Travel

Downtown Restaurants

Establishment neighborhood
Rosa Rosa
750 S.W. Alder St., Downtown
For their third Portland restaurant, chef Vitaly Paley and his partner and wife, Kimberly Paley, bring global influences to their menu. There’s a pan-roasted chicken chkmeruli inspired by the Paleys’ time in Telavi, Georgia. Kebabs with sweet herb salad hearken back to their travels in Turkey. And comforting, classic spaghetti pomodoro winks at both Italy and New York City, where rich red-sauce Italian dishes abound. Rosa Rosa also serves a hearty brunch that includes a traditional Turkish breakfast meant to be shared: eggplant caviar, roasted tomatoes, smoked fish, baklava, boiled eggs, and more. Come hungry.
Tope
15 N.W. 4th Ave., Downtown
The best view in all of Portland—even on a cloudy day. On the rooftop of the Hoxton Hotel, Tope is an impeccable, stylish, greenery-filled respite serving impressive street-style tacos and stellar tequila and mezcal cocktails. We came up here for lunch—mushroom tacos with chipotle purée, king salmon ceviche, freshly made celery soda, creamy guacamole—and were reluctant to leave. Why would we want to? The space is open and bright, the vibe is incredibly friendly, and again: that view. This is an ideal spot for those long Friday lunches that blend into happy hour.
Bullard
813 S.W. Alder St., Downtown
We’d make dinner at Bullard a weekly ritual if we lived in PDX. Chef Doug Adams and his team churn out fresh local food and deliver it with a Texan twist (a tribute to Adams’s home state). If you’re like us, you’ll find it hard to choose from the menu—and there are no bad choices. But go for the full San Antonio chicken. It’s extra, extra juicy with crispy charred skin and served with fresh flour tortillas. Order a side of smoked beets or maple-roasted delicata squash and a Sazerac and you’re in for one hearty meal. Which is exactly what Bullard offers, with its dark-stained wood-and-leather banquettes: a cozy, indulgent escape. Photos courtesy of Jeremy Fenske.
Shizuku
1237 S.W. Jefferson St., Downtown
Chef Naoko Tamura has been cooking and serving authentic Japanese dishes to Portlanders for more than a decade. She uses only local, seasonal, organic ingredients. Lunch trays of shumai dumplings, Japanese fried chicken, and wild Alaskan salmon are complemented with rice, salad, pickles, and miso soup. In the evenings, the menu is a fixed traditional omakase dinner. The décor here, which was revamped by renowned architect Kengo Kuma in 2017, is nearly as impressive as the food. You’ll find thin, whorled bamboo screens decorating the ceiling and a mini zen garden. Photos courtesy of Jeremy Bittermann.
Tasty n Alder
580 S.W. 12th Ave., Downtown
Tasty n Alder is not your typical steakhouse: after all, their Korean bulgogi strip steak is pretty much beyond. If you aren’t feeling up for a steak, you’ve got options: baja tacos, peking duck cooked on a Spanish-style plancha grill, and a variety of locally-sourced seafood. Their brunch menu is just as eclectic, offering everything from Korean bibimbap to classic steak and eggs. If you’re craving a change from the usual Bloody Mary or mimosa, indulge in their cognac-spiked chocolate milkshake.
Clyde Common
1014 S.W. Stark St., Downtown
Though it’s on the first floor of the Ace, Clyde Common doesn’t feel at all like your typical hotel bar. Jeffrey Morgenthaler is one of the city’s best bartenders, and happy hour is one of the best times to be here, when cocktails like the Southbound Suarez (a boozy horchata with tequila and Becherovka) and the Bourbon Renewal (a mixture of bourbon, lemon, cassis, and bitters) are $6 each. Not to downplay this worthy dinner destination—the menu is a very Northwestern celebration of unusual ingredients like nettles, spring alliums, burnt yogurt, and fiddlehead ferns.
Bamboo Sushi SW
404 S.W. 12th Ave., Downtown
Bamboo Sushi has four locations across Portland's quadrants: SW, NW, NE, and SE. Each location varies slightly; they all have a casual vibe and really good sushi (in addition to hot Japanese dishes). You can make table reservations, but seats at the sushi bar (always fun) are first-come first-serve. What makes Bamboo stand apart is their commitment to the sustainable way: they don't serve fish from endangered populations; their seafood is caught by fishermen who operate under environmentally ethical principles; and their grass-fed, hormone-free, and free-range meat comes from ranches in Oregon/Idaho. True to their word, Bamboo Sushi uses renewable energy sources, reusable teak wood chopsticks, biodegradable to-go containers, and so on.
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