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Please help! My dad is turning 70 and his only request for his birthday dinner is a QUIET place bc he’s hard of hearing. What are the quietest places in PDX?
This is a tough one. I feel like, culturally, the quiet restaurant has gone out of style — people love a lively, boisterous dining room that feels like a house party. However, there are certain moments that call for a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta in an intimate, hushed dining room. And, with a mother who is deaf in one ear, I know how important a quiet space to chat can be. I have a few options for you to consider:
• The tatami rooms at Murata benefit from being tucked away from the main dining room, which feel both celebratory and secluded. Plus, on a birthday, it’s hard to beat an assortment of chef’s choice sashimi. Call (503) 227-0080 to make a reservation, and specify that you’d like a tatami room.
• Serratto in Northwest Portland is a popular spot for a peaceful dinner, with white tablecloths and a chill neighborhood clientele. It’s definitely birthday-appropriate as well, with things like mushroom risotto, house-made pastas, duck confit, and seared scallops with chanterelles. Call (503) 221-1195 to make a reservation.
• Cabezon, the seafood restaurant off Sandy, has a beautiful, low-lit dining room, and I remember it being a nice and quiet spot for a dinner of cioppino or lamb chops. If you really wanted intimacy, you could book the private dining room. Reservations are available via OpenTable.
There are a few other restaurants that can be quiet at certain times — Ringside, Higgins, Noble Rot, Can Font, Davenport — but it’s hard to ensure a place won’t get busy. As you make a reservation, be sure to explicitly say that you’re looking for a quiet table; servers will try to accommodate you, in many cases. The best way to ensure a hushed atmosphere is by reserving a private room; however, for a casual birthday dinner, I know that’s a big ask. For a nightcap, Driftwood Room can be a nice spot on a weeknight.
Good luck — and other Eater readers, let us know if you have a favorite quiet spot for a celebration dinner via our tip line.