Portland is a foodie paradise. We have such great food that there are even tours discussing and sampling it. If you want to get to the heart of the city, it is through your stomach for sure. These are 12 of the best restaurants in Portland that really define the restaurant scene here. Whether you have an important occasion to celebrate or just want to taste the best our city has to offer, this is where you should start.
1. Pok Pok
Andy Ricker's flagship restaurant has grown into an institution with restaurants in Los Angeles and New York. Pok Pok's Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings are still the best around after a decade-long run, and they aren't going anywhere soon. Pok Pok is located at 3226 SE Division Street.
This Peruvian restaurant turns out some of the best ceviche in the city from its tiny SW location. Reserve a table in advance. With seating for just 23, it fills up quickly. Paiche is located at 4237 SW Corbett Avenue.
For a fixed-price meal, Beast is a great choice. James Beard award-winning chef Naomi Pomeroy turns out some incredible meat-strong dishes and creates a weekly revolving menu to showcase them. Beast is located at 5425 NE 30th Avenue.
4. Little Bird Bistro
The second restaurant from Le Pigeon's Gabe Rucker, Little Bird soars with flavor. Marrow from the grill and cheesy gnocchi are favorites, as is at the Chicken coq au vin. Pictured here, seared duck breast, is exquisite. Little Bird Bistro is located at 215 SW 6th Avenue.
This Catalonian tapas spot is modern and delicious and redefines the tapas eating experience. Be sure to enjoy the Nuestras Bravas and load up on as many small plates as you can manage. You will not be disappointed. Ataula is located at 1818 NW 23rd Place.
6. Apizza Scholls
Thought to be one of the best pizzas in the city, Apizza Scholls delivers with a wonderfully perfect several-day-proofed crust topped with just three toppings to ensure even baking. Apizza Scholls is located at 4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
It signature dish is a crispy pig ear, which is every bit delicious as you may think. The slow-braised and then fried octopus is pretty incredible too. Aviary is located at 1733 NE Alberta Street.
8. Castagna Restaurant
Choose from the Chef's Tasting Menu or Dinner Menu in the restaurant, or check out the cafe to order as you wish. Castagna is located at 1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd and Cafe Casatagna is located at 1758 SE Hawthorne Boulevard.
9. Le Pigeon
With a menu built around a few dishes, this restaurant has long been the pinnacle of the Portland food scene. Under chef Gabe Rucker, Le Pigeon has been turning out pigeon, beef bourguignon, and seared foie gras for over a decade. Le Pigeon is located at 738 E Burnside Street.
This Russian restaurant serves up some excellent cold fish dishes, along with the lamb shashlik skewer, definitely one of the best in town. Try all the dumplings you can manage, as they too are a defining part of the meal. Kachka is located at 720 SE Grand Avenue.
This Neapolitan pizza spot serves up some great pizza, as well as a variety wonderful main courses of lamb, fish, poultry, and beef. Nostrana is located at 1401 SE Morrison Street.
12. Tasty N Alder
This small plate favorite holds its own. Try the wagyu skirt steak for a delectable and rare cut of meat, and pair it with a couple of sides for a taste explosion of a meal for two. A popular lunch and brunch spot as well, Tasty N Alder is a perfect place to eat any time of the day, which is why it is always busy. Tasty N Alder is located at 580 SW 12th Avenue.
How many of these eateries have you tried? Share your thoughts below.