clock menu more-arrow no yes
A picture of the blue interiors of Yonder, with wooden stools lining up at a bar.
The dining room at Yonder.
Dina Avila / EPDX

16 Exceptional Restaurants for Dining Solo in Portland

Where to dine counter-side, whether you’re seeking sushi or duck a l’orange

View as Map
The dining room at Yonder.
| Dina Avila / EPDX

Dining out alone is a pleasure too many deny themselves. An evening out with friends may be one of life’s most reliable joys, but dining solo opens a door to the unknown: be it a quiet night with a book and a bowl of soup, an opportunity to heighten the sensory experience of a daring entrée, or perhaps even a chance to meet a new friend dining alone themselves.

From lively ramen counters to mellow cocktail bars, Portland offers a wealth of solo dining options to both travelers and locals. Some restaurants here may be in the process of reopening or adjusting their bar seating policies — it never hurts to call and check ahead. Note: the entries on this list are geographically sorted rather than ranked.

Note: Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Campana

Copy Link
901 NE Oneonta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 841-6195
Visit Website

Off the sprawling Woodlawn Park, the lengthy bar at Campana is a fine setting for bowls of no-nonsense Italian comfort food: Hearty bowls of spaghetti and meatballs, cavatelli in pork ragu, rigatoni with braised lamb and gremolata. The happy hour runs all night at the bar, with $7 Americanos and $12 bowls of penne alla vodka — extremely hard to beat, considering the quality. The restaurant is open for indoor dining with proof of vaccination.

2. Expatriate

Copy Link
5424 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 867-5309
Visit Website

Best known as a haven for cocktail lovers, this collaboration between then-Beast (and now-Ripe Cooperative) impresario Naomi Pomeroy and her bartender husband Kyle Webster boasts a small but mighty food menu. Snack on a dizzyingly herbal tea leaf salad and an elegantly simple onion and butter sandwich (with no crust), or make it a meal with a spicy fried chicken sandwich or a plate of two the best burgers in town. The eclectic décor evokes an early 20th century spy novel, and the turntable plays Nixon-era classic LPs through the warmest of sound systems.

3. Zilla Sake

Copy Link
1806 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 288-8372
Visit Website

Perhaps no kitchen voyeurism is quite as rewarding as watching a top-notch sushi chef slice, brush, and roll maki and nigiri. Many modes of cooking require scalding pans, wafts of steam, and flurries of action, but gazing on the knifework of sushi creation in process can be a meditative experience, especially when dining alone. Zilla Sake House on Northeast Alberta specializes in immaculately prepared seasonal fish, as well as an eye-popping selection of sake (latest count: 90 different bottles). Note: Zilla offers seating at two bars on opposite ends of the establishment, but only one features sushi chefs in action — the other is a cocktail bar, though ordering food here is welcome.

4. Yonder

Copy Link
4636 NE 42nd Ave Suite A
Portland, OR 97218
(503) 444-7947
Visit Website

White fluffy clouds adorn the accent wall of Yonder’s inviting dining room on NE 42nd, but the Southern food on offer is anything but light. Sidle up to the cozy counter and order a dusted fried quarter-chicken from the amiable waitstaff, and find religion with the “after church” pea salad with cheddar, bacon, and scallion. Vegetarians won’t be disappointed in seasonal veggie entrees like the tangy Flying Coyote winter salad with chicories, roasted carrots, and orange vinaigrette. Yonder offers a delicious variety of zero proof drinks along with harder stuff like “Meemaw’s Tea” (Meemaw’s secret? Moonshine).

5. Grain & Gristle

Copy Link
1473 NE Prescott St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 288-4740
Visit Website

Ample bar seating wraps around three sides of Grain & Gristle’s central bar, though patrons on the far ends may need to lean a bit to glean the full chalkboard menu. This relaxed tavern on Northeast Prescott highlights rotating drafts from Upright Brewing on its tap list, and the food menu emphasizes fresh seafood and locally sourced meats. Chat with friendly bartenders on slower evenings, or trade gardening tips with a neighborhood regular on a nearby stool. The wood-heavy décor evokes the inside of a barn, or — on particularly dark and rainy Portland nights — the lower deck of a schooner.

6. Eem - Thai BBQ & Cocktails

Copy Link
3808 North Williams Avenue st, 127
Portland, OR 97227
(971) 295-1645
Visit Website

Perhaps the biggest draw on an especially energetic block of North Williams, Eem fuses the succulent Texas-style barbecue from Matt’s BBQ’s Matt Vicedomini with vibrant Thai constructions of Langbaan and Hat Yai’s Akkapong Earl Ninsom. The relatively small menu is built on the foundation of its anything-but-simple green, white, and red curry offerings, though the electric papaya salad is not to be missed for heat-lovers. Dine counter-side on bright yellow high chairs or facing the street along one of Eem’s large, garage-door windows.

