When people think about the Pacific Northwest, many people start to think about Seattle, Washington, which features plenty of seafood options for diners in a city known for being a combination of cultures and what might soon be the next Silicon Valley. But a few hours south on Interstate 5, Portland, Oregon, provides a unique stop for travelers in that region.
With Mount Hood casting a shadow on the city, it is known for an eclectic collection of parks, bridges, and cycling paths that also see a large number of microbreweries and diverse dining opportunities for locals and tourists alike. The following five restaurants are among the best places to eat that Portland has to offer.
The Waffle Window – 3610 Hawthorne Blvd.
With a focus on breakfast, this smaller diner is the type of place that provides a unique take on the American breakfast menu, with waffles being among the main attractions of the restaurant. Waffles that are sweet with fresh Oregon strawberries and others that feature a special sage blossom and honey ice cream served on top with a chocolate shell and candied almonds.
There are also savory waffles that include a ham and cheese waffle that includes black forest ham and a combination of Jarlsberg and gruyere cheeses served with top-notch maple syrup. There is also a spicier option with jalapeños and peppered bacon mixed into the waffle while topped with Tillamook cheddar and some house made avocado-based salsa.
Screen Door – 2337 E Burnside Street
It’s a unique name for a southern American restaurant that features a homey feel when walking in for a good weekend brunch, which is a staple for this Portland diner. It’s the type of restaurant that provides sweet tea and a greeting smell of smoked meats emanating from the kitchen and drifting through the restaurant and into the streets.
Among the comfort food items on the menu is the buttermilk fried chicken that often comes with country-style gravy and potatoes. While there are a number of diverse items on the menu, one unique option is the shrimp and grits dish that also offers an interesting praline bacon on the side.
Le Pigeon – 738 E Burnside Street
Down the road a little ways is a very small but popular French restaurant that has garnered positive reviews from regulars and first-time customers alike because of an atmosphere that provides a noticeable teamwork between everyone on the restaurant staff, from the kitchen to the waiting staff.
Among the dinner menu’s entrée list is a beef cheek bourguigon dish that provides the main part served with risotto, oyster mushrooms, onions, and a combination of sweet herbs. There’s also a daily fish item that changes based on what the chefs find at the market that morning. There is also a five-course and seven-course tasting menu that provides diners with a unique tour of the menu.
Shut Up and Eat – 3848 SE Gladstone Street
This restaurant provides a very blunt direction by walking in with the goal of eating your meal and enjoying it. It is simple, where the menu is more of a step-by-step direction that starts with choosing your sandwich or salad in a combo that is a flat rate regardless of choice. There is also a side where people can choose between a macaroni salad and house-made applesauce. Combos come with a pickle and a cookie.
There are also other entrees where people can enjoy up to two-dozen meatballs made of a combination of beef, pork, and veal with a red “gravy” sauce. Folks can also enjoy a specialty mac and cheese plate that combines spinach, three types of cheese, and croutons.
Voodoo Doughnuts – 22 SW 3rd Ave
While most people would think to get a good bite to eat from a regular sit down restaurant, Portland has a doughnut shop in Voodoo Doughnut that provides a 24-hour, seven-day location that only takes cash and provides a very eclectic combination of sweets and treats that attract tourists and locals alike.
One of the top doughnuts is the grape ape, which includes a vanilla frosting covered in a grape dusting and lavender-flavored sprinkles. There are doughnuts with cereals and candies, while there are others with gimmicks that include some tongue-in-cheek references. There is a food challenge item called the Tex-Ass Challenge doughnut that is a glazed doughnut the size of about six regular donuts; anyone who eats in less than 80 seconds gets it for free.