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Readers Vote: 14 'Last Meal' Destinations in Portland

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Image of Le Pigeon courtesy Avila/EPDX

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In last week's Friday Open Thread, Eater asked readers to describe their hypothetical last meals in Portland — ie, the spots where they'd bid the Rose City a fond farewell. A few trends emerged: implementation of the "progressive meal," with readers coursing out their dinners at different places throughout the evening; a proclivity for chef's tasting menus; and finally, a general fondness for fried chicken (seriously — fried chicken at Reel M Inn, Country Cat, and Screen Door all made the cut).

Here now, in no particular order, are 14 Popular Last-Meal Destinations, mapped for your dining pleasure. The full list of nominees lives after the map, and if your favorite still isn't included, do give it a shout in the comments.


Other nominated food spots: Riffle NW · the Heathman · Aviary · Shut Up & Eat · Jade Teahouse · Pok Pok · Tasty N Sons · Nong's Khao Man Gai · Cruzroom · Biwa · Cafe Hibiscus · Roe · Firehouse · Andina · St. Jack Patisserie · Apizza Scholls · Little Big Burger · The Country Cat · Olympic Provisions · Beast · Nostrana · DOC

Nominated drink spots: Rum Club · Gilt Club · Teardrop Lounge · Departure · Kir Wine Bar · The Slammer · Clyde Common

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Le Pigeon

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738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 546-8796
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In many readers' imaginary progressive meals through Portland, a stop at Gabriel Rucker's Le Pigeon was a must-visit. Commenters promised to eat everything from "the whole menu" to "whatever Gabe recommended" to "Beef cheeks, or lamb, and some offal. Burgundy." Says one: "My last meal would also be what happened to be one of my first meals in Portland as well, Le Pigeon. Without a doubt the best and most consistent restaurant in Portland, in my opinion."

2. Ava Gene's

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3377 SE Division
Portland, OR 97214
(971) 229-0571
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Also a must-eat for readers leaving town: a pasta course (at the very least) at Duane Sorenson's Ava Gene's. Several commenters pledged a stop for "any of the pastas," with specific shoutouts for chef Joshua McFadden's pork ragu and razor clam fettuccine. Also on readers' last-meal tasting menus: osso busco, ribeye, carrot and pistachio salad, and gelato.

3. Tanuki

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8029 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215
Portland, OR 97215
(503) 477-6030
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Several commenters pledged their last meals to SE izakaya Tanuki, particularly chef Janis Martin's omakase. Says one, "I'd drop $100+ for omakase at Tanuki and just let Janis feed me until I die, or my liver explodes." Writes another, "If the last meal was today it would be Tanuki, hands down. The ladies would bid a fine farewell and the delicious food always lingers in my heart and soul."

4. Paley's Place

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1204 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 243-2403
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A tasting menu at Paley's Place would be the last stop for a few commenters. "If it had to be one location, I would be happy to eat through the menu at Paley's Place: steak tartare, crab or lobster or fish stew, a big salad, all the sides."

5. Reel M Inn

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2430 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 231-3880

More than one reader would make a pit stop at SE Division dive Reel M Inn for a final bite of its famous fried chicken. Writes one, "[The answer] obviously depends on where I was moving (why go to Biwa before I move to Tokyo?) but if I was staying in this country, I would probably go with Reel M Inn. I have a lot of good memories of being there, the chicken is fantastic (and somewhat secretly organic) and there's no bullshit and/or hype." [Photo]

6. Petite Provence of Alberta

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1824 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 284-6564
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One reader praises brunch at this neighborhood spot, which has locations on NE Alberta, SE Division, and in Lake Oswego. "The salmon benedict from Petit Provence. We'd slowly eat it and reminisce about all the amazing meals we've had in this city. This one is like coming home to an old friend because we've eaten it more than any other meal in Portland." [Photo]

7. Ha Vl

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2738 SE 82nd Blvd
Portland, OR 97266
(503) 772-0103

A bowl of Ha “Christine” Luu's infamous soup would be a must-have for several Eater readers, and commenters don't even attempt to pick a favorite: it's all "soup to die for." Says one commenter, who lumps Ha VL in with Jade Teahouse and Pok Pok in his progressive meal, "I'd pick a fancier place but I can get fancy food (Italian, French, etc) in many other cities. It's rare to find anything like the above-listed joints in other cities. I've tried." [Photo]

8. The Woodsman Tavern

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4537 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97206
(971) 373-8264
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The Woodsman Tavern gathered several "last meal" votes, and they were nearly unanimous for one menu item that'd provide a spectacle of a first course: the seafood tower. One commenter, though, would expand his experience into the next course at the Woodsman: "I'd be happy if my last meal was the trout in 'crazy water' at the Woodsman Tavern."

