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16 Portland Special Occasion Destinations for Any Budget

From kid’s birthday party to anniversary dinner

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Ava Gene’s
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One of the best things about Portland’s dining scene is how unapologetically democratic it is — you can find good food literally everywhere: restaurants that serve bank-breaking tasting menus, random pop-ups from upstarting chefs, humble food carts, and dank and dirty dive bars. As a result, finding a restaurant for the big graduation dinner, anniversary date, or retirement party is relatively manageable regardless of price-point or neighborhood. We’ve rounded up our favorite places to celebrate on any budget, whether you’re looking to impress a hot date with a big blowout dinner or you’re tight on cash but want to get rowdy with a group of friends.

(Note: The points on this guide are not ranked; rather, they’re organized geographically.)

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pok Pok NW

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1639 NW Marshall St
Portland, OR 97209
(971) 351-1946
Visit Website

If you’re hosting food-minded out-of-towners, don’t be surprised if you end up at classic Portland dining behemoth Pok Pok. Don’t panic — despite the crazy crowds and lines, the food is still as good as you remember. The trick is to go to Pok Pok NW, which isn’t quite as touristy as the original SE Division location and, best of all, takes reservations for parties of 6 or fewer. To really celebrate, be sure to take advantage of their cocktail menu with drinks that feature their iconic drinking vinegars, Thai spices, and coconut milk.

2. Duck House Chinese Restaurant

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1968 SW 5th Ave
Portland, OR 97201
(971) 801-8888
Visit Website

When celebrating at Duck House, you’re coming for the food and the food alone. Everything on their dumpling menu is delicious, and of course, true to its name, Duck House is home to some of the best peking duck in the city, serving slices of sweet skin that shatter in your mouth. This is a great place to feast with a large group of people and walk out with both your bellies and wallets still relatively full — just be sure to call ahead and reserve your duck at least 72 hours in advance of your arrival.

3. OX Restaurant

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2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 284-3366
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If you’re the kind of person who celebrates with a hearty, high-quality steak, Argentinean steakhouse Ox is definitely the place to go. Considered one of Portland’s best steakhouses, Ox offers a variety of cuts and sides like empanadas, wood-fired vegetables, and the famous bone marrow clam chowder. The restaurant only takes reservations for parties over six, so get there early and don’t be surprised if you end up waiting at the bar next door.

4. Trifecta Tavern

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726 SE 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 841-6675
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Trifecta Tavern feels and looks like everything a big city tavern should be: large but intimate, dark but cozy and warm, with a low hum of conversation and good vibes from everybody enjoying their meal. However, the best experience can be found at the bar; let the knowledgeable bartenders guide you through an extensive menu with custom drink pairings.

5. Le Pigeon

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738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 546-8796
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Le Pigeon, the home of opulent treats like foie gras profiteroles and beef cheek bourguignon, is perhaps Portland’s quintessential French restaurant — though now it has strayed far from France. Within James Beard winning chef Gabriel Rucker’s tasting menu, foie may appear in fajitas and pigeon may come confit in rangoon; still, this tiny Burnside institution is essential for romantic special occasions, a go-to for proposal dinners or big-deal anniversaries. Make sure to spring for a bottle of wine or pairings — co-owner Andy Fortgang is a wine-world legend for a reason.

6. Bar Casa Vale

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215 SE 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 477-9081
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If you’re looking to celebrate with tapas and pinxtos and a big group of friends and family, Bar Casa Vale is the perfect spot: It is one of the larger tapas bars in the city, complete with a killer happy hour and a side patio perfect for group dining. Both the alcohol and food menus are on the larger side, with a variety of dishes that will satisfy a wide-range of tastes and dietary restrictions. Standouts include the albacore crudo, beef tartare, burger, and of course, sangria.

7. Kachka

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

With its old-fashioned Soviet decor in a bright and modern space, Kachka is still one of the most fun places to celebrate with oh, so much vodka. To kick off a rowdy night, order a vodka flight, several plates of Russian dumplings like pelmeni and vareniki, and the Ruskie Zakuski Experience, which will cover your table with small plates of cured dish, tartares, and more.

