Portland Walking Tours

Tasting Portland at mealtime

January 25th, 2011

One of the most common questions we get from guests on our tours is: “Where would you recommend we go for lunch or dinner?”

(Guests on our Epicurean Excursion, of course, tend not to ask that question.)

Our Resident Experts usually have great suggestions based on their extensive exposure to Portland’s culinary magnificence. However, not everyone remembers to ask the guide before strolling off into the city, already comparing notes about what they loved best about the tour. So we thought we’d offer a little general guidance.

Portland has over 1800 restaurants within city limits, according to Trip Advisor, and some 400 are in the downtown area. According to UrbanSpoon.com, our most popular cuisines are “American”  (762 restaurants), pizza (480), Mexican (over 400), breakfast/brunch (over 280), Chinese (295), Italian (over 220) and Thai (200). We boast a myriad of other types as well, including Indian, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and even Bosnian. We also have over 200 bakeries and countless coffee shops, each of which offer at least a nibble to go along with the jolt of caffeine.

The fact that over half of our restaurants are ethnic – i.e. something other than “American” – should tell you something about Portland’s tastes. We are eclectic flavor hounds. Like our hop-infused India Pale Ales and dark, roasty coffee drinks, we want our food to wake up our taste buds (maybe to help us overlook the gray weather).

Reviews can help you determine which ones would best suit your tastes and pocketbook. The most reliable review sites for Portland restaurants are Trip Advisor, CitySearch, Yelp, and specialty site Urban Spoon. They’ll not only tell you where they are, what the menus are like and how much things cost, but they feature independent reviews by actual customers, date-stamped so you know how recent the information is. You can search for places that meet your criteria, get directions and phone numbers, and even find out which ones are “trending” and which are not. That can help you avoid the crowds – or find them, if that’s your wish.

What’s more, you can bring the sites with you when you travel, as long as you have a smart phone such as an iPhone or Droid. Yes, if you want Trip Advisor, City Search, Yelp, or Urban Spoon on your phone, there’s an app for that! And they’re all free, so you’ll save your pennies for that fabulous Portland meal.

Happy tasting!