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15 Iconic Portland Dishes and Drinks

Whether you’re visiting or just looking for the hits, find the city's most famous plates

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If restaurants have the ability to achieve something like cult status, it’s often as a result of one iconic dish that’s influenced the local culinary scene. Over the years, iconic plates have come and gone, but most are permanent fixtures. This map honors these stalwarts of Portland dining — those dishes that, were they to be removed from menus, would cause a citywide revolt.

From shrimp wrapped in betel leaves to hunks of smoked meat, the dishes that define Portland’s food scene celebrate some of the best parts of living here: Local produce, artistic honesty, and plain-old playfulness. They tell stories of the people who live here — The cultural capital of a relatively young state, Portland is a city of immigrants and expats, bringing culinary traditions from Thailand, Texas, and everywhere in between. Our food tells stories from around the world in a language of local ingredients, with humor, honesty, and remarkable creativity. Below, find the dishes that define us.

Note: The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Khao Man Gai at Nong's

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1003 SW Alder St
Portland, OR 97205

From a food cart, an obsession is born. Nong Poonsukwattana started out making one thing, and making sure it was perfect, and in the process she turned a Thai comfort food staple into Portland's comfort food staple. Since then, her famous khao man gai has spawned two permanent restaurants, a bottled sauce, and deep, visceral craving among everyone who tries it.

2. Brisket at Matt's BBQ

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4233 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 504-0870
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Oregon has no grand barbecue tradition like Texas or Kansas City, but it’s beginning to develop its own reputation throughout the country, partially thanks Matt Vicedomini, the owner of the Matt’s BBQ cart within Prost Marketplace. His perfectly tender, slick brisket has introduced the age of Texas-quality barbecue in Portland, ushering in a new group of barbecue stars.

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Just a little snack

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3. The Lebronald Palmer at Deadstock Coffee Roasters

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408 NW Couch St Suite 408
Portland, OR 97209
(971) 220-8727
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Portland’s a coffee town, there’s no doubt about it, but when it comes to coffee drinks you could really only find in Portland, it’s hard to beat the Lebronald Palmer at this sleek Old Town coffee shop. Owner Ian Williams blends the coffee he roasts himself with sweet tea and lemonade for a drink you think would clash; instead, it’s one of the more creative — and tasty — cold coffee drinks in Portland.

4. Spanish Coffee at Huber's

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411 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97204
(503) 228-5686
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Portland’s famous Spanish coffee service is one of those bucket-list experiences for locals and tourists alike. The drink is prepared tableside, during which overproof rum is set on fire in a sugar-rimmed glass before it’s topped with coffee liqueur, coffee, and a little whipped cream. It’s all served in one of Portland’s oldest restaurants.

5. Maple bacon bar at Voodoo Doughnuts

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22 SW 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97204

Whether you're a Voodoo lover or a Voodoo hater, you must admit that few Portland eats are quite as iconic as the maple bacon bar. We'd argue it kicked off the nationwide bacon craze and turned pink boxes into the most popular Portland souvenir.

6. Charcuterie plate at Olympia Provisions

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107 SE Washington St
Portland, OR 97214

House-made charcuterie is ubiquitous on Portland menus, thanks in part to the astronomic rise of Olympia Provisions and its USDA-certified curing facility, which is now distributing its sopressatas, chorizos, and saucissons nationwide. At its flagship Southeast Portland restaurant, the charcuterie board could feature a wide range of products, from mortadella to salami to head cheese terrine, depending on the chef's whims of the day.

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feed me charcuterie boards all day, every day

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7. Herring Under a Fur Coat at Kachka

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720 SE Grand Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 235-0059
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Pretty much out of the gate, Kachka became an icon for kicking off the Portland Russian food revolution. And this terrine, sort of Ruskie-style seven-layer-dip, is responsible for turning a city onto, of all things, pickled herring.

8. Foie Gras Profiteroles at Le Pigeon

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738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

Some might lobby for the beef cheek bourguignon at Gabriel Rucker's Burnside bistro, but this savory-leaning dessert, on the menu from the very beginning, is a better representation of the what has made the restaurant famous: It's playful, experimental, rich, and mind-blowing.

9. The Famous Tickler at Taste Tickler

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1704 NE 14th Ave
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 282-3681
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Old-school Portlanders know: Before Lardo, before Sammich, before Bunk, before Stacked, there was Taste Tickler, a sub-shop-meets-teriyaki-restaurant that has held its spot in Portland for decades. Taste Tickler sometimes combines its bento fare with its subs, throwing teriyaki chicken on a hoagie; however, for many who have visited the restaurant over the years, the go-to is the Famous Tickler, the restaurant’s take on an Italian sub with ham, pepperoni, and salami. The standard toppings on a Taste Tickler sub include things like pepperoncinis, pickles, and provolone, but the thing that makes a Taste Tickler sub a Taste Tickler sub is the shake of parmesan that finishes off each sandwich. Is it the fanciest sub in Portland? No, but it is certainly one of the most beloved.

