After an amazing experience in Seattle, I had to go back West. I took a week long summer trip to Portland, Oregon in July. With the perfect amount of time to explore I took advantage of both the city and the hot spots in surrounding areas!
Portland is a beautiful clean little city with amazing things to do within a short distance whether you are interested in eating, drinking, exploring, hiking, relaxing, shopping – you name it.
It is also a foodie city, so my first post about this trip is centered around foods and libations! Below is a snapshot of the great places to go within the city.
Portland Happy Hour
I’d say the biggest thing I learned in Portland is that happy hour is a thing. Almost all the restaurants participate in happy hour from around 4-6 pm and then after 9 pm. Definitely take advantage of this staple if you are looking to try out a new hot spot restaurant or looking for a good deal. Most restaurants list their happy hour menus on their website so you can get a feel for what you are getting into.
- Departure was one of our favorite spots to hit because it has an amazing rooftop for both happy hour and outdoor dining with some great views. It’s also a top place to eat thanks to Top Chef finalist Gregory Gourdet and his Asian fusion cuisine. We chose to focus mostly on the happy hour menu when we ate there. We got the happy hour white wine of the day which was a delicious Chardonnay (and I’m not typically a Chardonnay person). We then split the Pork Belly & Kimchi Fried Rice, Chicken Skewers, Vegetarian Maki, Spicy Tuna Bowl and BBQ Shortrib Buns. Do not leave there without the fried rice and dim sum buns!
- Another great spot we were recommended was Portland City Grill. This is a classy spot and an incredible way to take advantage of the views of the city from inside (it feels like a 360 view of the city). The list of happy hour specials is endless there. We did a 9 pm happy hour and got the Poblano Mac N Cheese and Crab & Avocado Rolls. Both delicious.
- Clyde Common has also been on the top restaurants in Portland list and we were able to take advantage of their happy hour. They have great cocktails (I went with the Pacific Standard) and a nice selection of food specials including hamburgers, french fries, spring rolls, and skewers. My boyfriend went bananas over the skewers so I would suggest those as a must for this stop.
Great Portland Restaurants
- Apizza Scholls was mentioned repeatedly to me as the very best pizza in Portland. New Haven style, I can agree that this place is fantastic. Go with your gut. You will be happy with whatever toppings you choose.
- The Good Earth Café was my favorite breakfast spot because it was fast and delicious with fantastic service. I got the bacon, egg, and guacamole sandwich.
Fun Bars and Breweries in Portland
Portland offers a variety of places for fun libations and bar eats, including:
- Barlow – A1920’s inspired cocktail spot with amazing drinks.
- The Independent – This place deserves a shout out due to its great service, all American music, shuffle board, and pool.
- Deschutes Brewery – Probably one of the most popular breweries in Portland. The restaurant itself is huge with great outdoor seating and plenty of bar space. Their food is great – especially the grilled cheese and french fries!
- Kelly’s Irish Pub & Brewery is right by the riverwalk so you can hit this place up on your way. They have outdoor seating and a solid menu full of drinks and eat – including fish & chips!
- Portland is known for its brewery offerings including:
- 10 Barrel – amazing rooftop
- Fat Head’s – a chain with a fun variety of beer flavor
- Rogue Brewery – known for its Voodoo Ales
- Teote is noted as one of the best outdoor patios in the city
Voodoo Donut Portland
Voodoo Donut is a fun touristy place to stop by and get your sweet fix. They have a crazy selection of donuts in flavors you can’t even start to imagine. I stopped by on a morning jog during the week so I wouldn’t have to wait in lines and got the Portland Creme, Voodoo Doll, Bacon Maple Creme, and Apple Cruller. Although I’m not a big donut person and I thought they tasted just as good as other donuts, my boyfriend and I agreed the Portland Creme was the best! The fun part is their designs and the range of flavors.
Restaurants and Bars People Can’t Stop Talking About
If you’ve read my blog previously, you know there is always an ‘if I went back’ list. Although I covered a ton of food territory, we stayed mostly in the downtown area and Pearl District and didn’t make it across the river often. Here are some places that I’d recommend testing out. I definitely will when I go back!
- Pok Pok – Thai food, known for their chicken wings
- Tasty N’ Adler – known for great brunch
- Pine State Biscuits – known for great biscuits and gravy
- Nostrana – one of the best Italian restaurants in Portland
- Porque No Tacqueria – Tacos!
- Bamboo Sushi – best sushi spot
- Sweedeedee – brunch
- Noble Rot – best rooftop bar on the Eastside and great happy hour.
- Salt N’ Straw – best ice cream
- Whiskey Library– a popular tourist bar