Portland Recommendations

Hi everyone. It's been awhile! I've been busy with work and planning a lot of fun stuff for this blog too. I'll be sharing photos from my birthday soon, but until then. Here is a big long post for you!

Sharon from Cupcakes and Cutlery emailed me a few months ago and asked for Portland recommendations. She would be visiting for a few days and wanted to experience the city! I obviously gave her a laundry list of places to try and about 90% of it was restaurants. Sharon visited a couple months ago and we were able to get together so we met up at Ace Hotel for coffee and it was so fun to meet Sharon in person. It was great to chat about blogging and life and how those fit together. Sharon, come back soon so we can try more restaurants!

When I travel, location is important to me. I have to understand how the city is laid out and where everything is before I can figure out our plan of attack. So I sent Sharon a list of places to try by location. If you don't live in Portland, here's a tip: Portland is split east and west by the river and it is split north and south by Burnside Street. Keep that in mind if you ever get lost, find the river and/or find Burnside to orient yourself. Or use GPS on your phone. So here it is, with some casual notes. I didn't add any photos because then this post would be SO long. But if you're visiting Portland, let me know and I can send more recommendations if this isn't enough. 

Check out Sharon's blog to see where she went and what she added to the list! I have to try some of the places she mentioned! 

NW: The Pearl District
Little Big Burger - There is one in almost every quadrant of the city. It's a Portland staple, my husband's favorite. The fries are the best! The ketchup is spicy and delicious, we are kind of ketchup snobs and we use their ketchup at home. And of course, the burgers are delicious. They look small but paired with fries, it's a full meal!
Oven & Shaker - love their pizzas and the kale salad. You can also buy the kitchen a six pack of beer, so fun!
Tilt - just look at the menu, it's Americana at its best
Ristretto Roasters - coffee in the Schoolhouse Electric building. You would love everything about the coffee shop and the store! It's in the industrial area of NW but so worth it. 
Barista for coffee - also in SE
Christopher David - coffee shop in a cute area of The Pearl District, it's also a cute shop and a florist! 
Salt & Straw - everyone is obsessed. Be ready for long lines, get the ice cream flight to try a bunch! Or just sample. Also, this one has a black wall around the corner that is great for photos. There's also one in SE. 
Departure (true downtown) - at the top of The Nines hotel right downtown, amazing view! Great happy hour. Make a reservation or try to get on the deck on a sunny day. The Executive Chef, Gregory Gourdet, was the runner up on the most recent season of Top Chef. 
Urban Farmer - also in The Nines hotel, great brunch! Get the biscuits. 

NW 23rd street is also a great location to check out, tons of great stores and restaurants. 

Dove Vive - cornmeal crust pizza, the kale salad is bomb! 
¿Por Que No? The best tacos, but my favorite is the Bryan's bowl and the Agua frescas! And a margarita of course! 
Micro restaurants at 24th and Glisan, fun to get a bunch of different stuff all at once: 24th & meatballs, Burgers, Indian food, tacos, mini pies
Screen Door - southern food, great brunch with amazing chicken and waffles! Prepare for a 2 hour wait at peak times. No reservations. 

Olympic provisions - make a reservation. It's all about the meat! They started as a charcuterie place. More $$ for dinner, but also a great atmosphere at night. Also fun to sit at the bar and watch them prep all the food. There's also one in NW. 
Roman candle baking Co - cut your pizza with scissors! Division is a super cool street, walk up that street and check out all the cool places. Including the famous Salt and Straw! Other good pizza places: Sizzle Pie and Straight From New York and Babydoll 
Pok Pok - It's famously been on many TV shows so it can be pretty busy but the wings really are super good! Located on division street. Across the street from Whiskey Soda Lounge. 
Ava Genes - on my list to try, more expensive but also supposed to be romantic atmosphere. Also on Division.
Block and tackle - on my to try list 
Lardo - pork and bacon and more pork! There is one in NW mentioned above
Blue Star donuts - artisan donuts, owned by the same guy who owns Little Big Burger. They have a fried chicken donut! And of course a bacon donut. I prefer them over voodoo donuts. There are two in NW and one in SE. They sell out pretty quick on the west side. 
Little T Bakery 
Coava Coffee - very minimalist cool coffee shop 
Good Coffee - they have two locations now, great spot for sipping coffee
Broder or Broder Nord - Swedish brunch 
Water Ave industrial area has Water Ave coffee, Bunk sandwiches, Boke Bowl (ramen). Close to OMSI, a great science museum fun for kids and adults! 

Downtown SW all in the same area:
Grassa - Handmade pasta, SO good. 
Tasty n Alder - more fancy, good drinks
Lardo - pork pork pork!
Clyde Common - great happy hour, in the Ace hotel which is fun for doing photo booth pics! Super hip Portland
Heart coffee - very hip also, minimalist
Stumptown coffee (In Ace Hotel) - also has many other locations! 
Boxer Ramen - in a cute alleyway, check out Will Leather Goods while you're there. 

Also SW
Alder & Co - super cute shop! You would love it. 
MAURICE - on my to try list, just opened and everyone is singing its praises! Pastries and lunch

Cool things to do: Pittock Mansion, Laurelhurst Park, Portland State Univ. farmers market on the Saturday (cooler than the Saturday market downtown), Forest Park, finding little local shops. 

There you go! If you read through the whole thing, I applaud you. There are obviously many more restaurants, places to go and do and see in Portland. Maybe one of my next posts will be places that are on my 'to try' list. 


  1. Fantastic list, Sam. I would agree with every time listed! Also, I totally used to follow the "find the river/burnside street" to orient myself when I was new to the city :)

  2. Such a good list! I'm planning a Portland/Seattle/Vancouver trip this summer and I will definitely be bookmarking all these places to try. Thanks!


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