10. Fried Chicken Combo at Hat Yai

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1605 NE Killingsworth St.
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 764-9701
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Chef Earl Ninsom is by all accounts crushing Thai food in Portland, and that includes fried chicken. Hat Yai's star dish, the $13 fried chicken leg quarter, Malayu-style curry, and roti combo, provides the best of all worlds: crispy chicken and pan-fried bread with rich and spicy curry for dipping. And note: dipping should be mandatory.

11. The Reggie at Pine State Biscuits

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2204 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 477-6605
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No breakfast sandwich inspires quite the wait as Pine State Biscuit’s Reggie, a massive fried chicken biscuit topped with bacon, cheese, and a mess of gravy. Its only main contender is the Reggie Deluxe, which comes with a fried egg, as well.

12. Chicken and Jojos at Reel M Inn

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2430 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 231-3880
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Eating fried chicken and thick-cut potato jojos is a sacred ritual in Portland, whether you’re getting them at Sadie Mae’s, Jojo, or Alberta Market. But often, when Portlanders talk about chicken and jojos, one name comes to mind: Reel M Inn, also known as the Reel, is a true Portland institution, standing in one form or another for 50 years. Sure, big-deal chefs and writers have praised the colorful dive for years, but it’s also treasured by locals, who happily spend an evening playing pool, knocking back shots of whiskey, and dunking crispy hunks of potato and chicken into ranch and Frank’s hot sauce.

13. Miang Som and Kanom Krok at Langbaan

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6 SE 28th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(971) 344-2564
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Initially, these two starters on the Langbaan tasting menu — the miang som and kanom krok — held on as the menus changed season to season. Now that Langbaan is a more casual experience, with customers sitting out on the outdoor patio for a la carte Thai dishes, Portlanders can buy those little bites on their own. The miang som is a multifaceted mixture of shrimp, citrus, alliums, and crunchy bits, best complemented by the the kanom krok, sweet scallops self-contained in a crispy rice cup filled with coconut cream and galangal.

14. Apizza Amore at Apizza Scholls

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4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215
(503) 233-1286
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This city is happily drowning in good pizza these days, so you can't talk about Portland icons and not have a pizza place on the list. Apizza Scholls is the granddaddy and gold-standard of the blistered crust movement. You could argue the Margherita is the icon, but when it's topped with capicollo you realize it's called Amore for a reason.

15. Cao Lau at Rose VL Deli

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6424 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97206
(503) 206-4344
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The soups change daily at this cheery Vietnamese soup spot, but on Saturdays, the deli crafts a somewhat dry noodle dish that’s almost impossible to find in American restaurants. Thick noodles sit in a bath of aromatic, sweet broth — they should sit for another two minutes once they arrive at the table — before they’re tossed with peanuts, pork, crackers, and an assortment of herbs and greens; the side of core-warming stock is for you to sip separately. Its intricate, careful construction and depth has made it a Saturday tradition throughout Portland.

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@rosevlpdx ❤️

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1. Khao Man Gai at Nong's

1003 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205

From a food cart, an obsession is born. Nong Poonsukwattana started out making one thing, and making sure it was perfect, and in the process she turned a Thai comfort food staple into Portland's comfort food staple. Since then, her famous khao man gai has spawned two permanent restaurants, a bottled sauce, and deep, visceral craving among everyone who tries it.

1003 SW Alder St
Portland, OR 97205

2. Brisket at Matt's BBQ

4233 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217

Oregon has no grand barbecue tradition like Texas or Kansas City, but it’s beginning to develop its own reputation throughout the country, partially thanks Matt Vicedomini, the owner of the Matt’s BBQ cart within Prost Marketplace. His perfectly tender, slick brisket has introduced the age of Texas-quality barbecue in Portland, ushering in a new group of barbecue stars.

4233 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217

3. The Lebronald Palmer at Deadstock Coffee Roasters

408 NW Couch St Suite 408, Portland, OR 97209

Portland’s a coffee town, there’s no doubt about it, but when it comes to coffee drinks you could really only find in Portland, it’s hard to beat the Lebronald Palmer at this sleek Old Town coffee shop. Owner Ian Williams blends the coffee he roasts himself with sweet tea and lemonade for a drink you think would clash; instead, it’s one of the more creative — and tasty — cold coffee drinks in Portland.

408 NW Couch St Suite 408
Portland, OR 97209

4. Spanish Coffee at Huber's

411 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204

Portland’s famous Spanish coffee service is one of those bucket-list experiences for locals and tourists alike. The drink is prepared tableside, during which overproof rum is set on fire in a sugar-rimmed glass before it’s topped with coffee liqueur, coffee, and a little whipped cream. It’s all served in one of Portland’s oldest restaurants.

411 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97204

5. Maple bacon bar at Voodoo Doughnuts

22 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204

Whether you're a Voodoo lover or a Voodoo hater, you must admit that few Portland eats are quite as iconic as the maple bacon bar. We'd argue it kicked off the nationwide bacon craze and turned pink boxes into the most popular Portland souvenir.

