Travel

Downtown

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.
The Woodlark
813 S.W. Alder St., Downtown
There are many reasons to visit the Woodlark without being a guest. For starters, Good Coffee—the café in the lobby, fully outfitted with abstract art—whips up a creamy rosemary-and-spiced-fig latte worth trekking across town for. Tucked in the back is Abigail Hall, which we’d give an award for its ambience and martinis. Next door, Bullard’s roast chicken is not to be missed. And of course, these are also compelling reasons to stay here, as are the plush beds in the lush, sophisticated rooms. The hotel invites you to relax. Each room is bathed in natural light from the giant windows, one of the many charming aesthetic details in the hotel’s two early-twentieth-century structures, the former Cornelius Hotel and the Woodlark Building. The details are minimal but dramatic: rich emerald-green and midnight-blue custom wallpaper, velvet sofas, and blonde hardwood floors. The rooms vary in size and layout (the loft suite has an apartment feel), but they’re all spacious. There are Peloton bikes in the pristine fitness center if you’re looking to work out. But given the Woodlark’s location in the heart of downtown, you may want to grab that latte,…
Abigail Hall
813 S.W. Alder St., Downtown
This intimate cocktail bar transports you to the early 1900s. That’s because its lavish design—green velvet ottomans, burgundy leather banquettes, dark mahogany accents, hand-painted wallpaper—were chosen to mirror the aesthetic of the room’s first life as the ladies’ reception hall in the old Cornelius Hotel. Today, the dimly lit space, tucked in the back of the Woodlark, serves up dry martinis, crispy fries, and a mean burger. Abigail Hall is everything we want in a bar: stiff drinks, knowledgeable bartenders, and a comfortable, welcoming lounge vibe. It’s the perfect spot to meet coworkers, bring your in-laws, or have a first date. Photos courtesy of Christopher Dibble for Provenance Hotels.
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.
The Society Hotel
203 N.W. 3rd Ave., Downtown
Located in Portland's hip Old Town, this hotel-hostel hybrid exemplifies historic preservation at its best. Several years ago entrepreneurs Jonathan Cohen, Jessie Burke, Gabe Genauer, and Matt Siegel gave the neglected 1800s building–which was originally built to serve as a safe haven for sailors, then it became a Japanese-owned hotel–a new lease on life. They preserved the space in its entirety, ultimately creating a place that works for travelers and visitors of all backgrounds–and budgets (many of the rooms are either communal or share a bathroom). We love the downstairs café for its excellent coffee and beer and communal vibe.
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