September is an amazing time in Portland for the health-conscious--all of the Pacific Northwest’s farm-to-table bounty is at its most...bountiful! Farmers Markets are chock full of colorful offerings, and dining out--fantastic all year round for those who like to keep it nutritious, fresh, sustainable and flavorful--is at its peak. The days are still sunny and long enough to enjoy Portland’s luscious dining scene.
Employ the icons in your Where to Eat Guide brochure to find restaurants that will accommodate the dietary preferences that are a part of your daily practice. Here are a few outstanding Portland picks by neighborhood to get help you get started. To your health!
Noble Rot A glacial well supplies the award-winning Leed-Platinum building and the 3,000 square foot garden on the rooftop of Noble Rot. The vegetables grown here provide the restaurant with seasonal offerings that form a new menu daily. Examples of past featured dishes include Endive, Beet, Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Salad; Fried Avocado, Romaine and White Shrimp Salad; Stuffed Squash with Smoked Eggplant and Quinoa; and Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Potato, Mushroom and Green Bean Hash and a Cambozola Croquette. You won’t forget the view anytime soon!
Shigezo Izakaya Sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name! Japanese Izakayas (pubs) got their start serving saké, then incorporated beer and small plates. Fresh options to enjoy include Poke, Sesame Spinach, California Rolls and Seaweed Salad. Steaming bowls of succulent ramen are also on the menu. Shigezo’s delightful patio dining is adjacent to the South Park Blocks and close to theater venues and shopping.
Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Options, Local/Sustainable
The Heathman Restaurant and Bar Executive Chef Michael Stanton connects with local farmers and vintners to create a delicious menu that showcases Pacific Northwest ingredients prepared in the style of French cuisine. Enjoy farm-to-table meats like rabbit, duck, lamb or fresh seafood. Ask about happy hour and tea service!
Zeus Café A part of the famed McMenamins empire, Zeus Café in the Crystal Hotel serves up a menu that includes produce from their rooftop garden, house baked breads and pastries and seasonal specials. Try the Baked Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas, Collard Greens, Wild Mushrooms, Fontina and Bread Crumbs, or the Pan Seared Steelhead Trout with Couscous Risotto, Smoked Wild Mushrooms, Pickled Fennel and Orange. Pair it with a Prohibition Era-style cocktail, a selection from the extensive wine list, or one of McMenamins’ microbrews--then pop by next door for a show at the Crystal Ballroom!
The Pearl District:
Daily in the Pearl Stumptown coffee, whole grain baked goods and produce from local growers will keep you big and strong (and happy!) dining at Daily in the Pearl. The Farmer’s Vegetable Plate, for example, is comprised of arugula, Oregon strawberries, cracked black peppers, strawberry vinaigrette and goat cheese. Or tuck into blueberry-cornmeal griddle cakes and chicken-apple sausage at the outstanding weekend brunch. You will be sure to leave feeling nourished.
Gluten-free Options, Local/Sustainable
Park Kitchen Ingredients have taken a very short journey from local farms to your table at Park Kitchen. Ask about the Chef’s Supper, a family-style meal preparation of at least eight of the Chef’s seasonal favorites. Or select hot or cold small plates and dinner entrées from the regular menu. Gluten-free/celiac-friendly options (there are plenty!) are highlighted with a star. Enjoy the verdant North Park Blocks next door, adjacent to Pacific Northwest College of Art’s new headquarters, and swing by their art gallery before or after your meal! This is an experience guaranteed to nourish your senses.
Local/Seasonal, Vegan Choices
Zaatar Zaatar is the name of a spice blend that is said to make your mind alert and your body strong. At this family-friendly Lebanese café, traditional dishes like hummus and baba ghanouj are made fresh daily. Authentic Turkish coffee and house made desserts are sure to delight you. Try the dinner for two!
Café Nell French-inspired American cuisine featuring Pacific Northwest ingredients is served in a cozy, welcoming environment at Café Nell. Dine on the patio or enjoy the fireside indoors. Feast on fresh and healthy menu items like Seafood Ceviche and Kohlrabi Caesar Salad. Ask about Café Nell’s famous brunch and Date Night Thursday!
Serratto Enjoy the flavors of Italy, France and the greater Mediterranean region made with local, seasonal ingredients, paired with choice selections from Serratto’s extensive wine list. Your lunch, happy hour or dinner could include Anderson Ranches Lamb Osso Buco, Rabbit Lasagna, Squid Ink Fettuccine or Sweet Potato Empanadas. Want to host a family gathering, reunion or celebration that features a fresh, colorful menu? Ask about Serratto’s private dining arrangements.
Local/Seasonal, Vegetarian Options
Le Vieux A relative newcomer to the Northwest neighborhood, Le Vieux presents rustic, old world cuisine in a cozy setting. The personal touch is created by a fun backstory of how owners Brian and Annette met and came to open Le Vieux. The result is an experience similar to eating at the house of very good friends--friends who happen to know how to cook comforting, nourishing food exceptionally well. Brunch options include Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, and dinner may feature Braised Rabbit, Duck Breast “Cassoulet” or Roasted King Salmon and end with warm Double Chocolate Mousse. Come again soon!
Organic, Local/Sustainable, Vegetarian Options
Meriwether’s Restaurant and Skyline Farm It doesn’t get much fresher than dishes prepared with produce harvested from your own farm 20 minutes away! With all the produce served in the restaurant grown on Skyline Farm, Meriwether’s is one of the only true farm-to-table restaurants in the nation. Try the Fritto Misto, a salad of fresh vegetables with curry dressing, a Bowl of Seasonal Soup, House Made Focaccia, Chanterelle Risotto or a Sudan Lamb Loin! The location is also an important part of Portland history--it’s situated on the site of the 1905 World’s Fair, the “Lewis and Clark Exposition.”
Photo Credits: Park Kitchen & Cafe Nell