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Three dumplings sit next to a khinkali-shaped salt and pepper shaker set at Dediko
Khinkali from Dediko.
Sue O’Bryan/Eater Portland

10 Excellent Eastern European Restaurants in Portland and Beyond

Where to find pierogis, piroshkis, and pelmeni

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Khinkali from Dediko.
| Sue O’Bryan/Eater Portland

With Slavic and Eastern European communities representing one of the city’s largest immigrant populations, it’s not surprising that the cuisine of countries like Poland, Ukraine, and Serbia appear across Portland and its surrounding suburbs. The places that serve Eastern European food within the metro area are about as diverse as the cuisine’s canon: market delis, a food cart reimagining borscht and Stroganoff, and a nationally celebrated destination restaurant that has spawned a daytime cafe.

The places listed here are a good place to start when on the hunt for pierogies, piroshkis, and pelmeni, but are also excellent spots to try less familiar dishes, like hearty Georgian bean stew, cevapi, and manti.

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.

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Anoush Deli & International Foods

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Just a five-minute drive from Vancouver Mall, Anoush sells a variety of meats, freshly baked bread and pastries, all sorts of Eastern European candies in crinkly, colorful wrappers, and other grocery staples. The other draw here is the deli section that sits right up front, where diners can order hot dishes like pelmeni, borscht, cabbage rolls served with sour cream, and massive gyros.

This rustic Georgian restaurant presents the country’s classic dishes like khinkali and khachapuri alongside harder to find specialties like mtsvadi, grilled meats served with bazhe walnut sauce, and kharcho, a tomato-y beef stew. Finish a meal at Dediko with a slice of honey cake or whatever dessert is on special, accompanied by a cup of sweet, strong Turkish coffee or fruit-and-mint-infused kompot. Reservations are recommended for this intimate Vancouver restaurant.

Foodmania

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Recently opened in Vancouver by the owners of Roman Russian market, Foodmania slings handheld sweet and savory crepes in options like Mediterranean (chicken, cabbage, carrots) and sweet cheese with blackcurrant jam. The cart also serves dumplings filled with beef, chicken, or lamb; potato pierogies covered in mushroom sauce; and manti, steamed dumplings with beef and onions popular in both Central Asian and Balkan cuisines. 

This Latin American-meets-Eastern European food cart, stationed at the Park the Carts food pod on Northeast MLK, puts fun twists on classic dishes from each cuisine. Omnivore and vegan items mirror each other on the menu — diners can opt between pierogi stuffed with beef chorizo or a walnut-mushroom chorizo, beet-y borscht tacos with either guajillo-braised beef or roasted chickpeas, and Stroganoff tamales filled with guajillo-braised lamb or jackfruit. When it comes to beverages, teas hew more Eastern European, joined by seasonal aguas frescas.

Two Brothers Rakia Bar + Grill

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Cevapi — Sarajevo-style ground beef rolls grilled and served with spongy house-made pita, ajvar, and sour cream — is the highlight of this Belmont Balkan restaurant’s menu, but it’s not the only star coming out of the kitchen. Eastern European comfort food is represented by dishes like goulash, Hungarian braised beef served with mashed potatoes or rice, and vegetarian pasulj, a Balkan bean stew which inspired the idiom “simple as pasulj,” a Serbian idiom akin to “easy as pie.” Any main dish should be enjoyed with a small glass of rakia, a fermented fruit brandy available in flavors like plum, quince, and Williams pear.

Chef Bonnie Morales’ restaurant isn’t just a Portland gem, it’s widely considered to be one of the preeminent Russian restaurants in the country. The move here is to go with a small group and go all-in on the Ruskie Zakuski experience: Just sit back and try to keep up as the table becomes laden with cold small plates like Georgian bean salad lobio or rye toasts topped with Baltic sprats and red wine pickled onions. Pair them with the vodka of your choice, which includes a number of house infusions.

Kachka Lavka

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Kachka’s daytime cafe leans light and towards deli dishes — diners first head upstairs to Lavka’s compact market space to place orders before grabbing a seat in the main restaurant. Live your fancy toast life with an open-faced buterbrod topped with beet horseradish-cured salmon or sink your teeth into a fluffy piroshki stuffed with fillings like egg and scallion, potato and dill, Latvian bacon, or vatrushka with quince butter.

Toast topped with cheese, cured salmon, and microgreens.
Cured salmon buterbrod.
Janey Wong/Eater Portland

Taste of Old Poland

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A longtime stand at the Portland State University farmers market, Taste of Old Poland sells its frozen pierogies and makes its own smoked kielbasa. Fuel up before or after your market run with a combination plate, which includes pierogies topped with grilled onions, a kielbasa, sauerkraut, coleslaw, and sour cream. Vegan pierogies, stuffed with potato and grilled onion or cabbage and mushroom, are also available. Taste of Old Poland is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pelmeni Pelmeni

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Pelmeni Pelmeni subscribes to the street food vendor school of thought, which focuses on doing one thing and doing it well. Here, dumplings are the star. Three varieties are available: pelmeni, small Russian dumplings that can be boiled, fried, or served in broth; savory potato vareniki; and sweet cheese vareniki. At Hawthorne Asylum, the cart’s home base, diners tuck into piles of chicken pelmeni topped with zingy sour cream and Russian ketchup and sprinkled with green onion. All menu items can be ordered in a small (half-pound) portion, or a large (three-quarter-pound) portion.

