Portland Restaurants

MJ's Favorites 

Penny Diner  – 410 SW Broadway – 503.228.7222

This fresh, new Vitaly Paley creation is a cozy venue to enjoy a cocktail. The chef based the diner’s theme “in part (on) what I ate in diners and greasy spoons while I struggled as a young musician in New York City. Take that and combine it with the bounty of the Pacific Northwest with an updated twist and you have Portland Penny Diner."


Papa Haydn’s – 5829 SE Milwaukie Avenue – 503.232.9440

– 701 NW 23rd Avenue – Portland, OR – 503.228.7317

Well-known Papa Haydn’s is a solid, consistent dining choice. Feast on delicious, fresh dishes or stop by for a decadent dessert and espresso. With two convenient locations (one on SE Milwaukie and another on NW 23rd), it is a reliable option time and time again.

Jade – 7912 SE 13th Avenue – Portland, OR – 503.477.8985

The unexpected combination of two completely different styles of food (Asian Fusion and French Baking) works surprisingly well in this modern Southeast Portland restaurant. Included on the menu are homemade baguettes with Lemongrass Tofu, as well as traditional Asian noodle dishes. Jade finds success in its variety.

Gravy – 3957 North Mississippi Avenue – Portland, OR – 503.287.8800

This hip brunch spot in the trendy Mississippi area, is quite delicious. Make sure you are hungry when you arrive, because you will leave feeling beyond content. I had a tough time deciding between the Oatmeal Brulee with berries and an omelet with vegetables and feta cheese. I went with the latter, which was fresh and filling, but I cannot wait to return and try the other options.

Que Pasa Cantina – 1408 Southeast 12th Avenue – Portland, OR – 503.230.9212

This hidden Southeast gem specializes in not only some of the best Margaritas in town, but some of the best Mexican food. The cozy restaurant's cuisine is described as "Mexican Comfort Food." Be sure to order a side of the Potatoes Ole, which is a combination of mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables, next to your Enchiladas del Camaron (Shrimp Enchiladas).

Giorgio's Restaurant – 131 Northwest Hoyt Street – Portland, OR  – 503.221.1888

For special celebrations I recommend one of my favorite restaurants – Giorgio's in the Pearl. The seasonal menu is full of pastas and Northern Italian Fare made fresh daily, local and organic ingredients, and seafood from all over the world. The cozy bar is the perfect place to enjoy a wonderful meal.

I recently hosted a luncheon at Giorgio's, and was extremely pleased with the service, food, and setting. Peter Schuh, Giorgio's Chef, also offers catering, varied with seasonal menu options so you can enjoy time with your family and friends.

Il Gallo Nero PDX 903 NW Everett Street – Portland, Oregon – 503.206.6388

I recently had dinner with a group of close friends at this Pearl District hot spot, and was immediately transported. All of the waiters spoke Italian and had thick accents, and the place was just bustling. Everyone raved about how delicious their dinner was, and I cannot wait to go back.

Suzette Creperie3342 SE Belmont Street – Portland, OR – 503.546.0892

One word: chocolat. This Southeast Portland gem is sure to bring the streets of Paris directly to you. I sampled two delicious creations, one sweet, and one savory. The chocolat crepe was decadence at it's finest. Filled with Suzette's version of Nutella, candied walnuts, and topped off with cinnamon ice cream (made in house). The savory creation was a simple ham and cheese crepe, but was also quite delicious, just in a different way. Be sure to stop by this restaurant if you are in the area, or looking for a Parisian vacation.

Tasty n’ Sons – 3808 N. Williams Avenue – Portland, OR – 503.621.1400 

Once you’ve gone here for brunch, you will always go here for brunch. Creative menu and absolute best “old favorites” Brunch, Dinner and Happy Hour. Dinners have a tantalizing choice of small or bigger plates. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Wildwood1221 NW 21st Avenue – Portland, OR – 503.248.9663

This is a well-known and reliable Portland restaurant. The menu changes frequently to take advantage of locally grown, Northwest ingredients. My absolute favorite is the crab cakes, but we are repeat customers in the bar for their great hamburgers.

Meriwether’s – 2601 NW Vaughn Street – Portland, OR –  503.228.1250

Love the outdoor garden eating area! This is a great Northwest dining experience with produce arriving fresh daily from their Skyline Farm. Put together a group of friends and reserve a family style table at their farm for a fun dining experience.

a Cena – 7742 SE 13th Avenue – Portland, OR – 503.206.3291

I love Italian and this small rustic restaurant is a gem.  Located in the heart of Old Sellwood, they serve a variety of Italian regional dishes. My favorite would have to be their agnolotti (pictured at left with Lobster) – very different and very rich. They also have great wine recommendations for each menu selection.

Bar Mingo811 NW 21st Avenue – Portland, OR – 503.445.4646

Recently opened Bar Mingo, located on NW 21st next to restaurant Caffe Mingo, is one of my all-time favorites. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail while waiting for a table at Caffe Mingo, or for simply enjoying a meal. It is a bit less formal than next door, but the food lives up to the name. You can always count on a delicious, fresh meal. Jerry Huisinga, the chef at Bar Mingo, "is an advocate of simply prepared, full flavored food that honors the main ingredients at the height of their season."


Cooking Culture of Portland