This was a significant year for the culinary scene in Portland, a city that has garnered plenty of attention for its trendy, creative restaurants for quite some time. In fact, dozens of eateries opened their doors throughout the year, providing an additional selection of dishes in the city — from ramen to vegan pizza, and everything in between.
We selected our favorite restaurant opening from each month in 2017. Add them to your 2018 bucket list, or spread them out throughout the year to visit one per month, visiting each within their one-year anniversary month! Whatever you do, give a warm welcome to the new kids on the block.
South Indian | 1670 Northeast Killingsworth Street
Photo Courtesy of Dina Avila via Tiffin Asha
As with several restaurant ventures, Tiffin Asha was a successful food cart before opening a brick-and-mortar location in January. With the transition the quality has remained constant — and the restaurant, packed. Sample the menu by ordering the Tiffin’s Trilogy, served with a crispy paper dosa, vada holes, idli cakes, sambar, and your choice of chutney. Don’t be intimidated by the menu verbiage, and try something new and exciting!
Other January Openings Include: XLB
New American | 575 Northeast 24th Avenue
Staying true to its name, Nomad.PDX was a nomadic pop-up restaurant for a few years, but has now established a permanent brick-and-mortar location. This stunning modernist restaurant has been the talk of the town for their remarkable 20-course tasting menu, minimalist artistic plates, and a beautiful interior to match. Nomad.PDX truly is revolutionizing the city’s view of fine dining — stripping away the traditional white tablecloth dining experience and replacing it with a breathable and expressive environment.
Mexican | 25 North Fremont Street
Run entirely by chefs, Chalino is a self-described “inauthentic” Mexican eatery. It was a hit during its first year — especially during the summer as Chalino has an airy patio, a great selection of cocktails (with hilarious names, like “Clapping When the Plane Lands”), and plenty of chips, salsa and guacamole to go around. You’ll find a mix of shareable small plates and dishes you won’t want to share with anyone at this modern and eclectic new restaurant in town.
Misc. | 827 Southwest 2nd Avenue
If you’re not sure what type of food you’re craving, Portland Food Hall is your answer. This new downtown locale hosts a number of restaurants all in one convenient location — including Moberi, Cosa, The Whole Bowl, Aiko Ramen, Boke Dokie, and Minibar. This exciting concept merges the city’s obsession with food carts with the comfort and intimacy of an indoor restaurant.
Other April Openings Include: Pok Pok NW
Mexican | 310 Southwest Stark Street
Photo Courtesy of Alto Bajo
There can never be too many modern Mexican eateries in town. Alto Bajo is one of the latest installments creating a stir on the culinary scene, serving up classic Oaxacan cuisine with a modern twist. Don’t miss the mole, considered the restaurant’s signature item. Choose from three mole options, including the tamarindo, tojo, and amarillo, each of which is paired with a specific dish. Complement your meal with a margarita or a creative cocktail, such as the Oaxacan Mule, and enjoy the bright and inspiring atmosphere.
Photo Courtesy of Virtuous Pie
A vegan pizza and ice cream destination is the shop we didn’t know we needed until Virtuous Pie showed up. This hip fast-casual eatery hailing from Canada opened their first US location in Portland this summer, and it has since been welcomed with open arms. Virtuous Pie exclusively serves vegetable-based pizzas, with unique toppings like cashew nut cheeses, mushroom meat substitutes, and other vegan-friendly ingredients. You will also find vegan ice cream in exciting flavors like lavender and lemon, bourbon sour cherry and chocolate, or turmeric and black pepper. Pair your pizza with a local beer, a glass of wine, or on-tap kombucha, to complete the experience at Virtuous Pie.
Vietnamese | 3962 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard
This vibrant addition to the Richmond neighborhood in Southeast Portland has been a hot spot since it opened this summer. With a sophisticated drink menu, Short Round is a popular destination for Vietnamese-style craft cocktails, such as the Robinsonade with vodka, passionfruit, pineapple shrub, and ruby port. Snack on some of their delicious small plates and bar snacks, including roasted peanuts with chiles and lime, the bo la lot, and banh tet. In addition to its unique menu, Short Round has a laid-back, industrial atmosphere keeping its guests coming back for more.
Other July Openings Include: La Leña
Japanese | 7952 Southeast 13th Avenue
Photo Courtesy of Nama Ramen
Capitalizing on the country’s recent obsession with ramen, Nama Ramen opened its doors in Southeast Portland this August. Their philosophy is all about simplicity — they want to serve simple, good food for a simple, good time. Whether you’ve never tried this famous dish or have become a ramen enthusiast, you are sure to love your experience at Nama Ramen.
Other August Openings Include: Dil Se
New American | 875 Northwest Everett Street
Photo Courtesy of Tanner Creek Tavern
Considered one of the most anticipated openings of the year, Tanner Creek Tavern serves globally inspired fare expertly prepared by chef Trevor Payne. The expansive 5,000-square-foot space is filled with stunning decor and design elements, including concrete, steel, light wood, leather chairs, and an open kitchen concept. The menu emphasizes seasonal, approachable tavern fare with inspiration and flavors from all over the world. Tanner Creek’s full bar features 12 taps and bottles of Oregon craft beers, ciders, and meads, and the wine list includes vintages from Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, in addition to a few Southern Oregon options.
Japanese | 125 Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard
From the owners of Shigezo Izakaya, Yataimura Maru, and Kichinto Izakaya, Wa Kitchen Kuu (or Kuu, for short) is another source for exceptional Japanese food in town. The latest addition is similar to the others but has a number of new dishes in store. Kuu first opened for lunch this fall and added dinner to its repertoire in early December. Expect a variety of udon and soba noodle bowls, plenty of rice dishes from poke to curry, and of course — tons of saké to complement your meal.
Japanese | 50 Southwest 3rd Avenue
AFURI, the beloved ramen restaurant that opened in late 2016, opened a second location in Portland this November. AFURI ramen & dumpling is nearly half the size of the original location, but delivers the same amount of flavor and exceptional service — in quicker fashion. Customers order by iPad, resembling the vending-machine style of automated shokkenki restaurants in Tokyo. The menu centers around the signature bowl of Yuzu Shio Ramen, a light-colored broth built upon a reduction made from dried seafood, seaweed, an assortment of salty, umami ingredients, and citrus notes of yuzu. In fact, the soft water found in Portland was what drew Afuri U.S. CEO Taichi Ishizuki to the city, as it is ideal for making the perfect ramen broth.
Sandwich Shop | 2137 East Burnside Street
You may have seen the infamous Pastrami Zombie food truck rolling around town, or visited Sammich in Ashland, Oregon. The chef and owner of both establishments, Melissa McMillan, opened a Portland location for Sammich this December, bringing the well-loved deli-style sandwiches to the city with a permanent installment. All sandwiches are made with the best ingredients, house-smoked meats, regional produce when available, and bread from local bakeries.
Give a Warm Welcome!
The best way to welcome these new additions is by sampling their food and drinks!