When things are calmer — when restaurant dining rooms are open, that is — Eater Portland’s quintessential list of the city’s top restaurants is known as the Eater 38. It’s a guide to the restaurants (and food carts) that define our city: the spots for fancy celebration meals, the go-to lunch counters, the standbys. Normally, these are the restaurants we can count on for something special.
No one prepared for something like this, however. No restaurant owner or chef expected a coronavirus to freeze life in place, to force them into mass layoffs and furloughs, to close the kitchens and dining rooms they fought so hard for. Some iconic Portland restaurants like Beast and Castagna temporarily closed, a choice by restaurant owners who felt it was impossible to stay profitable and safe. However, many others fought hard to stay open, selling groceries and wine and family meals through online ordering platforms or Instagram DMs. Not all of Eater Portland’s 38 essential restaurants and food carts are open, but 25 are; these are the places you can still order from today. Something to note: This list is not ranked, but rather organized from west to east. For more takeout options, our larger dining guide for the age of coronavirus is the place to start.
What we said: “An evening at St. Jack can feel light and laid-back over a pile of oysters and simple steak frites, but it’s far more likely to be an event, with rich roasted bone marrow dressed in caramelized onions and gooey gruyere, collard green gratin with duck confit and foie gras butter, and a dauntingly large landscape of fried pork rind with warm maple syrup — it’s best used as a vehicle for the restaurant’s chicken liver mousse, as cool and sweet as ice cream.”
What they’re doing: Customers can order takeout online or by calling (503) 360-1281, with bottles of wine available for purchase as well.
What to get: The restaurant’s exceptional chicken liver mousse is available for takeout, as well as some of the laid-back-yet-wild stuff often spotted on the restaurant’s bar menu — its burger, poutine, and fried chicken sandwich, in particular.
What we said: “Here, Cyrus Ichiza creates completely vegan, truly nuanced dishes representing various corners of Asia: shockingly meaty wontons in a beautifully balanced chili oil sauce, noodle soups with the complexity of a top-notch pho, and mapo tofu with astoundingly porky flavor to ground its mouth-tingling ma la.”
What they’re doing: Ichiza is offering takeout and in-house delivery through its online ordering site.
What to get: All of the dishes mentioned above are on that takeout menu, including those chili oil wontons, the Ichiza noodle soup, and the restaurant’s mapo tofu.
What we said: “Since his 2016 arrival, San Diego chef Ivan Liu has played with heat and aromatics like a master, from delicate wontons with savory chili-oil-spiked broth to tingly dan dan noodles with borderline-bitter bite.”
What they’re doing: The restaurant is open for takeout orders and delivery through Postmates, DoorDash, and Grubhub. Takeout orders can be placed in-person, or by calling (971) 801-8888.
What to get: The wontons in chili oil and dan dan noodles generally fare decently well for takeout, but they’re not quite the same; more durable options include the cumin lamb, ma la hotpot, and chongqing chicken.
What we said: “Pizzaiola Sarah Minnick embraces paradoxes beautifully: She took something brimming with childhood nostalgia — pizza and ice cream — and gave it a high-end twist. Seasonally rotating pizzas arrive strewn with edible flowers and chanterelles atop an airy-but-sturdy pizza dough made with Oregon whole grains. Portland may not be known for its pies, but if someone is defining Portland’s distinct pizza style, it’s Minnick.”
What they’re doing: Sarah Minnick’s model is an interesting one — on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Minnick posts a menu on Instagram which people can order via text. Customers send their names, orders, and pick-up time to (971) 300-7215, which they can pick up at the North Mississippi pizzeria. People pay by Venmo-ing @lovelysfiftyfifty. Something to note: Lovely’s is already selling out in about five minutes with basically no press, so don’t count on actually scoring a pie.
What to get: Menus change often, but the move is usually to get a pizza, a pint of ice cream, and a bottle of wine.
