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27 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 foie gras profiteroles to pizzas topped with tatsoi, 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 Vietnam, Norway, 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: 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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Fried Chicken Combo at Hat Yai

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Chef Akkapong Earl Ninsom is by all accounts crushing Thai food in Portland, and that includes fried chicken. Hat Yai's star dish, the 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.

Expatriate Nachos at Expatriate

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It would be hard to name a more distinctive plate of Portland nachos than the version at Expatriate: Wonton chips arrive in a gooey Thai chile cheese sauce, with lemongrass-scented beef and makrut lime and tomato salsa. They have that nice balance of smart twists with all the messy, unfussy charm of bar nachos — Portland bar food in a nutshell.

Mozzarella Shots at Gabbiano's

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This dish is a very young contender for this map, but in its short tenure, the mozzarella shots at Gabbiano’s have become the stuff of legend. The team at this Killingsworth Italian restaurant fill shot glass molds with mozzarella, frying them and filling them with hot marinara. The result: A super crispy-crunchy mozzarella ring with the perfect marinara-to-cheese ratio.

Seasonal Vegetable Pizzas at Lovely's Fifty Fifty

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This is a bit of a cop-out, considering the pizzas change at Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty from week to week. However, Lovely’s distinctive char, use of fresh and raw vegetables, and thick sourdough crust made with Oregon grain flours give it a look that is unique to the Mississippi Pizzeria — even when the toppings change. Sticklers can consider the restaurant’s simple fresh mozzarella pie, paired with dried oregano, to be its true flagship.

White Curry With Brisket Burnt Ends at Eem

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When this hardcore collaboration between Akkapong Earl Ninsom (Hat Yai, Langbaan), Matt Vicedomini (Matt’s BBQ), Eric Nelson (Shipwreck), and Colin Yoshimoto (formerly Poke Mon) opened on North Williams, the brisket burnt end curry became the fan favorite quickly, a perfect encapsulation of the restaurant’s schtick: Chunks of smoked fatty brisket bathe in Golden Mountain, white vinegar, and sugar before landing in a mild, subtly spiced white curry. The combination makes for a sweet, aromatic-heavy dish ideally paired with any of the restaurant’s maximalist cocktails (or mocktails).

Aebleskivers at Broder Nord

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This Scandinavian cafe has become a sensation throughout Portland, with locations on both sides of Burnside as well as a Hood River outpost. And of Broder’s several beloved dishes — lost eggs, Swedish meatballs — the restaurant’s aebleskivers, or Danish pancakes, are its top billing. Little spheres of soft dough come dusted with powdered sugar, with little ramekins of lemon curd and lingonberry jam.

Doughnuts and Chai at Pip's Original Doughnuts & Chai

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Yes, tourists love to talk about Voodoo Doughnut and its outlandish fried creations, but Pip’s is a local favorite for piping hot, freshly fried doughnuts, simply adorned with a drizzle of honey or a coating of cinnamon sugar. Paired with a cup of house chai, it’s extremely hard to beat — especially on your birthday, when a dozen mini-doughnuts are free.

Teriyaki Chicken at Du's Grill

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Name-dropped by the rapper Aminé and once called the “best Korean teriyaki in the known universe,” a plate of char-blistered, juicy fried chicken drenched in sweet teriyaki, served with a scoop of rice and a poppyseed-dressed salad, is a rite of passage for those who grew up in Portland. The menu has a few other options — yakisoba, a tofu bowl — but when you’re at Du’s, you’re in it for the chicken.

The Adam at Bing Mi Food Cart

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Really, any of the loaded jianbing at this Northwest Portland cart could hit this map, but the Adam may be its top performer: Ribbons of egg, wonton crackers, green onions, and its classic “bing sauce” are interspersed with pieces of Chinese sausage and bacon, in a hearty handheld crepe. It’s worth strolling through Nob Hill, jianbing in hand, on a nice day.

Miang Som and Kanom Krok at Langbaan

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This supper club within Northwest Portland’s Phuket Cafe changes its menu monthly, but a few snacks never seem to leave the menu: the miang som, a betel leaf filled with jewels of cara cara orange and shrimp, as well as the kanom krok, a sweet Hokkaido scallop dressed with coconut cream in a crispy rice cup. Both are perfect little bites, frequently discussed and treasured, when people talk about their meals at one of the city’s finest tasting menu spots.

