15 Must-Try Portland Food Delights in 2024

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 | 0 Comments
tater tot nachos, an iconic Portland food

The Portland food scene has attracted foodies from across the country. Portland chefs and restaurateurs have created a vibrant culinary scene filled with delightful dishes. Here you can get a taste of traditional foods from a variety of cultures or get a modern twist on your favorites with unique fusion cuisines. From salty to sweet, fancy to casual, the Portland food scene has something for everyone.

What makes Portland so different from other cities is the unique makeup of immigrants and expats, who bring their culinary customs with them. Not only does this create a vibrant culinary scene of authentic food, but many riffs of recipes seem to follow as dishes get modernized and fused with others. Whether you’re a Portland local looking for your new favorite spot or a visitor looking for something good to eat, this guide will tell you the must-try Portland foods you have to eat at least once.

 

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Get a Taste of Iconic Portland Foods

Discover delicious dishes and sweet treats with food tours in Portland. Led by expert guides, you’ll find places locals love to eat as well as critically acclaimed restaurants. While you explore the culinary scene, learn more about the local history and facts about the city. Food tours near you are the perfect way to get to know one of the best foodie cities in the U.S.!

15 Best Portland Foods

1. Doughnuts and Chai From Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai

Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai is all about fresh, made-to-order doughnuts and house-crafted chai tea lattes, including fun chai flights. Whether you're into classic cinnamon sugar or candied bacon maple, they've got you covered, with doughnut flavors that change up seasonally. 

The Vibe

A small, casual local spot with colorful painted walls. Grab a table to catch up with friends with a chai or coffee. Pip's can be busy on weekend mornings, so plan accordingly.

Why It's Good

Classic doughnut lovers will appreciate the cinnamon sugar doughnut. Locals love the raw honey and sea salt doughnuts, especially when paired with one of the small-batch, house-made chais.

Pip’s Original Doughnuts and Chai | 4759 NE Fremont St., Portland, OR 97213 | $$

chai tea and donuts
via Pip's Original Doughnuts & Chai

2. Fried Chicken From Hat Yai

Named after the Southern Thai City of Hat Yai near the Malaysian border, Hat Yai draws inspiration from the streetside fried chicken, curry and roti vendors found in Southern Thailand. Fresh roti is prepared daily, and the menu showcases delicious variations of dishes originating from the region.

The Vibe

A trendy and comfortable spot with wood accents and blue gingham tablecloths. Hat Yai is a great Portland food spot for a casual lunch or dinner with friends.

Why It's Good

Fried chicken with Thai influences creates a flavorful star of a dish. It’s no wonder that this chicken has drawn people to the restaurant. The fried chicken leg is served with curry and roti, adding a bit of spice to the dish. Dip the chicken and roti into the curry to get the authentic experience.

Hat Yai | Multiple Locations | $$

fried chicken and rice
via Hat Yai

3. Khao Man Gai From Nong’s Khao Man Gai

Khao man gai translates to "chicken and rice." In Thailand, many restaurants focus on one dish, honing it into a specialty. Nong’s Khao Man Gai follows the same concept and features the healthy and comforting dish which has been perfected with Nong's signature sauce. While maintaining a small menu, they have expanded their offerings to include other delicious dishes such as khao kha muu (pork and rice).

The Vibe

Originating as a food cart, Nong's Khao Man Gai became so popular they had no option but to grow and expand into a permanent location. The fast-casual restaurant is the perfect place for a weekday lunch or to satisfy a weekend craving.

Why It's Good

Nong’s Khao Man Gai has quickly become the go-to Portland food locals go to for comfort. This staple features poached chicken paired with rice with a soybean sauce flavored with garlic, ginger and some Thai chili for a little bit of heat. This Southeast Asian specialty has quickly become a must-try Portland food.

Nong’s Khao Man Gai | Multiple Locations | $

portland food
via Nong’s Khao Man Gai

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4. Steam Burgers From Canard

At Canard, the steam burger takes center stage, but the menu includes other outstanding small plates such as sea urchin on Texas toast and foie gras dumplings with peanut sauce. Opened by celebrated chefs Gabriel Rucker and Andrew Fortgang in 2018, Canard has firmly established itself in Portland's food scene.

The Vibe

A hip French restaurant with sleek finishings. Canard is an overall casual place but still a great option for dinner date ideas in Portland thanks to the cozy booths.

Why It's Good

The steam burgers are infused with the classic flavors of French onion soup, making it a savory and juicy bite. This Portland food is simple in all the best ways and is sure to be a craveable dish you’ll want to have again.

Canard | 734 E. Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214 | $$$

canard portland
via Canard

5. Insalata Nostrana From Nostrana

In Italian, nostrana means "local," and Nostrana is proud to mix up its menu daily, reflecting what the nearby farmers have to offer. Dedicated to responsible sourcing, they feature their farmers and purveyors on the menu every day. The Insalata Nostrana is Italian-inspired but reflects the best of the Pacific Northwest.

