Portland is a great city for foodies, and it’s compact and easy to navigate, meaning you can see – and eat – a lot, even in a regular two-day weekend.
My #1 recommendation for food in Portland is the charming Italian trattoria Mucca Osteria. The food here is certainly authentically Italian, but it has more New American influences than many other Italian restaurants I’ve been to. I adored both dishes I tried, the sea scallops with truffle parmesan fondue and mushroom ravioli with asparagus, almonds and white wine cream sauce. If you come to Portland and don’t dine here, you’re missing out!
I expected to be underwhelmed by the famous Voodoo Doughnut. Many of the reviews I read indicated that it was touristy and more famous for its neon sign and obscene donut names than the donuts themselves. I was surprised – and delighted – to discover that the donuts here are worthy of the hype. I’m not normally the biggest donut fan, but I loved these. They were fresh and light and the chocolate frosting on my ODB donut (chocolate glazed with peanut butter and Oreo crumbs) was on point. My only complaint was that the cookie crumbs used as a topping were a bit stale, but that’s a pretty minor thing. The lines are long here, but they move really quickly so don’t be deterred. (Yes, I tried that other famous donut shop in town, and I liked Voodoo way more!)
I’m not going to lie, Cassidy’s wasn’t part of our original food itinerary. We found ourselves here after failing to get into a popular spot nearby. I’m glad we happened upon this place, though. It’s very much off the beaten tourist track, but the food was excellent and the service was very friendly. I loved my rotisserie chicken with brussels sprouts and stuffing and my husband raved about his burger.
No visit to Portland is complete without a visit to the famous Pine State Biscuits. Soft, fluffy biscuits and fried chicken are two of my very favorite foods, and although I’ve had better versions of both in the South, the biscuit sandwiches here are certainly very good, and are worth braving the long weekend lines for. They offer more than fried chicken, of course; the steak club with ranch pictured below was a big hit. Their prices are also surprisingly low given their massive popularity.
Despite my general love of all things sweet, I’m weirdly picky about ice cream, and some really famous places have left me underwhelmed. Not so at Portland’s Salt & Straw, which probably narrowly beats out Boston’s J.P. Licks as my favorite ice cream ever. They offer tasting flights of four small dishes of different flavors for $9. When I first walked in the shop, I looked at all the people doing the tasting flights, and thought to myself “How many different kinds of ice cream can you possibly need to try?” Well, one pass through the samples later, guess who had a tasting flight in front of them? Their cinnamon snickerdoodle ice cream (with fresh snickerdoodle cookies mixed in) is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, and I can vouch for the sea salt with caramel ribbons and chocolate gooey brownie as well. They’re just down the street from Pine State Biscuits in the Alberta Arts district, so if the lines are long there you can send someone out for ice cream to enjoy while you wait (isn’t one of the greatest things about being an adult being able to eat dessert whenever you want?).
What are you favorite spots for food in Portland?