Fried Chicken Melt at Jojo

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While the original cart is temporarily closed, this legendary fried chicken sandwich destination known for its Instagram has opened a full-on restaurant in the Pearl District, serving its likely most-photographed sandwich: a fried chicken melt, with crispy-fried thighs smashed between shokupan with coleslaw, ranch, and both cheddar and American. There are plenty of fantastic sandwiches at Jojo — the spicy chicken comes to mind — but when it comes to something distinctly emblematic of the brand, a cross-section of this gorgeous sandwich (and a side of massive jojos) is hard to top.

Pandan Breakfast Sandwich at Matta

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It’s odd to think that the pandan breakfast sandwich at Matta wasn’t on the menu when the cart opened, considering its meteoric rise into Portland breakfast sandwich royalty. A toasted pandan bun arrives stuffed with a smashed pork patty, American cheese, a curry-spiced hash brown, and a fried egg, yolk dripping and mixing with the sandwich’s tasty “dac biet” sauce. It’s best paired with cà phê, featuring Matta’s house roast.

The Lebronald Palmer at Deadstock Coffee Roasters

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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.

Onion Rings at Ringside Steakhouse

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Ringside Steakhouse’s onion rings are the things of local legend. Renowned local gourmand James Beard called the onion rings the finest he had ever eaten in the United States: wide, lightly battered rings served with a gravy boat of thousand island. For a luxe upgrade, the rings are particularly tasty when dunked in a side of house bearnaise.

Pastrami Zombie at Sammich PDX

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Some may argue that Sammich’s Italian Beef is its signature sandwich, but only one sandwich on the menu inspired its own offshoot food cart. Sammich’s answer to a reuben, the Pastrami Zombie takes the Burnside restaurant’s house-brined, smoked, and steamed pastrami, pairing it with Swiss and Russian dressing. But instead of the customary sauerkraut, Sammich stacks its sandwich high with a super thinly shaved cabbage slaw, which provides a nice, fresh crunch. Pros know to throw on some of the shop’s house giardiniera for an added kick.

Foie Gras Profiteroles at Le Pigeon

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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.

Maple bacon bar at Voodoo Doughnuts

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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.

Nong's Khao Man Gai

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From a food cart, an obsession is born. Nong Poonsukwattana started out making one thing meticulously, 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.

Fried Brie at Scotch Lodge

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This sleek, sultry, subterranean Scotch bar serves a wickedly delicious snack that lands somewhere between a mozzarella stick and baked brie — sticks of brie rolled in pumpernickel crumbs, fried, and served with verjus and pistachios. It has that special, quintessentially Portland quality of being culinarily ingenious, a little ridiculous, and super tasty.

Spanish Coffee at Huber's

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Portland’s famous Spanish coffee service is one of those bucket-list experiences for both locals and tourists. 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 Portland’s oldest restaurant.

Charcuterie plate at Olympia Provisions

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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.

View this post on Instagram

feed me charcuterie boards all day, every day

A post shared by Jenny Hong (@jennyhongg) on

Herring Under a Fur Coat at Kachka

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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.

Bánh Bò Nướng at Berlu Bakery

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Ever since Berlu started its bakery pop-up on the weekends, crowds have swarmed the restaurant for its bánh bò nướng, a slice of bright green, springy cake with a satisfyingly chewy texture. It’s enough of a sensation that you can now buy birthday cards and socks featuring the tapioca flour cake. Be forewarned: It’s only available on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Game Hen at Oma's Hideaway

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There would be riots in the streets if Oma’s Hideaway removed this super succulent, charcoal-roasted game hen from its menu, served with a coconut sambal. It takes some of the fun of chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly’s culinary background — incorporating Chinese, Malaysian, American, and Indonesian culinary techniques and flavors — and blends it into one deceptively simple dish, served with a jammy coconut sambal and a light cabbage salad for brightness.

Chicken and Jojos at Reel M Inn

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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.

Cao Lau at Rose VL Deli

Copy Link

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.

Smoked Salmon Tater Tots at Seasons & Regions Seafood Grill

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An oldie but a goodie, Seasons & Regions in Hillsdale has served its smoked salmon tots for years, a combination of two Pacific Northwestern standards. Cheesy potato croquettes of smoked salmon and onion, potato, and garlic get a crispy fry, served with a little mustard dill sauce to play off the flavor of the fish. It’s a casual enough starter to play off the no-fuss attitude of Portland dining, but creative enough to become a cult favorite among locals.

