Tag Archives: downtown

Southpark Seafood on Salmon St, Portland Downtown

Couple weeks ago, four of my travel chicas and I went out for a dinner get together in one of the best seafood places in Portland downtown. FYI, our travel pack, which consists of 5 girls, has traveled to Cabo, Mexico and Punta Cana, DR so far, our next trip is coming up soon later this year for some girl time fun.

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Seafood/oyster bar inside Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

For dinner that Sunday evening, we wanted to go to Tusk at first, then stopped at Mediterranean Exploration Company…but waiting time was more than an hour in both places. So, while looking for something nearby and considering a previous recommendation, we ended up going to Southpark Seafood on Salmon Street…only couple minutes drive from Portland waterfront. The restaurant is about 20 years old but it has upgraded its reputation recently in the last few years.

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The bar inside in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

Southpark Seafood is a contemporary and stylish restaurant where you want to bring your loved ones for a grand treat or to celebrate an extra special event. It can be a bit noisy but I admired that casual ambiance here. The restaurant features sustainable seafood with a daily changing menu. They not only compost all their food waste and practice the reduce/reuse/recycle diligently, but also use straws made from corn and bar picks made of wood. If you happen to be an environmentalist AND an oyster lover, like me, they have one of the largest selections of oysters in town.

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Clam chowder with gnocchi in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

For appetizers and entrees, we had half a dozen oysters, clam chowder with gnocchi, Salmon Poke with seaweed/radish/nuts with sesame crackers, burger, Manila Clams with garlic/chili flake, Fried chicken with peanuts/maple syrup, Garlic Confit brick oven pizza with lemon zest/parsley, and Squid Ink Fettuccine with manila clams/tomato/scallions. At the end, we had an order of Warm Banana Bread Pudding which came with caramel, candied walnuts, and bruléed bananas. I tried every single dish from my friends’ and my small plates, except for the clam chowder and the Manila clams, and I don’t remember tasting something and going “Oh, I don’t like this one” for any dish in Southpark Seafood. Everything that I’ve tasted had unique flavors and signature touch to it.

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Manila clams and oysters in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

Oysters that we had were the freshest, although, taste-wise, I probably liked the ones in Dan & Louise better. What I’ve heard from my friends about clam chowder was that it was creamy with the perfect combination of thickness and flavor that came with small sizes of gnocchi. Salmon Poke was probably the best one that really stood out on our table. It’s raw salmon with crunchy nuts and seaweed…a simple yet so yummy small plate that we could eat it for a main portion of dinner. I don’t usually eat burgers at a seafood restaurant but it was definitely beyond my expectation. Same for the fried chicken…something I wouldn’t have tried at a seafood place, especially I with maple syrup (bummer). But my friend requested the syrup on the side…therefore, the fried chicken alone tasted excellent crunchiness outside and super soft inside texture. The oven baked thin crust pizza was also very authentic and aromatic. My second favorite here, after the Salmon Poke, was my dish “Squid Ink Fettuccine”. Phew, the dish came with some gorgeous manila clams in a medium portion. The added tomato and scallion kicked this squid ink pasta dish to another level of elegance…totally got my umami effect from this. To end the mean, bread pudding was presented delicately on a wooden board…warm with candied nuts and caramelized banana slices, couldn’t have been any better.

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Salmon Poke in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

Some of the other highlighted items in the menu were seafood stew, fish and chips, different kinds of salads, soups, sandwiches, habanero aioli fries, grilled octopus and scallops, Ahi Tuna, dungeness crab, King salmon, seafood tower that includes oysters/crab/tuna/scallops/prawns with assorted sauce, pasta with lamb ragu, beet + goat cheese ravioli, and a whole lot of other very appetizing dishes. For the dessert menu, other than the banana bread pudding that we ordered, it also includes lemon cheesecake, German chocolate cake, cookie plate, gelato, sorbet, and some more.

