Oregon is home to a lot of restaurants, bars, wineries, and breweries, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food players to share their recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Locally owned and operated by husband and wife duo Nate and Jamie Snell(Jamie is also the owner and chef of the Lamb's Table Catering), NE Portland's Pip's Original features a selection of made-to-order doughnuts, rising to the top of Portland's doughnut offerings with its raw honey and sea salt flavor. The Snell's goal is simple: to provide patrons with a well-made, simple product and a friendly, welcoming attitude, all served up in a warm and cozy space. According to Nate Snell, the couple seek out the same ethos in their Indian buffets — minus, perhaps, the "cozy" space — but have found a "gem" in NE Sandy's Namaste Indian Cuisine.
My wife Jamie and I pride ourselves on seeking weird and wonderful dining establishments every where we go and Namaste Indian Cuisine is no exception. We live a few blocks from this Indian buffet lunch and dinner spot on a dirty corner of NE 82nd Avenue and Sandy. It is hidden inside the shell of a former Howard Johnson hotel buffet. The hotel still operates, but the hotel restaurant is now Namaste. The original 1980s pioneer-theme decor lives on, with mauve vinyl booths, brass chandeliers, wallpaper-sized photos of pioneer loggers, log furniture touches, and frighteningly old carpet in the dining area. This depressing decor becomes humorous once you hit the huge buffet filled with surprisingly luscious Indian classics. I would go here for one thing: the chickpea battered French fries, which I dip in tamarind and coriander chutneys. Four or five distinct meat and vegetable curries (including goat) are always good. The crowning jewel are the self-serve soft ice cream machines. Coconut and mango, with little wafer cones. Grateful this gem is so close to our house!
Photo of Namaste Indian Cuisine courtesy Facebook