A line of tater tots sit in a cream sauce with a pile of frizzled onions.
Smoked salmon tots at Seasons & Regions.
Christopher D. / TripAdvisor

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Fried Chicken Combo at Hat Yai

Chef Akkapong Earl Ninsom is by all accounts crushing Thai food in Portland, and that includes fried chicken. Hat Yai's star dish, the 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.

Expatriate Nachos at Expatriate

It would be hard to name a more distinctive plate of Portland nachos than the version at Expatriate: Wonton chips arrive in a gooey Thai chile cheese sauce, with lemongrass-scented beef and makrut lime and tomato salsa. They have that nice balance of smart twists with all the messy, unfussy charm of bar nachos — Portland bar food in a nutshell.

Mozzarella Shots at Gabbiano's

This dish is a very young contender for this map, but in its short tenure, the mozzarella shots at Gabbiano’s have become the stuff of legend. The team at this Killingsworth Italian restaurant fill shot glass molds with mozzarella, frying them and filling them with hot marinara. The result: A super crispy-crunchy mozzarella ring with the perfect marinara-to-cheese ratio.

Seasonal Vegetable Pizzas at Lovely's Fifty Fifty

This is a bit of a cop-out, considering the pizzas change at Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty from week to week. However, Lovely’s distinctive char, use of fresh and raw vegetables, and thick sourdough crust made with Oregon grain flours give it a look that is unique to the Mississippi Pizzeria — even when the toppings change. Sticklers can consider the restaurant’s simple fresh mozzarella pie, paired with dried oregano, to be its true flagship.

White Curry With Brisket Burnt Ends at Eem

When this hardcore collaboration between Akkapong Earl Ninsom (Hat Yai, Langbaan), Matt Vicedomini (Matt’s BBQ), Eric Nelson (Shipwreck), and Colin Yoshimoto (formerly Poke Mon) opened on North Williams, the brisket burnt end curry became the fan favorite quickly, a perfect encapsulation of the restaurant’s schtick: Chunks of smoked fatty brisket bathe in Golden Mountain, white vinegar, and sugar before landing in a mild, subtly spiced white curry. The combination makes for a sweet, aromatic-heavy dish ideally paired with any of the restaurant’s maximalist cocktails (or mocktails).

Aebleskivers at Broder Nord

This Scandinavian cafe has become a sensation throughout Portland, with locations on both sides of Burnside as well as a Hood River outpost. And of Broder’s several beloved dishes — lost eggs, Swedish meatballs — the restaurant’s aebleskivers, or Danish pancakes, are its top billing. Little spheres of soft dough come dusted with powdered sugar, with little ramekins of lemon curd and lingonberry jam.

Doughnuts and Chai at Pip's Original Doughnuts & Chai

Yes, tourists love to talk about Voodoo Doughnut and its outlandish fried creations, but Pip’s is a local favorite for piping hot, freshly fried doughnuts, simply adorned with a drizzle of honey or a coating of cinnamon sugar. Paired with a cup of house chai, it’s extremely hard to beat — especially on your birthday, when a dozen mini-doughnuts are free.

Teriyaki Chicken at Du's Grill

Name-dropped by the rapper Aminé and once called the “best Korean teriyaki in the known universe,” a plate of char-blistered, juicy fried chicken drenched in sweet teriyaki, served with a scoop of rice and a poppyseed-dressed salad, is a rite of passage for those who grew up in Portland. The menu has a few other options — yakisoba, a tofu bowl — but when you’re at Du’s, you’re in it for the chicken.

The Adam at Bing Mi Food Cart

Really, any of the loaded jianbing at this Northwest Portland cart could hit this map, but the Adam may be its top performer: Ribbons of egg, wonton crackers, green onions, and its classic “bing sauce” are interspersed with pieces of Chinese sausage and bacon, in a hearty handheld crepe. It’s worth strolling through Nob Hill, jianbing in hand, on a nice day.

Miang Som and Kanom Krok at Langbaan

This supper club within Northwest Portland’s Phuket Cafe changes its menu monthly, but a few snacks never seem to leave the menu: the miang som, a betel leaf filled with jewels of cara cara orange and shrimp, as well as the kanom krok, a sweet Hokkaido scallop dressed with coconut cream in a crispy rice cup. Both are perfect little bites, frequently discussed and treasured, when people talk about their meals at one of the city’s finest tasting menu spots.

