Portland >Food & Dining > Tapalaya
28 NE 28th Ave, Portland, OR | Directions 9723245.523364 -122.637146
Monday through Thursday, 4:30pm to 9:30pm; Friday and Saturday 4:30pm to 10:30pm; Sunday 4:30pm to 9pm
Neighborhoods: Kerns, Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program
Tapalaya serves Cajun and Creole small plates on the hip NE 28th Avenue strip. Not only does the New Oreleans-style bistro serve authentic collard greens and gumbo, they have live music and Mardi Gras parties too. New Orleans transplants rejoice.
This festive slice of NE 28th’s Restaurant Row dishes up New Orleans buzz and ragin’ Cajun/Creole small plates, from the “Drankin’ Snacks” (aka crawfish fritters and chicken liver brochette) to soft shell crab po’ boys and crawfish etouffee. Plus, happy hour is all night on Wednesday.
YUM! – This place is great! Small portions but the food is authentic and delicious. Highly recommended!
We left disappointed and hungry – We went for a nice date night and the atmosphere was good. The portions are very small for the price, even for tapas! We had the blackend fish po boy (which was on stale bread and was about 1.5 bites worth), crab cake (just one for like $7!) which was tasty, and a couple of the salads. Its good we aren't big eaters, but even still I can't say too much that the portions are small. We were not there for happy hour so maybe that is better.
Overall there are much better places to eat in the neighborhood, and we won't be going back.
Mixed first impression, but will try again – I went to Tapalaya for the first time with a large party. I must not have hit it off with my waiter, because he ignored me most of the evening. It was a long wait to get the food, and the two dishes I ordered came at different times. Apparently, the restaurant concept is offering a menu full of small portions, and you can keep ordering these inexpensive items until you're full. Since my waiter made himself scarce, I was only able to sample two items. My drink was never refilled. I had to order dessert from a different waiter, but my waiter did come back to the table to tell me they no longer serve Sweet Potato Ice cream (which is still listed on the menu). I ordered a bacon ice cream root beer float instead, and it was weird in the tastiest possibly way.
Basically, I can say the food I ordered was very good, and in fact one friend said the jambalaya he'd ordered was the best he'd ever eaten. The overall concept is interesting, provided you're given the opportunity to order what constitutes a full meal. I can't speak highly of my personal waiter, but he seemed to be an anomaly among the other friendly wait staff.
I'll give Tapalaya another try someday, but until then I'll stick with Screen Door when I'm craving Southern cuisine.
Tasty Delicious and Relaxed – Four of us went here for dinner the other night. The service was relaxed, no pressure, in fact, another person joined us and they pulled up a chair with no fuss. The drinks were great and they have a good choice of tap beers. The food was wonderful. We were able to sit and chat for over two hours and every dish that hit the table was delicious. We had one of the best times we've had in a restaurant in years.
Yummy!!! – I went here for my friends birthday, and I liked it so much I keep going back. Everything I have ordered on the menu was really good. I must say the last time I went back I was disappointed they changed the old steak dish with thin slices of steak that was the best thing on the menu, to a new steak dish that was seriously like a bite of steak. Besides that this place is great.
So unbelievably good! – I had such a pleasant time at Tapalaya- it blew my mind! Everyone who was working was really upbeat and friendly, and it was obvious they knew and loved the food! Our server was extremely patient and helpful navigating us through the menus.
We ordered the hurricane cocktail ($3 ea) and the taste of tapalaya ($4- was told it changes daily) for starters off the happy hour menu. The cocktail was potent but not overwhelmingly boozy, and had a nice citrusy flavor. The food came out rather quickly, since the restaurant wasn't busy yet. I was amazed at how large the portions were considering the price and the high quality. Exceptionally tasty were the collards and black eyed pea salad. The collards had an interestingly briney flavor with smokey undertones from the bacon that paired surprisingly well together. I generally do not like fried fish, so I was hesitant to try the crispy catfish that was a part of the "taste" plate. The remoulade it was topped with was absolutely devine, the fish itself not too heavy with a nice crisp.
The overall experience was fantastic, and I would highly recommend it to anyone! I will definitely be coming back with friends to get lots of plates off of the dinner menu... I mean, c'mon, crabby mac? Sounds incredible!
yeah you right! – Genius. Small plates and Cajun/Creole. I like to go with four people and order one of everything on the menu (except for the jambalaya which I refuse to share). They just started a happy hour with $2 martinis and $3 hurricanes, which is an insane deal. The HH food menu is good too (mostly stuff off of the regular menu at a discounted price) and seems to change around a bit. Go here. You will thank me.
Wonderful Experience – While visiting Portland where I have dined at many establishments, Tapalaya was a very pleasant surprise. The food was excellent, the service was flawless and the ambience really completed the experience. I would highly recommend this restaurant to everybody who is looking for all the above.
Great new restaurant – My hubby & I went to Tapalaya last night and really liked it. It was one of the best new places we've been in a long time. We got right in (weeknight) and had a nice table at the window. The only downsides were that it was really cold in there & the seat along the window was uncomfortable (no backrest). Service was prompt and the food came out quickly. Good winepour too. We got a lot of food and ate all of it. I would say the quality is definitely there, although the portions are a tad smallish (even considering they're "small plates"). We got the crispy catfish (our fave that night), fried green tomatoes, crawfish etoufee, mushroom bread pudding, a salad w/Oregonzola, collard greens, portobello fries & the muffaletta sliders. I didn't eat the collard greens or Muffaletta sliders since they had meat in them but my hubby loved them. I loved everything I did eat. For $58 we got all of that, plus 2 drinks (a glass of wine & a cocktail). So even if the plates are smallish we still got a lot for our money. Will definitely be going back.
Found a new favorite place in Tapalaya – Still mourning the loss of Taqueria Nueve, I recently ventured into the new restaurant that took over its space. They serve New Orleans cuisine and it is damn good! Hooray! The plates (well, not exactly plates) are small (tapas style) and the food is served in big old coffee mugs. I know it sounds kind of weird, but they make it work. Everything I tried sang in my mouth. We had the jambalaya (with chicken, shrimp and sausage), the hanger steak (served with carmelized portobello fries) and the bibb lettuce salad (served with smoked tomatoes and a bacon vinagrette). Oh and because the plates were small enough and I wasn't quite stuffed yet, the sweet potato/pecan pie (served with bourbon ice cream) for dessert. Lord have mercy, that food was good! So, although I will forever miss my octopus cocktail from TN, I'm not going to be sad anymore because a new food day has dawned with the opening of New Orleans inspired Tapalaya. Let the good times roll!
BTW, since I first went, I've gone back four times already with different friends -- everyone raves! Now my new favorite dessert is the salty pecan bar with buttermilk ice cream. Now if they would just start serving brunch on the weekends, between Screen Door and Tapalaya, this little area in NE Portland will be the place to be for good weekend morning fare. Oh, and one more thing, the husband (who is also the chef) and wife owners couldn't be nicer, and my new favorite server in the world is Michelle, who makes her name stick in your head by telling you it's like the Beatles song.
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