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Our Top Picks for Portland Dining Month | March 2019

  |  Local Happenings, Neighborhood Insight, Portland

Back for its tenth consecutive year, Portland Dining Month is a month-long celebration of Portland’s exceptional culinary scene. For just $33 per person, diners can indulge in creative three-course menus at more than 130 participating restaurants throughout the city.

Portland Dining Month benefits the Oregon Food Bank, a local non-profit committed to eliminating hunger and its root causes. The food bank takes a holistic approach to ending hunger by bringing the community together to provide food, education and hope to neighbors in need. You can ensure the Oregon Food Bank receives a donation by making your reservation through OpenTable, using the links associated with each participating restaurant.

In 2018, Travel Portland also launched the Portland Charity Cocktail program to further support local non-profits. For each featured cocktail sold at a number of participating bars, $1 is donated to a worthy non-profit in the community. Simply look for the yellow “Charity Cocktail” tags on the list of Portland Dining Month restaurants.

Participating in Portland Dining Month not only provides a delicious meal for you and your table — it also helps feed those in need within our community. It’s a win-win!

Before you get completely overwhelmed by the list of 130+ participating restaurants, let’s zero in on a few of our favorites within the major categories represented. See the full list of restaurants here.


Asian: Departure

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Departure Portland, OR

Situated atop the Nines Hotel, Departure offers an elevated dining experience — quite literally — in the heart of the city. This sleek eatery serves Pan Asian fare atop the landmark Meier & Frank building, with two outdoor decks and unparalleled views of the city, mountains, and river. Their Portland Dining Month menu offers an array of choices, including a first course of charred beets or shaved collards and roots, a second course of mussels, Korean fried chicken, or vegetables with green curry, and a third course of toasted chocolate custard or banana custard.


Breweries: Ecliptic Brewing

Ecliptic Brewing Portland, OR

Ecliptic Brewing is a relatively new venture from Oregon craft brewing icon, John Harris, who began at McMenamins and later moved to Deschutes. Ecliptic features a hyper-seasonal beer menu that rotates every six weeks, based on the Old World calendar. Sample their brews — and a variety of inventive dishes — during Portland Dining Month. Choose from a variety of starters, including deviled eggs, broiled oysters, and beets with pumpkin seeds and pecorino. The second course options are many, including the Ecliptic Burger, a beet melt, steamed mussels, and more. For dessert, choose the porter float or peach float. Each meal includes one pint of beer and a $10 gift card (redeemable at your next visit).


French: Bistro Agnes

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Bistro Agnes Portland, OR

One of our favorite restaurant openings of 2018 was Bistro Agnes, a French bistro from Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, the James Beard Award-winning duo behind Ox. Bistro Agnes pays homage to Greg’s grandmother, a kindhearted woman who deeply influenced the couple’s idea of hospitality — and the namesake of the restaurant. Bistro Agnes is steeped in the rich history of French cuisine, showcasing classic French dishes and an atmosphere reminiscent of a traditional Parisian bistro. The Portland Dining Month menu includes the option of a butter lettuce salad or chicken liver mousse, followed by a house-made boudin blanc sausage with potato purée, and finally a profiterole with vanilla bean ice cream and warm chocolate sauce.


European: La Moule

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La Moule Portland, OR

This artsy Franco-Belgian-inspired brasserie on Clinton Street serves up the mussel (or La Moule in French), in four different ways. This neighborhood bistro and bar features Chef Aaron Barnett’s inventive cuisine, complemented by an eclectic cocktail, beer and wine program curated by Tommy Klus. Slip into this sophisticated hotspot during Portland Dining Month to try their carefully curated menu, featuring a tabbouleh salad, Thai mussels with coconut milk, and a decadent molten dulce de leche cake.


New American: Jackrabbit

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Jackrabbit Portland, OR

Opening in 2017, Jackrabbit has already been a welcomed addition to downtown. This New American eatery situated in the Duniway Hotel is from celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, known as the winner of Top Chef Masters and a competitor on The Next Iron Chef. Jackrabbit is returning to Dining Month for the second time, with menus offerings like a grilled spice lamb burger, a chilled spring pea soup, a bay leaf panna cotta, and much more. Throughout the month, try the featured wine from David Hill Winery. Tastings are offered every Friday in the lounge and at a special winemaker dinner at the end of the month. David Hill wines will be paired with each course on the prix fixe menu, available for purchase by the glass or bottle.