9. Castagna

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1752 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard
Portland, OR 97214

One reader writes a love letter to an imaginary last meal at chef Justin Woodward's Castagna: "I would want my last meal to include the best ingredients possible: Perigord black truffles, white truffles from Alba, foie gras, sea urchin, caviar, matsutake mushrooms. Fish from Japan, Dover sole, and the best foraged product from our area. Then I would ask Chef Woodward to prepare in between 30 to 40 courses. After that meal, I would leave PDX a very happy and fat diner."

10. Dove Vivi

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2727 NE Glisan St
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 239-4444
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NW pizzeria Dove Vivi gets a vote for its uniquely corn-crusted pizza. Says one reader of his last meal: "A whole Dove Vivi pizza — smoked mozzarella, corn, chives, and balsalmic onions. All for me."

11. Screen Door

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2337 E Burnside St.
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 405-8173

Portlanders line up in droves for Screen Door's weekend brunch, but one onetime Portland resident visited the popular Southern spot for his last meal. "We did move far, far from PDX in Nov of 2011. And we had a number of places that could have served as our last meal there. But the decision was to make a final visit to the Screen Door for their extraordinary fried chicken. Good food can be found in most places, but really good fried chicken, like really good eggplant parmigiana can be few and far between."

2225 NE MLK Jr. Blvd
Portland, OR 97212

Ox made multiple appearances on readers' lists, mostly as a meaty "main course" stop during the progressive meal. Says one: "[I'd] immerse myself in the primitive smoke-stroked pleasures of OX: the linguica and chanterelles, the grits and pork belly, the steak, the scallops, bring it on."

13. Ken's Artisan Pizza

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304 SE 28th Ave
Portland, OR 97124
(503) 517-9951
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One reader makes a strong case for a first course at SE's Ken's Artisan Pizza. His itinerary, as follows: "I'd get a caesar and a sopresatta pizza at Ken's at five o'clock, get just barely drunk at the Slammer for a few hours and then eat the whole menu at Le Pigeon with a couple friends around nine." [Photo]

14. Beaker & Flask

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727 SE Washington St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 235-8180
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The eastside's Beaker & Flask showed up on a few readers' last cocktail stops, though one commenter would do dinner there, too: "Venison salad and then black tea fried chicken at Beaker & Flask. Did that recently and it was sublime."

1. Le Pigeon

738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

In many readers' imaginary progressive meals through Portland, a stop at Gabriel Rucker's Le Pigeon was a must-visit. Commenters promised to eat everything from "the whole menu" to "whatever Gabe recommended" to "Beef cheeks, or lamb, and some offal. Burgundy." Says one: "My last meal would also be what happened to be one of my first meals in Portland as well, Le Pigeon. Without a doubt the best and most consistent restaurant in Portland, in my opinion."

738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

2. Ava Gene's

3377 SE Division, Portland, OR 97214

Also a must-eat for readers leaving town: a pasta course (at the very least) at Duane Sorenson's Ava Gene's. Several commenters pledged a stop for "any of the pastas," with specific shoutouts for chef Joshua McFadden's pork ragu and razor clam fettuccine. Also on readers' last-meal tasting menus: osso busco, ribeye, carrot and pistachio salad, and gelato.

3377 SE Division
Portland, OR 97214

3. Tanuki

8029 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215, Portland, OR 97215

Several commenters pledged their last meals to SE izakaya Tanuki, particularly chef Janis Martin's omakase. Says one, "I'd drop $100+ for omakase at Tanuki and just let Janis feed me until I die, or my liver explodes." Writes another, "If the last meal was today it would be Tanuki, hands down. The ladies would bid a fine farewell and the delicious food always lingers in my heart and soul."

8029 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215
Portland, OR 97215

4. Paley's Place

1204 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

A tasting menu at Paley's Place would be the last stop for a few commenters. "If it had to be one location, I would be happy to eat through the menu at Paley's Place: steak tartare, crab or lobster or fish stew, a big salad, all the sides."

