Balance in Bridgetown

Picks for Portland Dining Month 2018

Niven Singh1 Comment

IT’S HERE! Portland Dining Month has ARRIVED! 

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There are many things I love about spring in Portland and Portland Dining Month is at the top of the list. For the entire month of March, 100+ restaurants have come together to offer the city of Portland amazing food at an unbeatable price.

For $33, at participating restaurants, the Portland Dining Month order will include an appetizer or first course, main entree and dessert. Not only is the food amazing, the selection and variety amongst the restaurants and types of cuisines are many. 

As you may be able to tell, I’m quite excited about this upcoming month of food adventures. And to do it justice, I've done my research and rounded up the restaurants I’m most excited to check out! Some I've been to before, others will be brand new to me. So if you're looking for recommendations or happen to be visiting this month, take a look at where I'll be dining for Portland Dining Month.

Feastly

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I’m really excited about Feastly. They are an online marketplace that is working to connect adventurous diners with chefs outside of the traditional restaurant setting, with the goal of building a social network of food lovers, like you and I. This means communal tables, larger groups, stories to share and tell, etc. It’s all part of the pop-up dining experience.

So for their Portland Dining Month offering, they’re bringing in different chefs throughout the entire month to bring a truly unique dining experience for that fixed $33. And you can decide which themes or chefs you’re interested in by checking out their website. It’s like Portland Dining Month within Feastly. Very inception-like, if you will.

That said, I highly recommend you jump on reservations if you see a chef or meal that interests you because it may be gone before you know it! And make sure to scroll down before making your reservation… because... well, just because!

My Order: Whatever Feastly puts out because it’s bound to be delicious and exciting.

Departure

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If you haven’t been to Departure before, now is a GREAT time to check it out. The restaurant is located on the top of the Nines Hotel right in the heart of downtown Portland. They offer a modern take on Asian cuisine. And the restaurant also has a selection of unique cocktails and a robust wine list. One of the bigger perks of visiting Departure is that on a clear, dry day, you get stunning views of the city from the rooftop decks. I recommend this spot for a date night, celebration dinner, or if you’re in the mood for something a bit on the fancy side.

First course (choose one):

  • Roasted carrot with smoked cashew, sunchoke, curry and coconut cream
  • Shrimp and lemongrass salad with cucumber, lime, Thai basil and chili
  • Cucumber and lemongrass salad with lime, Thai basil and chili

Second course (choose one):

  • Roasted Pacific snapper with fermented chili and herbs
  • Chicken massaman curry and potato with peanut and coriander
  • Sweet potato massaman curry with peanut and corianders

Third course (choose one):

  • Tart citrus bar with yuzu, Makrut lime, toasted meringue and mint
  • Chocolate ash cake with coconut, pecan and palm sugar caramel
  • Green apple sorbet with buckwheat crumble, sour coconut cream and Thai basil

My Order: Roasted carrots, sweet potato massaman curry and chocolate ash cake (because that sounds unique)

Laurelhurst Market Restaurant & Butcher Shop

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This spot has a special place in my heart as it's where J and I went to celebrate our one year anniversary. And we continue to visit every few years to keep up the celebration, so you know it's got to be good.

Laurelhurst Market is a butcher shop and restaurant that celebrates meat at every level. The menu offers all varieties of meat - everything from amazing charcuterie to a truly amazing burger to amazing steaks to foie gras and more. And the butcher shop offers the opportunity to take a piece of the deliciousness home, with products ranging from bacon to deli meat and more. (The butcher counter is open until 10pm too, so you really can take home some bacon after dinner.)

For Portland Dining Month, Laurelhurst is bringing a pre-fixed menu featuring their 10-hour-braised beef with gnocchi, so I recommend reserving a spot earlier on in the night to avoid them selling out! 

