Downtown Portland’s 20 best restaurants to try right now

A lounge area just outside the entrance to Bullard Tavern, our pick for downtown Portland's best hotel restaurant.


While researching our recent guide to Portland’s best restaurants, Michael Russell revisited more than 90 of his favorite places to eat throughout the city. Here you’ll find his top picks in downtown Portland, defined as the area bracketed by the Willamette River and I-405, meaning Old Town/Chinatown and the Pearl District are represented, too. Beyond the places highlighted in the greater guide, we’ve added a handful of favorites — an elevated osteria, a century-old bar, an Isan Thai cottage — that shouldn’t be missed.


The Pearl District’s multi-story Peruvian destination lost a little heat off its fastball a decade or so ago — and picked up some South American competition in downtown’s Lechon (113 S.W. Naito Pkwy.) — but it’s still the best place in town to come for bright ceviches, colorful causas, meaty mains and sweet-spicy cocktails like the signature Sacsayhuamán.

Details: Andina serves dinner Tuesday-Saturday at 1314 N.W. Glisan St., 503-228-9535,


One of the most surprising meals during my restaurant research came at this wine-focused restaurant, where former Taylor Railworks chef Erik Van Kley serves smart, loosely seasonal dishes alongside expert glass pours from owner Kelsey Glasser. I enjoyed Arden under Sara Hauman, the opening chef who went on to “Top Chef” (and tinned fish) fame. But the restaurant really found its stride under Van Kley. This is probably my favorite Pearl District restaurant, period.

Details: Arden serves dinner Monday-Saturday at 417 N.W. 10th Ave., 503-206-6097,

Bullard Tavern

If you had the time and resources, you could work up a whole separate guide to downtown Portland hotel restaurants — Departure at The Nines, Lovely Rita at The Hoxton, the new Tavern at The Heathman, etc. But this surprisingly swanky restaurant at The Woodlark hotel, named for original chef Doug Adams’ Texas hometown ankd (still showing his influence years later under chef Joel Lui-Kwan), might be the best of them, or at least the one we keep coming back to.

Details: Bullard Tavern serves lunch and dinner daily at 813 S.W. Alder St., 503-222-1670,

Fuller’s Coffee Shop

Recently reopened after a devastating fire and under relatively new ownership, Fuller’s still makes good breakfasts and better cheeseburgers more than 75 years after first opening its doors. Note: The winding, roughly M-shaped breakfast and lunch counter opens on the early side but closes promptly at 2 p.m. daily.

Details: Fuller’s Coffee shop serves breakfast and lunch daily at 136 N.W. Ninth Ave., 503-222-5608,


One of the original standard bearers for Portland’s farm-to-table revolution, Higgins would be a civic treasure even if it weren’t so consistently good. But whether you’re bellying up for a burger and a beer at the bar or meeting family for a leisurely meal in the three-level dining room, the kitchen can still deliver as it has for the past 30 years. Seafood stews are always a strong option. And when available, don’t miss the pig plate.

Details: Higgins serves lunch Wednesday-Friday and dinner Tuesday-Sunday at 1239 S.W. Broadway, 503-222-9070,

Huber’s Cafe

Opened in 1879, Huber’s remains an essential Portland restaurant, and not just because of the flaming Spanish coffees poured tableside throughout the gorgeous dining room. The restaurant — Portland’s oldest, though nearby Dan & Louis Oyster Bar and Jake’s Famous Crawfish are also past the century park — truly shines during the holidays. But if you want to drop by for a turkey dinner around Thanksgiving, you might want to make your reservations now.

Details: Huber’s Cafe serves lunch Monday-Saturday and dinner daily at 411 S.W. Third Ave., 503-228-5686,

The fried chicken melt, popcorn chicken, friend chicken sandwich and loaded jojos

The fried chicken melt, popcorn chicken, fried chicken sandwich and loaded jojos from Jojo (the Restaurant) in Northwest Portland, pictured here on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.Sean Meagher/The Oregonian


Though the original food cart menu is probably popular enough to sustain a restaurant on its own, owner Justin Hintze and his team hit the nitrous oxide button while opening their first brick-and-mortar. Here, Jojo’s great smash burgers, fried chicken sandwiches and namesake jojos are joined by golden fried Ota tofu nuggets, brunch chilaquiles and a bar stocked with flavored sodas and desserts, including a particularly dank looking key lime pie.

