Portland is a pastry town. We have a national reputation for our bread and whole-wheat bakeries, using Oregon-grown flour for inventive croissants, cakes, and cookies. Portland pastry chefs have written celebrated and award-winning baking books, turning their patisseries and bakeshops into destinations. And some of Portland’s best restaurant kitchens churn out show-stopping desserts that develop their own cult following, be it a luxurious foie gras profiterole or a slice of bánh bò nướng.
Identifying Portland’s essential bakeries is tricky enough — this map will help you find those — but this guide celebrates Portland’s most unforgettable pastries, found at restaurants, luncheonettes, bakeries, and pop-ups across the city. Below, find a tasting tray of Portland’s iconic desserts, all in illustrated form.
Ken’s Artisan Bakery, 338 NW 21st Avenue
Ken Forkish may be gone, but his legacy remains: Named for its snail-shell shape, this croissant dough swirl arrives coated in a tangy passionfruit glaze, flaky and sweet. Portland is home to several noteworthy croissants and laminated pastries, but Ken’s passionfruit escargot masters the right balance of simplicity and style.
Berlu Bakery, 605 SE Belmont Street
Since chef Vince Nguyen started serving this pandan pastry at his pandemic-era bakery pop-up, it has been a sensation: the satisfyingly chewy pastry gets its springiness from tapioca flour, while the pandan leaf provides a vanilla-esque sweetness. It’s such a phenomenon, you can buy socks covered in little bánh bò nướng slices.
Maurice, 921 SW Oak Street
It’s difficult to choose which of this downtown luncheonette’s fika to order on any given visit — will it be the lemon soufflé pudding cake, the conical chocolate capuchin cake with lapsang souchong? Almost always, the answer is Kristen D. Murray’s black pepper cheesecake, a velveteen ring filled with a seasonal compote, all sitting on a three-nut sablé. The filling may change, but its brilliance does not.
Jinju Patisserie, 4063 N Williams Avenue
The Vegas tenure of patisserie power couple Kyurim Lee and Jin Caldwell shows in their sliver of a bakery: Every pastry in the case is gorgeous and meticulously constructed, from the heart-shaped yuzu bonbons to the shatteringly flaky croissants. Nothing beats the showstopper that is Jinju’s lemon-raspberry tart, a crown of toasted meringue surrounding a core of silken raspberry-lemon filling, cradled in a buttery pastry crust.
Le Pigeon, 738 E Burnside Street
The tasting menu at Le Pigeon has changed countless times in its more than 15 years, but there would likely be riots in the streets if Gabriel Rucker ever removed his foie gras profiterole from the menu. A ball of rich foie gras ice cream sits sandwiched in choux pastry, drizzled in caramel and dusted in sea salt. It’s the fanciest ice cream sandwich anyone has ever eaten, without feeling over-the-top.