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My Squid Ink Fettuccine dish in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

It’s not just the food, but their friendly and fast service also that gave all of us a beautiful evening. Plan to park in a paid area or find a street parking for this restaurant. It’s a big restaurant…mostly likely, you won’t reservation for a small or big group. No doubt, I would highly recommend this to all of my people…come and check it out, let me know which dish you liked the most.

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Our dessert – Warm Banana Bread Pudding in Southpark Seafood, Portland, OR

Dan & Louis Oyster Bar – Portland

I think I finally got a perfect place to get fresh seafood dishes in Portland. That means, I don’t have to drive to the coastal towns when I am craving some good quality oysters or chowder. I don’t know if it happens to you, but once in a while I literally crave for fresh/top quality oysters. And it was one of those nights when it hit me that I needed some oysters. My friend and I searched some places and the place we initially wanted to go was closed. So, we had to look for another nearby place where we could to devour some oysters.

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Outside of Dan & Louis Oyster Bar in Portland, OR

Located in the heart of Old Portland, Dan & Louis Oyster Bar is an old-school seafood stop for the seafood lovers. With nautical decors and port-city atmosphere inside plus a cool outdoor sitting arrangements, this place has been serving oysters and chowders since 1907. It’s not just the decor, but the friendly service, absolutely delicious food, and the steeped history that made me a big fan of this gem in my city. This is a must stop if you love freshest seafood options in a classic restaurant that has been owned by five generations of the family for over 100 years…makes this the oldest family owned restaurant in Portland, Oregon.

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Inside Dan & Louis Oyster Bar in Portland, OR

Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, as the name implies, is specialized in oysters, although every dish we ordered was outstanding and was made to perfection. Honestly, it is a bit hard to order from the menu when everything there sounds so mouth-watering. We had half a dozen of “Oysters on the Half Shell”, Oysters Parmesan, clam chowder, Seafood Saute with the choices of prawns and calamari. As I said before, these fresh Northwest oysters here are to die for. The Oysters Parmesan are large fresh shucked oysters baked with Parmesan and garlic butter…you can’t have enough of them. The chowder was yet one of the best I’ve tried so far…flawless combination of seafood, potato, and creaminess…blended with terrific flavors. Finally, the only main entree we ordered was the saute seafood with prawns and calamari that came with slightly fried thin zucchini slices.  This dish was served with perfectly cooked prawns and calamari. Seriously, I can’t say enough of this place…you just gotta come and try it.

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Oysters on half shells and baked oysters in Dan & Louis Oyster Bar in Portland, OR

They also have fish tacos, different kinds of sandwiches, all sorts of fried seafood options, smoked seafood varieties, gumbo, grilled fish, and etc. I am sure, whatever types of seafood you are looking for, you will find it in Dan & Louis Oyster Bar. This is a great place to celebrate any special occasion or just to hang out with friends on a Friday night or to bring your date for a fancy yet casual dinner. And yes, I am going back there AGAIN.

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Sauted prawns and calamari in Dan & Louis Oyster Bar in Portland, OR

 

Duck House Chinese Restaurant

If you are looking for one of the best Szechuan style Chinese restaurants in PDX downtown, then look no more. Dinner at Duck House was a delectable treat from a friend and her husband last Friday night. We didn’t make any reservation and waited about 45 minutes to get a table. This place was packed and people were constantly coming in small groups. Little tip: try putting your in name in Yelp, so you don’t have to wait in the line.

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Outside of Duck House Chinese Restaurant in Portland, OR downtown

This hot Chinese spot is located on 5th Ave near PSU campus, surrounded by many other small food-carts on the opposite street. Only street parking is available. Once you are inside, it’s a modern and buzzing eatery with a bar on one-side.

