Thinking about a Saturday night dinner with a couple friends, we made reservations in 2 places. But eventually, went with Jake’s Famous Crawfish because that just felt right. I’ve seen the name so many times when I search for top restaurants in the city, couldn’t wait to try it out.
This is Portland’s 2nd oldest restaurant that is still in business. Dating back to 1892, this is a 130 years old eatery in the heart of bustling downtown Portland, serving classic seafood dishes. Some of their menu items still use recipes from the early 1900s. Celebrities like Madonna, Michael Jordan, and many more added to its golden history by enjoying meals here over the last many decades. This is a piece from their menu worth sharing: “Menus are crafted and printed each day, after the early morning delivery of seafood and shellfish from the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico. Locally sourced produce and ingredients ensure unmatched freshness.” No wonder it has scored to be on the nation’s top 10 restaurants few times.
This is relatively a big and upscale restaurant which can accommodate many people in a few different sections. There are also tables and chairs outside by the street if the weather permits. We made a reservation for the Saturday night, but I feel like it’s so big…we could have gotten a table without booking anything earlier. With a fancy interior, stain glass roof, chandeliers, old fashioned charm, and elegant furniture, this is a place where you would want to celebrate an occasion, like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or take that special someone for a date night.
The menu is packed with tons of seafood appetizers, soups, salads, and main courses. There are some other meaty options too. Try their fresh and warm bread and butter that come right after you sit down. From crawfish, to Dungeness crabs to shrimp, salmon, steelhead, lobster, to anything…this place has it all.
After hearing few of the recommendations from our server (horseradish crusted steelhead and etouffee), we started with some appetizers – Dungeness crab and bay shrimp cakes in ginger/jalapeño aioli and pan fried oysters with tartar sauce. I am from Maryland and have had some of the best crab cakes in my life, but this crab and shrimp cake was just PERFECT. And for oysters, I usually go for fresh oysters, but this time pan fried sounded adventurous and wanted to try it…very delicate yet crunchy and fresh.
For dinner, we had a bowl of seafood medley, called “Jake’s Traditional Bouillabaisse” where a bowl of light broth contained mussels, clams, scallops, prawns, salmon, and crab legs with a couple garlic breads. This was more like a soup than a stew, but the size is way too big for me (no complain, had a doggy bag to bring back with me). We also tried stuffed cod with veges and mashed potatoes.
You gotta reserve Jake’s Famous Crawfish for those special nights when you want to impress your guests who value good Pacific Northwest seafood classics. The place is definitely not a cheap one…but I don’t mind spending money on an unforgettable place or plates, that also gives me unforgettable memories.