Details: Jojo serves lunch and dinner daily at 902 N.W. 13th Ave., 971-331-4284,

Love Belizean

Those looking to eat well on a budget near Portland State University are well advised to visit Love Belizean, where achiote-rubbed chicken is roasted until the meat turns tender and the skin turns a gorgeous shade of brown. Once obsessed with the chicken and the rainbow of Marie Sharp’s Belizean hot sauces, I was slow to find the tri-tip or the beer-braised pork, but each eventually landed in the lunch rotation (note: tri tip and pork are no longer available, but the chicken remains top notch).

Details: Love Belizean serves lunch Monday-Friday at 1503 S.W. Broadway, 503-421-5599


What exactly is a modern pastry luncheonette? Well, at Maurice it’s a place to try a hand-written menu of Scandinavian-inclined fare — hay-roasted oysters, Norwegian clam soup — alongside good wine and sweet creations from owner and longtime Portland pastry star Kristen D. Murray.

Details: Maurice serves lunch Wednesday-Saturday at 921 S.W. Oak. St., 503-208-4177,

Mediterranean Exploration Company

My go-to dishes at this Pearl District restaurant — the dips, the fresh-baked bread, the grilled lamb chops — are largely the same as they were 10 years ago, before Mediterranean Exploration Company launched spinoffs in Shalom Y’all and Yalla. Another thing that remains the same: The charging noise and exciting vibe at what remains one of Portland’s liveliest places to eat.

Details: Mediterranean Exploration Company serves dinner daily at 333 N.W. 13th Ave., 503-222-0906,

Mucca Osteria

At Mucca and its new next-door pizzeria, chef Simone Savaiano serves elegant Italian dishes inspired by his native Rome, with creamy pastas, prosciutto roses, towers of albacore or caprese salad, all executed with skill and panache. Even in a sea of downtown Italian options — Allora, Grassa, Oven & Shaker, etc. — Mucca stands out.

Details: Mucca Osteria serves dinner Monday-Saturday at 1022 S.W. Morrison St., 503-227-5521, (the neighboring pizzeria is opening for lunch and dinner daily).


Once considered Portland’s premier sushi restaurant, Murata remains a great value for Japanese food downtown, and a tough reservation to come by on Fridays, Saturdays, or before and after shows at nearby Keller auditorium. Call a few days ahead for a table, especially if you’re angling for one of the private tatami rooms. If you’re not in the mood for raw seafood, keep your eye out for the two-entree combination, one of the best dinner deals in town.

Details: Murata serves lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Monday-Saturday at 200 S.W. Market St., 503-227-0080,

Nong's signature khao man gai.

Nong's signature khao man gai.Michael Russell | The Oregonian

Nong’s Khao Man Gai

After starting as a food cart in 2009, chef Nong Poonsukwattana built a mini empire around a single dish, khao man gai, a Thai street food specialty combining perfectly poached chicken and aromatic rice. You’re here for the KMG, though lately, I’ve been just as tempted by the nourishing winter melon soup (our family’s cold-weather staple), the sweet braised pork and the fresh Ota tofu in a creamy peanut sauce.

Details: Nong’s Khao Man Gai serves lunch and dinner daily at 417 S.W. 13th Ave., 503-208-2402,

Q Restaurant

We’ll forever lament the loss of the old VQ’s historic brick building and shady garden (knocked down to make way for the new Multnomah County Courthouse building), but chef Annie Cuggino’s relocated perch is still a great place to have a downtown meal, whether that’s a more refined dinner or a weekday power lunch. At Q Restaurant, you’ll find the same duck confit spring rolls that used to fly out during VQ’s happy hour, plus well-crafted salads and mains, a good bistro burger and art deco touches throughout the dining room and bar.

