10 Best-Designed Places to Eat and Drink in Portland, Oregon

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By Melissa Dalton
From vegan pizza to Korean dumplings, Portland has a diverse range of cafes, bars, and restaurants to explore.

As Oregon's largest city, Portland is known for its top-notch food scene, and artsy, laid-back vibe. Creativity abounds across its five quadrants, whether it's delivered via chefs, bartenders, baristas, or designers. Check out these 10 spots to get a taste.

Tusk

2448 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97214

The motto for Tusk, a Middle Eastern restaurant on East Burnside, is "locally sourced, aggressively seasonal" and makes for a fitting descriptor of its vegetable-forward menu. In order to convey "a sitting-outside-under-a-shady-arbor feeling," local firm Jessica Helgerson Interior Design dreamed up an elaborate framework of bleached wood dowels for the ceiling, then carried the detail down to the custom shelving. "A meal here feels like a mini vacation to a sunnier climate," write the designers. 

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Above the bar, a large photo of Keith Richards floating in a swimming pool is juxtaposed against the pale colors and caramel leather scheme, conjuring a fun, rock-and-roll vibe.

Above the bar, a large photo of Keith Richards floating in a swimming pool is juxtaposed against the pale colors and caramel leather scheme, conjuring a fun, rock-and-roll vibe.

Bespoke shelves at Tusk, which was named for the Fleetwood Mac album.

Bespoke shelves at Tusk, which was named for the Fleetwood Mac album.


Virtuous Pie

1126 SE Division Street,Portland, OR 97202

Virtuous Pie is no ordinary pizza and ice cream shop. Its 100-percent plant-based menu is the first clue, with a close second being the chic interior as executed by Bright Designlab. The firm was inspired by the concept of a "modern picnic," mixing gingham wallpaper with a custom-designed communal table and elegant brass lighting.

The vegan pizza and ice cream bar features a reclaimed wood counter, dark green Muuto Nerd stools, and Clé tile on the stair risers.

The vegan pizza and ice cream bar features a reclaimed wood counter, dark green Muuto Nerd stools, and Clé tile on the stair risers.

The communal table was designed by Bright Designlab and fabricated by Reed LaPlant.

The communal table was designed by Bright Designlab and fabricated by Reed LaPlant.

Tea Bar

1055 NW Northrup, Portland, OR 97209

At Tea Bar, owner Erica Indira Swanson "serves high-quality tea in a modern setting." To that end, she conjured a soothing, minimalist environment to sip in, by setting classic Hans Wegner wishbone chairs against a backdrop of white walls, maple counters, and concrete floors. "My goal was to create a space that reflected my Scandinavian heritage, a space that felt warm and welcoming to everyone," Swanson said. "From our menu to the interior of each Tea Bar, our focus is on quality over quantity."

For Tea Bar, Swanson chose lighting from local outfit Schoolhouse Electric, including the Isaac Pendent.

For Tea Bar, Swanson chose lighting from local outfit Schoolhouse Electric, including the Isaac Pendent.

Bistro Agnes 

527 SW 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205

When Greg and Gabrielle Denton set out to create Bistro Agnes, their restaurant centered around traditional French comfort food, they wanted the interior to evoke all of the elegance of a classic French bistro without any of the cliché. The starting point for their design was the beautiful Spanish floor tile from Design and Direct Source, the tile's mis-matched patterns evoking just the right balance between cozy, approachable, and fun. 

The rest of the bistro's palette, from the camel leather banquettes to the aquamarine accent wall, was chosen to complement the beautiful floor tile.

The rest of the bistro's palette, from the camel leather banquettes to the aquamarine accent wall, was chosen to complement the beautiful floor tile.

Shizuku

1237 SW Jefferson Street,  Portland, OR 97201

Chef Naoko, who helms the downtown Shizuku, has been bringing authentic Japanese cuisine to Portland since 2008. For Shizuku's design, she tapped internationally renowned architect Kengo Kuma, whom she met while he was overseeing the expansion of the Portland Japanese Garden.

Kuma and his team suspended large swaths of bamboo screens from the ceiling. "Instead of hanging it with the filaments arranged horizontally, we turned the bamboo screens ninety-degrees so that the strands were oriented vertically," architect Balazs Bognar told Eater PDX. "It’s an age-old material, but used in a new way."

