As indicated in this post, I spent a fair amount of time in Portland last year. While in Portland, I had the opportunity to take in the wonderful culinary landscape of the city. These are my top picks, hope you try them out if you are ever in this fun city. And if you do, drop me a note, would love to hear about your experience.

So my Portland Top Fives:

1. Andina – I discovered Peruvian food a few years ago. Unfortunatelly my experience, up until know, was limited to one restaurant here in Indy. I found Andina’s cuisine to be “upscale Peruvian” with a contemporary flair. My dining companions and I got started with a round of appetizers that left us looking forward to dinner. The highlight of my meal was actually Sacsayhuaman a passion fruit infused martini-type cocktail that I am planning on reproducing soon. Don’t take me wrong, the food was extraordinary and the presentation simply artistic, but this drink stuck with me.

2. Jake’s Crawfish – ok, ok, so I went to a chain restaurant… sort of. Jake’s is the original McCormicks and Schmicks, but is also one of the top ten seafood restaurants in the country and a true Portland institution, over 110 years old. I went to Jake’s on a cold rainy night and ordered the Jambalaya. While it was simple, it had all the right ingredients…. andouille sausage, collosal shrimp…. yum!

3. Piazza Italia – nestled in a somewhat residential street in the Pearl District this little piece of Italy was worth waiting 45 minutes for a table on a cool October night. If you plan on going to Piazza Italia, make sure you reserve a table ahead of time. It probably has a total of 15 tables, and judging by how busy it was on a Wednesday night, it is a local favorite. I ordered the Pasta with Wild Boar Ragu and also got to sample the Bucatini that my dining companion order, both simply amazing!

4. Portland City Grill – I am sure most people go to the Portland City Grill for the spectacular 360 views of the city, and frankly, this was part of my motivation. I was very glad to discover that the views were just a bonus and compliment to the great food bustling out of their kitchen!

5. Typhoon – I yet have to google this, but my first impression is that Portland must have one of the largest numbers of Thai restaurants per capita. Out of the gate, I decided that I would order the same item every time I tried a new Thai restaurant, and let this be my guide for comparison. So I decided on Panang Curry as my gauge for best Thai in the Portland area, and Typhoon simply does it best. Nice blend and balance of flavors and just enough spice in the medium heat sauce to make you order a second and even third beer to wash it with. By the way, Typhoon is in Beaverton, a short 20 minute drive from downtown Portland and very much worth the drive.

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