Of 200+ dishes I ate with unbridled enthusiasm in 2015, from both highly touted and lesser known restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and food carts in Portland, and after much slicing and dicing, here are our absolute favorites.
Just to set the record straight, I don’t eat out daily at every highly touted restaurant in Portland. Nowhere near that. I eat out a few times a week, often casually and modestly, wherever we please, as mood, whim, time, location, and budget dictate on any given day.
So this is a list of MY best bites, rather than an attempt to catalog THE best bites in all of Portland. Who knows what those might be? And in any case, “best” is highly subjective.
I learned early on in Portland to be wary of the culinary sirens whose job it is to keep us enthralled and dashing willy-nilly from one new restaurant to the next–like chickens with our heads cut off.
After being routinely dashed on the rocks by their Circean recommendations, we no longer put much faith in the enchanting writing that too often exceeds my actual experience in the restaurant.
Thus, Portland Eats Best Bites 2015 may or may not mirror the recommendations of others. Plus, I generally laud specific dishes only here, not any restaurant in its entirety.
Also, like most eaters, I’m rife with gustatory preferences, biases, and downright eccentricities. I should have wall plaques in the LunaCafe OtherWorldly Kitchen that read I Love Gluten, Eat Your Butter, and Pass the Damn Salt.
Like my maternal grandmother who lived to 101, subsisting largely on butter, cream, lard, flour, homemade pickles, and love, I eat what I like and laugh at the food pundits when their proclamations are eventually overturned decades after being thrust on a trusting and largely compliant public.
No one’s going to convince me that Blue Star Donuts aren’t righteous and wholesome.
And one last caveat. I’m a light meat eater, using it mostly as a flavoring or component in a recipe rather than in the starring role.
So the one dish you’ll rarely find on my list of personal restaurant faves is the ubiquitous Big Hunk of Meat, which in my opinion is rarely inspired.
My 50+ Portland Best Bites 2015
Click any photo for Slide Show view, complete with restaurant names and corresponding dishes.
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- 6 Best Coffee Shops In Portland For Any Mood | Frugal Portland
- End of Year 2015, Missy Maki, Byron Beck | Right at The Fork (podcast)
- Favorites of 2015 | Eating My Way Thru Portland
- Happy New Year from Vegetarian PDX | Vegetarian PDX
- Karen Brooks’ Best Portland Dishes 2015 | Eat Beat (Portland Monthly)
- Portland’s 100 Best Cheap Eats 2015 — The Complete List | Oregon Live
- Portland Food Carts Year in Review – 2015 | Portland Food Carts
- Portland’s Professional Eaters Reveal Their Best Meals of 2015 | Portland Eater
- The Best Bars In Downtown Portland | Every Day Runaway
- The Places Our Food Critic Returns to on Her Own Time and Dime | Portland Mercury
- The search for America’s best food cities: Portland, Ore. | The Washington Post
- The Thrillist Awards: Portland’s Best New Food & Drink Of 2015 | Thrillist
- The Year in Portland Food, Illustrated | Willamette Week
- When Everything Else Goes Right | Good Stuff Northwest (Kathleen Bauer)
Copyright 2015 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.