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Our appetizers: green onion pancakes (left) and vegetable dumplings (right)

The only disappointing dish we got that evening for appetizer was the green onion pancakes…it was nothing extraordinary and lacked flavors. We also ordered a plate of vegetable dumplings…they were big and green and good. They have lots of other options for dumplings (like with shrimp, egg, pork, beef, and even lamb) and pot stickers on their menu. Another mouth-watering teaser to order (if you like the texture) is their Wood Ear Fungus with pickled chili..spicy, crunchy, and perfectly cooked.

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Wood Ear Fungus with pickled chili and Squid with Pickled Chili in Duck House in Portland, OR

But for the main dinner entrees, everything that we ordered…scored a big time. To begin with, we were all amazed how the shrimp fried rice tasted OHHH…SOOO good, which was simple and traditional. We also ordered this not-so-usual beef dish, called Beef Hot & Spicy Dried Pot (under Szechuan Hot and Spicy Dried Pot)…this is a unique beef dish that has absolutely no gravy and was sauted/cooked with vegetables. The only comment we had on this, that it could have used a bit more salt…but then again, it’s a people’s preference. For the dried pot, there were also few options of lamb, intestines, chicken wings, prawns, tofu, and mixed mushrooms. Now, for two of my most favorites from that night in Duck House were the Mongolian Chicken and Squid with Pickled Chili, which was, by the way, recommended by our waiter. Mongolian Chicken was perfectly seasoned with right amount of heat for us (we actually told our waiter to make it extra spicy) with little bit of gravy. Finally the Squid with Pickled Chili was something I’ve never had before and something any seafood lover would love.

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Beef Hot & Spicy Dried Pot in Duck House in Portland, OR

Duck House is a both fancy and casual place to hang out with your friends or family or co-workers. This is a great place to even celebrate an occasion. But the quality of food they serve, I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes extra kick and spiciness in their food. And by the way, although it’s called Duck House, but you won’t find any duck in the menu.

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Mongolian Chicken in Duck House in Portland, OR

Portland Mongolian Grill & Hot Pot

Just couple blocks from my work in downtown, Portland Mongolian Grill & Hot Pot is my go to place for spicy oriental noodles exactly that way I want. It’s a oriental buffet place near the water park which is great for any meal for any casual occasions.

Portland Mongolian Grill and Hot Pot
Portland Mongolian Grill and Hot Pot

From wide variety of fresh vegetables and proteins, the customers will fill up their bowls with items of their choices, pour all sorts of different flavors (like hot oil, garlic/ginger water, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and etc) on the ingredients and take it to the grilling area. The very friendly attendees will dump the whole bowl on the hot grill and cook it to perfection within few minutes. You can come back as many times as you want and fill your bowl and take it to the grilling station.

Fresh items to choose from in Portland Mongolian Grill & Hot Pot
Fresh items to choose from in Portland Mongolian Grill & Hot Pot

If you are there for the first time, my suggestion is that don’t fill up your bowls with too much noodles or other stuff. Try and see which sauce or flavored liquid you like and how much of it you like on top of your food. Since the cook won’t add anything to your food, it kind of depends on you how you are flavoring your dish. It may taste very bland for the first time if you don’t add enough herbs and sauces.

My bowl of raw ingredients ready to be cooked in Portland Mongolian Grill & Hot Pot
My bowl of raw ingredients ready to be cooked in Portland Mongolian Grill & Hot Pot

There are also soup and plain rice that comes with the buffet price. I have never tried it but Portland Mongolian Grill & Hot Pot also has hot pot items where you can cook your own items on your table in hot broth.

And it's cooked
And it’s cooked

I love this place for any quick lunch while I am at work (or get a take out box) or bring my kids for an informal dinner. If you have never tried a Mongolian grill place, this will be a very nice to start with.