7. G-Love New American Kitchen

Copy Link
1615 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(971) 229-1043
Visit Website

With high-backed chairs at both a counter and at the cocktail bar, Slabtown’s G-Love is a terrific spot for the solo diner to glance over at a neighbor’s plate and ask, “What are they having?” G-Love embraces seasonal, locally grown produce with proteins typically used as an accompaniment rather than the bulk of a dish. Highlights include the crunchmaster crisp with charred cabbage, toasted hazelnuts, lightly dressed with a soy-based vinaigrette, and a crusty avocado dusted in a coco-blackspice seed mix and topped with ahi tuna. A small wine-by-the-glass list includes a single red, white, rosé; the playful house cocktails feature fresh ingredients like carrot, bell peppers, elderflower, and hibiscus.

8. Sunshine Noodles

Copy Link
2175 NW Raleigh St Suite 105
Portland, OR 97210

This neon-electric, cyberpunk Hello Kitty noodle bar is the place to go when you want to feel like you’re a part of the party. The warmth of the entire staff is evident, especially when witnessed from the counter. Visitors sip on passionfruit margaritas and roasted corn infused Old Fashioneds while waiting for bowls of Phnom Penh noodles, served dry with coin purse dumplings and fat shrimp, or beef noodle stew, brimming with wide rice noodles and fall-apart tender brisket. For a sweet finish, the restaurant offers a number of sundaes, topped with charred marshmallows or mochi. It’s open for walk-ins, as well as takeout and delivery.

9. Stepping Stone Cafe

Copy Link
2390 NW Quimby St
Portland, OR 97210
(503) 222-1132
Visit Website

In one of the toniest parts of Portland, Northwest’s Stepping Stone Cafe is an oasis of low-key funky charm and comfort food. Action figures dangle from the ceiling and descend each time the door opens through some complicated mechanism long-time patrons will be happy to diagram on the back of a napkin, and the vintage steel-and-vinyl lunch counter seats may in fact be time machines to the pre-Portlandia era. Stepping Stone’s motto, “You eat here because we let you,” epitomizes the tough-exterior with a heart of gold service. Brunch is primetime, offering a wide range of non-nonsense scrambles, omelets, and massive pancakes dubbed “mancakes.” At the moment Stepping Stone is open for lunch but not dinner, and offers a small selection of beer, wine, and classic wake-up cocktails.

10. Maurice

Copy Link
921 SW Oak St
Portland, OR 97205

On a trapezoidal block kitty-corner from the mammoth Powell’s City of Books, the tiny nearly all-white Maurice manages to be both delicate and rustic at the same time. Intimate waist-level counter seating conjures the experience of joining a multi-generational family at a Breton farmhouse for an exquisite déjeuner. In 2022, Maurice moved to reservation-only prix-fixe dining for both lunch and dinner — seven courses each of their Norwegian-French concoctions, with optional wine or tea pairings. Menus change frequently; a recent one included lion’s mane tart with poached egg, striped bass with rhubarb-wrapped carrot, and Norwegian meatballs with poached quince. All bookings currently require up-to-date vaccination or recent proof of negative COVID test.

11. Canard

Copy Link
734 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(971) 279-2356
Visit Website

Cozy Canard is the more approachable sibling of next-door Le Pigeon, with a more limited menu, but no lack of winning French bistro-inspired combinations to send patrons home satisfied. One of many winning combos: a half-dozen oysters lead to a greens-and-quinoa salad followed by the decadent duck stack, a short stack of pancakes doused with duck gravy and topped with tabasco onions and a fried duck egg. The wine list is aptly France-heavy alongside a tasty range of mostly local beers on draft. Counter seating puts patrons front and center for the kitchen action — use good judgment when its worth distracting a cook at their craft.

12. Scotch Lodge

Copy Link
215 SE 9th Ave #102
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 208-2039
Visit Website

Inside the low-lit, intimate quarters of this subterranean bar, visitors sip drams of rare whiskies while waiting for plates of fried brie with verjus or arancini with avocado crema. Grab a seat at the bar and chat with the A-Team of bartenders, who are generous with their advice when it comes to whiskey or cocktail choices. While the menu is stacked with exceptional small plates, there are quite a few one-and-done meals that work well for a single diner: The soft-shell crab sandwich with white kimchi and shallots retains a cult following, and Scotch Lodge might be one of the city’s most underrated spots for pasta. The bar takes reservations and walk-ins, with proof of vaccination.