22 SW 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97204

6. Charcuterie plate at Olympia Provisions

107 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

House-made charcuterie is ubiquitous on Portland menus, thanks in part to the astronomic rise of Olympia Provisions and its USDA-certified curing facility, which is now distributing its sopressatas, chorizos, and saucissons nationwide. At its flagship Southeast Portland restaurant, the charcuterie board could feature a wide range of products, from mortadella to salami to head cheese terrine, depending on the chef's whims of the day.

107 SE Washington St
Portland, OR 97214

7. Herring Under a Fur Coat at Kachka

720 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Pretty much out of the gate, Kachka became an icon for kicking off the Portland Russian food revolution. And this terrine, sort of Ruskie-style seven-layer-dip, is responsible for turning a city onto, of all things, pickled herring.

720 SE Grand Ave
Portland, OR 97214

8. Foie Gras Profiteroles at Le Pigeon

738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

Some might lobby for the beef cheek bourguignon at Gabriel Rucker's Burnside bistro, but this savory-leaning dessert, on the menu from the very beginning, is a better representation of the what has made the restaurant famous: It's playful, experimental, rich, and mind-blowing.

738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

9. The Famous Tickler at Taste Tickler

1704 NE 14th Ave, Portland, OR 97212

Old-school Portlanders know: Before Lardo, before Sammich, before Bunk, before Stacked, there was Taste Tickler, a sub-shop-meets-teriyaki-restaurant that has held its spot in Portland for decades. Taste Tickler sometimes combines its bento fare with its subs, throwing teriyaki chicken on a hoagie; however, for many who have visited the restaurant over the years, the go-to is the Famous Tickler, the restaurant’s take on an Italian sub with ham, pepperoni, and salami. The standard toppings on a Taste Tickler sub include things like pepperoncinis, pickles, and provolone, but the thing that makes a Taste Tickler sub a Taste Tickler sub is the shake of parmesan that finishes off each sandwich. Is it the fanciest sub in Portland? No, but it is certainly one of the most beloved.

1704 NE 14th Ave
Portland, OR 97212

10. Fried Chicken Combo at Hat Yai

1605 NE Killingsworth St., Portland, OR 97211

Chef Earl Ninsom is by all accounts crushing Thai food in Portland, and that includes fried chicken. Hat Yai's star dish, the $13 fried chicken leg quarter, Malayu-style curry, and roti combo, provides the best of all worlds: crispy chicken and pan-fried bread with rich and spicy curry for dipping. And note: dipping should be mandatory.

1605 NE Killingsworth St.
Portland, OR 97211

11. The Reggie at Pine State Biscuits

2204 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

No breakfast sandwich inspires quite the wait as Pine State Biscuit’s Reggie, a massive fried chicken biscuit topped with bacon, cheese, and a mess of gravy. Its only main contender is the Reggie Deluxe, which comes with a fried egg, as well.

2204 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

12. Chicken and Jojos at Reel M Inn

2430 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

Eating fried chicken and thick-cut potato jojos is a sacred ritual in Portland, whether you’re getting them at Sadie Mae’s, Jojo, or Alberta Market. But often, when Portlanders talk about chicken and jojos, one name comes to mind: Reel M Inn, also known as the Reel, is a true Portland institution, standing in one form or another for 50 years. Sure, big-deal chefs and writers have praised the colorful dive for years, but it’s also treasured by locals, who happily spend an evening playing pool, knocking back shots of whiskey, and dunking crispy hunks of potato and chicken into ranch and Frank’s hot sauce.

2430 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202

13. Miang Som and Kanom Krok at Langbaan

6 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Initially, these two starters on the Langbaan tasting menu — the miang som and kanom krok — held on as the menus changed season to season. Now that Langbaan is a more casual experience, with customers sitting out on the outdoor patio for a la carte Thai dishes, Portlanders can buy those little bites on their own. The miang som is a multifaceted mixture of shrimp, citrus, alliums, and crunchy bits, best complemented by the the kanom krok, sweet scallops self-contained in a crispy rice cup filled with coconut cream and galangal.

6 SE 28th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

14. Apizza Amore at Apizza Scholls

4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215

This city is happily drowning in good pizza these days, so you can't talk about Portland icons and not have a pizza place on the list. Apizza Scholls is the granddaddy and gold-standard of the blistered crust movement. You could argue the Margherita is the icon, but when it's topped with capicollo you realize it's called Amore for a reason.

4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215

15. Cao Lau at Rose VL Deli

6424 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97206

The soups change daily at this cheery Vietnamese soup spot, but on Saturdays, the deli crafts a somewhat dry noodle dish that’s almost impossible to find in American restaurants. Thick noodles sit in a bath of aromatic, sweet broth — they should sit for another two minutes once they arrive at the table — before they’re tossed with peanuts, pork, crackers, and an assortment of herbs and greens; the side of core-warming stock is for you to sip separately. Its intricate, careful construction and depth has made it a Saturday tradition throughout Portland.

6424 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97206

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