clock menu more-arrow no yes
A picture of a dish at Departure with various condiments
Duck at Departure
John Valls/Departure

A 24-Hour Food Crawl in Downtown Portland

Dining from dawn to dusk to dawn again

Perhaps to the chagrin of the locals who worry about traffic and parking, Portland is gaining national recognition as a major food destination, attracting culinary tourists from all corners of the globe. And while it’s not possible to experience everything the city has to offer in 24 hours, you can get a solid feel for what all the buzz is about. Some may say that in order to really see Portland, you have to leave the downtown area. And while there is certainly an element of truth to that — each of Portland’s neighborhoods possesses its own distinctive charm and quirky personality — it’s entirely possible to get a taste of what Portland is about without ever crossing a river or leaving the confines of the downtown city blocks.

A picture of a bartender pouring bloody mary mix at Tasty n Alder
A row of Bloody Marys being poured at Tasty n Alder
David L. Reamer Photography/Official

9 a.m.: Breakfast at Tasty ‘n Alder

Owned by local restaurant mogul John Gorham, Tasty ‘n Alder always has a long wait, and with good reason: namely, its eclectic brunch. Bowls of “Bim Bop bacon and eggs” balance salty pork and crispy rice, while the Korean fried chicken — with short grain rice, house-made kimchi, and eggs two ways — is a serious hangover cure. The menu is best ordered family-style with plenty of Tasty Mary’s. Put your name on the list and explore the neighborhood, and after breakfast, head towards Pioneer Place in hot pursuit of tax-free shopping. 580 SW 12th Avenue, tastynalder.com
Potential Alternative: Bistro Agnes (if on a weekend), Maurice

Noon: Food Cart Lunch at Burger Stevens

The Burger Stevens food cart overlooks the iconic Pioneer Square, “Portland’s living room” in the heart of the city. The square is often a gathering place for both tourists and locals on their lunch break, which means it’s home to some legit people-watching. Arguably the city’s best burger, chef Don Salamone chars his patties and tosses them on toasted Franz Bakery buns. Burgers come with all the traditional toppings: Tillamook cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and the house “fancy sauce,” plus optional additions like fried egg, avocado, bacon, or roasted jalapeños. Tourists should wander the square after lunch, exploring the weather vane, outdoor chess tables, fountain, and echo chamber amphitheater. Pro tip: stand in the round marble stone in the center of the small amphitheater in the NE corner of the square, face the steps and speak. Cool, right? 701 SW 6th Avenue, burgerstevens.com
Potential Alternatives: Stretch the Noodle, Pine Street Market

A picture of a pile of doughnuts in the window of Blue Star Donuts
An assortment of doughnuts from Blue Star Donuts
Blue Star Donuts/Official

2 p.m.: A sugary pick-me-up at Blue Star Donuts

Tourists may think Voodoo Doughnut is where it’s at; the Food Network is convincing that way. But Blue Star Donuts is a local favorite, with the almost mandatory maple bacon donuts as well as one-of-a-kind flavors like the Cointreau crème brûlée. Filled with vanilla custard and torch-fired by hand, the doughnut’s smoky, crisp shell adds textural contrast to the soft brioche-based doughnut; the doughnut is finished off with a Cointreau-filled pipette — visitors can squeeze the pipette to add a shot of booziness and bright citrus to the interior of the dessert. For those intimidated by a dessert quite that extra, the simple horchata-glazed doughnut is hard to beat. 1155 SW Morrison Street, bluestardonuts.com
Potential Alternatives: Ruby Jewel Scoops, 22 Below

3 p.m.: High Tea at Headwaters by the Heathman

Headwaters continues the Heathman Hotel’s long tradition of high tea service in the restaurant’s designated tea court, but these days, chef Vitaly Paley adds Russian flair with dishes passed down from his grandmother. Visitors choose from a selection of Smith Teas, and then sit back and enjoy three tiered trays of savory and sweet teatime snacks — think Russian tea cakes, sesame halva, an assortment of open-faced rye bread sandwiches, walnut stuffed eggplant rolls, and other Russian and Georgian dishes. Whether drinking your tea vnagladku (with sugar), vprigladku (plain), or vprikusku (with sweets), visitors should raise their cups and toast to family, tradition, and memories — Za vashe zdorovie, or “To your health.” Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance-this books up quickly, especially around the holiday season. 1001 SW Broadway, headwaterspdx.com
Potential Alternatives: Good Coffee, Tea Bar

A picture of a round, pink mousse topped with gold leaf, clouds of pineapple ice, and scattered edible flowers and herbs at Departure
A tropical mousse with pineapple ice, lychee gelee, and gold flakes
Brooke Jackson-Glidden / EPDX

5 p.m.: Happy hour, pre-dinner snacks, or dessert first at Departure

Drinking with one of the city’s best views is not a bad way to get the evening started. Happy hour includes Departure staples like the crispy lollipop wings and the pork belly smothered in fragrant dressed peanuts, plus a few cocktails on one of the restaurant’s rooftop patios. But chef Gregory Gourdet rewards those who stick past happy hour with exemplary snacks, salads, and desserts worth a few extra hours atop the Nines Hotel — we’re talking gorgeous tomato and peach salads with the fragrant addition of shiso, citrus-cured shellfish chilled with pineapple ice, and jackfruit pudding with young coconut. Plus, Departure is quietly one of the most accommodating restaurants in town, with several lactose-free, gluten-free, or vegan options — including dessert. 525 SW Morrison Street, departureportland.com
Potential Alternatives: Pepe le Moko, Imperial