13. Afuri

Copy Link
923 SE 7th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(971) 386-2945
Visit Website

Vast ceilings and exposed steel venting give Afuri’s inner-Southeast location the feeling of an industrial music video, particularly at night when hunched over a steaming bowl of ramen alongside a dozen others. Afuri offers a respectable sushi menu, but the main attraction here is the astonishing ramen broth, served with expertly balanced ingredients dropped into the bowls with impeccable timing. The busy open kitchen and abounding hard surfaces might make a quiet intro to a neighboring diner challenging, but the creative highball cocktails from seasoned bartenders might bolster courage.

14. Kachka

Copy Link
960 SE 11th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 235-0059
Visit Website

For those fairly new to the cuisine of the former Soviet republics (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and more), Kachka’s modest bar seating is the perfect spot to chat with staff and learn about the histories and nuances of menu items like Herring Under a Fur Coat or sour cherry vareniki dumplings, as well as ideal pairings from Kachka’s staggering vodka menu. And the deep counter will allow plenty of simultaneous dishes at-hand. For non-vodka drinkers, a wine list centering central Europe as well as a small beer list and excellent tea list are worthwhile. The lively décor walks treads a careful balance between nostalgia and kitsch.

15. Portland Mercado

Copy Link
7238 SE Foster Rd
Portland, OR 97206

This bright collection of exceptional Latin American food carts along SE Foster — including Cuban, Argentine, Oaxacan, and Colombian — affords the solo diner an easy opportunity to grab a meal and then sidle up to the bar at the cozy wine bar Barrio, or onto long indoor and outdoor picnic tables — friendly regulars often happily make room for others at the unused end. Well-behaved pooches are welcome, though Barrio owner Chris Shimamoto might try to grab a selfie or two with them.

16. Lac St Jack, Lake Oswego

Copy Link
4055 Mercantile Dr #175
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
(503) 387-3038
Visit Website

A sister restaurant to Northwest’s celebrated St. Jack (itself a recommended solo dining option) and SE Division’s seafood-centric La Moule, Lac St. Jack brings a taste of classy-but-businesslike Lyon to the leafy suburb of Lake Oswego. The elegant bar top is open to walk-in guests only, but the reward is well worth it. Rub elbows with a Trailblazer or a Thorn and dine on timeless classics like salade Lyonnaise and duck a l’orange or contemporary creations like Périgord black truffle and onion dip with crudités, rustic bread, and pommes gaufrette. The wine list features some eye-popping labels (and prices to boot) along with a strong selection of affordable wines by the glass — the staff will be happy to recommend sound pairings. Note: bar seating currently requires proof of vaccination.

Loading comments...

1. Campana

901 NE Oneonta St, Portland, OR 97211

Off the sprawling Woodlawn Park, the lengthy bar at Campana is a fine setting for bowls of no-nonsense Italian comfort food: Hearty bowls of spaghetti and meatballs, cavatelli in pork ragu, rigatoni with braised lamb and gremolata. The happy hour runs all night at the bar, with $7 Americanos and $12 bowls of penne alla vodka — extremely hard to beat, considering the quality. The restaurant is open for indoor dining with proof of vaccination.

901 NE Oneonta St
Portland, OR 97211

2. Expatriate

5424 NE 30th Ave, Portland, OR 97211

Best known as a haven for cocktail lovers, this collaboration between then-Beast (and now-Ripe Cooperative) impresario Naomi Pomeroy and her bartender husband Kyle Webster boasts a small but mighty food menu. Snack on a dizzyingly herbal tea leaf salad and an elegantly simple onion and butter sandwich (with no crust), or make it a meal with a spicy fried chicken sandwich or a plate of two the best burgers in town. The eclectic décor evokes an early 20th century spy novel, and the turntable plays Nixon-era classic LPs through the warmest of sound systems.

5424 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211

3. Zilla Sake

1806 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Perhaps no kitchen voyeurism is quite as rewarding as watching a top-notch sushi chef slice, brush, and roll maki and nigiri. Many modes of cooking require scalding pans, wafts of steam, and flurries of action, but gazing on the knifework of sushi creation in process can be a meditative experience, especially when dining alone. Zilla Sake House on Northeast Alberta specializes in immaculately prepared seasonal fish, as well as an eye-popping selection of sake (latest count: 90 different bottles). Note: Zilla offers seating at two bars on opposite ends of the establishment, but only one features sushi chefs in action — the other is a cocktail bar, though ordering food here is welcome.