First course:

  • Rapini and chickpea salad with citrus and olive vinaigrette, house made ricotta and mint

Second course:

  • 10-hour-braised beef with gnocchi alla Romana, tomato- and mushroom-gravy and soft herb salad

Third course:

  • Dulce de leche semifreddo with roasted banana, chocolate and hazelnut

My Order: Fixed menu, but I’d eat it all because I know it’s going to be good!


Nel Centro

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Nel Centro is one of my favorite go-to Italian spots in downtown Portland. The ambiance is classic and upscale, the food is always delicious, as is the wine, and they have great options for both vegetarian and meat eaters alike. Known as a modern Italian spot, Nel Centro does a tremendous job of creating rich Italian meals with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant has been a member of Portland Dining Month in the past, and brings back their spring menu to the people once again. Take a look. 

First course (choose one):

  • Mesclun greens with fresh herbs and croutons
  • Cream of cauliflower and fennel

Second course (choose one):

  • Heirloom squash cappellacci with sage, brown butter and hazelnuts
  • Rotisserie chicken with farro, lacinato kale and delicata squash

Third course (choose one):

  • Lemon olive oil cake with strawberry compote and candied basil
  • House made ice cream or sorbet

My Order: Cream of cauliflower and fennel (I’ll eat cauliflower anything), the squash cappellacci (had it before - DELICIOUS) and the house made ice cream


Produce Row

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Located close into the river in SE Portland, Produce Row will be offering up their own PDM menu this year, with some delicious options. Known as a long-standing beer institution in Portland, Produce Row has been around since 1974. It was once owned by the McMenamin Brothers before McMenamin’s was a thing, and recently reopened with a brand new menu and venue. I haven’t been to Produce Row as of yet, but I’ve heard great things from friends all around. Taking a look at their menu, this is a great option for both vegetarian and meat eaters alike as well. Those crispy Brussel Sprouts have my name on ‘em! 

First Course (choose one):

  • Baby kale Caesar salad with parmesan, croutons, fried capers and Caesar dressing
  • Crispy Brussels sprouts with pickled peppers, fried capers and lemon

Second Course (choose one):

  • Pan-seared salmon with creamed fennel, Brussels sprouts, pear mostarda and herbs
  • Dry-aged New York steak with butter-poached fingerlings, celery root purée, romesco and herbs
  • Wild mushroom gnocchi with wilted greens and brown butter cream sauce

Third Course:

  • Carrot cake with whipped mascarpone and carrot ‘chip’
  • Dulce de leche tartlet with Grand Marnier honey and sea salt

My Order: Crispy b-sprouts, wild mushroom gnocchi and dulce de leech tartlet.


Rentata

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Renata is another spot I have yet to visit, so I’m super excited they are a part of Portland Dining Month this year. Located in Central SE Portland, Renata brings seasonal handcrafted pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and grilled entrees to the city using locally sourced ingredients, showcasing the Pacific NW. They do all of this in a unique way while staying true to the Italian heritage. The restaurant is supposed to be beautiful and offer a light and airy ambiance. Apparently, it's so beautiful that it is often booked out for events and weddings, so I can only imagine the value adds to the overall dining experience. 

First Course (choose one):

  • Misticanza with mixed lettuces and pecorino
  • Crostini with ricotta and roasted mushrooms

Second Course (choose one):

  • Casarecce with Bolognese
  • Margherita pizza with tomato, mozzarella, basil and olive oil
  • Roasted chicken with arugula and salsa verde

Third Course (choose one):

  • Chocolate budino with whipped cream and graham cracker
  • Gelato

My Order: Crostini with ricotta and mushrooms, the chicken and chocolate budino! 


And A Feel Good Bonus...
 

Get this. The best part of this WHOLE thing is that by joining in on the festivities, you can benefit the community! Travel Portland partnered with OpenTable once again this year and a donation will be made to Oregon Food Bank’s hunger-relief efforts for EVERY reservation booked at participating restaurants through PortlandDiningMonth.com. Giving back has never been so easy! 

So where are you going to eat for Portland Dining Month?