What we said: “Portland isn’t exactly a barbecue destination, but pitmaster Matt Vicedomini changed the game with his Texas-style food cart, which almost always attracts lines from its corner of Prost Marketplace. The payoff is down-home decadent: fall-apart brisket with black-and-peppery bark, ribs that slip off the bone like a silk glove, and gooey queso macaroni and cheese.”
What they’re doing: The food truck recently opened to pre-orders for various orders of smoked meats, from spare ribs to brisket. People place orders for pickup at least 48 hours in advance, Now, because they recently opened to pre-orders, Matt’s isn’t taking any until May.
What to get: It’s very hard to beat Matt’s brisket, sausages, or ribs. However, the sleeper hit is the queso mac and cheese.
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What we said: “Olympia Provisions’s Inner Southeast holdout famously boasts Oregon’s first USDA certified meat-curing facility — but beyond the obligatory charcuterie plate, dishes like steak tartare and octopus a la plancha with chorizo Navarre elevate this local sausage giant to essential restaurant status. The weekend brunch, full of egg Benedicts with sweetheart ham and hashes with kielbasa and lardons, is one of the city’s most underrated.”
What they’re doing: Olympia Provisions’ location, described here, has closed, but there are many ways to approximate the experience at home. The company offers in-house delivery of its meats, plus several pantry staples locally, and ships to anyone outside the delivery range. Plus, Olympia Provisions’ Public House on Division is open for takeout and delivery, with an Alpine take on the company’s products.
What to get: Sausages and charcuterie, duh.
Kee’s Loaded Kitchen
What we said: “In a small parking lot off MLK, this red food cart and its massive ‘#Loaded’ sign attracts hoards of customers as soon as it opens at noon. Owner Kiauna Nelson and her staff load up gargantuan containers of saucy-and-smoky pot roast and garlicky macaroni and cheese; the menu changes per Nelson’s whim, and her devotees usually go along with whatever she feels like serving. There’s a reason for that: Nelson’s food evokes shouts for how flavorful it is, from the fried chicken tossed in a seasoning reminiscent of Buffalo Bleu potato chips to her slices of cake, thrown in with the order for good measure. One meal is enough to feed four, and make no mistake: This is some of Portland’s finest soul food.”
What they’re doing: Nelson is continuing to do her thing; the cart is open for about half the week, though she’s taking a few days to herself to handle the stress. The best way to tell if Kee’s is open is to simply DM her yourself.
What to get: Whatever she feels like making. You’ll be grateful for it, too.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
What we said: “Chef Nong Poonsukwattana’s signature dish, a deceptively simple take on Hainanese chicken, takes center stage here in Southeast Portland and at her downtown restaurant. Ask five acolytes their favorite part of the dish and each will offer a different answer: the soul-satisfying broth, the rice, Nong’s ginger-heavy sauce, or the chicken itself, skins or no.”
What they’re doing: Nong’s Southeast Portland location is open for takeout and delivery, with an online ordering site for pickup and delivery through apps like Caviar and Uber Eats.
What to get: One regular KMG, plus skins and livers, and a bottle of Nong’s sauce for future salads and stir-fries.
What we said: “This Japanese ramen outpost chose Portland for its first international location because of the city’s water quality, key to broths like the highly delicate yuzu shio, a citrusy base grounded in seafood, or the coat-the-spoon thick tonkotsu tantanmen with spicy sesame miso tare. In a bright, sunny space with jaw-dropping high ceilings, chef de cuisine Yoji Harada incorporates Oregon’s beloved hazelnuts into bowls of thoroughly Japanese ramen.”
What they’re doing: The Southeast Portland location is open for takeout and delivery with a limited selection of ramens and sushi, including all of its yuzu bowls. The shop is even offering ramen kits and sushi kits for groups of 3 to 6.
What to get: The ramen kits seem like a tempting experiment, but the lazier among us may just prefer the yuzu ratan, a classic.
