In life, you often get what you pay for; when it comes to dining out, a top-notch meal often concludes with a high-price bill. June, however, offers a break from this depressingly traditional economic theory.--- For the entire month, diners can enjoy three-course meals from some of Portland's most celebrated restaurants for just $25—no dish washing necessary.
June marks the second Dining Month Portland, a best of both worlds event that combines haute cuisine with low prices. Sixty-one restaurants from 23Hoyt to Yakuza Lounge will offer a $25 menu. Dining Month opens itself to any full service restaurant in the Portland area, so long as they produce a three-course menu. The menus, available during dinner hours, allow diners to experience the restaurant's offerings at a more universally manageable price.
The event is especially exciting for newcomers to the food scene, who can try innovative or unusual dishes (salt and pepper fried quail with pickled red and green strawberries from Gilt Club, for example) and take risks with their palates without a big price tag.
"Explore a new restaurant, find something different, or try something new at your favorite. For 25 bucks its pretty low risk," Ries says.
The menus, though fixed, are not limiting. Diners can choose from a spectrum of cuisines, from traditional Northwest inspired to Indian to French. Some restaurants allow the diner to choose between two or three options for an appetizer, entree or desert, and menus will be updated weekly throughout the month. Many participating restaurants include vegetarian options as well; diners with special dietary restrictions are encouraged to call the specific restaurant they're interested in to see if they can accommodate the menu to fit their needs.
"What's really great about this promotion is that the restaurants are really involved and really engaged," Ries says, noting that serving a prix-fixe three course menu for the entire month of June is a big commitment from the restaurants. Restaurants are rewarded for this commitment, however, by increased traffic and larger revenue. According to Ries, participating restaurants saw a 10 percent increase in sales last June.
Dining Month also gives diners a chance to give back to the community. For every reservation made on Open Table through this link the Downtown Marketing Initiative will make a donation to the Oregon Food Bank. (Open Table is a sponsor of the event.)
If you don't know which of the 61 restaurants to begin your month with, start by checking out the restaurants' menus at the Dining Month Portland website. You can sort the restaurants by location or search them by name.
If you're short on time, here are five sure bets from some of our favorite restaurants (sadly, Lincoln, Paley's Place, Nostrana and Metrovino haven't yet announced their menus):
Second Course (Choose One)
Third Course (Choose One)
Second course (Choose One)
First Course (Choose One)