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October 16th, 2013 HALEY MARTIN | Restaurant Guide
 

Restaurant Guide 2013: Get a Room

Need to feed a large group? Here’s who to call and what to expect.

rg2013_(wongs-king)WONG’S KING - IMAGE: Natalie Behring

Apizza Scholls

4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 233-1286, apizzascholls.com.

The best pizza in town comes from a stylishly casual restaurant complete with vintage arcade cabinets. The ever-popular Apizza Scholls has one large table that can accommodate eight to 12 people. Call ahead with a reservation that includes the number of pies you need—they’ll reserve your dough, because they normally close when the last ball is gone. There are two nightly seatings at the group table, at 5:15 and 7:15. They won’t seat you until everyone in your party arrives.


Nuestra Cocina

2135 SE Division St., 232-2135, nuestra-cocina.com.

Portland’s premier high-end Mexican restaurant combines age-old recipes with modern techniques—plus devilishly good margaritas. The Mole Room is available by reservation for private dining for groups of 16 to 25. The restaurant won’t run more than three credit cards per party.


Genoa

2832 SE Belmont St., 238-1464, genoarestaurant.com.

If you’d like a different fork with every course and nice cloth napkins, Southeast Belmont Street’s discreet Genoa offers formal presentation of modern Italian cuisine. An intimate private dining room can accommodate six to 18 guests (budget $70-$100 each) and has audio-visual equipment. Call to reserve the space.


Clyde Common

1014 SW Stark St., 228-3333, clydecommon.com.

Clyde Common opened way back in 2007, but it still feels like a standard-bearer of New Portland. The food is reliably good, and while the main dining room is always noisy, two private dining areas offer seclusion. For business meetings, room 101 is a small conference room more like a classroom. The Cleaners , a large, art gallery-type space that comes with audio-visual equipment, is another option. The restaurant prefers not to split checks, and an 18 percent gratuity will be charged for groups.


Departure

525 SW Morrison St., 15th floor, 802-5370, departureportland.com.

Departure, located atop the Nines hotel, offers stunning views and a retro-futuristic atmosphere along with modern pan-Asian cuisine. It also has a handful of group areas of various sizes, both indoors and out. Three-course private-dining menus are $65 per guest. There’s a 20 percent gratuity at tables of six or more.


Nel Centro

1408 SW 6th Ave., 484-1099, nelcentro.com.

This chic, modern restaurant in the Hotel Modera serves crowd-pleasing cuisine somewhere between robust Italian and lighter Mediterranean fare. Two small, private dining rooms can accommodate up to 30. The hotel has three additional banquet rooms for larger groups. Buffet or plated lunches and dinners are available. Gratuity is 20 percent, and the restaurant won’t split checks.


Urban Farmer

525 SW Morrison St., eighth floor, 222-4900, urbanfarmerportland.com.

Another hotel restaurant, Urban Farmer is a ritzy “farm-to-table” steakhouse inside the Nines. This is exactly what your Portlandia-watching cousin from San Diego expects Portland to be like. Urban Farmer can host private events and receptions in six dining areas. Cowhide booths, foliage and glass jars filled with house-pickled vegetables are abundant. Gratuity is added for parties of six or more, but the restaurant will gladly split checks.


Aviary

1733 NE Alberta St., 287-2400, aviarypdx.com.

Aviary, WW’s 2012 Restaurant of the Year, serves innovative cuisine that pairs bright Asian flavors with time-honored European technique. It’s also a great place to get a fun family-style meal for an adventerous group. This is where you bring a group that will dive into a crispy fried pig ear on a bed of warm rice and flavorful herbs. It’s moderately pricey, but far more reasonable than many fine restaurants. Aviary’s private dining room seats eight to 18 and opens to a gorgeous walled garden.


Ocean City

3016 SE 82nd Ave., 771-2299, oceancityportland.com.

This enormous Chinese restaurant is built for big families, employing an armada of cart-pushing servers plop delicious dim sum plates on lazy susans at large round tables. The menu is seemingly endless, with all manner of fried, steamed and baked fare ranging from garlic fried chicken to pork intestine. If you call ahead, Ocean City can accommodate groups small to huge. The only downside is dietary restrictions—it’s not always easy to spot a pork or shellfish dumpling until someone’s cracked it open. Ocean City will happily split checks, and there is no added gratuity.


Enat Kitchen

300 N Killingsworth St., 285-4867, enatguada.com.

Enat Kitchen serves Portland’s best Ethiopian food at reasonable prices in a casual setting. There are no private rooms—you can see everyone else in the restaurant from any table—but you can reserve tables in the main dining room for up to 20 people. Call several weeks in advance and again the day of your event. The restaurant won’t charge an added gratuity, and splitting checks isn’t a problem. The staff is friendly and welcoming, but small. Expect to spend more than an hour eating at a leisurely pace. Fair warning: Ethiopian food is eaten on large shared platters without forks. Chances are, at least one person will complain about this.

 
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