Oregon and Portland are 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 recurring feature we call Dining Confidential.
When John and Renee Gorham aren't opening restaurants under their Toro Bravo umbrella (Tasty n Sons, Mediterranean Exploration Company, two new restaurants inside of the new Pine Street Market food hall, etc.), they're going out to eat just like the rest of us. Their favorite spots include Fuller's Coffee Shop, Beaverton's Koreana, and SE 82nd Avenue's Pho Oregon, but what's their super-favorite, super-secret restaurant?
"Or favorite spot lately is Beijing Hot Pot, also on 82nd, in the same parking lot as Ha & VL. It's not a good place if you're in a hurry. It's literally operated by one or two people, but it's definitely worth the wait. Try to get there early or late to beat the rush. If you walk in and it's empty, consider yourself lucky.
"For the broth, we order one side spicy and one side mild. Go for the combination with handmade noodles, and add on the dumplings—they are delicate and delicious. Don't go expecting a craft cocktail bar program; instead, order the chrysanthemum tea drink or go for a cheap beer and smuggle in a flask.
"We actually hosted our first holiday staff party there the first year Toro Bravo was open. We had that room steamy, hot, and packed with our small staff, and we've been going back ever since.
"We're always on the lookout for great ethnic food in this city, and there's something nice about the ambiguity of being in a 'Portlandia-free' zone. There is nothing hip or trendy about Beijing Hot Pot, that's why we love it. It serves healthy, honest, simple food prepared with love."