What better way to take full advantage of your visit to a state than through the food you eat? There’s no doubt you’ll want to experience everything an area has to offer by visiting some of its best, locally-owned restaurants. The state of Oregon is no exception. With so many unique, noteworthy restaurants to visit, the hardest part will be narrowing down the list to decide which one to visit. You can certainly try a few apps to help you find restaurants by looking at the reviews, but you don’t want to miss out on the list below of our definite favorites.
Andina is a Peruvian fine dining restaurant located in Portland. In 2015, Andina won the Open Table Diners’ Choice Award, was named Portland Food and Drink’s Restaurant of the Year in 2009, and in 2005 was named The Oregonian’s Restaurant of the Year. Andina regularly serves up Peruvian dishes with their own modern twist. They’re also crafting signature cocktails and native drinks to satisfy your thirst. Everything from their salads and bread to their hearty meat dishes is enough to make you want to come back for more. Andina just may be the best restaurant in Oregon, but we’ll let you decide that for yourself.
Pok Pok is a Thai restaurant owned and run by founder and head chef Andy Ricker. According to Portland Food and Drink, the menu at Pok Pok is seasonal, and many of the dishes are relatively spicy. But you can request they go lighter on the seasoning if heat is a problem for you. Their chicken wings are easily one of their most famous dishes, so be sure to order Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings. But still, you can’t go wrong with Yam Khai Dao, which is a salad made of a fried egg, Chinese celery, Thai chilies, onions, and carrots. It’s then topped with a dressing made with palm sugar, lime, and fish sauce. It’s a tasty salad perfect for a warm evening. There are so many incredible options at Pok Pok you’d be hard pressed to find one you don’t love. Believe us, you’ll be talking about this place for quite a while after your visit.
Salt & Straw
We need to take a minute to highlight one of the best dessert spots in Oregon. It’s not a full-service restaurant, but Salt and Straw is an absolute must for those who love ice cream. Regarding the recognition Salt and Straw had received, where do I begin? They were named one of the 21 best ice cream shops in America by Thrillist. They were also recognized in top publishings like Food Republic, Saveur, Food & Wine, Glamour, The New York Times, and Huffington Post. Salt and Straw has received national attention in the media for some of the seemingly unusual ice cream flavors like Bone Marrow with Bourbon Smoked Cherries and Arbequina Olive Oil… But don’t worry, they have more traditional flavors. Be sure to save room for dessert after dining at another tasty local spot, because Salt and Straw’s ice cream is a must-have.
McKay Cottage Restaurant
If you’re looking for breakfast, brunch, or lunch spot, look no further than McKay Cottage Restaurant. There’s a reason they won the Source Week “Best Breakfast” award six years in a row. For some down-home cooking and traditional comfort food, McKay Cottage Restaurant is the place to be. Their Country Biscuits and Gravy, Croissant-Style French Toast and more are some of the best ways to get your day started. They also serve great classic sandwiches for lunch as well as beer, cocktails, and wine. For a morning or mid-day meal, McKay Cottage Restaurant is one of the best.
Tasty n Alder
Tasty n Alder is another Portland area restaurant perfect for anyone who typically enjoys a classic steakhouse, but with a twist. They’re serving up delicious brunch dishes like a Chorizo Verde Omelet, as well as a dinner menu full of grilled meats like steak, pork chop, lamb, and more. If you want to branch out a little bit, we suggest trying their Korean Fried Chicken Bowl. It includes short grain rice, eggs two ways, and homemade kimchi. Additionally, you’ll certainly want to try their Monte Cristo in Maple Syrup. The open-faced meal featured a healthy portion of ham and cheese. Anything and everything on the menu are enough to make your mouth water.
Gabriel Rucker has won a James Beard Award twice, and he’s the mastermind behind Le Pigeon. If that’s not enough of a reason to visit the Portland spot, let me give you a few more. The menu at Le Pigeon is kept short but hearty. You can enjoy Grilled Pigeon or sample a range of dishes from two tasting menus. If you’re more of a burger-loving customer, you’ll want to order Rucker’s personal creation. It’s a homemade burger with Tillamook cheddar, homemade aioli, grilled, pickled onion, and just enough blue cheese dressing. Was there any part of that description that didn’t have your mouth watering?
This list wouldn’t be complete without a restaurant with a view. Restaurant Beck is undoubtedly one of Oregon’s best restaurants, and you can enjoy beautiful views of Depoe Bay while dining on the unique and flavorful fare. At Restaurant Beck, James Beard semi-finalist and multiple-award-winning chef Justin Wills is using local farm ingredients. You may need to step slightly outside of your comfort zone to taste some of the dishes at Restaurant Beck, but you’ll thank yourself once you do. Their Lobster Mushrooms are fresh and delicious, and their pork belly is an absolute must. You should also order a refreshing glass of wine to wash everything down. Their selection is broad and impressive regarding its connection to their dishes.
Keep An Open Mind
When traveling through Oregon, looking for a place to eat, it’s perhaps most important to keep and an open mind. Some of the best restaurants in the area are providing dishes that may be entirely new and unique to your palate, but are undoubtedly worth the risk. Give Oregon and all its culinary scene has to offer a whole-hearted chance.