Above: The bar in Little Bird in Portland, Oregon

Portland Restaurant Discoveries

One of the great draws of Portland is its cuisine, whether from a gourmet food truck or a Michelin star-quality restaurant. Here, restaurants tend to be informal, though people dress stylishly when visiting the most expensive addresses. Oregon’s agricultural areas produce an array of delicious fruits and vegetables, of which chefs take full advantage. Local and seasonal produce, as you might expect, takes pride of place. Seafood also tends to be excellent. And, of course, wines from the Willamette Valley, most famously Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, now compete with the best in the world.

I found several commendable restaurants on this recent visit.


Ever since chef Justin Woodward took the helm at this fine-dining restaurant in 2013, he’s earned accolades, including four James Beard Award nominations. The white, black and wood décor is simple, verging on plain, but the jewel-like food presentations firmly held my attention. We chose the seven-course Dinner Menu, as opposed to the 12-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, and though the portions were quite small, we left feeling thoroughly satisfied. I particularly liked the smoky and citrusy blistered Romano and sea beans, delicate and fresh kohlrabi-wrapped albacore tuna with marigold, and a complex dessert of sourdough ice cream with local grapes, Thai basil and caramelized white chocolate.

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