960 S.E. 11th Ave., Buckman
Ask a Portlander about Kachka and they’ll prelude their accolades with a smile. Chef Bonnie Morales’s food has been on the hearts, minds, and palates of every foodie in and out of town for the past five years. Every dish is inspired by Russia and former Soviet Republics. Mustard-marinated cabbage schnitzel, perfectly fried to a light crisp. Pan-fried cherry-filled Ukrainian vareniki. Decadent shakh plov, an Azerbaijani rice dish with eggplant and garlic, wrapped in flatbread and served with zaprana compound butter. The flavors are bold, rich, and deeply comforting. Meals here call for longer stays to enjoy the food, distinctive drinks, and camaraderie encouraged by Morales and her husband and co-owner, Israel. Photos courtesy of Carly Diaz.
65 S.E. Washington St., Buckman
Portland has a rich concentration of distilleries, and they've certainly made their mark on the American spirits scene. Get a sampling by heading to distillery row in Portland’s Central Eastside, where there’s an abundance of independent distilleries creating handcrafted, small-batch whiskeys, gins, liqueurs, and more. One standout is Westward, which started in 2004 and has since gained a huge following for its grain-to-glass single-malt whiskeys and other spirits. Cofounder Christian Krogstad considers every single grain that is malted, mashed, fermented, distilled, matured, and bottled. He and his team exude a true Portland maker ethos, evident in how they compliment their fellow local spirit makers. Take a tour here. It’s totally fun—and you’ll learn a ton.
734 E. Burnside St., Buckman
Canard opened in 2018 and almost instantly became one of the city’s most popular restaurants—if not the most popular. We get this is a bold claim to make in a city brimming with such culinary talent. But Canard is that good. And that buzz-worthy. And really, that unique. In fact, we’re confident enough to say that anything Canard’s chef and co-owner, Gabe Rucker, does is gastronomic gold. (A meal at one of Rucker’s other restaurants, Le Pigeon and Little Bird, proves our sentiment.) But there’s something decidedly different about Canard. It’s casual and eclectic. It’s also modestly priced. Our favorites—the fried chicken wings, the three-cheese cannelloni, and the calamari French bread pizza—are under $20. (Not to mention the buttery, soft, decadent burgers, which are cooked with steam and $6 each.) But prices aside, what attracts here is the combination of really good food, a curved bar perfect for both a crowd or a solo diner, and a stellar wine list.
1758 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Buckman
A natural wine bar. A restaurant. A really fun place to hang. OK Omens opened about a year ago and quickly became a Portland favorite. Sitting next door hot spot Castagna, this is chef Justin Woodward and sommelier Brent Braun’s casual neighborhood spot, with generous pours of natural wines and the small plates to go with: fresh Cheddar beignets (order two!), shiso-wrapped tuna tartare, and crispy-and-never-greasy fried chicken bites. And while OK Omens is an ideal spot for a date night or a nightcap, the casual open space and outdoor seating make it family-friendly, too.
33 N.E. 3rd Ave, Buckman
This entire club, which boasts a healing pool, fitness club, yoga studio, and spa, is the destination for Portland's fit crowd that also loves good aesthetics.
2519 S.E. Belmont St., Buckman
If ‘weed-chic’ was going to happen anywhere, it’d be here. Set up in Southeast Portland (with a new location opening Downtown), Serra is a purveyor of lab-quality cannabis from esteemed growers like Prūf Cultivar, as well as edibles like cannabis-infused chocolate bars and gummies made locally by Wyld. You can also score artisan-made paraphernalia, like Hacienda Ware’s geometric ombré pipes and Summerland’s refined ceramic bongs, in addition to innovative “toking tech” like Quill’s steel vaporizer pen (to be filled with CO2 cannabis extract). If you’re in from out of state, don’t fret: Serra is compliant with Oregon’s legal medical and recreational marijuana program—in other words, this modern druggist is totally legit.
Fleur de Lys
1001 S.E. Water Ave., Buckman
We’re suckers for a well-designed nail studio, and Fleur de Lys definitely qualifies. Blessedly free of germ-infested soaking tubs, they do their pedicures in pretty round copper bowls—which, in addition to looking beautiful, have the added benefit of being a natural heat conductor (they keep the water warm for so much longer). Order a cocktail to sip on while you have your service done.
930 S.E. Oak St., Buckman
As the name suggests, Basecamp is a popular hangout for local climbers and outdoorsmen (though in Portland, pretty much everybody qualifies for those designations). The brewery itself is high-ceilinged and open, with wooden beams cutting across the ceiling, a canoe hung over the bar, and more than one string of prayer flags. It’s exceedingly casual and welcoming, and their beers offer a good mix of bold, hoppy craft beers in addition to more traditional brews for classic palates.
738 E. Burnside St., Buckman
Le Pigeon, the sister restaurant of Little Bird, is a dinner-only French-inspired bistro opened by chef Gabe Rucker in 2006. It's become a local favorite thanks to dishes like salmon poke with curry aioli, duck breast with fava bean hummus and spicy tahini, and basil ricotta tortellini. You can also opt for the chef's five- or seven-course tasting menu.
727 S.E. Washington St., Buckman
Taqueria Nueve first opened in 2000, then shut its doors in 2008—a disappointment for many Portlanders—but it reopened in 2013 with the same great Mexican fare (the ambience is perfect, too). Although it’s perfectly family-friendly, you could also come here with a group of friends for happy hour.