Details: Q Restaurant serves lunch Tuesday-Friday and dinner Tuesday-Saturday at 828 S.W. Second Ave., 503-850-8915,


Up-and-coming chef Jose “Lalo” Camarena presents thoughtful “Mexico-forward” dishes across a pair of tasting menu options, including a blowout 10-course option for $150. Beyond incorporating ingredients and dishes not often seen at Portland restaurants, each artfully constructed plate comes with generous sides of context, storytelling and good Mexican wine. Nearby, look for sister establishments Bar Comala and De Noche, which share the former Park Kitchen space just down the road at 422 N.W. Eighth Ave.

Details: Republica serves dinner Wednesday-Sunday at 100 N.W. 10th Ave., 541-900-5836,

Som Tum Thai

One of Portland’s few Thai restaurants specializing in the fiery, funky and sour dishes of Thailand’s Northeastern Isan region, Som Tum sits in a cute little house half hidden above Bobacat, a tea shop owned by the same group. This is the place to come for some seriously spicy papaya salad, classic duck larb, pork skewers and whole fried sea bass.

Details: Som Tum Thai serves lunch and dinner Thursday-Tuesday at 1924 S.W. Broadway, 503-227-3653,


The former residency at Deadshot cocktail lounge moved to a kiosk of its own at downtown Portland’s Moxy Hotel, and now specializes in Filipino-style breakfast bowls with braised chicken adobo or pork belly slices glazed with banana ketchup atop garlicky rice and a fried egg. If a full silog bowl sounds like too much for breakfast, you’ll also find ube doughnuts from HeyDay, breakfast sandwiches with sambal yogurt and cups of coconut cold brew.

Details: Sunrice serves breakfast from 10 a.m. and lunch until 3 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday at 585 S.W. 10th Ave., 503-828-4405,

Tasty Corner

Daniel Chen designed Tasty Corner to be a “greatest hits” version of his highly regarded Hillsboro restaurant, Szechuan Garden, with the same great mapo tofu, hot and spicy “dried pot” pork ribs and hand-shaved noodles with just just enough Sichuan peppercorn spice to tingle your lips tingle. Even among downtown’s many intriguing Chinese restaurants including Din Tai Fung (700 S.W. Fifth Ave.), Dough Zone (1910 S. River Dr., Portland), Duck House (1968 S.W. Fifth Ave.), Sichuan Taste (515 S.W. Fourth Ave.) and Xin Ding Dumpling House (71 S.W. Second Ave.), Tasty Corner stands out.

Details: Tasty Corner serves lunch and dinner Thursday-Tuesday at 624 S.W. Hall St., 503-954-1835,

Taylor Street Kitchen

If your employer mandated a return to work downtown last year, you probably already know about this charming deli next to sister diner The Daily Feast. At Taylor Street Kitchen, chef Althea Grey Potter (Oui Wine Bar) makes cacio e pepe chicken salad sandwiches and tempting side salads including a carrot and chickpea concoction with toasted walnuts in a harissa vinaigrette that no one can resist ordering. Bon appétit.

Details: Taylor Street Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch until 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1125 S.W. Taylor St., 971-339-9044,

Toki Restaurant in downtown Portland

Grilled mackerel at downtown Portland's Toki.The Oregonian


Han Oak owners Peter Cho and Sun Young Park took a chance on the former Tasty N Alder space with this menu built around their Korean fried wings, noodles and dumplings, plus several originals inspired by viral TikTok trends. Toki might make the most sense while you’re forking into a swirled mounds of omurice or scallion waffles, or sipping a beefy mandu-guk during the restaurant’s Friday-Sunday brunch.

Details: Toki serves dinner daily and brunch Friday-Sunday at 580 S.W. 12th Ave., 503-312-3037,

Further reading: Don’t miss our guide to the 40 best restaurants in Portland you need to try.

— Michael Russell;

If you purchase a product or register for an account through a link on our site, we may receive compensation. By using this site, you consent to our User Agreement and agree that your clicks, interactions, and personal information may be collected, recorded, and/or stored by us and social media and other third-party partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy.