If there are two things that unite Portlanders, rain or shine, it’s the Portland Timbers MLS team and dining, of course. From food carts to some of the finest luxury dining experiences you’ll ever have, Portland has options for every taste. If this is your first time to the city, these three restaurants offer a good taste of the culinary landscape.
Raven & Rose
Portland residents have been excitedly awaiting the opening of Raven & Rose in the renovated historic Ladd Carriage House, a landmark in downtown. Originally built in 1883, the Ladd Carriage House is steeped in history. At one point slated to be demolished, preservationists and historians in Portland rallied to save it and ultimately worked with Raven & Rose’s owner, Lisa Mygrant, to bring the building back to its original glory. Now open and featuring lunch, happy hour, dinner and brunch on the weekends, Raven & Rose’s menu is already setting itself apart as something novel and different on the Portland dining scene. With inspiration from the Irish and British countryside, Raven & Rose features a diversity of flavors in dishes such as flatbread accompanied by bacon, apples, cheddar and hazelnuts; beef short ribs with glazed root vegetables, horseradish cream and Yorkshire pudding; and dark chocolate tart with caramel ice cream and sea salt.
Heralded in 2009 as the “Food Cart Mecca” of the United States by food blog Serious Eats, Portland has an abundance of popular carts with devoted followings. Lardo, a food cart that rolled out in September 2010, was able to turn that freewheeling popularity into a successful brick-and-mortar restaurant on Portland’s east side in July 2012, and more recently, one in the hip West End district of downtown that opened in December 2012 (the food truck stays parked these days). This restaurant is known for the abundance of pork on its menu — the pork meatball banh mi is a local legend — but you should still try the trout and pancetta salad and the smoked coppa cubano. Local and seasonal ingredients put a homegrown spin on fantastic Italian recipes (try the Italian tuna melt) and an impressive collection of regional craft and classic Italian beers top off a memorable meal.
Combine the wood-fired grilling tradition of Argentina, the culinary heritage of Spain, France and Italy, and a nod toward the palate of the Pacific Northwest for a winning combination. Although opened in April 2012, Ox is one of Portland’s most popular restaurants and a must-visit spot. The restaurant is known for its prime local meats and fish as well as seasonal produce, all prepared in a thoughtful manner; look for items such as Oregon shrimp, Reister Farms lamb and Magnolia Cattle Company beef short rib. Make sure to sample the bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, radish, cucumber and shiso, and the grass-fed Uruguayan beef rib eye. Like any dining experience, the cuisine is made all the better by friendly and knowledgeable staff who go out of their way to ensure guests get the most out of their dining experience. And, with the combination of great food and top-notch service, you will.
Photos Courtesy of Ox Restaurant