I have never been to a West African restaurant in my life before and had almost zero knowledge about their dishes, until a friend of mine mentioned this place, called Akadi. It was 3 of us, on a Friday night, decided to go to for dinner in Akadi.
Without much of an extravagant exterior, Akadi has one of the most beautiful and spacious interiors as a restaurant in Portland. With its grand entrance and high ceiling, this has an open vibe to it. We didn’t make any reservation, but luckily had to wait only less than 15 minutes to get a table.
My friend and her other friend already came to Akadi before and they knew right away what they wanted. My friend ordered their special fried chicken wings, called Suya chicken wings from the appetizer, her friend ordered a meat and fish stew that came with a side dish, called “fufu”…mashed yam.
The Suya chicken wings, rubbed with peanut and other spices, were spectacular. I don’t think I have ever tasted chicken wings like these before. They had a nice kick but not too overpowering with spices. It can be a bit dry for some people but yet very tasteful.
The okra (or spinach?) stew with goat (and I think she mentioned it also had fish?) and a side of yam was not particularly made for my taste buds, but I can understand why some people love the side yam, “fufu” and the stew together. I’m not a big fan of yam either…so, yeah.
For my dish, fried whole red snapper with salad on top with a side fried plantains was my favorite. It passed my expectation with its flavors and texture, especially with the onion, herbs, bell peppers, tomatoes, and on top drizzled with vinaigrette. The fried plantains that came with it was the best…I could have a couple more plates of those.
Overall, Akadi was an experience for me. It was a perfect place to hang out with the girls. My friend also told me, on Saturday nights, Akadi opens its whole floor for dancing. I guess, next time, I just to be go there on a Saturday night then.
Thanks to a friend for treating a couple of us in this place. I am not big fan of red meat, therefore steaks are not always my go to item most of the time. But somehow this place stuck out for its ambience and dishes (from what I saw online).
3 of us were there on a Thursday night and although a reservation was not needed for a Thursday night, I still made one to be safe. It’s a cozy little place with elegance and intricate vibes. As soon as you walk inside Grill 68, you’ll get the sense that food here has to be good. And let me tell you, it is.
We were treated with some freshly made bread and soft flavorful butter once we sat down. For dinner, we decided to try different kinds of meat and share. My friends ordered the flamed grilled 1/2 chicken with potato and steak frites while I got braised lamb shank for myself.
Being a steak place, beef was the best dish out of 3, that was served in slices with fries at the bottom of the heavy cast iron pan. If I come back here again, I’d definitely order their steaks from the menu where you can find filet mignon, New York, and ribeye styles along with surf and turf, grilled seafood, lamb chops, and etc. The menu will satisfy everyone’s taste buds.
My braised lamb shank, called Braised Lamb Shank “Osso Bucco”, came with mushroom risotto that was covered with the pan juice. Although the risotto was a bit average for my taste, the lamb was soft and luscious. I did not find the chicken dish very amusing that came with mashed potatoes. I thought it was a bit dull and dry. Nevertheless, it is a grill and steak place, my instinct was to go with their red meat selection.
For dessert, we shared a big plate of lava cake with 2 scoops of ice-cream on the side (I think it was hazelnut flavored ice-cream?) drizzled with some white chocolate chips on the plate. It was worth every penny.
Grill 68 would be a perfect place for a romantic date night or for a company team dinner or to bring your parents for an elevated meal. I would not probably want to celebrate my kids’ birthday here or their graduation.
There are tons of parking spaces in the lot and if you come when the weather is nice, you can grab a table outside too. Grill 68 kind of opened my eyes to explore more steak places in Portland and convinced me that sometimes a slice of good juicy steak is what you need after a long day of work on weekdays.
What do you do when you have a day off and you are trying to find a French place to have a lunch get together with a friend? Well, after searching for all the French restaurants in Portland, I saw that most of them aren’t open until 5pm.
Ovation Bistro & Bar is a cute hang out place with an airy ambience in the historic downtown of Milwaukie near Portland. They have a bright and relaxed indoor sitting arrangements, but it was one of those rare and gorgeous October day in Portland with no rain. So, we decided to hangout outside on their front patio. Lots of picnic benches and high chair/tables with umbrellas are surrounded by tons of hanging flower baskets are here. It felt fresh and just the right place to chill and catch up with a friend.
This modern French country style place would be my ideal place for brunch or lunch. We went for simple food. From the appetizer, we had some steak frites, where marinated sirloin steaks are served in cubes with shoestring fries. I had their soup of the day, which was tomato bisque served with a mini baguette. And my friend had some fettucine pasta in home-made ratatouille sauce with tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and eggplants. The tomato soup was definitely one of the best I’ve tried so far. And those shoestring fries with garlic aioli sauce was simply addictive. Pasta was great too, I may try a different one next time.
People, food, and the whole place are all amazing at Ovation Bistro & Bar. Opened back in the summer of 2020, they are making real good food in a small restaurant with casual vibe. Being the historic downtown adds a bit more excitement to this location. Definitely have to come back at night sometime to see the crowds of this place.
A friend of mine and I made a sudden plan to have dinner together tonight and her, never experiencing Indonesian food before, I suggested Gado Gado. I love Indonesian dishes which is a mixture of Oriental Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. There are many similar spices and ingredients in that part of the world, plus the way dishes are prepped and cooked share common techniques.
Gado Gado in NE Portland is a casual and bustling place with dimmed light and soft decorations. The eatery boasts for their pan-Asian/Indo-Chinese & Dutch-Indonesian plates. There is an outdoor but shaded sitting option too. With friendly service and a couple of different menu options, this is one of the top Indonesian places to try out in Portland.
