Kristen Murray's twee Kinfolkian "luncheonette" is a world of the bespoke, the pretty and the rustic. There is a daily open-faced smørbrød that may feature watercress, and a daily quiche that may feature squash blossom and chèvre, plus the pastries and cakes she became known for at Paley's Place, from composed desserts to lovely little scones.
Chef Gabriel Rucker's other restaurant might just be one of the best date spots in downtown. With deep red banquettes, pressed-tin ceilings, plants and a smattering of taxidermied quails, the vibe is part Paris, part Joanna Newsom album cover. (READ FULL REVIEW HERE.)
Under chef Doug Adams, Vitaly Paley's Imperial was our 2015 Restaurant of the Year. It remains one of downtown's busiest and impressive rooms, a hearthed hall of wood-fired meat. The post-Adams era lacks cheffy flair, but it's still the finest late-night happy hour in town, with a lovely burger, honey-fried chicken and vieux carre taptail all for less than $6 apiece.
This palatial meatery from San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino outperformed expectations with its balanced menu and great service. Line up a couple friends and splurge on the $120 "pin bone steak," a meal on a slab built with a steroidal Porterhouse, sliced from the bone à la Peter Lugar. (READ FULL REVIEW HERE.)
Clyde Common has remaind a beacon of late-aughts Portland foodie culture in the hippest of downtown hotels. Sip Jeffrey Morgenthaler's bourbon-barreled negroni while noshing on culture-hopping seasonal cooking from togarashi-spiced popcorn bar snacks to goat steak drizzled in green curry.
This storied institution is more inviting if you sit in the back bar and order from the seasonal specials. Recent standouts include a salmon fillet in a chanterelle broth, and a white bean soup with smoky ham. The grass-fed burger and beer list are both legendary.
In the strange church-filled blocks near the art museum, Dil Se serves our favorite South Indian dosas we've had within Portland city limits, and also what's likely the best vindaloo in town. (READ FULL REVIEW HERE.)
The Iraqi immigrants behind Dar Salam quickly grew from a food cart to this opulently decorated downtown location with a towering mural of the Ishtar Gate. The food combines Middle-Eastern staples (baba ganoush, lamb kebabs, baklava) with less-familiar dishes like pickled mango salad and a pretty pink beet and yogurt dip.