Roman Russian Food Store

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One of the most well-stocked and frequented out of all of East Portland’s Eastern European markets, Roman Russian has a robust deli counter which sells everything from prepared food by-the-pound to smoked meats and fish. Tucked inside the market, Rough Russian cafe serves sandwiches with house-made rye bread, sweet crepes, and borscht in addition to a selection of cakes, sweets, Turkish coffee, and other beverages.

Anoush Deli & International Foods

Just a five-minute drive from Vancouver Mall, Anoush sells a variety of meats, freshly baked bread and pastries, all sorts of Eastern European candies in crinkly, colorful wrappers, and other grocery staples. The other draw here is the deli section that sits right up front, where diners can order hot dishes like pelmeni, borscht, cabbage rolls served with sour cream, and massive gyros.

Dediko

This rustic Georgian restaurant presents the country’s classic dishes like khinkali and khachapuri alongside harder to find specialties like mtsvadi, grilled meats served with bazhe walnut sauce, and kharcho, a tomato-y beef stew. Finish a meal at Dediko with a slice of honey cake or whatever dessert is on special, accompanied by a cup of sweet, strong Turkish coffee or fruit-and-mint-infused kompot. Reservations are recommended for this intimate Vancouver restaurant.

Foodmania

Recently opened in Vancouver by the owners of Roman Russian market, Foodmania slings handheld sweet and savory crepes in options like Mediterranean (chicken, cabbage, carrots) and sweet cheese with blackcurrant jam. The cart also serves dumplings filled with beef, chicken, or lamb; potato pierogies covered in mushroom sauce; and manti, steamed dumplings with beef and onions popular in both Central Asian and Balkan cuisines. 

Rusa

This Latin American-meets-Eastern European food cart, stationed at the Park the Carts food pod on Northeast MLK, puts fun twists on classic dishes from each cuisine. Omnivore and vegan items mirror each other on the menu — diners can opt between pierogi stuffed with beef chorizo or a walnut-mushroom chorizo, beet-y borscht tacos with either guajillo-braised beef or roasted chickpeas, and Stroganoff tamales filled with guajillo-braised lamb or jackfruit. When it comes to beverages, teas hew more Eastern European, joined by seasonal aguas frescas.

Two Brothers Rakia Bar + Grill

Cevapi — Sarajevo-style ground beef rolls grilled and served with spongy house-made pita, ajvar, and sour cream — is the highlight of this Belmont Balkan restaurant’s menu, but it’s not the only star coming out of the kitchen. Eastern European comfort food is represented by dishes like goulash, Hungarian braised beef served with mashed potatoes or rice, and vegetarian pasulj, a Balkan bean stew which inspired the idiom “simple as pasulj,” a Serbian idiom akin to “easy as pie.” Any main dish should be enjoyed with a small glass of rakia, a fermented fruit brandy available in flavors like plum, quince, and Williams pear.

Kachka

Chef Bonnie Morales’ restaurant isn’t just a Portland gem, it’s widely considered to be one of the preeminent Russian restaurants in the country. The move here is to go with a small group and go all-in on the Ruskie Zakuski experience: Just sit back and try to keep up as the table becomes laden with cold small plates like Georgian bean salad lobio or rye toasts topped with Baltic sprats and red wine pickled onions. Pair them with the vodka of your choice, which includes a number of house infusions.

Kachka Lavka

Kachka’s daytime cafe leans light and towards deli dishes — diners first head upstairs to Lavka’s compact market space to place orders before grabbing a seat in the main restaurant. Live your fancy toast life with an open-faced buterbrod topped with beet horseradish-cured salmon or sink your teeth into a fluffy piroshki stuffed with fillings like egg and scallion, potato and dill, Latvian bacon, or vatrushka with quince butter.

Toast topped with cheese, cured salmon, and microgreens.
Cured salmon buterbrod.
Janey Wong/Eater Portland

Taste of Old Poland

A longtime stand at the Portland State University farmers market, Taste of Old Poland sells its frozen pierogies and makes its own smoked kielbasa. Fuel up before or after your market run with a combination plate, which includes pierogies topped with grilled onions, a kielbasa, sauerkraut, coleslaw, and sour cream. Vegan pierogies, stuffed with potato and grilled onion or cabbage and mushroom, are also available. Taste of Old Poland is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pelmeni Pelmeni

Pelmeni Pelmeni subscribes to the street food vendor school of thought, which focuses on doing one thing and doing it well. Here, dumplings are the star. Three varieties are available: pelmeni, small Russian dumplings that can be boiled, fried, or served in broth; savory potato vareniki; and sweet cheese vareniki. At Hawthorne Asylum, the cart’s home base, diners tuck into piles of chicken pelmeni topped with zingy sour cream and Russian ketchup and sprinkled with green onion. All menu items can be ordered in a small (half-pound) portion, or a large (three-quarter-pound) portion.

Roman Russian Food Store

One of the most well-stocked and frequented out of all of East Portland’s Eastern European markets, Roman Russian has a robust deli counter which sells everything from prepared food by-the-pound to smoked meats and fish. Tucked inside the market, Rough Russian cafe serves sandwiches with house-made rye bread, sweet crepes, and borscht in addition to a selection of cakes, sweets, Turkish coffee, and other beverages.

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