1204 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209

5. Reel M Inn

2430 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

More than one reader would make a pit stop at SE Division dive Reel M Inn for a final bite of its famous fried chicken. Writes one, "[The answer] obviously depends on where I was moving (why go to Biwa before I move to Tokyo?) but if I was staying in this country, I would probably go with Reel M Inn. I have a lot of good memories of being there, the chicken is fantastic (and somewhat secretly organic) and there's no bullshit and/or hype." [Photo]

2430 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202

6. Petite Provence of Alberta

1824 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

One reader praises brunch at this neighborhood spot, which has locations on NE Alberta, SE Division, and in Lake Oswego. "The salmon benedict from Petit Provence. We'd slowly eat it and reminisce about all the amazing meals we've had in this city. This one is like coming home to an old friend because we've eaten it more than any other meal in Portland." [Photo]

1824 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

7. Ha Vl

2738 SE 82nd Blvd, Portland, OR 97266

A bowl of Ha “Christine” Luu's infamous soup would be a must-have for several Eater readers, and commenters don't even attempt to pick a favorite: it's all "soup to die for." Says one commenter, who lumps Ha VL in with Jade Teahouse and Pok Pok in his progressive meal, "I'd pick a fancier place but I can get fancy food (Italian, French, etc) in many other cities. It's rare to find anything like the above-listed joints in other cities. I've tried." [Photo]

2738 SE 82nd Blvd
Portland, OR 97266

8. The Woodsman Tavern

4537 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

The Woodsman Tavern gathered several "last meal" votes, and they were nearly unanimous for one menu item that'd provide a spectacle of a first course: the seafood tower. One commenter, though, would expand his experience into the next course at the Woodsman: "I'd be happy if my last meal was the trout in 'crazy water' at the Woodsman Tavern."

4537 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97206

9. Castagna

1752 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, OR 97214

One reader writes a love letter to an imaginary last meal at chef Justin Woodward's Castagna: "I would want my last meal to include the best ingredients possible: Perigord black truffles, white truffles from Alba, foie gras, sea urchin, caviar, matsutake mushrooms. Fish from Japan, Dover sole, and the best foraged product from our area. Then I would ask Chef Woodward to prepare in between 30 to 40 courses. After that meal, I would leave PDX a very happy and fat diner."

1752 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard
Portland, OR 97214

10. Dove Vivi

2727 NE Glisan St, Portland, OR 97232

NW pizzeria Dove Vivi gets a vote for its uniquely corn-crusted pizza. Says one reader of his last meal: "A whole Dove Vivi pizza — smoked mozzarella, corn, chives, and balsalmic onions. All for me."

2727 NE Glisan St
Portland, OR 97232

11. Screen Door

2337 E Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214

Portlanders line up in droves for Screen Door's weekend brunch, but one onetime Portland resident visited the popular Southern spot for his last meal. "We did move far, far from PDX in Nov of 2011. And we had a number of places that could have served as our last meal there. But the decision was to make a final visit to the Screen Door for their extraordinary fried chicken. Good food can be found in most places, but really good fried chicken, like really good eggplant parmigiana can be few and far between."

2337 E Burnside St.
Portland, OR 97214

12. Ox

2225 NE MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR 97212

Ox made multiple appearances on readers' lists, mostly as a meaty "main course" stop during the progressive meal. Says one: "[I'd] immerse myself in the primitive smoke-stroked pleasures of OX: the linguica and chanterelles, the grits and pork belly, the steak, the scallops, bring it on."

2225 NE MLK Jr. Blvd
Portland, OR 97212

13. Ken's Artisan Pizza

304 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97124

One reader makes a strong case for a first course at SE's Ken's Artisan Pizza. His itinerary, as follows: "I'd get a caesar and a sopresatta pizza at Ken's at five o'clock, get just barely drunk at the Slammer for a few hours and then eat the whole menu at Le Pigeon with a couple friends around nine." [Photo]

304 SE 28th Ave
Portland, OR 97124

14. Beaker & Flask

727 SE Washington St, Portland, OR 97214

The eastside's Beaker & Flask showed up on a few readers' last cocktail stops, though one commenter would do dinner there, too: "Venison salad and then black tea fried chicken at Beaker & Flask. Did that recently and it was sublime."

727 SE Washington St
Portland, OR 97214

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