pepper made with Aria gin, Peychaud’s bitters, grapefruit, lime juice, with a salted rim. Their Bloody Mary will knock your socks off, it’s so spicy.
Podnah’s is open for in restaurant dining.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Podnah’s Pit BBQ is smoking up the best meats in town.
Meagan’s expert tip: They are open for a delicious Tex-Mex BBQ brunch each Saturday and Sunday.
Read more about Podnah’s Pit Barbecue →
Can Font features traditional Catalan cuisine in an upscale contemporary space in the Pearl district.
The Barcelona inspired menu created by Barcelona native Josep Vidal features delightful dishes highlighting wild fish, local meats and the best produce the season has to offer like Squid Ink Paella, Saltejat de Bolets amb Pop i Llangostins (Seasonal Mushrooms, Octopus and Langostinos), and Vieires amb Pop Poelé (Scallops, Octopus, Celery Root Chips, Iberico Ham, Creamy Peas).
The desserts are out of this world, so save plenty of room for at least one.
When they re-open for in person dining they host an excellent happy hour Monday 5 – 10 PM, Tuesday – Thursday and Sunday 5 – 6 PM and 9-10 PM. For now they have take out available.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Can Font is an intimate Tapas restaurant sure to dazzle patrons.
Meagan’s expert tip: Be sure to save room for one of their scrumptious desserts like the Crema Catalana, a bruleed cinnamon & lemon custard.
Read more about Can Font →
Radar is a one-of-a-kind neighborhood candlelit restaurant run by a husband and wife team. They’ve created a warm and inviting place to dine, especially enjoyable on a crisp fall day.
The menu is ideal for sharing with a variety of small plate and larger plate options. Small plates offer selections like deviled eggs, three ways. Large plates like the chicken fried McFarland Springs trout with celeriac remoulade, lettuce, radish, shallots, tarragon aioli, and trout chicharrones are a heaping portion.
Pair your dinner with a cocktail like the Night Owl made with bourbon, Cacao Nib Ramazzotti, and toasted pecan bitters. Savor it, as it gets better with each sip.
An indulgent brunch is available on weekends only.
Radar is currently available for limited seating or as delivery.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Radar is a charming restaurant in North Portland serving interesting food combinations highlighting the bounty of the season.
Meagan’s expert tip: Kick off your meal with one of their signature cocktails like the Night Owl created by acclaimed bartender Alex Day specifically for Radar.
Read more about Radar →