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The Most Exciting Neighborhoods for Dining in 2023, According to Portland Food Writers and Personalities

Places to trek to, from Montavilla to Woodlawn

The Portland streetcar in downtown Portland, Oregon.
Downtown Portland.

Each December, Eater Portland ends the year by reflecting on the last twelve months of dining in a series we call Year in Eater. We reach out to Portland food writers and influencers for their perspectives on major trends, impressive newcomers, and standout meals, and share their responses in a single package.

Whether it’s an area that received an infusion of new restaurants over the past year or a neighborhood full of old favorites, locals and visitors often explore Portland through new pop-ups, destination restaurants, and food carts. Here are the neighborhoods Portland’s food writers and personalities were most excited to dine in this year.

“I’ve been most excited to dine in my own neighborhood of Montavilla and its surrounding areas in 2023. From Sebastiano’s to Yaowarat and Tinker Tavern (excellent Buffalo wings), to all the amazing spots surrounding like HeyDay at Core PDX, Fortune BBQ Noodle House, Rose VL/Ha VL, Binh Minh Sandwiches, etc. Super Southeast and East Portland are where it’s at!”

— Nori de Vega (@nomnom_nori), Instagram personality

“Northeast Portland has been the spot for a lot of my excursions, primarily due to the immense talent within the Dame Collective: Chelo, Bialy Bird, Matta, and Dame itself. Alongside them, Baon Kainan, Sureshot Burger, and Sorbu Paninoteca continue to excel in the food cart space. And I would be remiss not to mention Cornet Custard, located in Colibri: their coconut almond joy was so good, my mom asked to go again.”

Ehow Chen (@ehow.eats), Instagram personality

How about a whole suburb? Beaverton is always an exciting place for me to dine — every time I go, I make it a multiple-stop affair since it’s a bit of a trek for me to get there from outer Southeast. I buy groceries at different markets out there, then I hit up a spot I haven’t eaten at before, then I grab myself a supplementary treat, like bubble tea or something. This year, I loved the novelty and comfort of the rice noodle bowls at Ten Seconds Yunnan Rice Noodle.”

Janey Wong, Eater Portland reporter

I have been most excited about exploring the Piedmont-Woodlawn area in North Portland, where I moved this year. I ate a satisfying breakfast sandwich at P’s & Q’s for the first several weekends (the charm is real), rediscovered an affinity for pisco sours at Casa Zoraya, developed an addition to the oniony, serrano-heavy salsa verde cruda you can buy from the case at Mi Burrito, and have really enjoyed partaking in every seasonal pasta special at Campana.”

Lauren Yoshiko, Eater Portland contributor and freelancer

Some cool stuff happened on Portland’s west side this year. Grandma’s Secret, that hidden Vietnamese cocktail bar, opened in Northwest, and Queen Mama’s Kitchen started serving some really delicious Saudi Arabian food downtown. For all the weird hand-wringing people like to do about the west side, I had some really lovely meals over there — including a really great dinner at Tercet, which I will continue to grieve into 2024.”

Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor

“Kerns neighborhood! Three of my top 10 favorite restaurants in PDX are in Kerns — #1 Nodoguro, along with Han Oak, and Ken’s Artisan Pizza. Holman’s re-opened this year. Paradise Hamburguesas was an exciting summer pop-up at Guero. The pastas at Montelupo Market are some of the best value in town. Let’s not forget about stalwarts Navarre, Paadee, and Stammtisch. Moreover, I enjoy the cheese plates at Cheese & Crack Snack Shop and hanging out at Puff Coffee drinking lattes and eating the toasts next door at Brainfood Bread.”

Gary Okazaki (@garythefoodie), renowned globe-trotting eater

I usually find myself eating along Southeast Division or NE 28th, but since moving up to Piedmont/Arbor Lodge I’ve been checking restaurants off my go-to list — including Tulip Shop Tavern, Thai Ginger, Wilder, Milk Glass Mrkt, and P’s & Q’s Market. North Portland can sometimes feel like suburbia, but I’ve been surprised by the diversity of options.”

— Meira Gebel, Axios reporter and freelancer

“I enjoyed eating in the Alberta Arts District, in particular the northeast corner where Lil Dame is. It’s an unexpected and pleasant surprise to bike into this corner of the neighborhood and see a collaborative community of restaurants and bars working together for what could potentially be just another quiet neighborhood corner. When you see the locals lounging at the outdoor tables in the summertime, you can’t help but feel a sense of ease (and hunger!)”

Katrina Yentch, Eater Portland contributor

“I was and I continue to be excited about dining downtown again. The new Sun Rice in the Moxy hotel had a spectacular chicken tocino silog which I still reminisce about, I enjoyed the new Din Tai Fung location, and I am excited to try the new outpost of Fuller’s Burger Shack and all that stuff in the new Ritz Carlton.”

— Bill Oakley (@thatbilloakley), former Simpsons showrunner and Instagram personality

I’m loving the new and very tasty vegan block that has emerged on Killingsworth with Mis Tacones, Orange & Blossom, and Feral. If you time it just right, you can visit all three in one afternoon. Across the street, there’s only one vegan pie at No Saint, but it’s a good one. And a little ways down Killingsworth, you’ll find fantastic veggie plates at Chelo.”

Waz Wu, Eater Portland vegan correspondent and Veganizer organizer

“We typically dine around our neighborhood in Northeast Portland, but found ourselves in Southeast Portland more this year, especially around the Southeast Clinton area. There’s mainstays like Jacqueline and Magna, but also cool new arrivals like Libre, a mezcal/dessert bar which is just absolutely stunning inside.”

Vicki and Vanessa Ng (@foodbellypdx), Instagram personalities

St. Johns has the most and best food options per capita. I don’t get out there as often as I want but I know I will eat well when I’m there.”

— Andrew Jankowski, Eater Portland contributor and freelancer