Dar Salam Lazurdi – Iraqi Kitchen in Portland Downtown

Dar Salam Lazurdi in Portland Downtown

Located in the heart of Portland downtown and very close to the waterfront park, Dar Salam Lazurdi is an authentic Iraqi restaurant that serves 100% halal dishes to all their customers. There is another Dar Salam location somewhere in Portland but I have dined in this downtown location couple times now and I loved it all the way. Just come prepared, you may have to park in the hourly garage or by the street

Inside Dar Salam Lazurdi in Portland Downtown
Inside Dar Salam Lazurdi in Portland Downtown

I have come here during weekday lunch time with my colleagues and weekend dinner with my family. Both of the times, the place was somewhat packed. It’s a beautiful restaurant with elegant decors and exquisite interior war mural and paintings that depicts Iraqi culture and landscape. And that’s why I think this is a perfect place to celebrate an occasion or bring someone special for a fine dining. Dar Salam also has a small sitting arrangement outside but most of the time that doesn’t help much with our rainy weather.

Now, let’s come to food. First time I was here with my co-workers was during lunch time. You can order from the menu but we went for the buffet. That was a good option for me since I wanted to try different dishes. The buffet gives you option of fish, meat, wide variety of vegetables, rice, dips, and soup. Every single item on that buffet was very tasty and flavorful…no doubt.

Lamb shank in Dar Salam Lazurdi in Portland Downtown
Lamb shank in Dar Salam Lazurdi in Portland Downtown

For the second time, I was there on a Saturday evening with my kids and uncle. This time we ordered from the menu (don’t think they have buffet for dinner) and honestly, we were all satisfied with all of our plates. Our lamb shank, chicken kababs, and beef kababs with rice and salad.

Beef and chicken kababs in Dar Salam Lazurdi in Portland Downtown
Beef and chicken kababs in Dar Salam Lazurdi in Portland Downtown

For desserts…um, I’ve had better tasting baklavas than Dar Salam. Other sweets that we ordered were either too sweet or not what we expected. But I’d love to bring my friends or out of state guests to enjoy their food again. This is a perfect place especially for those who are on strict halal/kosher diet.

Desserts in Dar Salam Lazurdi in Portland Downtown
Desserts in Dar Salam Lazurdi in Portland Downtown

Q Restaurant & Bar

I used to eye this restaurant after I started working in the downtown area. It looked so modern inside and out and I used to just wish having a meal there someday with my people.

Inside Q Restaurant and Bar in Portland Downtown
Inside Q Restaurant and Bar in Portland Downtown

First time I stepped inside  Q Restaurant and Bar was with a friend for dinner. We both had seafood dishes…seafood stew and pasta with seafood (I think). Both were fantastic and made to perfection. We got some freshly baked warm bread and butter to accompany the dishes. Finally to finish off we had a pomegranate dessert and home-made Turkish coffee ice-cream.

Seafood pasta in Q Restaurant and Bar
Seafood pasta in Q Restaurant and Bar

Next time I was in Q Restaurant and Bar was with my uncle and kids for a late Saturday brunch. Their brunch is open until 3pm on weekends. Although the menu is short and may seem like doesn’t have much options, you can create your own breakfast from their side orders. While one of my daughters was up for seafood stew for her breakfast, rest of us had vege benedict which came with potato cake, sauted vegetables and 2 eggs.

Vege benedict in Q Restaurant and Bar
Vege benedict in Q Restaurant and Bar

Their menu covers from soup and salads to variety of main entrees. Small plates are available under appetizers. Their main entrees change almost every night…but whatever you order, I can almost assure you that you won’t regret it.

Our desserts in Q Restaurant and Bar

My first impression of this restaurant is WOW. They have the best customer service with very friendly waiters/waitresses and a perfect location in downtown near the water front. Park your car inside the World Trade Center underground parking or by the street. This is a fantastic place to celebrate a special occasion or take someone for a date night or just for a cozy brunch with family on weekends.

Kachka – Russian Style Dining

When was the last time you went to a restaurant that is perfect in every aspect? If you haven’t experienced that recently, then you should check out Kachka in Portland. Kachka is a very popular Russian/Ukranian restaurant or maybe the only one of its kind here worth trying out.

