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Portland’s Best Food Neighborhoods in 2019, According to Eater Portland Writers and Personalities

Central Eastside or Slabtown?

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A picture of Portland taken from the West Side, looking onto the Willamette and East Portland

As the year comes to a close, Eater sites across the country are celebrating the highlights and bemoaning the lows of 2019. Here in Portland, Eater contributors and food personalities are sharing their thoughts on the year in a series we call the Year in Eater. In this edition, we choose our favorite dining neighborhoods this year. For more year-in-review stuff, take a look at our 2019 retrospective package.

Gary Okazaki, Instagram influencer and co-host of the podcast Walk-ins Welcome with Gary & Michael:
CENTRAL EASTSIDE: Newbies such as Scotch Lodge, Hey Love (yes, it opened in October of 2018), Dottir, Hat Yai on Belmont, and Berlu were added to the neighborhood stalwarts such as Renata, Afuri, Le Pigeon, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Delicious Donuts, Rum Club, and Canard, to name but a few.

Joy Church, Eater Portland contributor and Portland Culinary Alliance Vice President:
Central Eastside has a one-mile, walkable treasure loop of some of Portland’s best food and drink. With Scotch Lodge and Bar Casa Vale marking the outer perimeter, eating and drinking at Normandie, Hey Love, Doug Fir, Canard, Bar Dune, C’est Si Bon Bistro + Vins, Rontoms, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, and Marukin Ramen is easy, safe, and deliciously diverse.

Michael C. Zusman, Willamette Week restaurant critic:
All-way tie, except for downtown/Old Town, which has plenty of yummy places, but is an increasingly unpleasant destination.

Krista Garcia, Eater Portland contributor:
The usual suspects. I’m hoping we see new dining options creeping eastward, like those that sprouted in Foster-Powell, Beaumont, and Rose City Parkway in 2019.

Seiji Nanbu, Instagram Influencer and Eater Portland contributor:
Slabtown / Northwest District, and it’s only going to get better next year.

Alex Frane, Eater Portland guest editor and contributor:
“Buckman. Probably. It’s just such a solidly packed neighborhood that includes Kachka and Canard, Scotch Lodge, and Bar Casa Vale, Nong’s, Marukin, etc, etc. Everything is easy to walk to and almost uniformly good.”

Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor:
“Both neighborhoods mentioned here — Slabtown/Northwest and Central Eastside/Southeast — are probably the correct answers. So instead of sounding like a broken record, I’ll mention some rising star neighborhoods that made some big moves this year: Foster-Powell, Creston-Kenilworth, and SE Clinton. My guess is that we’ll have more to say about them in 2020.”

More Year in Eater roundups [Eater Portland]
More 2019 retrospective content [Eater Portland]