1806 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

4. Yonder

4636 NE 42nd Ave Suite A, Portland, OR 97218

White fluffy clouds adorn the accent wall of Yonder’s inviting dining room on NE 42nd, but the Southern food on offer is anything but light. Sidle up to the cozy counter and order a dusted fried quarter-chicken from the amiable waitstaff, and find religion with the “after church” pea salad with cheddar, bacon, and scallion. Vegetarians won’t be disappointed in seasonal veggie entrees like the tangy Flying Coyote winter salad with chicories, roasted carrots, and orange vinaigrette. Yonder offers a delicious variety of zero proof drinks along with harder stuff like “Meemaw’s Tea” (Meemaw’s secret? Moonshine).

4636 NE 42nd Ave Suite A
Portland, OR 97218

5. Grain & Gristle

1473 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211

Ample bar seating wraps around three sides of Grain & Gristle’s central bar, though patrons on the far ends may need to lean a bit to glean the full chalkboard menu. This relaxed tavern on Northeast Prescott highlights rotating drafts from Upright Brewing on its tap list, and the food menu emphasizes fresh seafood and locally sourced meats. Chat with friendly bartenders on slower evenings, or trade gardening tips with a neighborhood regular on a nearby stool. The wood-heavy décor evokes the inside of a barn, or — on particularly dark and rainy Portland nights — the lower deck of a schooner.

1473 NE Prescott St
Portland, OR 97211

6. Eem - Thai BBQ & Cocktails

3808 North Williams Avenue st, 127, Portland, OR 97227

Perhaps the biggest draw on an especially energetic block of North Williams, Eem fuses the succulent Texas-style barbecue from Matt’s BBQ’s Matt Vicedomini with vibrant Thai constructions of Langbaan and Hat Yai’s Akkapong Earl Ninsom. The relatively small menu is built on the foundation of its anything-but-simple green, white, and red curry offerings, though the electric papaya salad is not to be missed for heat-lovers. Dine counter-side on bright yellow high chairs or facing the street along one of Eem’s large, garage-door windows.

3808 North Williams Avenue st, 127
Portland, OR 97227

7. G-Love New American Kitchen

1615 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

With high-backed chairs at both a counter and at the cocktail bar, Slabtown’s G-Love is a terrific spot for the solo diner to glance over at a neighbor’s plate and ask, “What are they having?” G-Love embraces seasonal, locally grown produce with proteins typically used as an accompaniment rather than the bulk of a dish. Highlights include the crunchmaster crisp with charred cabbage, toasted hazelnuts, lightly dressed with a soy-based vinaigrette, and a crusty avocado dusted in a coco-blackspice seed mix and topped with ahi tuna. A small wine-by-the-glass list includes a single red, white, rosé; the playful house cocktails feature fresh ingredients like carrot, bell peppers, elderflower, and hibiscus.

1615 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209

8. Sunshine Noodles

2175 NW Raleigh St Suite 105, Portland, OR 97210

This neon-electric, cyberpunk Hello Kitty noodle bar is the place to go when you want to feel like you’re a part of the party. The warmth of the entire staff is evident, especially when witnessed from the counter. Visitors sip on passionfruit margaritas and roasted corn infused Old Fashioneds while waiting for bowls of Phnom Penh noodles, served dry with coin purse dumplings and fat shrimp, or beef noodle stew, brimming with wide rice noodles and fall-apart tender brisket. For a sweet finish, the restaurant offers a number of sundaes, topped with charred marshmallows or mochi. It’s open for walk-ins, as well as takeout and delivery.

2175 NW Raleigh St Suite 105
Portland, OR 97210

9. Stepping Stone Cafe

2390 NW Quimby St, Portland, OR 97210

In one of the toniest parts of Portland, Northwest’s Stepping Stone Cafe is an oasis of low-key funky charm and comfort food. Action figures dangle from the ceiling and descend each time the door opens through some complicated mechanism long-time patrons will be happy to diagram on the back of a napkin, and the vintage steel-and-vinyl lunch counter seats may in fact be time machines to the pre-Portlandia era. Stepping Stone’s motto, “You eat here because we let you,” epitomizes the tough-exterior with a heart of gold service. Brunch is primetime, offering a wide range of non-nonsense scrambles, omelets, and massive pancakes dubbed “mancakes.” At the moment Stepping Stone is open for lunch but not dinner, and offers a small selection of beer, wine, and classic wake-up cocktails.

