I’VE LIVED IN Portland for almost 30 years now, and I’ve watched it transform from a sleepy, second-tier American city to a mecca for food and beverage. I’ve had a front-row seat for this transformation since I started cooking professionally in the late ’90s with a catering company I ran out of my basement. In those years, Portland had a fiercely DIY ethos, something I very much shared with the city, so it didn’t seem that strange to be defrosting shrimp in a bathtub for a 250-person event.
I opened three restaurants in the early 2000s and eventually lost them all, but reemerged in 2007 with an intimate tasting menu restaurant called Beast. In 2014, I was named the Best Chef in the Pacific Northwest by the James Beard Foundation, something that I’d never set out to be, but it surprised and delighted me. I had spent 80-plus hours a week toiling away over two electric induction burners with only four employees, and the hustle paid off. In 2013, my husband Kyle Linden Webster and I opened a sultry cocktail bar, Expatriate, across the street from Beast. Even though I closed my 13-year-old fine-dining gem during the pandemic, I remain impressed by Portland's range of offerings for visitors and locals alike, and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue the upward trajectory that has marked my time here in this lush, beautiful city.
This list endeavors to create a good mix of the new and what longtime residents would call “Old Portland.” Think of that not as a distinct time or place, but as an emotional through line, connecting the past to the present. In capturing the spirit of Portland that pulses below the larger shifts noticeable over decades, some of our most recent restaurant or bar openings already feel as if they’ve been here forever.
Coffee and Breakfast
Deadstock CoffeeCreative coffee served in Chinatown
Meat Cheese BreadThe best breakfast burrito in town
Cafe OlliAn all-day cafe with excellent bread and pastries
ReevaA lively and hip food truck
PaadeeExceptional Thai serving classics and innovative fare
SammichMouthwatering sandwiches with Chicago Italian flare
Goose Hollow InnA classic pub just beyond downtown
Sorbu PaninotecaA food truck serving seasonal Italian cuisine
Evening Snacks and Drinks
Les CavesA wine bar serving elevated grilled-cheese sandwiches
Heavenly CreaturesA shoebox gem serving wine and light fare
TokiCasual Korean eatery with original cocktails
DavenportBasque-region standards meet eclectic American fare
Rangoon BistroThe best Burmese outside of Myanmar
RingSide SteakhouseA classic steakhouse with exceptional onion rings
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Naomi Pomeroy Writer
Naomi Pomeroy is a James Beard Award–winning chef from Portland, Oregon. Beginning with “family supper” in the early 2000s, she has played a pivotal role in the evolution of Portland’s food scene. From prix fixe stalwart “Beast” (2007–2020) to cocktail bar “Expatriate” (2013–present), Pomeroy’s passion for local ingredients and exacting technique continue to keep her at the forefront of the scene.