Portland Foods Writers’ Greatest Cafe Foods of 2021

Each and every December, Eater Portland finishes the calendar year by reflecting on the final twelve months of dining in a series we call Yr in Eater. We access out to Portland foods writers and influencers for their perspectives on key developments, outstanding newcomers, and standout meals, and share their responses in a single package deal. Glance back again on earlier a long time in this article.


“Ooh, this is a challenging one particular — Rather of deciding upon a single food, I’m likely to Mr.-Potato-Head one particular alongside one another: Miang som on Langbaan’s patio, the geoduck ceviche served on Quaintrelle’s previous night time in North Portland, the bhel puri at the Gado Gado James Beard meal, the shrimp aguachile at República, the lobster-and-tendon soup on the Berlu tasting menu (with those people springy-juicy lobster meatballs — what is the Offer with those??), that charcoal-roasted recreation hen at Oma’s Hideaway, and, eventually, the chocolate-passionfruit Andino at Andina, a brownie layered with chocolate and passionfruit mousse with torched meringue. If you had been to *drive* me to decide on 1 cafe food, it’d probably have to be a tie among an early-summer months tasting menu at República and my final tasting menu meal at Berlu.”
-Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor

“I have to go with the República tasting menu I had this slide, which my friend described as “an grownup Disneyland.” From the escamoles-smoked, espresso-rubbed kanpachi tostada to the plum granita heirloom tomato aguachile to the mezcal that tastes like jalapeños, it seriously felt like there was exhilaration, creative imagination, and playfulness at each and every convert.”
-Katherine Chew Hamilton, Portland Monthly food stuff editor

“My very best cafe meals this yr ended up, unsurprisingly, not just about the food items, but the knowledge of eating at a restaurant. In March, I had an outstanding evening meal on the Nightingale patio – this was my to start with food out in virtually a year and my introduction to Luna’s cooking. At República, I was wowed by the summer tasting menu, primarily the complicated mole in the porcini entree. My hottest visit to Prime Burmese for the calming tofu khao soi, seated outside the house with a mild sprinkle of rain, roaring traffic, and flickering lights was a night to bear in mind.”
-Waz Wu, Eater Portland contributor

Malka—their Bellflower salad with fish sauce-glazed hen tenders is a *chef’s kiss* best food. The sheer volume of textures and flavors they pack in that dish while nevertheless having all the substances make sense is exceptional. I have only experienced takeout from there and I’m pretty a great deal searching ahead to the day I get to enjoy a meal in their charming dining area.”
-Janey Wong, Portland Mercury foods and drink columnist

“I don’t want to undercut the Portland scene, but my summer season birthday trip to L.A. was fascinating to get to eat issues that metropolis excels at i.e. Thai (and Korean) foods! Sure, yes, we have superior Thai right here too, although I really like the default spice amounts and sheer variety that eating places like Jitlada–iconic for a reason–offer. It’s a little factor, but I also really like getting in a position to get crispy pork in any stir-fry or curry, and that is super hard to obtain in this article. My very best sit-down Portland restaurant food absolutely was the República tasting menu, however. I like their full vibe and how the complete expertise is additional than just about the foods on the plate.”
-Krista Garcia, Eater Portland contributor

“In Portland, Vince Nguyen of Berlu pivoted all over the pandemic — bakery, noodles, night market place. But he not long ago re-instituted his tasting menu. There was a different emphasis from his pre-pandemic tasting menu. The present-day thought emphasizes dishes from his Vietnamese heritage. There are pretty handful of men and women in the entire world who have had as several Michelin-starred meals as I have experienced. My October Berlu food was a Michelin-stage encounter, and it is my favored recent PDX restaurant.”
Gary Okazaki (“Gary the Foodie”), renowned globe-trotting eater

“Gado Gado’s sister cafe Oma’s Hideaway bought a ton of focus in food media this calendar year, and for a excellent reason! I am obsessed with the authentic while, whose small plates have normally been a mind-blowing fusion of salty-bitter-sweet spices each time I stop by, and an prospect to consume some of the only Indonesian/Indonesian-encouraged foodstuff in city. I’m hunting forward to trying out the new tasting menu concept ultimately. I was also very enchanted by Hapa Ramen’s summer months curry ramen, which is long gone now and dearly missed.”
-Katrina Yentch, Eater Portland contributor

“In the month of September we tentatively, and with good trepidation, sent our child back again
to pre-university for the first time given that 2019. On the finish of her to start with week, we celebrated with Friday night supper at Portland’s venerable, frankly slept on sushi establishment Murata. We sat in the tatami space. Service was great, sashimi was ideal, chawanmushi and tsukemono and tempura have been best. Incredibly small has adjusted inside of this restaurant since 1988 and the degree of good quality and assistance are particularly significant. It was a particular celebration, and so I’m biased, but this was my most loved food of the calendar year.”
-Jordan Michelman, Sprudge co-founder and beverage author

“For pure convenience food stuff, I really do not consider I have at any time been as content with any Portland dish as I was with the coconut noodle soup from Major Burmese — it is pure, loaded, creamy bliss. All the things from that cafe team unquestionably slaps (I’m sorry). The only issue that competed was a crunch wrap from Birrieria PDX on 82nd, which is sheer indulgence. For the full working experience, Quaintrelle even now provides it at its new site. Its playful, vibrant tasting menu eschews several of the cliches hooked up to prix fixe dining—it’s neither extremely fussy nor extremely abundant, with enjoyable classes designed with local substances and heaps of herbs and spices more than butter and salt plus, Camille Cavan carries on to make some of the greatest beverages in city.”
-Alex Frane, Eater Portland visitor editor and contributor

“I have hardly eaten within any restaurants given that February 2020 so if a cart counts as a cafe, then my best meal was at the cart Skidbladnir where I experienced not only the wonderful lamb sandwich but also the utterly spectacular Norwegian-model meatballs. This is a dish I reminisce about consistently and probably my top rated food of 2021. If a cart does not depend as a restaurant, then the finest food I had was at Oma’s Hideaway (exterior at a picnic bench) where I experienced an assortment of amazing dishes, most notably the luscious Omazing Burger which blew my intellect with its ground breaking flavors even though even now remaining a fairly-usual burger.” -Bill Oakley, quick foodstuff influencer

“I bear in mind making the most of halibut with lentils in a mango sauce at Features Restaurant. I dined at Acorn & The Oak many times in their outdoor area on Lacamas Lake. I beloved their common wedge salad with a velvety avocado inexperienced goddess dressing and pork and beans with slices of pork tenderloin and creamy borlotti beans garnished with diced peaches and tomatoes. Dining at The Grocery Cocktail & Social built life experience fairly usual again. I practically cried when I returned to my upstairs perch to sip an absinthe-laced Wednesday Addams cocktail and try to eat a Grocery Burger with bacon jam and sweet onions.”
-Rachel Pinsky, Eater Portland contributor, Washington correspondent

• 12 months in Eater [EPDX]

Trisha Anderson

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