Portland Dining Month

 

March here in Portland means one of my favorite things – it’s time for Portland Dining Month!

In case you’re not familiar, Portland Dining Month gives diners the chance to eat a three-course meal at restaurants across the city for only $33. Which is a major bargain considering what a meal at some of the restaurants on the list would normally cost you. It’s a perfect excuse for a date night and a great way to try out a new restaurant or two that would be a much bigger splurge 11 other months out of the year. You can see all the menus of the participating restaurants online here and you also have the ability to make reservations at many of the participating restaurants. And what’s even more awesome is that if you do make a reservation online via Open Table, a donation will actually be made to the Oregon Food Bank to help fight hunger.

Portland is a city with an amazing  are over 100 different restaurants participating in Portland Dining Month, so it can be slightly overwhelming to try and narrow down which place (or places) to choose. In my opinion, the choice this year is especially difficult because caliber of the restaurants on the list is (in my opinion) the best of any year that I can remember. Portland Dining Month always includes great restaurants, but I really feel like there are a lot of truly outstanding places on the list this year. That’s why, I thought I’d share my top 10 picks for restaurants I’m personally the most excited about! A few are places I’ve been, others are places I want to try, and some are restaurants where their dining month menu seems particularly delicious. But all of the restaurants I included on this list are places where I feel like you’re really getting a lot of bang for your buck in comparison to the normal cost of a meal there. In alphabetical order…

Andina – I’ve been to this Peruvian restaurant in the Pearl District a few times and I’ve never been disappointed. Even though there are lots of restaurants on the Portland Dining Month list that have opened more recently, I feel like Andina is just so consistently excellent that it’s one not to be missed if you haven’t been. It’s also the kind of place where their menu can be slightly overwhelming, so another nice thing about dining there during Portland Dining Month is that your options are already narrowed down for you to a few great choices.

First course (choose one):

Causa Solterito, a classic timbale of fresh, lime-scented Yukon Gold potato with a salad of green beans, fresh corn, cotija cheese and tomatoes
– or –
Causa Morada, a classic timbale of fresh, lime-scented purple potato and shredded chicken breast with ají amarillo

Second course (choose one):

Quinotto “Chisaya Mama”: quinoa risotto with Grana Padano cheese, golden beets, local mushrooms and truffle oil
– or –
Lomo saltado: wok-fried Cascade Natural beef, onions, tomatoes, oyster sauce, garlic and ají amarillo, served with Yukon Gold papas fritas and garlic rice

Third course (choose one):

Chocolate Andino: a quinoa flour brownie layered with gold-dusted chocolate ganache and accompanied by a seasonal fruit gastrique and avocado crème anglaise
– or –
Alfajor: a classic Peruvian cookie, scented with key lime and filled with manjar blanco

Aviary – This place is on my list for two reasons. One, it’s a restaurant in Portland I’ve heard good things about, but have never tried. And two, their Portland Dining Month menu looks particularly tasty, especially that short rib!

First course (choose one):

Shrimp toast with lemon anchovy aioli, mojama, grapes, water chestnuts, mustard seeds and horseradish
– or –
Oxtail cannelloni with daikon radish, rutabaga, house made xo sauce and mint

Second course (choose one):

Butter-poached salmon with yuzu kosho, cauliflower, spinach, tobiko and crispy skin
– or –
Hoisin-glazed beef short rib with turnip cake, bacon, mustard greens and fried shallots

Third course (choose one):

Chocolate terrine
– or –
Green tea mousse

Bistro Agnes – This French restaurant is one of 2018’s most anticipated Portland restaurant openings by two James Beard award-winning chefs, and Portland Dining Month would be the perfect time to check it out!

First course (choose one):

Pork pâté maison with celery root rémoulade and cornichons
– or –
Belgian endive salad with fourme d’ambert bleu, candied walnut and dijon vinaigrette

Second course (choose one):

Mussels marinière with white wine, shallot, thyme, crème fraîche and grilled garlic-rubbed baguette
– or –
Roasted pork belly with white bean and spinach ragoût, herb salad and fried capers

Third course:

Riz au lait: vanilla bean rice pudding, salted caramel sauce and toasted almond

Burrasca – This charming Italian restaurant is in my neighborhood, but I’ve only once and I’ve really been wanting to try it again. They make authentic Italian dishes and their pasta entree on the Portland Dining Month menu sounds really fantastic.

