If you have any flush out-of-towners in your charge who have cash to burn and are eager to burn it on you, Southpark could be your best bet for an Oregon-for-beginners dining experience that you, the Portland lifer, will still enjoy. Chalkboards loom over the capacious dining room, announcing fresh seafood and local farm suppliers. Heed their call and begin with a selection of Pacific oysters, which are served with a refreshing cucumber and verjus granita (in English: slushy goodness). Energized by that taste of our fine sea, move up the ocean’s food chain with the king salmon. Paired with a pool of sage-dominated pesto and sweet-corn-and-zucchini croquettes, it’s everything your troupe of tourists could want: adventurous but not too radical, filling but not debilitating, and a taste of what Portland does best. Your only challenge as ambassador will be staying sober, as Southpark’s extensive wine list offers a number of fine Oregon wines to help your family dinner go down easy.
Order this: King salmon with corn-and-zucchini croquettes and sage pesto.
Best deal: Lamb-shoulder tagine, a hearty stew that serves two.
I’ll pass: The bland and rubbery crab cakes, which even creamy citrus saffron can’t save.