Portland, Oregon

Written by Becky

Portland is a dreamy place for those who love rain, beautifully used books, strong coffee, and an elaborate array of restaurants.  Josh and I visited earlier this year for the first time, then revisited this September, and I’m sure that won’t be the last time.

Roses, bridges, lush green parks, and the city lights of Portland surround you while the smells of freshly brewed rich espresso and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cookies draw you in for a deeper connection. After a few visits and many great recommendations, we have now established a list of favorites to share with you of this lovely city.

First, you must must stay at the Ace Hotel.  If its booked or you want to try something else, then stay at the Jupiter Inn, which is also a super fun boutique hotel, with a great restaurant attached.  At the Ace, you’ll wake up to coffee and a sweet pastry, with Stumptown, a famous coffee brewing company right in the lobby you can’t go wrong.  They also serve up Nuvrei pastries, which are amazing; I highly recommend the almond pastry with currants.  And you must not leave Portland without trying Nuvrei’s flourless chocolate cookie, now that is what dreams are made of.

If you can make it to the Portland Saturday Market, which is every Saturday and Sunday, you should totally check it out.  If nothing else, to people watch and get some good food cart items.

There are two local food chains that deserve mentioning.  McMenamins Restaurants are housed in several famous and historical buildings around town and serve up American food, with good beer and they even have wine on tap. Our favorite is the McMenamin’s Blue Moon Tavern Grill on Nob Hill and I’ve also heard the Kennedy School is pretty great.  The other chain is Burgerville, who serves up burgers, fried fish, and chicken all using fresh local ingredients. Their seasonal shakes are pretty great too!

If you want to hit the beach for a day trip or two, check out the town of Tillamook on your way, for cheese and wine tastings, then continue on to Cannon Beach.  You love the views of the ocean, seeing the famous Haystack Rock, tastes of fresh seafood, and endless salt water taffy choices.  For the complete tourist experience try classic seafood Moe’s with a great view of Haystack Rock, or for a more upscale seafood dinner also with an excellent view try Wayfarer. And if you’re still hungry when you wake up in the morning, walk down to the Lazy Susan Cafe, located in a small house just off the Main Street. We had the most amazing marion berry scones one morning, while sippin’ coffee at this cute small town cafe.
I wanted to give you a list of the restaurants that we tried and hope to try on future trips to Portland. We were given lot so great recommendations, too many to try them all, so I will share them with you. Salt Lake City to Portland is the perfect long-weekend trip, I highly recommend it, especially if you love to travel for good food!

Restaurants, Cafes, and Markets in Portland that we checked out:
Stumptown Coffee – Famous coffee shop
Pine State Biscuits – Homestyle biscuits and gravy
Mother’s Bistro – Classic American cuisine
Produce Row Cafe – Fresh local fare
Clide Common -European
Jam on Hawthorne -Hipster brunch
Voodoo Donuts – Legendary late night donuts
Zupan’s Market – Specialty food market on Nob Hill
Whole Bowl – a food cart that you simple must try
Kenny and Zukes – Deli serving famous pastrami sandwiches

Restaurants on our list for another visit:
Everett Bistro -European
Screen Door – Southern cuisine
Nicholas– Lebanese and Middle Eastern
Vindalho -Indian
Pok Pok Whiskey and Soda Lounge – Thai
Pambiche -Cuban
The Farm Cafe – Vegetarian
Kennedy School -American
Marrakesh -Moroccan
Pix Patisserie – Bakery

Neighborhoods to visit
Hawthorne Street– hipster street lined with shops and cafes
23rd Street/ Alphabet Streets/ Nob Hill– upscale shopping and dining
Pearl District– area near downtown with great restaurants, Powell’s books, the Ace Hotel, and Stumptown Coffee
Washington Park and the International Rose Gardens
Laurelhurst Park – beautiful park to walk around, or pick up some food on Hawthorne (Whole Bowl or Por Que No?) and have a lovely picnic at the park

Powell’s Book Store – the largest new and used book store I’ve ever experienced.
Oblation Papers – letter press and stationary store
Bartleby’s Letterpress Emporium – cards and book art supplies

Comments (6)

  1. Hey there! Great Blog, and beautiful pictures! Thanks for all the great restaurant recommendations. Sorry your trip got cut short, but sounds like ya'll had fun anyway!

  2. Hello! I found your blog after visiting Tastespotting! My wife and I just returned from Portland a couple weeks ago! We had a very similar trip! We ate at Bill's Tavern in Canon Beach and had some great microbrews there. There is a great cafe there called Bella Espresso, good stuff! In Portland we had dinner at Nicholas' (which you mentioned at the bottom) and thought it was ammmmmmazing! A lot of food, so don't over order! We also had Voodoo Doughnuts, which is quite the experience. if your into the micro brew scene then I would reccommend a small brewery called "roots" all organic beer!

  3. Looks like you did so much despite your trip being cut short! Your food photos always make me drool, and your descriptions sound so romantic.

  4. hey there- saw your site through tastespotting. i'm a native portlander and i saw your future restaurant recommendations and they're mostly great, but for "hipster brunch" jam is packed and food is not that good. gravy on albina/ mississippi or genie's over on division are way better. also, the kennedy school is a cool spot, but it's also a mcmenamin's joint, so the food is the same as where you stayed already. hawthorne is a fine place to check out, but most people find the alberta district a little more interesting if they've never been to portland before. hope you get to go back again sometime!

  5. Anna, thank you so much for more recommendations. We hope to go back because there was so much to explore!

    Mark, thanks for letting me know about Roots. That is a brewery we hadn't heard of yet. We did check out Deschutes and Henry Weinhard's in Portland and I read about Bill's Tavern but it was closed when we were in Cannon. All good tips for another trip!

  6. once again, great photos. i'm a very visual person, and your photos add so much to the experience of reading your blog. that said, i really want to make it up to the oregon coast to sample as much food as i can. that may be a ways off because of other travel plans, but…gotta get up there. 🙂