fratelli: an Italian Kitchen
Don't let the bright yellow entry door with crisp graphics spelling out fratelli fool you. Once you enter through the doorway you are greeted by a long narrow hallway full of color, ambiance and artwork. Once in the restaurant you immediately notice the high ceilings and warm colors, making you feel as though you have just entered a friend?s villa. You must pass the small bar before you reach the dining area ? I design I do not favor but perhaps it works for them. During a busy night I can only imagine that you would have to squeeze by those waiting at the bar for their opportunity to sit and eat. The main dining area is large yet feels cozy with dark wood tables and warm colorful walls adorned with paintings. The mid wall is lined with wine bottles that only add to the Italian character. Overall I would recommend trying fratelli?s at least once. The prices are very much with the setting of ?The Pearl? District ? but I do not know that it is justified. I will try it later this month and let you know what I think then.
Favorite Dish: Will update this later in the month...Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Business Travel
- Food and Dining
LUCKY LAB BREWPUB: DOGS AND BEER
The Lucky Lab Brewpub began life in an old roofing supply store in the inner Eastside (Roots Brewpub is only a few blocks to the north from here). There is a large pub inside, featuring a huge grand bar from which to put your orders in from. Outside, on the north side, there is an old covered landing dock covered with picnic tables that is open for people to congregate with their canine friends. Food is pub-oriented, with sandwiches, hummus plates and bentos of various sorts. Stumptown Porter (The original nickname of Portland back in the mid-19th Century because of all the treestumps left around as a result of rapid development), and Black Lab Stout are cherished favorites though Super Dog - a hopped up extra pale ale - is most popular. An interesting name or theme can lead to interesting merchandise lines and here you have the Lucky Lab sprouting forth on all sorts of shirts, hats, etc.. One popular bulletin board invites people to send in pictures of the clothing being worn in locations around the World. Don't be surprised to see someone wearing a Lucky Lab shirt in your neck of the woods!
Favorite Dish: Stumptown Porter (The original nickname of Portland back in the mid-19th Century because of all the treestumps left around as a result of rapid development), and Black Lab Stout are cherished favorites though Super Dog - a hopped up extra pale ale - is most popularRelated to:
- Beer Tasting
- Historical Travel
- Travel with Pets
Vegetarian: Aw Noodlin' where'd you go?!
My first week here I found Noodlin', a fabulous place on Hawthorne. It had a wonderful vibe, great service, prices, and food. A week later it was gone. I guess there's still a location in Beaverton if you really want to bother hanging out in that lame-land.
Favorite Dish: I ordered the "Plain Jane" - a giant bowl of bow-tie pasta with butter and garlic and parmesan, with broccoli added, all for under $5. Simple, filling, cheap and delicious.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Thai Go!: Good Thai Food in Pioneer Place Mall
Because this restaurant is in the food court of the Pioneer Place mall, I wasn't expecting much. I was very pleasantly surprised. There are quite a few choices menu choices, many of them made to order, not just a steam table. While the food here isn't as good as the food at Thyphoon! (a Portland institution) I think it *was* just as good as any other Thai food I've had. Very quick service, multiple vegetarian options.
Favorite Dish: I had the red curry with tofu and it was delicious -- spiced just right and plenty of basil and bamboo shoots. Meals run about $5-$7. I would definitely eat here again any time I'm in the area.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Ken's Artisan Bakery & Cafe: A MUST visit Bakery and Cafe
Best Baguettes and Croissants this side of France.
Favorite Dish: Chocolate croissant stuffed with Valrhona chocolate... or just the plain and crisp croissant... or even the homemade granola cereal.
Don't miss the salads at lunch, or Monday night Pizza.
Junior's: Great breakfasts
Junior's is a bit of a hipster place that I read about a lot before going back to visit. I'd heard they had great breakfasts and the line was a mile long on weekend mornings. Fortunately we avoided the crowds by dropping in on a weekday afternoon. It's a small place, so I see why lines form. It felt very cosy when we were there. We had a nice waitress and the cook asked how we liked our potatoes as he headed out for a smoke break. We had the cheesy potatoes, which had about as much cheese as potato. It was almost pizza like. But very good, even as leftovers the next day.