The Vibe

A cozy Italian place with rustic wood finishes, Nostrana exudes a casual charm, making it an excellent spot to gather. Whether you're exploring things to do in Portland with out-of-town guests or aiming to introduce them to Portland's cuisine, Nostrana is sure to impress.

Why It's Good

Nostrana might be the originator of the modern chicory Caesar salad. The Insalata Nostrana is an iconic Portland food often replicated but never duplicated. The salad features bitter chicory, savory rosemary and sage and acidic Parmesan cheese dressing that perfectly balance each other.

Nostrana | 1401 SE Morrison St. #101, Portland, OR 97214 | $$

italian portland food
via Canva

6. Nachos From Expatriate

You'll be sure to go on a culinary adventure at Expatriate. Even though it is more well-known as a cocktail lounge, the menu features inventive snacks that defy conventional expectations of Portland food, such as hot and sour Indian spiced fries or crab paste and corn noodles.

The Vibe

This hip lounge attracts people for a good night out with friends. Cozy and somewhat eclectic, Expatriate serves upscale cocktails and bar food with an Asian twist.

Why It's Good

An elevated bar bite, the nachos from Expatriate are a must-have for your next night out. They’re made with wonton chops topped with Thai chile cheese, lemongrass beef and lime tomato salsa. It’s the perfect dish to share with friends while you sip on drinks on a weekend night.

Expatriate | 5424 NE 30th Ave., Portland, OR 97211 | $$

cocktails in portland
via Canva

7. Teriyaki Chicken From Du’s Grill

Du’s Grill is tiny yet mighty. Beloved by locals, the teriyaki chicken offers the perfect balance of savory and sweet flavors. The restaurant's inviting atmosphere has solidified its status as a go-to spot for those in search of excellent Korean cuisine in Portland.

The Vibe

The space serves mostly takeout orders, but there is a small dining area for quick meals.

Why It's Good

Du’s Grill lives up to the title “best Korean teriyaki in the known universe,” according to rapper Aminé. This Portland food features juicy chicken covered in a sweet teriyaki sauce served with rice and a salad with poppy seed dressing. The simple flavors stick with you and have you craving more.

Du’s Grill | 5365 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR 97213 | $

Korean teriyaki chicken
via Du's Grill

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8. Steamed Bao Burger From Toki

Toki is a contemporary Korean-American restaurant with a commitment to innovation and quality. Their dinner menu features a blend of traditional and modern fusion dishes including an acclaimed Steamed Bao Burger and an interesting array of flavored Korean fried chicken.   

The Vibe

Eclectic contemporary finishings in an industrial-type space, Toki is an upscale casual place that’s comfortable for both a quick weekday meal and a weekend get-together with friends.

Why It's Good

A unique burger is an iconic Portland food. The steamed bao burger is one of the most unique Portland foods you can try — dry-aged beef, American cheese and onion enclosed in bao dough and steamed to perfection for a crunchy exterior and juicy center.

Toki | 580 SW 12th Ave., Portland, OR 97205 | $$

bao bun burgers
via Toki

9. Bone Marrow Clam Chowder From Ox

Ox draws inspiration from the wood-fired grilling traditions of Argentina, along with the culinary heritage of the Mediterranean. The restaurant's name pays homage to the diligent work animal that sustains the land, cultivating it for a bountiful harvest. Among the meaty menu items, the bone marrow chowder stands out.

The Vibe

Hip yet casual, Ox features leather-clad booths and an extensive stone patio. There is a small bar and seating that allows you to watch the chefs in action. Ox is a great place to go out to on a weekend night and a good option for weeknight dinner if you’re craving it.

Why It's Good

Bone marrow seems to be making a name for itself when it comes to Portland cuisine. A modern twist on an old classic, this bone marrow clam chowder is a must-try Portland food. Made with jalapeños and smoked bone marrow, it lends a Latin flair to a traditional American dish. 

Ox | 2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, OR 97212 | $$$

clam chowder
via Ox

10. Pizza From Lovely’s Fifty Fifty

Lovely's Fifty Fifty is a family-owned establishment that has been popular since its opening in 2010.  They are proud to serve 100% organic produce exclusively from local Oregon farms, topping their famous pizzas with fresh greens, foraged flowers, wild mushrooms and seasonal vegetables. 

The Vibe

The brick facade and wood-clad ceiling contribute to the laid-back and comfortable nature of Lovely's Fifty Fifty. Bring friends or family for a wood-fired pizza night!

Why It's Good

Made using local ingredients, each pizza is made from scratch by hand. This spot is the ideal place to get your pizza fix. You truly can’t go wrong with any toppings here since everything is fresh and local, but try a pie with the house-made fennel sausage or opt for the gold tomatoes two ways on top.

