Whether you're an omnivore, herbivore or "locavore," you'll dine well in Portland. The city is at the cusp of America's "farm to table" movement, with many chefs relying on local ingredients sourced from the fertile Willamette Valley. Sustainable and organic fare is top of mind -- and menu -- at many restaurants, and vegetarians rarely lack for options. Portlanders tend to eat early and dress down (it's not unusual to see jeans at a fancy restaurant).
Looking for a quick bite? Don't miss Portland's many food carts, which can be found in every flavor from Ethiopian to Brazilian. Check out FoodCartsPortland.com to search by location, operating hours or type of cuisine.
Higgins has been at the forefront of Portland's sustainable food movement since the mid-1990s, when chef Greg Higgins opened this restaurant dedicated to highlighting the best of fresh, local, organic ingredients. Menus change seasonally and even weekly, featuring Northwestern specialties like salmon, mushrooms, berries and rhubarb. Vegetarians always have plenty of options.
Pok Pok brings the spicy flavors of Southeast Asia to a residential neighborhood of Portland. Dig into Thai green papaya salad, Vietnamese fish sauce wings or curry noodle soup (a specialty of Chiang Mai). Prepare to wait, as the restaurant does not take reservations for fewer than six people.
Portland may be incredibly vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, but carnivores need not go home hungry. At lunch time, Laurelhurst Market serves up hearty sandwiches piled high with choice meats from its butcher shop; in the evenings, it transforms into one of the city's best steakhouses. In addition to the melt-in-your-mouth steaks, there are always a few seafood dishes on the menu.
Noble Rot may bill itself as a wine bar -- and it's got a fantastic selection of regional wines -- but you'll want to go for the farm-to-table cuisine. Chef/owner Leather Storrs sources much of his produce from his own organic garden on the rooftop of the restaurant.
In a city as health-conscious and eco-friendly as Portland, there's no need to resort to a greasy fast food joint when you want a quick meal. The Laughing Planet Cafe has nearly a dozen locations around the city, each serving up a wholesome menu of burritos, salads, soups, smoothies and "bowls" (like the Bollywood Bowl: grilled chicken and steamed veggies on a bed or brown or jasmine rice).
Can you truly say you've lived if you haven't tried a doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon -- or vanilla icing and Froot Loops? These quirky combos are just the tip of the iceberg at Voodoo Doughnut, one of Portland's food institutions. At its two Portland locations, Voodoo serves up the city's most creative -- and creatively named -- doughnuts, including the "Gay Bar" (with rainbow-colored cereal on top) and the "Captain my Captain" (topped with Cap'n Crunch cereal). Doughnut-loving duos can even get hitched here; the owners are ordained and can perform legal wedding ceremonies.
Tea lovers will delight in Tao of Tea, where the extensive menu includes dozens of teas from China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and more. As you sip, enjoy light snacks such as Southeast Asian spinach rolls, dal with rice, or smoked vanilla ice cream. The company's original teahouse, with its soothing rock waterfall, is located on Portland's east side; there's also a Tao of Tea outpost in the Tower of Cosmic Reflections at the Lan Su Chinese Garden.