We talk a lot of real estate game, but what’s our second-biggest Portland passion? FOOD. LOCALLY-CRAFTED SNACKS AND SIPS. We're diving head-first into the city's culinary playground where new restaurants are popping up faster than you can say "hangry." If you're tired of the same old dining spots and itching for some fresh flavor adventures, then you're in for a treat.
What’s New? Pizza, Tacos, Soul, and Socializing
Let's start with Gracie's Apizza. This joint is like a culinary chameleon, changing forms from farmers market stand to mobile food cart to the sun-soaked cafe you see today. Craig Melillo, the pizza wizard behind it all, is whipping up Pacific Northwestern sourdough pizzas that'll make your taste buds do a happy dance. Think green garlic, morels, and boquerones – it's like a flavor fiesta on a doughy canvas. And don't even get us started on the salads – they're basically edible art. Prosciutto petals, pickled cherries, and house-made ice cream sundaes? Yeah, Gracie's isn't messing around.
Now, let's take a taco-tastic journey to Titos Taquitos Swan Island. If you've visited their first location off of the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, you know what's up. But guess what? They've planted themselves in Swan Island, and it's a taquito dream come true. Anthony La Pietra is the genius behind these crispy, potato-packed wonders. Braised beef or citrusy pork, you choose – either way, you're in for a mouthful of flavor fireworks. And don't even get us started on Tito's tres leches dessert. It's like a sweet symphony that'll have your taste buds singing.
Let's slow things down a bit and bask in the soulful goodness of Norma Jean's Soul Cuisine. Marquise Cross is the maestro behind this culinary ode to his family matriarch. Red beans and rice that'll make your heart sing? Check. Oxtails so tender they practically melt in your mouth? You bet. And that baked mac and cheese? It's like a warm hug from grandma. This place isn't just a restaurant – it's a love letter to comfort food, and you're invited to the feast.
Alright, adventurous eaters, let's talk about Zula. Tucked away in Northwest Portland, this place is like a culinary passport to Tel Aviv. They're throwing down flavors from Northern African, Palestinian, and Greek traditions, and let's just say, they're nailing it. Fire-roasted eggplant dressed in tahini. Hummus that's basically a work of art. And that salmon skewer? It's like a flavor explosion that'll transport you to the bustling streets of Tel Aviv. Zula is a culinary adventure waiting to happen, so book your ticket today!
Now, if you're all about that chill vibe, Duality Brewing & Astral is your spot. This joint is like a casual hangout where the food and beer take center stage. It's run by four owners who are basically culinary rockstars. From pea tendril salads that'll make your taste buds dance to ono ceviche that's practically a work of art, this place knows how to bring the flavor. And if you're brunching, do yourself a favor and go for the breakfast sandwich. Soft omelet, green chorizo, and gooey quesillo – it's basically brunch heaven in your mouth.
Craving something a bit exotic? Makulít has got you covered. This Filipino American cart is dishing out a fusion of flavors that'll make your taste buds tingle. "Chicky bites" that are basically chicken nuggets from the future? Oh yeah. Adobo poutine, lumpia, and longganisa burgers? Don't mind if we do. And that sinamak dipping sauce? It's like a tangy trip to flavor town. Makulít is proof that Portland isn't afraid to mix things up and create dishes that'll have you saying, "Why didn't I think of that?"
Now, let's talk seafood. Câche Câche is like that secret seafood oasis you never knew you needed. Tucked behind the Lil' America food cart pod, this place is all about the ocean's bounty. Couples are sipping Muscadet while diving into juicy shrimp and diving headfirst into the lobster roll. Lobster meat coated in tarragon-scented aioli? Yeah, you read that right. And that sweet cream buttermilk powder? It's a flavor secret that'll have you wondering where it's been all your life.
Now, if you're ready to take your taste buds on a K-Pop adventure, Jeju Restaurant is your jam. Peter Cho and Sun Young Park are the culinary masterminds behind this sleek spot, and they're serving up a tour of creative Korean fare. Banchan galore, beef-and-pork mandu that'll have you singing praises, and ssam-style meats that are basically edible art – Jeju is where K-Pop meets culinary genius. And don't even get us started on the cocktails – they're liquid magic in a glass.
Alright, wine lovers, this one's for you. L' Orange is like that dreamy escape where wine and culinary poetry come together in perfect harmony. Co-owner Jeff Vejr is like a wine whisperer, detailing the environmental context and history of each pour. And the kitchen? Oh boy, get ready for a flavor journey. Chilled cucumber soup, smoked sturgeon that'll make you weak in the knees, and Parisian gnocchi that's an edible masterpiece – L' Orange is a reminder that sometimes, the best things in life come in a wine glass.
Who's up for some sweet indulgence? Heyday is your go-to spot for all things doughy and delicious. These wheat and rice flour doughnuts are like little bites of heaven, and they come in flavors that'll make your taste buds do a happy dance. Baked ube? Oh, you better believe it. Matcha strawberry? It's a flavor explosion in your mouth. And the best part? The doughnut counter is now bigger and better, thanks to their expanded kitchen capacity. Baker Lisa Nguyen is whipping up brownies and banana bread that are practically begging to be devoured. And don't even get us started on the pandan latte. So good!
Now, let's talk about a pizza joint that's redefining the pizza game. Hapa Pizza is like a flavor tornado, tossing traditional pies out the window and bringing in the big guns. We're talking pho pizza – yeah, you heard that right. Silky, intricately-spiced beef reduction, jalapeño heat, and bean sprout crunch – it's like a party in your mouth. And that massaman pizza? It's like a flavor explosion with a side of roasted peanut-rich curry. But that's not all – the banh mi pizza is a flavor symphony with marinated pork, pickled daikon, and carrot goodness. Hapa Pizza is proof that when it comes to culinary creativity, the sky's the limit.
This Filipino rotisserie joint is the brainchild of Carlo Lamagna, a culinary wizard who's already got Portland culinary royalty status. Lechon meats accompanied by atcharra (pickles), white rice, and a house-made dipping sauce? Yeah, we're in. The skin on that pork belly? Crackly perfection with hints of lemongrass and allium. And that cola-soy sauce brisket? It's like a flavor party you won't want to leave. But wait, there's more – dessert comes in the form of halo-halo with house-made leche flan and generous scoops of ube ice cream. Magna Kubo is where Filipino flavors take center stage, and trust us, you won't want to miss this show.
And last but not least, it's time for a culinary journey to the heart of Northeastern Myanmar. Village Kitchen is serving up Kachin cuisine like no other, and they're doing it with herbs like shalap leaf and culantro that'll make your taste buds sing. The flavors are intense, balancing earthy turmeric, paprika, and Sichuan peppercorn with fresh herbs and bamboo shoots. And that coconut rice? It's just ties the whole dish together. Village Kitchen is a culinary gem that's shining a spotlight on flavors you won't find anywhere else.
So there you have it, folks – a whirlwind tour of Portland's newest culinary stars. From pizzerias pushing boundaries to soulful comfort food that warms your heart, Portland's restaurant scene is a playground of flavors waiting to be explored. Whether you're in the mood for a tantalizing taco, a flavor-packed pizza, or a fusion feast, these newcomers have you covered.