Inside Kachka in Portland
Inside Kachka in Portland

Last week we had our annual company kick-off. Thursday was the team-dinner with all of our on-site and remote colleagues. We all met up at Kachka after work in the evening and for me, this was the first time there.

From outside, Kachka may not look all that fancy. But it does have a modern office-type brick and glass exterior. Once I was inside, it looked very opposite from it’s outer look. Interior was fancier with more colors, had loud music, closely arranged tables, and cheerful customers. The waitress who was serving us was very friendly, polite, answered my questions very patiently, and even suggested some items to try.

Cheese stuffed dough (top) and Uzbek bread with sheep cheese (bottom) at Kachka in Portland
Cheese stuffed dough (top) and Uzbek bread with sheep cheese (bottom) at Kachka in Portland

We were eight of us and if I am not mistaking, we ordered about 7 or 8 different types of appetizers to start with. The best part was that we all tried and shared little bit from each plate. And I am not lying a bit, every single appetizer that I’ve tried was made to perfection. Some appetizers you must try here are the herring “under a fur coat”, imerulian khachapuri (smoked cheese wrapped in a crunchy dough), variety of dumplings…especially the sour cherry dumplings, assorted pickled vegetables, and Uzbek-style brindza bread with sheep cheese spread.

Herring "under a fur coat" at Kachka in Portland
Herring “under a fur coat” at Kachka in Portland

For the main course, I had chicken skewer. And again…another tasty kebab dish that came with shredded carrot salad. The dish doesn’t come with any carbs which may seem small for some people. But for me, since I had the opportunity to taste multiple kinds of appetizers…the size was perfect for me.

My chicken skewer with yummy shredded carrot salad at Kachka in Portland
My chicken skewer with yummy shredded carrot salad at Kachka in Portland

I’ve been telling all my friends in Portland to try Kachka. I loved their food, customer service, atmosphere, decoration, and everything. I still crave their pickled vegetables and sour cherry dumplings…sooo good. This is a place where I would bring someone near and dear to my heart to treat them in a special place…this is how much I loved this place.

Dragonwell Bistro – PDX Downtown

About a block away from my workplace and very close to the Portland downtown waterfront, Dragonwell Bistro is probably my new favorite Asian place for now (not that I’ve explored much of Asian restaurants in this area). This would definitely be my go-to place whenever I am craving Chinese/Thai/Mongolian food for lunch during weekdays.

Dragonwell Bistro in PDX Downtown

Plan to park at a nearby garage or find a street parking if you want to dine in Dragonwell Bistro. Once you are inside and seated, it is a nice place to sit down, relax, and enjoy the downtown atmosphere. This would also be a great place to bring your friends or family to hangout or celebrate an occasion. The price is reasonable and the restaurant has wide variety of options from soups, curries, vegetarian plates, seafood, meat, gluten-free, and spicy dishes. Their dinner menu definitely has more items than the lunch menu.

Inside Dragonwell Bistro in PDX Downtown

My first time at Dragonwell Bistro, for lunch, I had scallop in spicy tangy sauce with white rice. I received the perfect portion of rice with scallop and mixed veges. To be honest, this was one of the best scallops I had in an Asian restaurant for a long time. I could feel the crunchiness outside of each scallop and tender/juicy bite inside it. It was perfectly seasoned with little bit of thick gravy mixed in with different kinds of vegetables.

Scallop in spicy tangy sauce in Dragonwell Bistron in Portland Downtown

As I mentioned before, I would go back there again to try some of their other dishes, like Mongolian spicy beef or miso soup. If you are in downtown and looking for a reasonably priced yet beautifully decorated Chinese/Mandarin place to eat, I would recommend to check this place out. Finally, my waiter was awesome and very friendly, although can’t say the same for the guy at the cashier. But overall it was a good run for me and I could go there, sit down, order food, and finish my food…all in half an hour, perfect to get back to my work right on time.