Kuma and his team suspended large swaths of bamboo screens from the ceiling. "Instead of hanging it with the filaments arranged horizontally, we turned the bamboo screens ninety-degrees so that the strands were oriented vertically," architect Balazs Bognar told Eater PDX. "It’s an age-old material, but used in a new way."

A dry garden designed by Portland Japanese Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama is a focal point, and the chairs and tables were crafted by Graham Bell.

A dry garden designed by Portland Japanese Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama is a focal point, and the chairs and tables were crafted by Graham Bell.


Driftwood Room

729 SW 15th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205

Once dubbed Portland's sexiest bar, the Driftwood Room, located downtown in the Hotel DeLuxe, has been serving craft cocktails since 1954, and the cozy, dimly lit interior beckons couples to hide away for a round or two.

Exposed brick walls, a curved bar and yellow, serpentine booth, and low lighting make for the ideal backdrop to curl up with a classic cocktail.

Exposed brick walls, a curved bar and yellow, serpentine booth, and low lighting make for the ideal backdrop to curl up with a classic cocktail.

Dame

2930 NE Killingsworth Street, Portland, OR 97217

Dame is an intimate neighborhood spot that celebrates Pacific Northwest cuisine and natural wine. For the interior, designer Jasmine Vaughan of Maxwell Gray Interiors, sought to conjure a simple and sophisticated palette, dotted with thoughtful treasures. The lush pattern of the Eskayel wallpaper ensconces diners while natural elements, like the custom rift cut white oak tabletops and marble bar, feel nice underhand.

The original oak floors were restored to reveal the patina. White oak shelving, made by local outfit Jewell Hardwoods, displays the wine selection and an assortment of art. The custom pendant lights above the tables are by local designer Nash Martinez of Current Collection.

The original oak floors were restored to reveal the patina. White oak shelving, made by local outfit Jewell Hardwoods, displays the wine selection and an assortment of art. The custom pendant lights above the tables are by local designer Nash Martinez of Current Collection.

A dark blue leather banquette with a brass kick-plate syncs with the Eskayel wallpaper.

A dark blue leather banquette with a brass kick-plate syncs with the Eskayel wallpaper.

Han Oak

511 NE 24th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232

There's nothing conventional about Han Oak, the "non-traditional Korean-American family restaurant" situated between Glisan Street and Sandy Boulevard. You're forgiven if you can't immediately find the entrance, tucked as it is into an unassuming facade behind a small parking lot. Once inside, there's a patch of lawn and a rolling garage door, the latter revealing several communal tables, open shelves with dishes and well-thumbed cookbooks, and the hive of the kitchen. Han Oak's space was designed by Brett Schulz Architects, and evokes the spontaneity and approachability of the ever-evolving menu.

Han Oak's informal interior provides the perfect backdrop for its exciting cuisine.

Han Oak's informal interior provides the perfect backdrop for its exciting cuisine.

Dapper & Wise Coffee Roasters

3158 SE Division Street, Portland, OR 97202 

No list of Portland establishments is complete without a coffee bar. Dapper & Wise is both modern and welcoming, thanks to its timeworn chevron floor, brass lighting, handmade live-edge tables, and Heath Ceramics tile. "We want a place where coffee connoisseurs can come geek out with us, but not feel stuffy," said owner Tyler Geel.

Lots of windows bring in lots of natural light at Dapper & Wise Coffee Roasters.

Lots of windows bring in lots of natural light at Dapper & Wise Coffee Roasters.

The dark-hued wallpaper from Rifle Paper offsets the brass sconces from Schoolhouse Electric.

The dark-hued wallpaper from Rifle Paper offsets the brass sconces from Schoolhouse Electric.

Q

828 SW Second Avenue, Portland, OR 97204 

When Veritable Quandary, a Portland institution on the culinary scene, closed down to make way for a new county courthouse a few years ago, the head chef and much of the staff reopened the restaurant as Q, located just four blocks away. While Q pays homage to the original menu with staples like bacon-wrapped dates and osso bucco, the interior saw a reinvention in the hands of interior designer Andee Hess of Osmose Design. She deftly transformed a nondescript retail space using a variety of wood species, black granite, and Art Deco-inspired millwork. 

A rosewood coffered ceiling, swanky black banquette, black granite bar, and intricate millwork greet you at Q.

A rosewood coffered ceiling, swanky black banquette, black granite bar, and intricate millwork greet you at Q.

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