First course:

Crostoni di cavolo nero: sautéed lacinato kale, garlic, tomato and pecorino toscano on house made Tuscan bread

Second course:

Tagliatelle alla norcina: spinach ribbon pasta with house fennel sausage, leeks, light béchamel and Parmigiano-Reggiano. 
Vegetarian option with “sugo finto.”

Third course: 

Torta di ricotta: Tuscan-style cheesecake with ricotta, almond crust, candied citrus, and a dash of grappa

Jack Rabbit – I have yet to try this restaurant from celebrity chef Chris Cosentino, but it’s been on my list to check out for awhile now. And that lemon tartlet sounds pretty divine!

First course (choose one):

Iceberg wedge salad with serrano, crème fraîche dressing and breadcrumbs
– or –
Puree of root vegetable soup with hazelnut oil and root vegetable chips

Second course (choose one):

House made tagliatelle with roasted wild mushrooms, pine nuts and the first peas
– or –
Bertha roasted chicken breast with early spring panzanella and bacon vinaigrette

Third course:

Meyer lemon tartlet with toasted cocoa nib meringue, brown sugar streusel and white chocolate mousse

Laurelhurst Market – Cameron and I went here for our anniversary this year and it’s one of my favorite Portland spots for a consistently delicious meal. Plus, that beef gnocchi sounds ridiculously good.

First course:

Rapini and chickpea salad with citrus and olive vinaigrette, house made ricotta and mint

Second course:

10-hour-braised beef with gnocchi alla Romana, tomato- and mushroom-gravy and soft herb salad

Third course:

Dulce de leche semifreddo with roasted banana, chocolate and hazelnut

Little Bird – I haven’t been to this restaurant in awhile, but it’s such a charming spot downtown where the food is always delicious. I also like that they give you options for each course, so that way you and your date have the option of trying different things!

First course (choose one):

Mustard greens with daikon, dill, parmesan and toasted sunflower seeds
– or –
Goat cheese gnocchi with roasted golden beets, lemon-garlic pistachios, tarragon cream and smoked egg yolk

Second course (choose one):

Grilled pork shoulder with fennel, pickled asparagus and bourbon demi-glace
– or –
Rice-crusted cod with blistered endive, fine herbs and radish

Third course (choose one):

Corn financier with pineapple-rhubarb compote, caramel ice cream and corn crumb
– or –
Duo scoops of daily house made ice cream and sorbet with graham cracker

Paley’s Place – This restaurant is somewhat of a Portland institution yet it’s one that that I somehow have yet to try. I’ve always wanted to eat here and March would be an ideal time, especially since a three course meal here would normally run you much more than $33.

First course:

Butter Lettuce Caesar salad with rye croutons and shaved carrots

Second course:

Braised pork shoulder with chickpea panisse, cabbage and fennel salad

Third course:

Coconut cream vacherin with honeyed-apricot coulis

Woodsman’s Tavern – This restaurant is a favorite of mine thanks to it’s rustic but refined ambiance and its consistently good food. It seems to have a renewed energy now that Chef Doug Adams has taken over the kitchen, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, this would definitely be one to add to your list.

First course:

Butter lettuce salad with cabbage, roasted chili vinaigrette and sunflower seeds

Second course (choose one):

Mexican Cola- and Rainer-braised pork shoulder with creamy polenta and pickled peppers
– or –
Cauliflower steak with roasted pepper, olive relish, spicy cashews, mint and cilantro

Third course:

Buttermilk panna cotta with toasted pistachio, Bee Local honey and Jacobson sea salt

Xico – This is another restaurant that I’ve only been to once (even though it’s in my neighborhood) but I really need to change that this month! They serve up amazing flavors and their Portland Dining month menu looks delicious.

First course:

Chicken taquito in consommé: crispy house made taquito, stuffed with chicken, rich consommé, topped with shaved cabbage, queso, radish and chilies

Second course:

Housemade sausage and sweet potato puree: grilled chorizo verde sausage, sweet potato puree, pumpkin seed, greens pipian, red onion pickle, salsa cruda and corn tortillas

Third course:

Xico, Salt & Straw & Woodblock banana split:A collaboration between Xico, Woodblock Chocolate and Salt & Straw. Ice cream featuring Mexican Fernet, Woodblock chocolate & mole spices, served with caramelized bananas and dulce de leche.

It was really hard to narrow it down to these ten because there are so many amazing options on the list that you really can’t go wrong!

Finally, I am giving away dinner for two at Woodsman’s Tavern during Portland Dining Month today over on my Instagram, so hop on over there to check it out! Happy dining!

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