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A pink and yellow cocktail with umbrellas sits on the bar at Eem
A cocktail at the bar of Eem. Serious Leo energy.
Dina Avila/Eater Portland

Portland Restaurants and Food Carts as Zodiac Signs

The Geminis, Scorpios, and Leos of the Portland restaurant world

Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

In certain ways, we’re living in the golden age of astrology — or, at least, in the media age. Instagram accounts design memes to match specific zodiac signs; TikTok users break down the astrological makeup of everything from liminal spaces to White Claw flavors. So, it’s about time that we determined the Portland food world’s chart. Below, find our quick-and-dirty guide to Portland restaurants as zodiac signs:

Aries: Cafe Rowan

Since Spencer Ivankoe opened this Southeast brunch cafe, he’s been on a mission to make it to Portland restaurant royalty. Not only will the restaurant serve brunch, but also it’s going to do wine dinners, and collaboration dinners, and there’s going to be lobster rolls with truffle aioli. That dogged perseverance is well-aligned with Aries, especially considering the absolutely star-studded collab dinner the restaurant threw earlier this month.

Taurus: St. Jack

Listen, a Taurus is someone who can appreciate the finer things: Champagne, caviar, foie gras, all consumed in a comfortable, sensuous space that feels sophisticated but overarchingly relaxed. Dinner at St. Jack can be a leisurely affair, which is well-suited to a Taurus who has absolutely no interest in going anywhere fast — at least, not until the cherry jubilee is done.

Gemini: Sunshine Noodles

There’s a reason Diane Lam has skyrocketed to stardom within the Portland restaurant scene — she’s gregarious, a good communicator, and resoundingly fun. The various iterations and life cycles of her restaurant Sunshine Noodles — pop-up turned residency turned restaurant — fall in line with a Gemini's adaptable nature. The fact Sunshine Noodles constantly feels like the life of the party also gives it a Gemini vibe, but when she wants to be, Lam’s cooking style can take a more reserved approach.

Cancer: La Fondita

Sitting at the counter at this Northwest Portland Mexican restaurant, you can’t help but feel taken care of, in true Cancer fashion. The tortillas are warm and fresh from the comal; the soups are hearty and nuanced; the guisados feel nourishing and soul-soothing. There’s a certain level of nostalgia or sentimentality in the service at La Fondita, which falls in line with the Cancer state of mind.

Leo: Eem

Eem knows that she’s that girl; she has no choice but to be that girl. Everyone loves this Thai barbecue spot, with its fun tropical cocktails and colorful curries. During the early days of the pandemic, Eem became a natural leader when it came to developing new service models and taking public stands on behalf of the industry; today, the restaurant’s all-caps Instagram captions are serving that textbook Leo flair for drama.

Virgo: Berlu

Just looking at chef Vince Nguyen’s food, you’ll know that the Vietnamese fine dining restaurant screams Virgo — dishes are meticulously arranged and pitch-perfect, not an element out of place. That being said, Nguyen is not one to showboat; he remains modest about his own work and is quick to recognize where to improve. Like a true Virgo, Berlu’s service is attentive and soft-spoken, water glasses filled and napkins folded.

Libra: Mucca Osteria

The ultra-romantic downtown restaurant Mucca gives off the sensual vibe of a libra, compounded by the stylish exposed brick and art hanging on the walls. The soft tones of the dining room showcase the Libra-esque love of serenity. And, true to form, Mucca’s dishes are often well balanced with savory and sweet notes, acidic dishes complemented by a judicious use of butter or olive oil.

Scorpio: Le Pigeon

There is a mysterious, chip-on-the-shoulder charm to Gabriel Rucker, the owner of this fine dining spot on East Burnside. You’ll never know what’s coming next on a menu — scallops with fava guacamole? Pickled pig’s ear terrine? Foie gras profiteroles (okay, you know that one’s coming)? Rucker and partner Andy Fortgang’s combination of passion and determination have kept this restaurant at the top of Portland’s culinary charts for more than 15 years, and it’s showing no sign of slowing — serious Scorpio energy.

Sagittarius: Oma’s Hideaway

The free-wheeling vibes arrive in spades at Oma’s Hideaway, with a magnetic energy that vibrates off the sea-creature-covered walls. The pantry pulls ingredients and inspiration from all over the globe: Any given meal may involve raita, Fruity Pebbles, pistachio zhoug, char siu pork belly, or salted egg yolk, with Jell-O shots to start and a boozy slushie as a nightcap. The center-of-the-party energy of Oma’s shows off that Sag propensity for the gregarious.

Capricorn: Ringside

You can’t stay open in Portland for more than 75 years without a serious dose of persistence, which is typical of a Capricorn. Ringside’s combination of seasoned, diligent servers; tried-and-true steakhouse staples (like James Beard’s favorite onion rings); and seriously hard-working kitchen staff have made it a favorite among lifelong Portlanders for decades, and that Cap-esque discipline has paid off.

Aquarius: Erica’s Soul Food

Erica Montgomery, the owner of this Northeast Portland food cart, isn’t just a chef knocking out exceptionally tasty wings and smothered chicken; she’s an activist, a vocal advocate for the rights of marginalized communities around Portland. That humanitarian nature is similar to that of an Aquarius, especially when combined with Montgomery’s proudly eccentric nature. You may see her dancing or singing in her cart while she tosses peach sriracha wings or boils peanuts. And hey, what *other* cart in town is going to serve pumpkin spice wings as a special?

Pisces: Malka

This dreamy, maximalist Southeast Portland restaurant exudes Pisces, with imaginative dishes that incorporate countless different house-made components. The names of each of the dishes (Ziggy Stardust On a Big Ol’ Boat, Important Helmet for Outer Space) capture the creativity of a Pisces, and owners Jessie Aron and Colin McArthur have the open-hearted public presence often associated with the sign.

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