In recent years, Portland has built a name for itself in the national food scene. We have a thriving local food scene, and several restaurants and dishes have become national sensations. It’s possible that you’ve already heard of Portland’s culinary fame and are coming here to indulge in all of the city’s most well-known dishes. As far as Portland’s food culture is concerned, you won’t be disappointed; each of the city’s restaurants and dishes has a narrative behind it that makes each experience unique and unforgettable.
Eat some of the local delicacies, and you’ll get a taste of the culture. Cooks in Portland are abundant, as are diners eager to sample their creations. Here are some of Portland’s must-try foods and cuisines, ranging from colorful baked pastries to international cuisine that the Oregon city does exceptionally well.
Although they are still a strong competitor in terms of weird shapes and flavors, Voodoo doughnut’s pink packaging has helped establish a doughnuts trend in Portland.
Blue Star’s gourmet doughnuts and coffee have the entire flavor and none of the gimmicks, making it one of the best options for donut lovers. Fills Lake Grove has Berliner-style doughnuts, Donut Palace has extremely crispy donuts, and Small, female-owned Doe Donuts has excellent vegan donuts. Try NOLA, which uses croissant-like laminated dough to create a flaky delight, unlike anything you’ve ever had before.
2. Fried Chicken
If it weren’t for all of Portland’s excellent fried chicken restaurants, you could think you were in the Deep South. Several restaurants have been popular for a very long time, such as Screen Door, Pine State Biscuits, and Reel M Inn. However, relatively new restaurants such as Yonder, Hat Yai, Han Oak, and Basilisk are appropriate locations for worshipping at the shrine of fried chicken.
3. Dim Sum
The carts are usually filled with a variety of little foods you can eat and re-fill as you choose. Portland is aware of the fact that it’s becoming increasingly trendy.
A rising number of excellent Dim Sum restaurants are now available, including Ocean City Seafood, a favorite of cooks in the know. Wongs King Seafood, a prominent Dim Sum restaurant in Portland’s South East, is just a short drive away.
4. Smoked Salmon Lefse
As a Belmont food cart has done for over a decade, it has served up packed lefse (Norwegian crepe) with meatballs or lingonberries. Still, its smoked salmon lefse underscores the similarities between Oregon and Norway. Steelhead is cured and smoked in-house at Viking Soul Food and served with pickled shallots, sour dill cream, and mixed greens in rolled-up lefse.
You may find a wide variety of pancakes in Portland, from typical buttermilk pancakes to Mexican blue corn and even more unusual combinations.
Try a corn cake plate at Sweedeedee, a blueberry pancake at The Original Pancake House, or a Ricotta hotcake with citrus syrup at Proud Mary’s. German pancakes at Sanborn’s are a unique twist on the pancake.
6. Coquine’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dine at Coquine for breakfast, midday (the Lunch for Two offer, which includes a half-bottle of wine), or evening (the ricotta toast and seasonal fruit) (a la carte pasta or four- and seven-course tasting menus). Be sure to get at least one of their famous chocolate chip cookies, whether you’re there for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Their quality may be unmatched by anything you have ever eaten.
7. Vegan Ice-Cream
Portland is already a must-visit for vegans, but if you’re looking for a sweet treat, you’ll also discover some of the most fabulous vegan ice cream in the city. Since she uses cashews and coconut milk, you can get flavors like salted peanut brittle and Marion berry Cobbler from Kate’s Ice Cream. It’s not just ice cream; it’s ice cream with a purpose!
Cool Moon is a favorite in the city for its all-natural ice cream, which is made in small amounts and has a long list of seasonal specials. All sorbets are made without dairy or eggs, and the chocolate sorbet.
Various sushi restaurants in Portland are as trendy as the day they left Japan. Yoshi Sushi is a great food truck, and Nimblefish is a cozy place to savor your favorite rolls while waiting for your food to arrive.
Take your pick from the best tempura rolls in the city at Koya Sushi or Ki-Ichi or Masu or the down-to-earth Fish Rice for inexpensive and excellent creations with a craft beer. Many more exist, but these should get you started!
9. Fresh Clam Chowder With Smoked Marrow Bone
OX, a restaurant with Argentinian influences, frequently appears at the top of the rankings of Portland’s best restaurants. Chefs Gabrielle Quiónez and Greg Denton, both of whom have won James Beard Awards, are responsible for the inventive menu items such as cow tongue, heart, and oxtail. The fresh clam chowder is created with fresh in-shell clams in a jalapeno-spiced broth and garnished with green onion. Tossed in the chowder, the smoked bone marrow is garnished with garlic breadcrumbs and jalapenos.
