Not only does Portland have an amazing food and beverage scene, the performing arts are also pretty spectacular! Sometimes, though, finding a place to enjoy a meal near the theater before the show can be tricky. Also, who doesn’t want to enjoy a glass of wine, a cocktail or a dessert afterwards to discuss the performance? Here are some Where To Eat Guide selections to help make your theater-going experience memorable:
Portland’5 Centers for the Arts contains five theaters in three venues, hosting dozens of local and travelling performing arts companies, including Portland Opera/Broadway in Portland, Oregon Ballet Theatre, White Bird Dance, Metropolitan Community Theater and Stumptown Stages. The famous Portland marquee lights up Broadway on top of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall at 1037 SW Broadway, a Portland’5 concert hall established by one of Portland’s most beloved philanthropists. Across the street at 1111 SW Broadway is the Antoinette Hatfield Hall, another Portland’5 facility, which contains three performance spaces: the Winningstad, Newmark and Brunish Theaters. The final venue of the five in Portland’5 is the Keller Auditorium at 222 SW Clay St not far from the South Waterfront, which hosts many of the travelling Broadway shows. You can look forward to appearances by Trevor Noah, Oregon Ballet Theatre’s “Giants”, Ringo Starr and His All- Starr Band, Norah Jones and “In My Life - A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” at Portland’5 venues.
Eat here: Savor a convenient and tasty pre-theater dinner of Brazilian meats at Fogo De Chao, 930 SW Ave, succulent seafood and excellent wine at RingSide Fish House, 838 SW Park Ave, or Japanese bar food at Shigezo Izakaya, 910 SW Salmon St. After the show, enjoy a glass of wine at Swank and Swine or some moonshine in its Swine Bar at 808 SW Taylor St. Alternatively, head over to The Rookery Bar at Raven and Rose, 1331 SW Broadway, for a bit of Butterscotch Pudding with whipped cream and toasted streusel or a Chocolate Soufflé Tart with bing cherries and malted milk ice cream. Attending a show at Keller Auditorium? Enjoy Central and South American dishes served “tapas-style” right next door to the theater at Amili (200 SW Market Street).
Portland is also home to Portland Center Stage, 128 NW Eleventh Ave, a nationally renowned theater organization. The gorgeous historic Armory where PCS is located is LEED Platinum certified and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It contains two performance spaces: The US Bank Main Stage and the more intimate Ellyn Bye Studio, in which Portland Center Stage presents roughly a dozen works each year, from the classics to cutting edge. This year, watch for “Little Shop of Horrors”, “The Oregon Trail”, “Astoria” (a World Premiere) and “Wild and Reckless: A New Musical Event from Blitzen Trapper” (also a World Premiere).
Eat here: The Steak Tartare Board or famous Double Brie Burger at Little Bird Bistro, 215 SW 6th Ave. Park Kitchen, 422 NW 8th Ave, is a lovely pick for some Salt Cod Fritters or Heirloom Tomato Soup before the show during Happy Hour from five to six. After the performance, swirl a pre-Prohibition era style cocktail or sip a McMenamins microbrew at Zeus Café, 303 SW 12th Ave, while you relive the experience.
Last, don’t miss the thought-provoking productions at Artists Repertory Theatre at 1515 SW Morrison St, conveniently located adjacent to the Providence Park MAX Light Rail stop. The space contains two stages, the Morrison Stage and the Alder Stage. In addition to presenting National and World Premieres, Artists Rep provides hospitality to other performing arts organizations with Arts Hub. Through a grant from Oregon Community Foundation Creative Heights, Artists Rep is presenting Table|Room|Stage, a new play development program focused on creating opportunities for underrepresented playwrights. The upcoming season will deal with themes of family and happiness. Watch for fantastic shows like “American Hero” by Bess Wohl, “A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, “The Talented Ones” By Yussef El Guindi and a gender-bending production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde.
Eat here: Make it an elegant evening with happy hour or dinner at RingSide Steakhouse, 2165 W Burnside. The 3-Course Supper Menu is gorgeous, with a choice of Mixed Greens or Baked Onion Soup, followed by Surf & Turf, Oregon Free Range “Brick” Chicken or Wild King Salmon, then finished with Crème Brûlée. Arrive early so you’ll have plenty of time to slowly enjoy your meal before heading over to the theater on time (tell your server you have theater tickets). After the show, dip into a shared fondue at Urban Fondue’s Bartini, 2114 NW Glisan St, with your theater companions and clink some cocktails from their extensive martini menu while you toast to a fabulous evening of culture!