Northwest/Regional: Arden

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Arden Portland, OR

This winter, Arden Wine Bar + Kitchen opened in the Pearl District in the former home of Coppia. Although the space is lined with an impressive collection of wines, Arden is more than just a wine bar. This chef-driven eatery is focused on seasonality with each and every ingredient, which means that the menu changes on an almost daily basis. During Portland Dining Month, pick from options like red trout crudo, winter chicories, yellowfin tuna, petit filet of beef, an ice cream sandwich, and frozen black tahini. Wine pairings are available for $16.


Italian: Renata

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Renata Portland, OR

At Renata, Chef Chris Frazier and his team create an ever-evolving menu focused on handcrafted pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and hearth-grilled entrees. This hyper-seasonal menu utilizes the whole animal, and pays homage to the bounty of the PNW and the heritage of Italian cooking. The gorgeous space of Renata provides the ideal environment for either a romantic dinner or a fun night out with friends. Menu items during Portland Dining Month include house-cured salumi, an endive salad, reginette with braised pork, casarecce with walnut pesto and ricotta, a mixed grill of sausage, and roasted chicken.


Japanese: Bamboo Sushi

Bamboo Sushi Portland, OR

In 2008, Bamboo Sushi emerged as the world’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant. At each of the restaurant’s locations in the region, they promise to deliver sustainably caught, humanely raised, and naturally grown seafood — with absolutely no compromises. Sample some of the best of Bamboo Sushi offerings during Portland Dining Month, including four pieces of assorted nigiri selected by the chef, crunchy cauliflower with spicy black bean sauce, and a green machine roll with tempura fried long bean and green onion.


Mexican: Xico

Xico Portland, OR

Situated in the heart of the Richmond neighborhood along the vibrant Division Street, Xico serves modern Mexican fare with a focus on Oaxacan recipes. Relax on the airy patio or cozy up to the bar, where you can order from a wide selection of mezcal, inventive craft cocktails, and rare wines from Mexico. The Xico menu for Portland Dining Month includes a salad taco filled with a variety of fresh vegetables, followed by your choice of pork chile verde or three tamales cooked in a banana leaf, and a choice of dessert — either habanero caramel drinking chocolate or a seasonal sorbet.


Seafood: Southpark Seafood

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Southpark Seafood Portland, OR

This chic Northwest eatery and oyster bar in downtown pairs sustainable seafood with farm-fresh ingredients. In fact, Southpark Seafood only serves seafood that has been fished or farmed in ways that minimize their environmental impact. You’ll have a myriad of options to choose from during Portland Dining Month, including a variety of salads and vegetable plates for the first course, steelhead with chorizo, a squid ink fettuccine, delicata squash pizza, or Painted Hills flat-iron steak for the second course, and a few tasty dessert options, like lemon cheesecake, a plate of house-made cookies, or chocolate flourless cake.


Steakhouse: Ringside Steakhouse

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Ringside Steakhouse Portland, OR

For nearly 75 years, Ringside Steakhouse has been an Uptown staple. This family-owned and -operated steakhouse offers an array of USDA prime and certified angus natural beef, prepared in one of the city’s only on-premise dry aging rooms. During Portland Dining Month, Ringside is offering a simple menu, including your choice of baked onion soup or mixed greens and vegetables, followed by tender steak medallions with sauce chasseur and garlic mashed potatoes, and finally, their famous vanilla bean crème brûlée. Complement your meal with a bottle from Ringside’s selection of over 700 labels.


Thai: Pok Pok NW

Pok Pok NW Portland, OR

Pok Pok NW is one of the many ventures from renowned James Beard Award winner, Andy Ricker. This esteemed restaurant is tucked away in a modern, industrial space on the eastern edge of the Alphabet District. The Thai street food at Pok Pok NW is packed with intense flavor and unique ingredients, all mixed together with intricate detail. All throughout March, sample some of the best of Pok Pok NW, including your choice of miang kham or yam samun phrai, followed by khanom jiin naam yaa kai or cha ca “la vong” for the second course. Top off the experience with their whiskey soda float, a house-made bourbon ice cream and cola float with a brace of Amarena cherries on top.


Vegan/Vegetarian: Aviv

Aviv Portland, OR

Most vegans and vegetarians are well aware of Aviv, a vegan eatery serving Israeli-inspired dishes from local vegan icon, Chef Tal Caspi. The eatery is known for their straightforward yet flavor-filled hummus, made with soom tahini, pure extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and zero preservatives. During Portland Dining Month, try their famous hummus with pita bread, followed by roasted root vegetables over Greek yogurt, and finally, a spicy tomato, pepper and mixed mushroom stew.


Bon Appétit!

Enjoy this month filled with delicious food, inventive cocktails, and an opportunity to help out our neighbors in need. What Portland restaurants are you dying to try during Portland Dining Month? Let us know in the comments below!


All Photos Courtesy of Travel Portland

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About the Author

Courtney Itami

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