Check just about any list of top food cities in the U.S. and you are almost certain to find Portland, OR on there somewhere. One of the reasons that Portland has become so beloved among foodies is its commitment to quality, locally sourced ingredients. The “farm to table” movement is alive and well in Portland. But what are some of the best spots for farm-to-table dining in Portland? Read below to find out.
1. Urban Farmer
Located in the super sleek Nines Hotel in downtown Portland, Urban Farmer is one of the country’s few farm-to-table steakhouses. This swank eatery offers pasture-raised Oregon beef, as well as several other locally sourced food options (including several vegetarian options, as one would expect in a vegetarian-friendly city like Portland). Urban Farmer proves that you can enjoy all the decadence of a great steakhouse, without all the guilt.
The farm-to-table movement in Portland crosses many cultures. Tusk, for instance, is a farm-to-table Middle Eastern eatery. This beloved Southeast Portland gem serves Middle Eastern classics like hummus and falafel. Some of the dishes, however, are bold departures from the standard Middle Eastern fare. Case in point: olive oil-poached albacore. Whatever you end up ordering at Tusk, you can be sure that the ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced (not to mention delicious). I love Tusk for its fresh, creative vegan options, like miso-roasted cabbage. Yum.
3. Noble Rot
Noble Rot is one of the most famous farm-to-table restaurants in the PDX (the preferred nickname for Portland). This hip, environmentally conscious restaurant is located on the top floor of Portland’s Leed-Platinum Building, which is consistently recognized as one of the greenest buildings in the U.S. How green is it? Well, for one, the building sits on an 8,000-year-old aquifer that supplies the restaurant’s water. Also, Noble Rot boasts 3,000 square feet of gardening space where the restaurant’s fruits and vegetables are grown. It doesn’t get greener, or more local, than that.
Located in the hip Pearl District, Andina describes itself as “A Taste of Peru in the Pearl.” Not only that; Andina offers farm-to-table Peruvian cuisine. To be sure, this is one of the priciest restaurants in Portland, but if you ask most Portland locals, they’ll say it’s worth the splurge. What Andina doesn’t source locally from Oregon farms, it buys directly from a community of farmers in the town of Chincha, Peru. In addition to the high-end dining room, Andina also has a less formal bar that features live Latin music every night of the week.
Located in the Alphabet District, G-Love describes itself as a “reverse steakhouse,” meaning that vegetables are the star of the show, while meat is relegated to side dish status (though I hear it’s pretty tasty). As a vegan, a creative concept like this sets my heart all aflutter. The vegetables, and the meats, come from Olde Moon Farm—a local farm known for its quality organic products. There is a reason that this is one of the most sought-after tables in Portland.
Of course, you’ll need to wash all this delicious farm-to-table food down with something. Luckily, you’re in Oregon, one of the top wine-producing regions in North America (and its reputation as a wine capital seems to grow every year). Here are five amazing Oregon wines to go with your incredible meal.
Located in Oregon’s famed Wilmette Valley (one of the top wine producing regions in the state), this 30-plus year-old winery is known for its biodynamic wines. “Biodynamic” is sort of like the wine world’s equivalent of “organic”: indicating natural wines that have not been artificially manipulated with added acids and preservatives. Fitting, then, that Brick House Vineyards’ acclaimed “Les Dijonnais” Pinot Noir is the perfect accompaniment for a farm-to-table meal in Portland.
For a solid white wine to go with your meal, I recommend the Pinot Gris from King Estate Winery in Eugene, OR (a town that is well worth the day trip from Portland). King Estate prides itself on being the largest biodynamic-certified winery in North America. It’s also received numerous accolades for its organic wine, including the title of “Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year” from Wine Press Northwest magazine. High praise for a quality vineyard.
Founded in the 1970s, Elk Cove Vineyards is one of the oldest wineries in Oregon: they’ve been making wine long before Oregon gained international recognition among connoisseurs. This historic, family-run vineyard prizes sustainability, as well as bold flavor. Like many Oregon wineries, they are known for Pinot, but I recommend their Riesling, which pairs well with spicier farm-to-table foods. If you are interested in seeing how one of the state’s oldest wineries operates, you can also book a “Grand Tour” of the vineyard for $40.
Tony Soter, the founder of Soter Vineyards, started out making wine in California. He soon moved up to the town of Carleton, Oregon, to contribute to the state’s thriving wine scene. This smaller, “boutique” winery is known for two things: Pinot Noir (this is Oregon, after all) and sparkling wines. I recommend the “Brut X” to kick off your Portland farm-to-table dinner. Nothing gets the taste buds going like a good bottle of bubbly!
Seven Bridges Winery holds the distinction of being the only winery on this list that is located within the city of Portland. Operating out of a warehouse in North Portland, this urban winery can go toe-to-toe with the best wineries in the Wilmette and Columbia Valleys. Seven Bridges offers wines for just about every budget and palate. For a versatile, full-bodied wine, I recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon. I think you will find that it makes an excellent companion to just about any farm-to-table meal in the PDX.
If you liked this article about local eating destinations, then check out my article on Las Vegas Buffets, here.