 

Gandhi Restaurant

Gandhi Restaurant is about a block or two walk from my work. It’s a popular place and a fairly crowded during lunch time on weekdays. The days I don’t bring lunch are the best time for me to look around downtown and taste different places.

Gandhi Restaurant in Portland Downtown
Gandhi Restaurant in Portland Downtown

This is a Panda Express style Indian fast-food place. They don’t have buffet or menu items. You have the option to choose from chicken, lamb, or different kinds of vegetable dishes. I had spicy chicken with eggplant curry. The amount of rice, curries, and naan I got for $9 is amazing. I walked over to the chutney/raita place to add some on my plate.

Dishes in Gandhi Restaurant in Portland Downtown
Dishes in Gandhi Restaurant in Portland Downtown

Both chicken and eggplant tasted nice for the first few bites. Then I kind of lost the appetite. I started feeling like I am just eating very mediocre type Indian food made for people who never had gourmet or good quality Indian food. The rice was completely buried and got mushy under all the gravy from chicken. Half way thru, I didn’t even feel like packing the rest of my food to bring it home, because I knew I wouldn’t eat it anymore.

I haven’t tried the other items here at Gandhi Restaurant but I doubt if I will ever go back there again. The customer service is great here and couple people at my work actually recommended this place…just not my type of Indian food.

Tangier Restaurant – Downtown PDX

Last Friday, we had a group lunch to welcome a new team member at my work place. Someone threw the name Tangier as an idea and thank God, it was a good choice all the way.

Tangier Restaurant in Portland Downtown
Tangier Restaurant in Portland Downtown

Located in the heart of Portland downtown near the water-front, Tangier is a Moroccan/Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern restaurant. It’s a medium size place with warm and relaxed environment. We arrived there a little before noon. I guess lunch is very busy here. It took a while for the waiter to give us water, menu, and finally get our orders. Their customer service is fantastic and the waiter kept apologizing for the delay.

Inside Tangier, a Moroccan Restaurant in Portland Downtown
Inside Tangier, a Moroccan Restaurant in Portland Downtown

But it was all worth it when we got our food…it was so dorn good. The new employee ordered a mashed egg-plant dip (not baba ganoush) with a big circle bread as an appetizer for us all. When I see vege dip like that, a fear crawls up that will it be too garlicky or too herby. But this was a very well-balanced and well-spiced egg-plant dip that tasted fresh and tasty with the warm bread.

My Lamb Tagine in Inside Tangier, Portland
My Lamb Tagine in Inside Tangier, Portland

When I ordered my lamb tagine (they also have salmon tagine, but waiter suggested lamb is better), I visioned my dish would be served in a tagine (like the way I was served in Marrakesh). Not the decoration of the plate, but not getting my lamb inside a tagine did disappoint me a bit, but my first bite in that tender lamb chop was a heaven. I usually don’t eat lamb, except only for lamb gyro, but I would go back there to have that slow-cooked lamb with rice and egg-plant again. Maybe a small portion of tzatziki sauce would have made that dish even better. I think four other of my co-workers liked their dishes too…at least they licked their plates clean. One ordered a mezza platter, another one an artichoke soup, and I think another one was with lamb too. We also ordered some Moroccan hot mint tea and Turkish coffee.

One of my co-worker's vegetable mezza platter in Tangier

Their menu has a wide variety of options from Moroccan dishes to Lebanese to traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern plates. This is a great place If you are a vegetarian or a vegan or a meat-lover…you will get many options from soup/stew, salad, appetizers, sandwich, platters, pizza, kababs/koftas, and other traditional Moroccan plates.

Be prepare for some street parking or garages when coming to Tangier. It is a perfect place to bring a small group for lunch or dinner…for a nice family dinner on a Saturday night or to celebrate a special occasion with few people. Looks like weekdays during lunch is busy but the restaurant does take reservation. I thought, the price was very reasonable too. I would absolutely bring some of my family members or friends to introduce them to this place.