Fried Chicken Melt at Jojo

While the original cart is temporarily closed, this legendary fried chicken sandwich destination known for its Instagram has opened a full-on restaurant in the Pearl District, serving its likely most-photographed sandwich: a fried chicken melt, with crispy-fried thighs smashed between shokupan with coleslaw, ranch, and both cheddar and American. There are plenty of fantastic sandwiches at Jojo — the spicy chicken comes to mind — but when it comes to something distinctly emblematic of the brand, a cross-section of this gorgeous sandwich (and a side of massive jojos) is hard to top.

Pandan Breakfast Sandwich at Matta

It’s odd to think that the pandan breakfast sandwich at Matta wasn’t on the menu when the cart opened, considering its meteoric rise into Portland breakfast sandwich royalty. A toasted pandan bun arrives stuffed with a smashed pork patty, American cheese, a curry-spiced hash brown, and a fried egg, yolk dripping and mixing with the sandwich’s tasty “dac biet” sauce. It’s best paired with cà phê, featuring Matta’s house roast.

The Lebronald Palmer at Deadstock Coffee Roasters

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.

Onion Rings at Ringside Steakhouse

Ringside Steakhouse’s onion rings are the things of local legend. Renowned local gourmand James Beard called the onion rings the finest he had ever eaten in the United States: wide, lightly battered rings served with a gravy boat of thousand island. For a luxe upgrade, the rings are particularly tasty when dunked in a side of house bearnaise.

Pastrami Zombie at Sammich PDX

Some may argue that Sammich’s Italian Beef is its signature sandwich, but only one sandwich on the menu inspired its own offshoot food cart. Sammich’s answer to a reuben, the Pastrami Zombie takes the Burnside restaurant’s house-brined, smoked, and steamed pastrami, pairing it with Swiss and Russian dressing. But instead of the customary sauerkraut, Sammich stacks its sandwich high with a super thinly shaved cabbage slaw, which provides a nice, fresh crunch. Pros know to throw on some of the shop’s house giardiniera for an added kick.

Related Maps

Foie Gras Profiteroles at Le Pigeon

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.

Maple bacon bar at Voodoo Doughnuts

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.

Nong's Khao Man Gai

From a food cart, an obsession is born. Nong Poonsukwattana started out making one thing meticulously, 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.

Fried Brie at Scotch Lodge

This sleek, sultry, subterranean Scotch bar serves a wickedly delicious snack that lands somewhere between a mozzarella stick and baked brie — sticks of brie rolled in pumpernickel crumbs, fried, and served with verjus and pistachios. It has that special, quintessentially Portland quality of being culinarily ingenious, a little ridiculous, and super tasty.

Spanish Coffee at Huber's

Portland’s famous Spanish coffee service is one of those bucket-list experiences for both locals and tourists. 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 Portland’s oldest restaurant.

Charcuterie plate at Olympia Provisions

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.

View this post on Instagram

feed me charcuterie boards all day, every day

A post shared by Jenny Hong (@jennyhongg) on

Herring Under a Fur Coat at Kachka

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.

Bánh Bò Nướng at Berlu Bakery

Ever since Berlu started its bakery pop-up on the weekends, crowds have swarmed the restaurant for its bánh bò nướng, a slice of bright green, springy cake with a satisfyingly chewy texture. It’s enough of a sensation that you can now buy birthday cards and socks featuring the tapioca flour cake. Be forewarned: It’s only available on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Game Hen at Oma's Hideaway

There would be riots in the streets if Oma’s Hideaway removed this super succulent, charcoal-roasted game hen from its menu, served with a coconut sambal. It takes some of the fun of chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly’s culinary background — incorporating Chinese, Malaysian, American, and Indonesian culinary techniques and flavors — and blends it into one deceptively simple dish, served with a jammy coconut sambal and a light cabbage salad for brightness.

Chicken and Jojos at Reel M Inn

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.

Cao Lau at Rose VL Deli

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.

Smoked Salmon Tater Tots at Seasons & Regions Seafood Grill

A line of tater tots sit in a cream sauce with a pile of frizzled onions.
Smoked salmon tots at Seasons & Regions.
Christopher D. / TripAdvisor

An oldie but a goodie, Seasons & Regions in Hillsdale has served its smoked salmon tots for years, a combination of two Pacific Northwestern standards. Cheesy potato croquettes of smoked salmon and onion, potato, and garlic get a crispy fry, served with a little mustard dill sauce to play off the flavor of the fish. It’s a casual enough starter to play off the no-fuss attitude of Portland dining, but creative enough to become a cult favorite among locals.

A line of tater tots sit in a cream sauce with a pile of frizzled onions.
Smoked salmon tots at Seasons & Regions.
Christopher D. / TripAdvisor

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