With its deceptively residential neighborhoods, hidden destination restaurants, and occasionally aloof locals, Portland can be borderline impossible to navigate without an ally. Still, with a little digging, the city reveals some of the country’s best regional Thai food, risky-but-rewarding culinary mashups, Russian home-cooking and vegan ice cream, all delivered with a “so-what” sort of shrug. The city finds itself in a bowl of mountains, rivers, and farmland, making the locality and seasonality of its restaurants almost cliche. But those restaurants, from Southern pop-ups to Indonesian spots, take what the land and sea have to offer and make it something distinct — a diverse and deeply personal take on this teenager of an American city. Friendlier than New York and icier than the Midwest, Portland often behaves like a middle child, but that’s the one who’s usually the artsiest, right?
Portland doesn’t want to divulge its secrets, but good news: We totally will. Use this guide to find your morning coffee, a happy hour cocktail, or a pint of Portland-brewed beer, plus an array of outstanding meals sprinkled throughout. If there’s anything else you’re dying to know, you can always ask us directly. Cheers, good luck, and welcome to Portland.