Pho Van: A gem in the middle of The Pearl [District]!
Lunch is always busy and honestly too noisy to really enjoy a conversation. However, dinner tends to be a little quieter and the night lights add to the ambience. The staff is dressed in wonderful shades of orange/yellow and green/blue silks. Since Pho Van is located on a corner you have a great view of the city street and fun people watching opportunities. The interior is simple yet warm and comforting. Traditional paintings and lucky bamboo only help add to it's beauty and charm.
Favorite Dish: I don’t necessarily have a favorite dish here. I got a chicken dish that was very nice and full of garlic. Although I’m not a big red meat eater I had a bite of one of their steak strips meals which tasted great. We shared the coconut banana desert and it was good but nothing I would go out of my way to order again. Good food but I would say we go there more for the scene than the food.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
The Farm Cafe: If Green Acres had a restaurant - this is it!
Upon entering you are greeted by the bar. The walls are painted in muted earth tones and the furnishings are dark wood. I have only been in the evening so the lighting is low but radiates the room. The staff is very nice and helpful. They do not take reservations so make sure to leave yourself time as most days there is a wait due to the small size of the restaurant. The walls are ordained with small works of art most likely from local artists.
At our last visit we went with some friends, one on an internet date (he seemed normal so maybe these sites do work). Food ordered included the vegan farmhouse burger. I can't remember what all was in it but it definitely had eggplant. Although the husband hates eggplant, he loved his burger. I had the salmon and it was good. Nothing over the top, not a ton of flavor and was served on a fettuccine noodle with a creamy basil sauce. A friend got the mushroom and gorgonzola ravioli. It was very creamy and well worth getting. Another friend ordered the Halibut (with yellow sauce). Although we were all sampling each others plates I didn’t get a sample because Mandy and her man were devouring it with orgasmic type noises. I heard it was fabulous. =)
We tried three different desserts: the cheesecake, a cherry pie type thing and their molten chocolate soufflé. I had heard the cheesecake was great but I wasn’t impressed. It was okay but nothing I would order again. It was served with a dulce de leche sauce and pecans. The cherry dish was a creamy piece of pie with huge cherry chunks. It was better than the cheesecake but still not something I would get again. The molten chocolate soufflé was heavenly and they have obviously mastered that dish. It was topped with a scoop of coffee ice cream. It was beyond words and worth getting.
All in all it was a great place to try and doesn’t hurt that it is but minutes from our place. If in the area you might also want to try Doug Fir which is located a half block down on Burnside. I’ll add photos for that soon.
Favorite Dish: Try the vegan farmhouse burger and the molten chocolate soufflé. Both are divine.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Great China: Have the Hot & Sour Soup!
My favorite Chinese place is Great China in Chinatown. They don't do dim sum anymore, rather they lay it out buffet style.
Great China has booths, small tables and large tables with lazy susans. They do banquets too. I know I've seen them set up wedding cakes (usually for Chinese weddings.) The restaurant is upstairs. Price varies depending on if you're in for lunch or dinner and it may be a dollar or two more on the weekends, but it's still under $10 per person.
ALL YOU CAN EAT!
They can be a little slow to refill water though and the bathrooms are decorated in unfortunate brown and tan tones that are less than appealing and tend to make it seem unclean, even though it is.
Favorite Dish: Huge buffet with many items from typical broccoli beef to not so typical, for Americans, chicken feet (the latter of which are not my bag.) I LOVE hot and sour soup and they have some yummy yummy soup. My other most favorite is the seasame bean paste ball. I might be able to live off those and the soup. The Singapore noodles are also good as well as the tofu.
Veritable Quandary: Excellent, don't miss restaurant
This is really a very special place. The food is excellent, and the service 1st class. If you go to one resaurant in Portland this should be it. There is nothing but praise for the staff, from the hostess, bartender, and wait staff, all were professional with just the right amount of personal attention. Coat, tie to jeans are all welcome.
