by Ashley Gartland - 183 Reviews - 53 List
It's not often that new restaurants crop up in Portland, so when a decent one opens, locals are going to pounce. Be they casual date spots or fine dining boites, these newcomers are worth your time, money and even a return visit.
Updated: November 23, 2009
Portland isn't a city known for its stuffy restaurants, and this Italian eatery certain proves that. The mom-and-pop churns out fragrant, fresh pastas, meat and seafood dishes from an open kitchen, making it a winner for casual date nights.
For suits and skirts in the business district, quitting time often leads to dinner at this upscale-casual restaurant that straddles French and Italian cuisines. Reclaimed wood tables and a classically Northwest bar lend to its unstuffy, after-work appeal.
OK, so it's technically not a restaurant--it's a food cart--but eateries of its ilk are the hottest thing going right now. Come early morning or late night, and you won't be disappointed: Try the house favorite, poutine, a Quebec staple of french fries topped with fresh cheese curds and gravy. And don't forget cash: It's a food cart for chrissake.
Everyone should have a deli this good in their neighborhood. Classic sandwiches like Italian Grinders and Reuben Sliders are piled high with meat and served with kettle chips and pickle wedges. Bringing the outdoors in, the restaurant throws its garage door open for people watching for the diners gathered at picnic-style tables. Ah, community.