I have discovered many new places this year. This is a list of some of my favorites that I ate at this year for the very first time. Having visited over 100 restaurants and food carts combined for the first time, it’s hard narrowing down my favorite, so I broke down my favorites into categories.
I have discovered many great breakfast spots this year. I don’t know if I could narrow it down to one. I liked what felt like a secret location of The Songbird. It wasn’t just the location, it was sitting in this hidden gem, enjoying amazing food and watching locals wander in and out grabbing their favorite pastries and sitting outside, coffee in hand, enjoying their breakfast spot. The place might be small, but they have it all, breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour. Which by the way, I have them on my list to try for dinner or even happy hour.
I also loved being transported to another country at Ataula. We had heard great things about this place. Those things didn’t even begin to prepare us for how good this place was. It’s not your typical breakfast, but it is impressive. You need to grab a buddy or two and sample as many of the breakfast tapas as you can.
Cocotte . Hands down this was my favorite place to dine this year. The French food, the space, the neighborhood and the service. This place was 5 stars all the way across. After dining there again recently and getting the Pork chop again, I still say this is the best pork chop in Portland. Both presentations were different (due to the changing seasons) and both were spot on! I also love the attention to small details like flavored butter every night and it’s always different. Last time we were there is was Honey & Rosemary. I can’t say enough good things about this place.
Old Salt Market Place. I loved my dinner here too. It was so memorable, and that’s why it got added to my list. I really like the Chef’s Choice dining option. We got multiple courses allowing us to get a huge sampling of all they have to offer. We loved it. It’s more than just dinner (even though dinner was pretty awesome) and if I lived closer I would take advantage of their Grab & Go menu and the Farmers Market.
Lardo is a favorite lunch spot, that I can’t get to it often enough. I love the Banh Mi plus they have such a great beer selection. You will want to try the Lardo fries unless you are feeling real adventuresome, then get the Dirty Fries. Yes it’s busy at lunch time, but it’s worth it. I have eaten at both locations and I’m partial to the SE location. I have yet to get the Porchetta sandwich, which I understand is only available on weekends and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Favorite Food Cart
The food carts really, really wowed me this year. I left dining experiences often with my mouth wide open, thinking to myself “I just got that at a food cart?”
If I had to narrow it down to one, I would choose Carte Blanche. I just can’t stop ranting and raving about this place. I just want everyone to experience it too. Jessie cooks with such depth. There is so much going on her in dishes it keeps your taste buds happy for the rest of the day. I did narrow it down to one, but there are 6 Portland Food Carts That Blew My Socks Off.
I love that I found Pip’s Original. I also love that I’ve gotten to know Nate. He is dedicated to the very best product he can deliver and it’s not just his famous donuts, it’s also his time intensive chai lattes. Some of my readers make fun of me for stopping by so often, but I can’t get enough of those little donuts. Whenever someone comes into town I take them there.
Pfriem Blonde IPA out of Hood River. Even though this my favorite I pretty much love anything that Pfriem brews. These guys know what they are doing!
This might surprise a few of you, but I am going to choose Skyline Burgers on Broadway. This burger was really, really good. The sauce on it was what sealed the deal for me. I won’t be trying to eat the Godzilla again, but I will definitely eat their burgers again.
I feel like Portland not only has places popping up all the time, but they also have many solid places that have been around for years that sometimes get forgotten. After 5 years (I know, it wasn’t a first, but…..) we made it back to The Firehouse and all I could think is “What took us so long to get back here?” Of course we had their pizza, but I couldn’t resist their steak. I was impressed with this super flavorful, yet tender steak set atop crispy potatoes and greens.
Favorite Happy Hour
Bistro Marque. We ordered off the Happy Hour only. Nothing we got was fried (sorry that’s a big one for me) and everything was unique for Happy Hour fare all the way down to the Corona Beans. We sat at the bar, out of the way of the hustle and bustle of things and had a great time. Items came out one at a time so we were able to enjoy it all.
What was YOUR all time favorite place you visited for the first time this year?