8. Castagna Restaurant

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1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 231-7373
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For classic fine dining, Castagna is the restaurant worth shelling out for. Though the interior of the restaurant feels a little quiet and muted, Chef Justin Woodward’s stellar tasting menu is the complete opposite: bold and inventive, featuring a wide range of culinary techniques resulting in little works of art on every plate. Be warned that the prices here are some of the most expensive in the city, though you still have the option to choose between the lower-end $55 weekday menu, a mid-range $100 menu, and the most expensive $165 full chef’s tasting menu (alcohol pairings not included).

Danielle Centoni

9. Reel M Inn

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

Reel M’ Inn is where you go when you’re broke as sin but still want to celebrate a birthday with something, anything. A neighborhood bar on SE Division, Reel M’Inn is sticky, greasy, and everything a dive bar should be. But folks don’t come here for the atmosphere; they come for the cheap drinks and fried chicken many see as the best in the city — rumor has it that celebrity chef Sean Brock allegedly based his James Beard-winning recipe on it.

10. Langbaan

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6 SE 28th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(971) 344-2564
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Scoring a reservation at Langbaan is a special occasion in itself; the waitlist for this pricey prix fixe dinner is still around six months long. If you’re lucky enough to snag a reservation, prepare to feel inducted into what feels like a secret society of Portland’s food scene: Langbaan is “hidden” in an intimate space at the back of their sister restaurant, Paadee, with a unique menu that features flavors and intricate dishes from lesser-known regions of Thailand.

Danielle Centoni

11. Beast

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5425 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 841-6968
Visit Website

Beast is the place to drop some serious cash for an intimate meal with impeccable service. The menu is prix-fixe only and one of the spendier meals in the city, but chef Naomi Pomeroy’s culinary creativity makes the dinner seem like a bargain. Be sure to request a seat with a view of the open kitchen to watch the team at work.

12. Expatriate

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

Expatriate is a swanky, slightly-elevated neighborhood bar with an impressive liquor selection and a record turntable to boot. Kyle Webster’s cocktails, although pricey, feature well-balanced flavors and unusual pairings perfect to celebrate any occasion. Don’t miss the food either — Naomi Pomeroy may be her most playful on the Expatriate menu, serving up casual bar snacks like Laotian Tacos and Rice Waffle and Hot Fried Chicken strips.

Danielle Centoni

13. Urdaneta

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3033 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 288-1990
Visit Website

A blend of a hip tapas bar and a cozy cocktail bar, Urdaneta evokes the festive pintxo shops of San Sebastian. Pick a bottle from its eyebrow-raising wine list; if you’re feeling especially jolly, you can even opt for a vermouth flight. Be sure to get a selection of small bites and the grilled cheese and gazpacho, an inventive take on a nostalgic favorite. It’s probably best to keep your group smaller and more intimate in this tiny Basque restaurant.

Mattie John Bamman

14. Ava Gene's

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3377 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202
(971) 229-0571
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The best way to celebrate any special occasion is with a lot of carbs like bread and pasta, and no place does bread and pasta better than Ava Gene’s. The vibe here is slightly elevated yet casual, and you’ll see a wide set of diners ranging from awkward first dates to families enjoying a night out together. For the best experience, stick to the Fritti, Pane, Giardini, and Primi sections of the menu, all full of the breads, pastas, and inventive combinations of vegetables that Chef Joshua McFadden is best known for.

15. Pizza Jerk

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5028 NE 42nd Ave
Portland, OR 97218
(503) 284-9333
Visit Website

Pizza Jerk will instantly bring you back to the ‘80s pizza parlors of your childhood, complete with plastic checkered tablecloths and peeling leather booths. It’s a great space for big groups with kids, especially if you can take advantage of the large outdoor patio. The pizzas impress with a thin and crispy crust and high-quality toppings — for a good time, be sure to order a boozy slushie and the It’s Always Sunny in Cully pie, topped with pepperoni, hot peppers, basil, pineapple, and hot honey.

Mattie John Bamman

16. K-Town Korean BBQ Restaurant

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5450 SE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97266
(503) 444-7700
Visit Website

Korean barbecue has always been a fun, interactive dining experience and is one of the best ways to eat lots of juicy, tasty meat on a budget. At K-Town Korean BBQ, the interior is a bit like going to an Asian dance club, with lots of blue and purple neon lights, smoke and haze from the barbecue grills, and K-pop blasting on the stereo. Bring a group of friends, order glasses of soju and Korean beer, and pick your meats — just be sure to get there early, especially on the weekend.

1. Pok Pok NW

1639 NW Marshall St, Portland, OR 97209

If you’re hosting food-minded out-of-towners, don’t be surprised if you end up at classic Portland dining behemoth Pok Pok. Don’t panic — despite the crazy crowds and lines, the food is still as good as you remember. The trick is to go to Pok Pok NW, which isn’t quite as touristy as the original SE Division location and, best of all, takes reservations for parties of 6 or fewer. To really celebrate, be sure to take advantage of their cocktail menu with drinks that feature their iconic drinking vinegars, Thai spices, and coconut milk.

1639 NW Marshall St
Portland, OR 97209

2. Duck House Chinese Restaurant

1968 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97201

When celebrating at Duck House, you’re coming for the food and the food alone. Everything on their dumpling menu is delicious, and of course, true to its name, Duck House is home to some of the best peking duck in the city, serving slices of sweet skin that shatter in your mouth. This is a great place to feast with a large group of people and walk out with both your bellies and wallets still relatively full — just be sure to call ahead and reserve your duck at least 72 hours in advance of your arrival.

1968 SW 5th Ave
Portland, OR 97201

3. OX Restaurant

2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97212

If you’re the kind of person who celebrates with a hearty, high-quality steak, Argentinean steakhouse Ox is definitely the place to go. Considered one of Portland’s best steakhouses, Ox offers a variety of cuts and sides like empanadas, wood-fired vegetables, and the famous bone marrow clam chowder. The restaurant only takes reservations for parties over six, so get there early and don’t be surprised if you end up waiting at the bar next door.

2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97212

4. Trifecta Tavern

726 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Trifecta Tavern feels and looks like everything a big city tavern should be: large but intimate, dark but cozy and warm, with a low hum of conversation and good vibes from everybody enjoying their meal. However, the best experience can be found at the bar; let the knowledgeable bartenders guide you through an extensive menu with custom drink pairings.

726 SE 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

5. Le Pigeon

738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

Le Pigeon, the home of opulent treats like foie gras profiteroles and beef cheek bourguignon, is perhaps Portland’s quintessential French restaurant — though now it has strayed far from France. Within James Beard winning chef Gabriel Rucker’s tasting menu, foie may appear in fajitas and pigeon may come confit in rangoon; still, this tiny Burnside institution is essential for romantic special occasions, a go-to for proposal dinners or big-deal anniversaries. Make sure to spring for a bottle of wine or pairings — co-owner Andy Fortgang is a wine-world legend for a reason.

738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

6. Bar Casa Vale

215 SE 9th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

If you’re looking to celebrate with tapas and pinxtos and a big group of friends and family, Bar Casa Vale is the perfect spot: It is one of the larger tapas bars in the city, complete with a killer happy hour and a side patio perfect for group dining. Both the alcohol and food menus are on the larger side, with a variety of dishes that will satisfy a wide-range of tastes and dietary restrictions. Standouts include the albacore crudo, beef tartare, burger, and of course, sangria.

215 SE 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

7. Kachka

960 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

With its old-fashioned Soviet decor in a bright and modern space, Kachka is still one of the most fun places to celebrate with oh, so much vodka. To kick off a rowdy night, order a vodka flight, several plates of Russian dumplings like pelmeni and vareniki, and the Ruskie Zakuski Experience, which will cover your table with small plates of cured dish, tartares, and more.

960 SE 11th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

8. Castagna Restaurant

1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214
Danielle Centoni

For classic fine dining, Castagna is the restaurant worth shelling out for. Though the interior of the restaurant feels a little quiet and muted, Chef Justin Woodward’s stellar tasting menu is the complete opposite: bold and inventive, featuring a wide range of culinary techniques resulting in little works of art on every plate. Be warned that the prices here are some of the most expensive in the city, though you still have the option to choose between the lower-end $55 weekday menu, a mid-range $100 menu, and the most expensive $165 full chef’s tasting menu (alcohol pairings not included).

1752 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214

9. Reel M Inn

2430 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

Reel M’ Inn is where you go when you’re broke as sin but still want to celebrate a birthday with something, anything. A neighborhood bar on SE Division, Reel M’Inn is sticky, greasy, and everything a dive bar should be. But folks don’t come here for the atmosphere; they come for the cheap drinks and fried chicken many see as the best in the city — rumor has it that celebrity chef Sean Brock allegedly based his James Beard-winning recipe on it.

2430 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202

10. Langbaan

6 SE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Danielle Centoni

Scoring a reservation at Langbaan is a special occasion in itself; the waitlist for this pricey prix fixe dinner is still around six months long. If you’re lucky enough to snag a reservation, prepare to feel inducted into what feels like a secret society of Portland’s food scene: Langbaan is “hidden” in an intimate space at the back of their sister restaurant, Paadee, with a unique menu that features flavors and intricate dishes from lesser-known regions of Thailand.

6 SE 28th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

11. Beast

5425 NE 30th Ave, Portland, OR 97211

Beast is the place to drop some serious cash for an intimate meal with impeccable service. The menu is prix-fixe only and one of the spendier meals in the city, but chef Naomi Pomeroy’s culinary creativity makes the dinner seem like a bargain. Be sure to request a seat with a view of the open kitchen to watch the team at work.

5425 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211

12. Expatriate

5424 NE 30th Ave, Portland, OR 97211
Danielle Centoni

Expatriate is a swanky, slightly-elevated neighborhood bar with an impressive liquor selection and a record turntable to boot. Kyle Webster’s cocktails, although pricey, feature well-balanced flavors and unusual pairings perfect to celebrate any occasion. Don’t miss the food either — Naomi Pomeroy may be her most playful on the Expatriate menu, serving up casual bar snacks like Laotian Tacos and Rice Waffle and Hot Fried Chicken strips.

5424 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211

13. Urdaneta

3033 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211
Mattie John Bamman

A blend of a hip tapas bar and a cozy cocktail bar, Urdaneta evokes the festive pintxo shops of San Sebastian. Pick a bottle from its eyebrow-raising wine list; if you’re feeling especially jolly, you can even opt for a vermouth flight. Be sure to get a selection of small bites and the grilled cheese and gazpacho, an inventive take on a nostalgic favorite. It’s probably best to keep your group smaller and more intimate in this tiny Basque restaurant.

3033 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

14. Ava Gene's

3377 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

The best way to celebrate any special occasion is with a lot of carbs like bread and pasta, and no place does bread and pasta better than Ava Gene’s. The vibe here is slightly elevated yet casual, and you’ll see a wide set of diners ranging from awkward first dates to families enjoying a night out together. For the best experience, stick to the Fritti, Pane, Giardini, and Primi sections of the menu, all full of the breads, pastas, and inventive combinations of vegetables that Chef Joshua McFadden is best known for.

3377 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97202

15. Pizza Jerk

5028 NE 42nd Ave, Portland, OR 97218
Mattie John Bamman

Pizza Jerk will instantly bring you back to the ‘80s pizza parlors of your childhood, complete with plastic checkered tablecloths and peeling leather booths. It’s a great space for big groups with kids, especially if you can take advantage of the large outdoor patio. The pizzas impress with a thin and crispy crust and high-quality toppings — for a good time, be sure to order a boozy slushie and the It’s Always Sunny in Cully pie, topped with pepperoni, hot peppers, basil, pineapple, and hot honey.

5028 NE 42nd Ave
Portland, OR 97218

Related Maps

16. K-Town Korean BBQ Restaurant

5450 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97266

Korean barbecue has always been a fun, interactive dining experience and is one of the best ways to eat lots of juicy, tasty meat on a budget. At K-Town Korean BBQ, the interior is a bit like going to an Asian dance club, with lots of blue and purple neon lights, smoke and haze from the barbecue grills, and K-pop blasting on the stereo. Bring a group of friends, order glasses of soju and Korean beer, and pick your meats — just be sure to get there early, especially on the weekend.

5450 SE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97266

Related Maps