We just returned for an extended trip to Portland this week. It’s our first trip of the year since Christmas! Before having kids, Walter and I loved to travel and explore new places. I remember going on a road trip with him from LA to Solvang with the first two months of dating, and knew that he would be a great travel buddy. I was right. It’s definitely harder to get away since having kids, but we still try to make it memorable for our girls. Elle loves trips as a family and we call them “adventures” in our household.
Besides all the quality time together, we love to eat! All my friends know me as an ultimate foodie, so we filled our days in Portland with the best eats around. I’m excited to share with you a Portland City Guide – my recommendations for where to eat in Portland!
Really, this list could be SO long, but I’m keeping it short with the highlights! This city guide is more of a food guide – something that you can pick and choose from to create the best weekend of eating. I’m highlight the best bites around Portland for you!
Our first meal once we arrive is always Nong’s Khao Man Gai and for good reason. Khao man gai is a Thai version of chicken and rice. It sounds fairly simple. But Nong’s sauce is simply amazing. It packs so much flavor in a little saucer. We all devoured all our food, as well as the girls. It’s so good!
You can’t go wrong with the most flavor-packed wings from the reknowned Pok Pok. They are famous for their fish sauce chicken wings. Be prepared to wait at their original location. My hack for you is to just visit their Pok Pok Wings location and skip the line!
This is what happens when you mix Texas barbecue with Thai flavors. It becomes an amazing meal. This spot doesn’t take reservations, so expect a long wait. We arrive a few minutes before they opened at 5PM and were able to score a table. By the time we left, the wait was over an hour. In addition to the BBQ Pork Steak, I recommend the white curry with burnt ends. I admit that I wasn’t too interested at first. But after my first bite, I was hooked. YUM. If you want to uplevel your experience, I suggest you score a reservation at one of the chef’s original restaurants, Langbaan, for an unforgettable tasting menu. You enter through a secret bookshelf in the back of the hallway and enter in this intimate space with an open kitchen. You’ve never had Thai food like this! We were lucky enough to do so during a past trip before the girls were born and it’s still one of my favorite meals I’ve ever had.
Did someone say truffle noodles? Grassa serves handcrafted pasta they make in-house. You can even watch them make it in the kitchen. The Cacio E Pepe, shown front and center below, are delicate noodles with truffle butter and grana. I could have eaten the whole bowl myself, but I did share with the family because I love them.
There’s lots of delicious donuts in Portland. Most will tell you to go to Blue Star (and you should – it’s good) or even VooDoo Donuts (it’s a tourist trap, you can skip it). But the most memorable donut I had was from Doe Donuts, who specialize in vegan donuts. I’m definitely a carnivore, so don’t let the whole vegan thing stop you. And I’m probably bias because Birthday Cake anything is my favorite. I mean, what’s not to love about sprinkles? Their Birthday Cake donut is exactly how you would think it tastes – delicious. Luckily, we ordered two of them, so we had one for breakfast with the girls…and then we saved the second one after went down for the night.
If you are keeping count of the Friday Fives, you will realize that this is the sixth item on the list. It was really hard to cut down, so you get a bonus! Tasty n’ Daughters is definitely one of those brunch places in town that always has a line, so come early or expect to wait. When we reviewed the menu, we didn’t see the Hangtown Fry on it. When I asked, the waitress let me know that they only had 2-3 servings of that dish a day, so it’s not on the menu unless someone asks for it. I can see why! It’s a dish with fried oysters, egg, and a biscuit with a delicious remoulade on top. We agreed it was our favorite!
I left coffee off this list because good coffee is EVERYWHERE in Portland. The local roasters know what they are doing. My only suggestion to you is to avoid large chains that you can have at home (ahem, Starbucks) and indulge in the small batch roastries in town. And if you like cold drinks, definitely get the Nitro cold brew.
Hope you enjoyed this Portland City Guide!