by Ashley Gartland - 183 Reviews - 53 List
It's been a good year for Portland foodies, with plentiful new restaurants joining our old favorites in town. Whether you're into highbrow dishes, upscale casual wine country cuisine or sandwich-shack fare, there's something waiting for you. Here's our picks for the top Portland restaurants for 2009.
Updated: December 09, 2009
The city got its own butcher shop-restaurant hybrid when this classy, casual steakhouse opened in a renovated mini-mart. Everyone from Eastside hipsters to suits and skirts head here for modern steakhouse cuisine like steak frites and salt cod fritters as well as cocktails that put the bartender's bitters, tonics and infusions to good use.
Lunch goers line up outside this tiny, smoke-filled sandwich shop to snag daily specials like a Pork Belly Cubano and tongue on rye. Less daring diners have options too like the meatball parmigiano or a roast beef elevated with crispy onions and horseradish.
Pizza lovers and Northeast neighbors crowd into this rustic restaurant on the ground floor of the historic Dekum Firehouse. Neapolitan-style pizzas are top menu contenders but don't skip other standouts like the wood-fired mussels, bruschetta or a house-made gnocchi served with chanterelles, sage and pecorino cheese.
There's nothing particularly buzz-worthy about this pick but no one can overlook the precise, seasonally driven cooking coming out of this Park Block restaurant's kitchen. Silken soups, inventive small plates and impressive cocktails amass to one memorable evening after the next. Don't miss: the deep fried green beans and bacon. It's an indulgence worth making room for.
Chef Cathy Whims swung back onto everyone's radar this year with a well-deserved James Beard award nomination. Small plates such as the classic Insalata Nostrana or a beet ravioli with sage butter are equally impressive as mains like a pork saltimbocca. If you're hungry enough, consider ordering a wood-fired pizzato share.
This old-guard Northwest restaurant has been on our dining out radar for years. Here's what we love about it today: The fine dining farm-to-table menu now includes half-portion sizes of entrees like a Dungeness crab and corn risotto or an heirloom bean and vegetable cassoulet so budget conscious diners can experience the finer side of dining out, too.
Portlanders make the trek to this unpretentious wine country restaurant for inventive farm-to-fork cuisine and an upscale casual ambience in the heart of historic downtown McMinnville. The modern American menu changes daily but might include dishes like a duck liver parfait with lillet gelee and pickled cherries or an entree of bacon-wrapped lamb loin.
Pok Pok's chef-owner Andy Ricker has created a dining destination in Chinatown with this design-driven, izakaya-style watering hole. Pearl District residents fill the seats and barstools nightly to sip a mix of Asian drinks and nosh on plates of bacon-wrapped quail-egg skewers, steamed pork buns and restorative noodle bowls.