I planned a late dinner, but was 1/2 hour late because I misjudged the theatre time. Veritable Quandary - VQ - appologized to me for not having a table immediately, they appologized twice, but then just a short wait! Portland has become so casual that the norm is to get your bill when the food arrives. Even in the better restaurants it is not unusual to see the bill arrive long before you finish the meal. At VG the server, Michelle, knew exactly when to deliver the bill: when we were finished with dinner, and looked like we were ready for the bill.
If you didn't see the Willamette River in your view, you could easily guess you were in Georgetown, D.C., or someplace nice in Europe.
This was my first visit. Isn't it strange how one can look for a VG 3000 miles away, and then find it within 10 miles of your house? It's been there for 30 years, I have been in Portland for 18 years. What have I been thinking? It's a veritable quandary.
Favorite Dish: Halibut. Right halibut, you've had halibut. You've had halibut cooked right - not dry. But have you had halibut cooked properly, actually perfectly, on a bed of fresh steamed spinach, carmalized fresh fennel, and black lentils? It sounds like it could be a disaster, but it was perfect. The lentils were just barely firm, the fenel was deftly picked from the heat at the right time, and the spinach cooked, but hadn't yet released it's flavour into a pool of water. This is the kind of dish I dream of being able to produce myself. I won't even try.
Details: excellent bread, unsalted butter (no foil !!!!!), white linen, spotless service sets, and spotless service.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Island Cafe: Definately Not a Deserted Isle
This is a great restaraunt & bar located right on the river. You can reach it by land or pull up to the dock with your boat. Basically just burgers and such but its the ambience you come for. Although the food is pretty dang good too! You can always expect to have plenty of bread to throw out to the water fowl that come swimming up also. You can bring your dogs in also. A very relaxed partylike atmosphere. You can also sit right on the dock with your drinks if you wish (we do) but dont try to take them onto your boat.. They can lose thier license for that. :( This is just a fun place to hang out on a hot day.
Favorite Dish: I actually really like the french fries. They are perfect in every way. They have some real good drinks also. Try the Miami Vice. Happy hour is from 4 to 6 I believe. (you may want to check that)
European Grocery on Hawthorne: Cvezs.....Cshchec.....Whatever, it's really good
I normally hate going to SE Hawthorne Blvd., but since many of you will end up at the hippie hostel down there...you should stop by the European grocery store between 17'th and 18'th ave.
Favorite Dish: The Bosnian couple that own the place make some of the best sandwiches around. I can't pronounce the name, but it is made with a blend of lamb and beef (?) that is served on a handmade bread that is like a cross between a hamburger bun and a light english muffin with cream cheese and onions. It is all organic and made from scratch.
Portland Coffee House: Great Place To Drink Your Coffee
There is probably one coffee house per block in Portland. Maybe not that many, but there are plenty. I chose the same one each day that I visited in Portland this spring. The young men at the counter were nice and friendly. I heard someone say that going up to the nearby coffeehouse was so "Btarbucks". By the way, I started to recognize the same customers in just a few days.
Favorite Dish: Mocha Grande & good poppyseed scones & free filtered water
Jake's Grill: When Jake's Famous Crawfish Is Too Busy Try...
This last trip I found the sister restaurant to Jake's Famous Crawfish restaurant an appetizing alternative. It's in an old building, and the pub is marvelously decorated.
There is a evening happy hour where items on the menu are $1.95... not the drinks, the food. The drinks were a little spendier than the food prices.
Favorite Dish: The hummus dish on the happy hour menu was good, and the chicken burger.
One day I had lunch there and that was good too. A grilled turkey sandwhich with fresh pesto and Havarti cheese.
Oh, yeah... and the "pickles" are all "homemade" and very good.Related to:
- Road Trip
- School Holidays
Swagat Indian restaurant: Super Indian Buffet
The restaurant is in a house. It's pretty cozy inside. The buffet is 6.95 for all you can eat. It has fresh Naan bread on the buffet. I've been to this restaurant about 50 times. There are two branches, the other is on NW. 21st street I believe.
Favorite Dish: The buffet is the best, especially the Makhani chicken dish. They always have that on there. It's creamy and buttery w/ tandoori chicken in it.
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