There are 2 ways you can order in Gado Gado. One is order from the a la carte. Second one, called Rice Table experience, is more exciting. With the Rice Table experience, you pay $85 per person but you get a family style feasting encounter, where everyone has to participate and your whole table will be filled with many items from appetizers all the way to desserts.
Since it was only 2 of us, we ordered total 3 items from the menu. First came the chicken satay as an appetizer. They were beautifully charcoal grilled on skewers and served with peanut sauce on the side. Then came the main entrées. Charcoal grilled albacore with fermented turnips in a pool of coconut broth with tons of cilantro had a fabulous fresh scent of fresh lime/lemon leaves. Last one, “Sumatran Style Beef Rendang” was recommended by our server. The beef came with a side of scented coconut rice, boiled eggs, shrimp crisps, and sambal sauce. The beef was soft and almost looked like shredded/pulled beef with perfect amount of spices and a slight kick of chili.
There dessert menu is not that great currently (only had one option – orange cardamom donuts). But if you want to get out of your comfort zone and try something not-so-popular cuisine, I can bet everyone will love Indonesian dishes. I’ve heard about Gado Gado from few different people and it definitely served my expectations.
Tonight was my second time trying Casa Zoraya. First time I was there with a close friend and tonight with an ex-colleague who I saw after about a year.
I have a thing for Peruvian cuisine and tried most of the top Peruvian places in Portland. Casa Zoraya has a great atmosphere (with lots of plants) to just chill…and…relax and enjoy heartwarming good food. They have both indoor and outdoor seating, though I’d recommend sitting outside…it’s just beautiful. Servers are super friendly and nice.
It’s a casual hangout place but aesthetic enough to surprise your guest(s). The menu isn’t super big but has most of the Peruvian dishes that I usually go for and loved during my visit to Peru.
After trying ceviches from many different countries, Peruvian ceviche is my most favorite one, because it usually has a slight kick of chilies. Ceviche at Casa Zoraya is nicely blend with corns, fried calamari, herbs, onions, and raw seafoods. It may not have the heat but the portion of the dish, presentation, and freshness of all the ingredients make it so palatable.
Their Lomo Saltados is what I took when I was their first time. Again perfectly cooked beef with white rice, and veges in a pool of gravy .
Checkout this place to be nicely surprised by their setup and mainly by their flavorful dishes. Definitely make a reservation and be ready to park on the streets.
What a find by my friend!!! Quaintrelle is a farm to table restaurant in SE Portland where you can choose whatever you want from the menu or be surprised by the chef from a 5 or 7 or 9 or 12 course dinner experience. The items in these courses depend on the season and the ingredients chef finds that day in the farmer’s market.
We went ahead with the 7 course menu for $145 per person…drinks are separate. You gotta be a passionate foodie to try a restaurant like this and be ready for anything. We felt lazy to go over the menu and wanted to be surprised by the chef.
We started off with some drinks “Un” and “Deux” a couple of non-alcoholic drinks. Then the non-stop series of plates started coming.
First, some of the best oysters I had in my life, then some very lightly cooked scallops, then raw tuna, breads with homemade flavored butter and olives, salmon, duck (I don’t usually eat duck, but this was the best), grapefruit sorbet with olive oil and wasabi, pita crackers with cheese, a dessert with corn ice cream and plum sorbet.
Quaintrelle, which is about a year old in this location, is a perfect place to take your loved ones, guests, a date, or people who just love going thru culinary adventures. It’s not very big inside…be ready to be a bit cozy with your neighboring tables. I’d also recommend making a reservation first.
If you are a vegan or pescatarian or don’t eat pork, they will work around your diet to give you the best experience.
When you are in Quaintrelle, you just have to sit back, relax, and let the chef take the wheel. Enjoy the vibe of this place, the presentations, the stories behind these dishes, and finally, the music.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I know Khala Karima (Khala means aunty) for couple of years now. She is one of the sweetest and the most welcoming ladies I know in Portland. She is a very caring and a hardworking woman with tremendous passion for healthy cuisine. Being from Morocco, her specialty is preparing authentic Moroccan style home-cooked meals for small to large group of people.
Khala Karima offers cooking classes both at her place or on-site and offers catering services for any size of gatherings or special events (including delivery). She has also done stalls/booths at different community events selling her finger-foods, snacks, or Middle-Eastern desserts. The best part is that she offers evening and weekend classes…just contact her early enough, because she does get booked very quickly.
I’ve personally taken one of her cooking classes with few of my friends couple years ago. We picked lamb with rice to prepare and learn. The amount of love and attention go into her dishes are inspiring. All of her ingredients are fresh, high quality and without any artificial flavors or colors. She will show you step by step and plus some secret tips and alternatives for a great meal. She told us some short cuts and some other ways of cooking a same dish. You can ask her as many questions as you want and she will happily answer you with great details. After the cooking demonstration, we all sat down for the dinner, served in traditional Moroccan dishes. And to finish it off, she served us hot Moroccan mint tea with few different kinds of date cookies and almond biscottis.
For catering, she has done it for hundreds of people on many occasions. She has her own professional kitchen to serve any amount of people. The best part is, her dishes does not taste like the ones you get in restaurants. They are all pure Moroccan home-cooked meals, exactly the way you would get in Morocco. I have ordered cookies and biscottis from her before for my kids and friends. They are very reasonably priced and were packed in such a professional way that I could serve them right away.
I can’t say enough about Khala Karima’s food. They are healthy, delicious, simple yet has so much flavors. Above all, the way she will treat you, you will feel like you know her your whole life.
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.
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.
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.
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.