What we said: “When Bonnie and Israel Morales opened this charmer in 2014, the couple kicked off a Russian food revolution rich with history and personal narrative. Kachka is all about snacky Russian drinking food: zakuski, or silky, pork-filled dumplings; briny sprats on butter-slathered pumpernickel; and “herring under a fur coat,” a Russian-style seven-layer dip of diced, pickled deliciousness.”
What they’re doing: So many of Kachka’s greatest hits are available for takeout and delivery in a multitude of ways — the pelmeni are available in frozen bags or pre-cooked, the pickles are available in pints and four-packs, and caviar is available with or without blini and challah.
What to get: While Kachka’s singles are always great, the takeout model has made room for some one-offs and b-sides that might be worth checking out: matzo ball soup, smoked brisket, and mushroom kharcho seem particularly interesting, and may not be on the menu when everything returns to normal.
What we said: “Rick Gencarelli’s Lardo joins an impressive local tradition of quality sandwich-making. In the vein of Portland sandwich institutions like Bunk and Meat Cheese Bread, the spot elevates what can be accomplished between two slices of bread, resulting in dripping, flavor-packed pork meatball banh mi and rotating “Chefwich” collaborations with top Portland chefs.”
What they’re doing: All Lardo locations are open for takeout and delivery through apps like Caviar
What to get: Most of Lardo’s sandwiches are knockouts, especially its burger and Nashville hot chicken sandwich; the dirty fries are a particularly good addition.
What we said: “Co-chefs Scott Winegard and Aaron Adams reach new heights of vegan dining with masterful techniques, whether they’re smoking parsnips to give them a rich texture and flavor or fermenting sunflower milk to make a Parmesan-like broth.”
What they’re doing: In place of its elaborate prix-fixe dinners, Farm Spirit is offering $25 “provisions” meals that change day to day, often involving house-fermented tempeh, hyper-local produce, and something sweet. Customers can order curbside pickup on Tock.
What to get: There aren’t a ton of choices, meal-wise, but if there’s an option to add a kombucha, do so.
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We need your support. Now more than ever. The restaurant industry needs our support. A small gesture goes a long way. We're asking you to join us in #TheGreatAmericanTakeout to help #saverestaurants across the U.S. Show a little love by ordering take out or delivery from local businesses + encouraging your friends and family to do the same. Oder Nong's directly for contactless pick up Link in Bio. Or order delivery straight to your door. Don't forget to tag us in your pics. #NongsKhaoManGai #weareopentoday #takeoutonly #ordernow #caviar #ubereats #doordash #chickenandrice #pdxeats #portlandfood #khaomangai #chickenrice #khobkhunkha #chickensoup #nongkmg #localbusiness #womanownedbusiness #womanled #weneedyourhelp
What we said: “Gumba seems like an impossibility: How could someone successfully make truly gorgeous ribbons of pappardelle in a food cart, let alone pappardelle tossed in a mind-bogglingly complex braised short ribs? Jesse Martinez, the man behind the noodles, would likely respond with a shrug — although the cart’s pastas, salads, and house-made burrata show a caliber of culinary skill and creativity that’s hard to find in any pod, Martinez and business partner Robin Brassaw tackle their food with humility, warmth, and humor.”
What they’re doing: Gumba is open for takeout and delivery through Postmates. Call (503) 975-5951 to place an order.
What to get: Any handmade pasta available, though the Monday “stoner food” specials are often a treat.
What we said: “Earl Ninsom did it again: After treating Portland to deftly executed Thai cooking at Langbaan and Paadee, the chef and restaurateur created a casual southern Thai compatriot with hardcore devotees. Hat Yai’s shallot-fried chicken, salty and fragrant and just a touch sticky, pairs beautifully with Malayu-style curry and crispy roti, all available in the popular combo No. 1.”
What they’re doing: Takeout is available from the Killingsworth location; the menu is available here, and customers can order by calling (503) 764-9701.