Check out these top Portland waffle shops to understand why the city is known as the waffle capital of the United States. The Asian Fried Chicken with Garlic Sauce or the sausage and egg waffle sandwich at Batter, Griddle, and Drinker are two inventive takes on basic waffles.
Screen Door and Waffle Window offer an extensive selection of sweet and savory waffles, while Waffle Window focuses on one dish. Indulge in a traditional Dutch Smaakken Waffle Sandwich or anything that goes at the ironic Off the Waffle restaurant.
A group of locals is guaranteed to get into a stew if you ask them which pizzeria is the greatest in town. The names of Apizza Scholls and Ken’s Artisan Pizza are frequently touted as possible contenders for the award. You’ll agree that they’ve earned their place at the top of the food chain after just one bite of their pies.
12. Mozzarella Shots
The mozzarella shots at Gabbiano’s, which have only been there for a short time, have already become legendary. Killingsworth’s Italian restaurant’s staff fills shot glasses with mozzarella before deep-frying them and adding hot marinara. An extremely crispy-crunchy mozzarella ring with an ideal marinara-to-cheese ratio was the result of this experiment.
13. Pok Pok’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings
It would be a pity you came to Portland and could only eat one meal. However, the dish that put the city on the gastronomic map of the country as a whole would have to be the wings at Pok Pok. To top it all off, these crave-worthy wings earned Asian BBQ expert Andy Ricker a James Beard Foundation Award and the adoration and devotion of Portlanders everywhere. Pok Pok’s original location on Southeast Division, its two current locations, and its sibling bar, Whiskey Soda Lounge, serves the spicy-sticky-sweet Vietnamese fried chicken on a bone.
14. Marionberry Pie
This classic Oregonian dessert, a marionberry pie, has become a national institution. Chehalem and Olallie blackberries are crossed to produce Marionberries, a tart, earthy fruit with a trace of sweetness. The crust and filling for this pie are created with flour and salt, shortening, and cold water; marionberries, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon are added to the basic filling to give it more taste.
15. Maple Bacon Donut
Regarding breakfast or dessert, the maple bacon donut is one of the most famous American inventions. Several slices of bacon are placed on a maple syrup-glazed donut for a quick and easy breakfast. Today, this strange breakfast food may be found in many countries, but it’s most popular in the U.S. states of Nebraska, California, and Oregon.
Many different types of desserts may be made with ice cream and include a variety of toppings. Butterscotch and strawberry sundaes are the most popular flavors.
The most typical components of the famous dessert are cherries, dairy cream, and almonds. Three ideas have remained the most prevalent among food historians about the genesis of the ice cream sundae.
17. The Reggie Delux
Portland is home to Pine State Biscuits. Hot, flaky buns encase their delicious biscuit sandwiches. The Reggie sandwich, crispy fried chicken, bacon, gravy, and cheese, is the most well-known. It gets even better with the Reggie Delux, which adds a flawlessly cooked egg for extra yolky flavor and richness.
18. Le Pigeon Burger
The eastside eatery Le Pigeon’s James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker served only five of these burgers each night to avoid becoming a burger joint. As a result of his concession, he no longer enforces the limit. The prized ground round is sliced open and drenched with melted aged white cheddar, iceberg slaw, and pickled onions before being served to the hungry masses.
19. White Curry Brisket With Burnt Ends
White vinegar and sugar are used in this dish’s white curry, topped with charred burnt ends, scallions, and roasted cauliflower. Isn’t it obvious why this inventive meal is a big hit? It’s backed by a staff with a strong resume of accomplishments, including multiple Michelin-starred restaurants. Thai flavors are the brainchild of Eem co-owner Earl Ninsom. Founder Matt Vicedomini is a BBQ expert, while Eric Nelson is the bartender’s go-to guy for cocktails.
20. Steam Burger With Garlic Fries
Garlic fries topped with gouda cheese and a Steam Burger, Canard’s twist on a White Castle-style burger, make for a delicious lunch at Canard. Besides the thin beef patty, this sandwich includes American cheese, mustard, onions, pickles, and relish. French onion soup makes the patty unique, rather than gritted onions, as most burgers are.