7 p.m.: Dinner at Duck House

Assuming crawlers still have room after popping by Departure, a dinner of dumplings at the Chinese favorite Duck House is easily scalable based on hunger level. No meal is complete without an order of xiaolongbao — delicate, juicy, and practically bursting with savory soup broth — as well as the tender Sichuan pork wontons tossed in chili oil. Save the remaining sauce from the wontons; it’s great over a side of rice, or even saved for frozen dumplings at home. Beyond dumplings, the massive menu is packed with other winners — everything from kung pao prawns to hot and sour cabbage to the deeply rich beef noodle soup. 1968 SW 5th Avenue, duckhousepdx.com
Potential Alternatives: Park Avenue Fine Wines, Bullard

A picture of the Multnomah Whiskey Library
The Multnomah Whiskey Library
Dina Avila/EPDX

9 p.m.: Nightcap at Multnomah Whiskey Library

A visit to the Multnomah Whiskey Library is like taking a step into some sort of mid-century media — it’s a place James Bond might frequent, if only he drank old fashioneds instead of martinis. Multnomah Whiskey Library’s shirtsleeve-wearing, often-mustachioed bartenders mix cocktails tableside with old-timey apothecary carts, strolling through a room decorated with aged leather chairs and sofas, an oversized fireplace, and antique light fixtures. None of that is even remotely as impressive as the wall of whiskey, with well over 1,500 bottles of spirits accessed via the gorgeous sliding brass ladder. Reservations are accepted—but only from members—however, “pre-func” drinks are available in the Green Room downstairs for those waiting for a table. 1124 SW Alder Street, mwlpdx.com
Potential Alternatives: Hubers for Spanish Coffee, Clyde Common

12 a.m.: Midnight snack at Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen

Unlike cities such as New York or San Francisco, Portland shuts down decently early in the evening. Still, Luc Lac is one of the Rose City’s few places to grab late night eats and drinks, serving food as late as 4 .m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Unfortunately, like many places in Portland, lines can get pretty long, especially during peak hours. Luc Lac boasts a playful vibe, with umbrella ceiling decorations and a menu featuring a smattering of creative, exciting cocktails with lychee, pho syrup, jackfruit, and lapsang souchuong tea ice cubes. Mixed in either alcoholic and non-alcoholic forms, these drinks keep partiers going long enough to devour crunchy banh mi loaded with cilantro and pickled daikon carrots, juicy panko-crusted coconut prawns, and the restaurant’s namesake, also known as “shaking beef.” 835 SW 2nd Avenue, luclackitchen.com
Potential Alternatives: Cassidy’s Restaurant, The Roxy

A picture of cubed watermelon tossed in scallions, fennel, and yellow pickled onions and jalapenos at Bullard
A watermelon salad with pickled onions and fennel at Bullard
Brooke Jackson-Glidden/EPDX

9 a.m.: Brunch at Bullard

Located within the new Woodlark hotel, Bullard has been one of the city’s hottest new restaurants since its opening last winter. While dinner’s meaty bacchanalia can be somewhat daunting, brunch is the restaurant’s sleeper hit, with an astounding range of heartiness. Sure, the restaurant serves a nap-inducing, Waffle-House style hash brown smothered in smoky Texas red and guacamole, but some of chef Doug Adams’ gems are on the lighter side: everything from a watermelon salad tossed with pickled onions and jalapenos to a savory-leaning granola bowl with basil and shaved goat cheese. Plus, the restaurant has a stacked brunch-cocktail menu, complete with several coffee-based drinks. What better way to toast 24 hours in downtown Portland?
Potential alternatives: Rosa Rosa, Maurice

Tasty n Alder

580 Southwest 12th Avenue, , OR 97205 (503) 621-9251 Visit Website

Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen

835 Southwest 2nd Avenue, , OR 97204 (503) 222-0047 Visit Website

BURGER STEVENS

4237 North Mississippi Avenue, , OR 97217 (503) 801-8017 Visit Website

Duck House Chinese Restaurant

1968 Southwest 5th Avenue, , OR 97201 (971) 801-8888 Visit Website

Blue Star Donuts

3325 Southeast Division Street, , OR 97202 (503) 477-9635 Visit Website

Multnomah Whiskey Library

1124 Southwest Alder Street, , OR 97205 (503) 954-1381 Visit Website

Departure

525 SE Morrison Street, Portland, Oregon 97214 Visit Website

Headwaters

1001 Southwest Broadway, , OR 97205 (503) 790-7752 Visit Website

Bullard

813 Southwest Alder Street, , OR 97205 (503) 222-1670 Visit Website
Portland Restaurant Closings

Shady Pines, Portland’s All-Vegan Food Cart Pod, Has Closed Permanently

Influential Vegan Restaurant Homegrown Smoker Is for Sale

AM Intel

Hawthorne Is Now Home to a Cafe Screening Movies All Day, Every Day

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Portland newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world