What to get: The combo number one is absolutely worth the hype, but the restaurant’s brisket curry is another underrated stunner.
What we said: “Chef Cody Auger’s SE Hawthorne sushi counter is the place to be for Edomae-style sushi: meticulously cured and delicate slivers of fish, potent and pristine in flavor and texture. Although the restaurant’s house-cured salmon roe, bigeye tuna, and various mackerel are all standouts, the restaurant’s simple tamago — egg omelet — is the least expensive nigiri and an absolute highlight.”
What they’re doing: The restaurant is offering takeout sashimi, donburi, and maki for takeout; view the menu here and call (503) 719-4064 to place an order.
What to get: The chirashi donburi is a great way to get a good amount of fish variety; otherwise, the restaurant’s hotate is very nice.
What we said: “The hip U.S. outpost of a Melbourne coffee roaster, Proud Mary boasts perky and distinct roasts that are enough to warrant a visit to the minimalist Alberta cafe, but its menu of funky-salty brunch entrees earn its spot on this map. Plated with messy elegance, dishes like its bagna cauda-drenched “hash” (more of a hash brown cake), curried Oregon bay shrimp omelet, and seasonal Australian pavlova turn heads in an oversaturated brunch town.”
What they’re doing: Proud Mary’s takeout and delivery operation is a little different from the usual brunch menu — instead, the cafe is offering meal kit versions of popular dishes like its hash and ricotta hotcakes, plus pastries, pasties, a produce box, and a selection of knockout wines and coffee roasts.
What to get: The potato hash kit, plus a bottle of Marigny pinot noir and a beef and veggie pie.
What we said: “In this cozy Kerns supper club behind Paadee, diners get a taste of elegant Thai cuisine with precision and refinement. The dinner often requires a reservation three months in advance, but the eventual meal will likely involve tiny jewels of pomelo on poached shellfish infused with delicate aromatics.”
What they’re doing: The restaurant returns for takeout starting April 23, offering up slots on Resy starting at 4 p.m. The meal itself is one of the most inexpensive ways a Portlander can try the menu at Langbaan; for $60, two people get Kauai prawn curry, ground pork relish lettuce wraps, braised duck leg fried rice, and passionfruit-black sesame tart. Plus, the meal comes with a Thai tea-chocolate chip cookie.
What to get: The $60 meal for two
What we said: “Nothing screams decadence like eating wagyu beef in a 25-course meal, but Ryan Roadhouse’s $195 “Supahardcore” omakase, as sophisticated as can be in a drop-a-pin-quiet dining room, somehow still feels fun and cheerful. Perhaps that’s thanks to cheeky dishes like the uni risotto, which tastes like Kraft mac and cheese in the best way, or a tiny and tender firefly squid.”
What they’re doing: It’s not quite the same as a high-end omakase, but Nodoguro is offering fancy bento boxes for takeout on certain days. They come filled with things like onigiri, Ikura don, tamago, and sashimi, plus dessert and miso soup.
What to get: Definitely a bento box, though budget-minded diners can also buy the restaurant’s ponzu to fake it at home.
What we said: “When it opened in 2012, Ava Gene’s caused a fervor unparalleled in recent memory, and years later, the polished Italian restaurant continues to be Division’s must-visit, see-and-be-seen spot. Executive chef Joshua McFadden now owns the restaurant, working closely with local farmers to create its dishes — especially toothsome pastas and expertly executed vegetables.”
What they’re doing: Ava Gene’s and Submarine’s other restaurant, Tusk, have created a special menu of curbside pickup options, including make-at-home pastas, porchetta, and family meal kits
What to get: The Ava Gene’s family meal is a good bet for those looking to feed a group, but the restaurant’s pasta sauces are also a smart move.