2390 NW Quimby St
Portland, OR 97210

10. Maurice

921 SW Oak St, Portland, OR 97205

On a trapezoidal block kitty-corner from the mammoth Powell’s City of Books, the tiny nearly all-white Maurice manages to be both delicate and rustic at the same time. Intimate waist-level counter seating conjures the experience of joining a multi-generational family at a Breton farmhouse for an exquisite déjeuner. In 2022, Maurice moved to reservation-only prix-fixe dining for both lunch and dinner — seven courses each of their Norwegian-French concoctions, with optional wine or tea pairings. Menus change frequently; a recent one included lion’s mane tart with poached egg, striped bass with rhubarb-wrapped carrot, and Norwegian meatballs with poached quince. All bookings currently require up-to-date vaccination or recent proof of negative COVID test.

921 SW Oak St
Portland, OR 97205

11. Canard

734 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

Cozy Canard is the more approachable sibling of next-door Le Pigeon, with a more limited menu, but no lack of winning French bistro-inspired combinations to send patrons home satisfied. One of many winning combos: a half-dozen oysters lead to a greens-and-quinoa salad followed by the decadent duck stack, a short stack of pancakes doused with duck gravy and topped with tabasco onions and a fried duck egg. The wine list is aptly France-heavy alongside a tasty range of mostly local beers on draft. Counter seating puts patrons front and center for the kitchen action — use good judgment when its worth distracting a cook at their craft.

734 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

12. Scotch Lodge

215 SE 9th Ave #102, Portland, OR 97214

Inside the low-lit, intimate quarters of this subterranean bar, visitors sip drams of rare whiskies while waiting for plates of fried brie with verjus or arancini with avocado crema. Grab a seat at the bar and chat with the A-Team of bartenders, who are generous with their advice when it comes to whiskey or cocktail choices. While the menu is stacked with exceptional small plates, there are quite a few one-and-done meals that work well for a single diner: The soft-shell crab sandwich with white kimchi and shallots retains a cult following, and Scotch Lodge might be one of the city’s most underrated spots for pasta. The bar takes reservations and walk-ins, with proof of vaccination.

215 SE 9th Ave #102
Portland, OR 97214

13. Afuri

923 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Vast ceilings and exposed steel venting give Afuri’s inner-Southeast location the feeling of an industrial music video, particularly at night when hunched over a steaming bowl of ramen alongside a dozen others. Afuri offers a respectable sushi menu, but the main attraction here is the astonishing ramen broth, served with expertly balanced ingredients dropped into the bowls with impeccable timing. The busy open kitchen and abounding hard surfaces might make a quiet intro to a neighboring diner challenging, but the creative highball cocktails from seasoned bartenders might bolster courage.

923 SE 7th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

14. Kachka

960 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

For those fairly new to the cuisine of the former Soviet republics (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and more), Kachka’s modest bar seating is the perfect spot to chat with staff and learn about the histories and nuances of menu items like Herring Under a Fur Coat or sour cherry vareniki dumplings, as well as ideal pairings from Kachka’s staggering vodka menu. And the deep counter will allow plenty of simultaneous dishes at-hand. For non-vodka drinkers, a wine list centering central Europe as well as a small beer list and excellent tea list are worthwhile. The lively décor walks treads a careful balance between nostalgia and kitsch.

960 SE 11th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

15. Portland Mercado

7238 SE Foster Rd, Portland, OR 97206

This bright collection of exceptional Latin American food carts along SE Foster — including Cuban, Argentine, Oaxacan, and Colombian — affords the solo diner an easy opportunity to grab a meal and then sidle up to the bar at the cozy wine bar Barrio, or onto long indoor and outdoor picnic tables — friendly regulars often happily make room for others at the unused end. Well-behaved pooches are welcome, though Barrio owner Chris Shimamoto might try to grab a selfie or two with them.

7238 SE Foster Rd
Portland, OR 97206

Related Maps

16. Lac St Jack, Lake Oswego

4055 Mercantile Dr #175, Lake Oswego, OR 97035

A sister restaurant to Northwest’s celebrated St. Jack (itself a recommended solo dining option) and SE Division’s seafood-centric La Moule, Lac St. Jack brings a taste of classy-but-businesslike Lyon to the leafy suburb of Lake Oswego. The elegant bar top is open to walk-in guests only, but the reward is well worth it. Rub elbows with a Trailblazer or a Thorn and dine on timeless classics like salade Lyonnaise and duck a l’orange or contemporary creations like Périgord black truffle and onion dip with crudités, rustic bread, and pommes gaufrette. The wine list features some eye-popping labels (and prices to boot) along with a strong selection of affordable wines by the glass — the staff will be happy to recommend sound pairings. Note: bar seating currently requires proof of vaccination.

4055 Mercantile Dr #175
Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Related Maps