Portland is full of countless delicious restaurants. Here’s a review of just a few distinctive restaurants that Portland has to offer.
1. Yoko’s Japanese Restaurant
You’ll find his stylish, Zagat-rated restaurant and sushi bar in South East Portland, a few blocks from Kenilworth Park. It’s logo is also a cartoon puffer fish with a top knot and an expression of pure determination. The restaurant itself has a snug interior and isn’t too fancy, a sign of a fantastic hidden-gem restaurant.
Yoko’s has the rare combination of delicious Japanese food and affordable prices. You can’t go wrong with their rolls or donburi, especially those with eel. However, I wouldn’t suggest the yakisoba, which tastes like it’s been drenched in Worcestershire sauce, a unpalatable anomaly on an otherwise spectacular menu.
Next door is a bar with all-ages pinball arcade, something you might make use of if you show up at 7pm on a Friday night, when there’s likely to be a several guests packed into the waiting area and a long list of names on the waitlist. Yoko’s doesn’t take reservations, so go on a weeknight or show up a little before opening to beat the crowds.
2. Broder Nord
Broder Nord is a coveted brunch spot that is known for its authentic Scandinavian fare. Be sure to arrive as close to opening as possible, as it’s not uncommon to sign up for the waitlist and finally be seated two hours later. Although the wait can be long and the menu is somewhat pricey given their smallish portions, the food is more than worth it.
The menu offers delicate sweets like the powdered aebleskivers as well as salty, savory dishes like köttbular, traditional Swedish meatballs. Feel free to check out their other locations, Broder Café and Broder Söder in Southeast and Southwest Portland, or Broder Øst in Hood River.
3. Cafe Nell
Cafe Nell’s decor has chic red velvet furnishings and an overall moody, romantic setting. The dinner menu has a selection of refined French-American cuisine like a tomato bacon tart and salmon carpaccio, as well as fresh specialty salads.
The brunch and lunch menus provides more Americana provisions like burgers and eggs benedict alongside chicken paillard, oysters, and artisanal cheeses. Indulge in the outstanding desserts, like the crowd-favorite deep dish brownie cake, served with vanilla ice cream.
If visiting in winter, opt to sit next to the cozy indoor fireplace. In the Summer, come in the evening to enjoy the patio under string lights.
4. The People’s Pig
Without exaggeration, The People’s Pig may be the best barbecue venue in Portland. Their menu is divided between a la carte, sandwiches, and plates which is complete with savory beef brisket, pork shoulder, bbq pork, smoked lamb, and smoked fried chicken.
Many dishes come with two sides. You can choose from extra cheesy macaroni, potato salad, collard greens, black eyed peas, or delectable corn bread.
Those who aren’t huge fans of barbecue will still love this venue and those who are will rave about it.
5. Swagat Indian Cuisine
Dining out at Indian restaurants can be expensive since the meals often lend themselves to side orders of naan and rice, and who can resist a velvety miango lassi? Swagat Indian cuisine provides sumptuous meals with a daily, all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for $11.95 per person.
For meat eaters, the crispy chicken tandoori is a must-try, though vegetarians will have no shortage of options. Treat yourself to multiple mini-bowls of mango custard and rice pudding. If you’re visiting after 2:30 when the buffet is closed, you’ll still enjoy excellent service and top-tier dishes.
6. Blue Star Donuts
Voodoo Doughnut may be Portland’s most famous donut spot, but its gimmicky flavors are sickly sweet. Instead, I’d recommend Blue Star Donuts, which has half a dozen locations around Portland. The glazes are full-flavored and offer a delightful crunchy texture that balances the fluffy, but not airy, cake. I’d recommend the raspberry rosemary buttermilk or the valrhona chocolate crunch.