What we said: “Hawthorne’s no-frills pizza cafe stills emerges as the town’s best pie. Co-owner Brian Spangler shows respect for his dough, refusing to overload his crisp, quick-fired crusts with more toppings than they can handle. Thankfully, there’s no need for DIY concoctions given the pizzeria’s meticulous equation of sauce, fresh mozzarella, pecorino romano, and, in the case of the Pizza Amore, salty capicola scattered on top.”
What they’re doing: Apizza Scholls is offering takeout for those who call in; check out the menu and give the restaurant a call at (503) 233-1286.
What to get: The Apizza Amore, a margherita with capicola, is always a standout.
Oui Wine Bar at Southeast Wine Collective
What we said: Althea Grey Potter behaves like a culinary Jackson Pollock, flicking high-powered ingredients at dishes with chaotic precision. For example, a baba ghanoush with pickled golden raisins, chickpeas, cilantro and za’atar that doesn’t go too far; in fact, it is exciting and full of life, dancing around various textures and potential car crashes of clashing flavors. And make no mistake, she’s having fun, tossing harissa and stone-fruit-braised lamb into a frito pie over a pile of zippy whipped labneh.
What they’re doing: After a brief hiatus, Potter is back with a menu of snacks, salad kits, and a big family meal for takeout or delivery Thursdays through Saturdays. Customers order online for pickup or in-house delivery throughout Portland.
What to get: The wine and snack combo is a good place to start, though whatever “le dinner” is should probably be a safe bet.
What we said: “At this quaint Mt. Tabor neighborhood restaurant, diners can either dress up or dress down; either way, chef Katy Millard and general manager Ksandek Podbielski will provide something fitting the occasion, from plump and super-fresh oysters with mignonette to the most nostalgic chicken salad. Millard’s chocolate chip cookies are iconic, and the restaurant offers full-service breakfast and lunch, too.”
What they’re doing: Coquine is offering a curbside pickup option through Tock,
with mains like lamb shank in blood orange, veggie-heavy sides, and dozens of its famous cookies.
What to get: It’d be a mistake to omit a dozen cookies; otherwise, you can’t really go wrong.
Tierra Del Sol
What we said: “Tierra Del Sol’s layered moles and sloppy-delicious tlayudas — smothered fried tortillas with beans — stand out. Chef Amalia Sierra left a career as a social worker for migrant farm workers to focus on her family business, which serves meticulously balanced Oaxacan specialties. No visit is complete without mole amarillo; its captivating and layered spice is hard to forget.”
What they’re doing: Tierra del Sol now has online ordering for takeout from the Portland Mercado food cart.
What to get: A few containers of mole — pipian and amarillo — will last through the week; if it’s not traveling too far, throwing in a tlayuda isn’t a bad idea.
What we said: “This homey Chinese restaurant in deep Southeast is as casual as they come, but the dishes that roll out of Amy and Kang Zhu’s kitchen are deftly executed and profoundly flavorful — a pristine wonton noodle soup’s piercing flavor of shrimp, the interplay of ginger and pork in a bowl of congee, and the pile of herbs tucked into a jianbing keep the memory of a meal at Master Kong in mind long after it’s finished.”
What they’re doing: Master Kong is offering takeout and delivery through DoorDash and Postmates, covering almost all of the restaurant’s generally long menu. Customers can also call (971) 373-8248.
What to get: Generally, a meal at Master Kong should involve congee, dumplings, wonton noodle soup, and jianbing, at the very least.
Tortilleria Y Tienda De Leon’s
What we said: “Under a ceiling of piñatas, this Mexican market and deli remains one of the Portland area’s top spots for guisados. Pros know to order at least one of the the layered and deeply flavorful birria tacos, which come on the market’s house tortillas, though the carnitas are no slouch either.”
What they’re doing: De Leon’s deli is still up and running, for those who want to stock up on pounds of carnitas.
What to get: At least a pound of carnitas, mole, and birria if it’s available.
• A Guide to Dining in the Greater Portland Area During the Coronavirus Pandemic [EPDX]
• The 38 Essential Portland Restaurants [EPDX]