Lovely’s Fifty Fifty | 4039 N. Mississippi Ave., Portland, OR 97217 | $$

portland food pizza
via Lovely’s Fifty Fifty

11. Fried Brie Sticks From Scotch Lodge

The food at Scotch Lodge spans from thoughtfully crafted snacks to small plates and full-flavored mains, seamlessly complementing the refined whiskey selection. Whether you're a seasoned Scotch connoisseur or not particularly into whiskey, a visit to Scotch Lodge is a must for those seeking inventive Pacific Northwest cuisine.

The Vibe

Scotch Lodge is an elevated cocktail bar with a vintage flair. The extensive whiskey library is displayed on dark wood shelves, the bar top is a luxurious white marble and the booths are finished with dark green leather. This is where to go for a night out with friends if you want good drinks and conversation.

Why It's Good

Elevated comfort is the key to this Portland food delight. Creamy sticks of brie rolled in pumpernickel crumbs and fried to a crunchy exterior and gooey interior are the perfect bite to enjoy while sipping on a fancy cocktail.

Scotch Lodge | 215 SE Ninth Ave. #102, Portland, OR 97214 | $$$

whisky bar in portland oregon
via Scotch Lodge

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12. Oregon Croissant From Ken’s Artisan Bakery

Ken Forkish is the chef behind Ken's Artisan Bakery and the croissant that captures the essence of Oregon. The delectable pastry is a result of traditional French patisserie techniques, showcasing the use of locally sourced ingredients from the Portland area.

The Vibe

The smell of fresh-baked bread and sweet treats will envelope you as soon as you walk through the door at Ken's Artisan Bakery. The bakery is overall casual, with tables where you can enjoy your food or even get work done or read while you eat.

Why It's Good

If you want to try Portland cuisine in one bite, the Oregon Croissant is the way to go. This iconic Portland food is made using Pacific Northwest flour and filled with local marionberries and hazelnut cream. If you’re in town, this is a Portland food you simply can’t pass up trying.

Ken’s Artisan Bakery | 338 NW 21st Ave., Portland, OR 97209 | $$

croissant is a portland food
via Ken's Artisan Bakery

13. Brisket White Curry at Eem

Eem is a barbecue joint with a Thai twist. The brisket white curry stands out in particular on their menu. A true fusion of flavors, this dish marries the succulence of American barbecue brisket with the refreshing and aromatic notes of Thai white curry, making a distinctive mark on the Portland food scene.

The Vibe

Comfortable and laid-back, here you’ll find sleek and modern lines combined with cozy wood finishes.

Why It's Good

The brisket burnt end white curry is what brings many diners to Eem. It’s the brainchild of three of the area’s most acclaimed chefs, who have other popular restaurants in Portland. What makes this one of the best Portland foods is how the flavors combine. Fatty, savory brisket with spicy curry is a combination that your taste buds won’t soon forget.

Eem | 3808 N. Williams Avenue Ste. 127, Portland, OR 97227 | $$

thai food in portland
via Eem

14. Soft Serve at Cheese & Crack Snack Shop

Cheese & Crack Snack Shop is a nostalgia-driven lunch spot with elevated offerings of childhood favorites. In addition to their renowned cheese plates, Cheese & Crack have a selection of flavorful sandwiches and comforting soups. A must-try is their soft serve for a playful and whimsical twist on classic ice cream.

The Vibe

It may seem weird to get your soft-serve ice cream at a place called Cheese & Crack, but what’s more emblematic of the Portland food scene? This low-key cheese shop is the perfect place for a quick bite and to grab ice cream on a casual day.

Why It's Good

Yes, you can get a delicious cheese board here. However, it’s the ice cream topped with a chocolate cowboy hat that is considered one of the best Portland foods. Rich, silky ice cream with a chocolate ganache at the bottom of the cone is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth in Portland.

Cheese & Crack | 22 SE 28th Ave., Portland, OR 97214 | $$

soft scoop ice cream
via Cheese & Crack

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15. Totchos From Oaks Bottom Public House

As a self-proclaimed local neighborhood pub, Oaks Bottom Public House offers an extensive menu featuring traditional pub grub like ale-battered fish and chips, alongside more adventurous options such as bacon bleu cheese fries and local favorite — Totchos. 

The Vibe

Casual pub with wood-finished booth and wood finishes. Oaks Bottom Public House is a laid-back gathering place for Portland food and good drinks.

Why It's Good

Totchos were first made in Oregon, so it’s safe to say that Oaks Bottom Public House is serving up a quintessential Portland food. The totchos are the perfect bar snack to enjoy with a beer — tater tots topped with cheddar and jack cheese, pickled jalapeños, red onion, scallions, tomatoes and olives. Add a protein for an even more savory and decadent dish.

Oaks Bottom Public House | 1621 SE Bybee Blvd., Portland, OR 97202 | $$

the portland food scene
via Oaks Bottom Public House

The distinct Portland food scene has been a draw to the city for years to come. The unique appeal of this food-centric city comes from the immigrant and expat population's influences on cuisine, as well as locals curating flavorful dishes that keep diners coming back. These must-try Portland foods are signatures of the culinary scene, loved by locals and craved by visitors. In Portland, you’re sure to discover your new favorite dish and then some.

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