Portland >Food & Dining > Caldera Public House
6031 SE Stark St, Portland, OR | Directions 9721545.519301 -122.601700
Neighborhoods: Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, Mt. Tabor
They don't come any cuter than Caldera Public House--the wood-heavy interior is fantastically cozy, particularly during the long winter nights. A marionberry bourbon bbq burger, a beer, and a booth and you're set.
Charm and character ooze from this Public House. Ambient lighting, beautiful architecture, woodwork & live music add to the appeal of this neighborhood hot spot. Friendly staff hustle around to accommodate the full tables. The burgers & fries were very tasty. The BBQ burger was my favorite with the cajun blue cheese a close second. The back patio is nestled under the canopy of trees with lights strung from branch to branch creating a lovely, relaxed atmosphere.
A handsome neighborhood spot that pays attention to detail, both in food and ambience. – In Short
This appealing historic space includes maroon walls and huge front windows overlooking the steep street. The cuisine is unfussy and easy to enjoy. Appetizers like shaved prosciutto with crisp pears and sliced Romano cheese are straightforward. Entrees include halibut bathed in a light mustard sauce--nicely balancing sweet and spicy--and blackened shrimp sauteed in a slightly creamy wine sauce with red peppers. For dessert there's s'mores, a gooey delight straight from the campfire.
Mom and pop restaurant that shows they care. – The two owners clearly care deeply for this business. They are incredibly nice people and serve up some delicious meals in a very nice atmosphere. They fixed up the back deck and when it's warm outside its a wonderful place to relax.
The beef stroganoff is one of the best in town.
Reasonable prices, good food, nice folk.
Amazing in Many Ways, But Fails Where It Counts – I get restaurant-owner magazines and year after year it's clear that the most important things to diners, in order, are service, ambience, cost, reputation, and then quality of food. I'm a foodie so to me, the list should read quality of food, service, cost, ambience, and then reputation (aka "is the place considered hip?")
That said, Caldera is just killer amazing in ambience & service, but 2 of the things that are important to me, the cost and quality of the food, is where they fail pretty badly. I'm surprised the price is listed as "$" when it's easily "$$-$$$", 4 of us spent over $120 with a bottle of wine and some appetizers. Both were worth it.
But the main courses are just expensive and sub-par to horrid. There was nothing we ordered that we didn't agree we'd cook for ourselves at home 10x better. I had read a review here saying "I ordered the cheese stuffed pasta (manicotti) that was reminiscent of the foil pouch meals of my Jenny Craig days. It was clearly frozen and warmed enough to take off the ice, but the middle was still cold."
I made the mistake of mentioning this to the server, who told me it was her favorite dish and she'd read the same review and didn't agree. What came out was something not even as good as Jenny Craig. It was cold, more pasta than filling, flavorless, bland bland bland, esp. the sauce, which was like watered-down tomato paste from a can. I ate the damned thing and pretended to like it as not to offend. My friends ordered other dishes, and all were disappointing, esp. the beef stroganoff, with meat too tough to chew and overcooked pasta. Yuck.
To end on a positive note, the decor is super cool and arty and different, the staff are extremely nice, and they have an excellent selection of beer and wine, albeit again on the high side of prices. I'll go back for a drink in a second. But I'd never eat there again, none of the 4 meals were worth $10+ each.
Pretty but pricey -- and worth it – We are always looking for places to go where our 2-year-old can't cause too much commotion. When it's sunny outside, the back patio at Caldera is a great place for us. Our kid is contained, they brought him crayons and a "special" water glass and he could babble and play without disrupting other diners. The hamburger is great and there is an interesting beer list. Try the bourbon brie cheese appetizer -- wow.
A comfy neighborhood value – You can't go wrong with this small neighborhood joint. It has great atmosphere (indoors and out), friendly staff, great food, an outrageous beer list of small brewers' creations, an exciting and very well-priced wine list (and I know wholesale) and did I say great food? Although the menu is small, there's something that will appeal to everyone -- from creative salads that would cost three times as much downtown to wonderful comfort-food-craving stroganoff. Everything on the menu is a real value. You would easily pay twice as much downtown and it would likely be half as good. It's a suitable spot for a quiet romantic dinner, or a weeknight break from the kitchen for families with well-behaved children (even young ones...they'll even serve toddler drinks in sippy cups.)
User review by jwilburn – The service was awesome and the outdoor patio is scenic. I ordered the cheese stuffed pasta (manicotti) that was reminiscent of the foil pouch meals of my Jenny Craig days. It was clearly frozen and warmed enough to take off the ice, but the middle was still cold. Aside from the pre-prepared nature of many menu items, it's a cool place to hang out. A little more "made-to-order" approach would be more appropriate for the price charged for food.
Great neighborhood restaurant – Caldera is a wonderful little neighborhood restaurant, and we have enjoyed all of our many visits there. Kevin & Becky, and the rest of the folks there are great, and always make you feel welcome and well looked after.
The food is great, and they have really good beers on tap (Hmmmmm Wild Samon) Not to mention the coctails!
Don't miss the fantastic little garden.
If You Have The Time And Patience... – Themes to reviews: good interior, reasonably priced, portions vary and the service is hit and miss. I have eaten here 8 times with different groups (2-12) and the service has been consistently poor.
Nice owners, good location and enjoyable patio, but I keep hoping that they will fix their mistakes. Theyve brought a steak knife for soup and a spoon for meat (really)! I've been there when they bring an empty water glass to the table and never fill it up. Waited 20 minutes for them to bring the initial drink (beer). This place is not big; they should be able to at least bring a drink within 5 minutes of ordering. I keep hoping that they will read some reviews and change the way they do business because if they don't, we will be writing reviews for the next restaurant that takes over this failed one.
Two Words: Just Nice – The place was really dark and the waiter had to give us little flashlights to read our menu, which I thought was really funny. The staff was friendly and the service was good. Water glasses were constantly refilled. The ambience is lovely but it could be a little lighter. The food portions could have been bigger. The chips were stale and flavorless. The value is decent. This is a nice place but nothing fantastic.
Great atmosphere, but small portions – It is in a great space, with a wonderful friendly atmosphere and a very cozy ambiance. The drinks were great and the beer (Pabst) was priced very well. The only problem was that we left still hungry and we are not what you would call "big portion" eaters. We had the Chicken sandwich and a Tabor Salad for our entrees. The bun was much larger than the piece of chicken and the salad was really short on all of the items described in the menu that made it sound so delicious in the first place. The Smore, well, was really just a smore, like you would make while camping. I think they need to work on being generous (reasonably generous, please do not think I am a pig) with their portions and also work on the presentation of their entrees.
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of Caldera Public House on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.