New in 2016
Honky Tonk Taco
3384 SE Division St.
Honky Tonk owner Nate Tilden and his partners have upgraded the old Sen Yai parking lot into a capacious, 80-seat outdoor patio, sporting some fancy woodwork, deep benches, and checkered tablecloth-covered tables. It’s enough room for a serious tequila party (slushie margarita, anyone?), or, on Sundays, a feast starring maguey-wrapped goat, slow-cooked all day until tender and served with top-notch Three Sisters Nixtamal tacos. For more taco goodness, check out our first look.
5028 NE 42nd Ave.
Portland’s first punk-rock family pizza joint had just started serving its revolutionary Dan Dan pies topped with chile paste, sweet char siu pork, and bitter, crackling mustard greens before an electrical fire shut it down. Luckily, the backyard garden was left unscathed, with squash, spiky red amaranth fronds, and radish greens overflowing from raised beds—scenery for diners eating at nearby picnic tables. When it reopens (which is rumored to happen in the immediate future), Habetz hopes to hold cooking and harvesting demos, screen movies, and stream baseball games, all while diners enjoy pies topped with vegetables sourced a few feet away.
2705 NE Sandy Blvd.
This is an outdoor dining destination for the indecisive. In dire need of fried chicken? You got it. Hankering for rare whiskeys? No problem. Guests can grab food from four different eateries, from falafel at Chickpeadx and fried chicken sandwiches at Basilisk to cocktails at Paydirt, and get a legendary pedicure at Finger Bang. The wedge-shaped, 8,000 square feet building is big enough to feed an army with a sheltered 80-seat common area and a 120-seat outdoor patio, which sports two flaming fire pits. The best part? No matter where you order, the food comes to you.
2032 SE Clinton St.
This no-frills Tuscan eatery is shaping up to be one of the best places to while away the summer. Follow these instructions: sit at the new, upgraded back patio shrouded in bamboo and flowering dogwoods. Next, order the “Messner Climbs McKinley,” a bitter root beer float spiked with Elisir Novasalus amaro and elderflower, and topped with a fizzy dollop of nougat gelato from nearby Pinolo Gelato.
511 NE 24th Ave.
Unless you’ve dined at Han Oak, pop-up capital of Portland and home to Peter Cho’s growing reservations-only Korean restaurant, you’d never know it was there. The unmarked door leads to a hidden, charming courtyard filled with chairs and couches for lounging, along with a flaming retro stovepipe hearth. It’s like going to a Portland-chic barbecue, except the guy manning the grill used to work for New York’s famed April Bloomfield. Sign up for one of Han Oak’s dinners or brunches and experience it for yourself.
525 SW Morrison St.
If you want to talk outdoor dining with a view, Departure has held the top slot since it opened five years ago. Fifteen stories above downtown Portland, Top Chef star Gregory Gourdet serves up his brand of modern Asian cooking to panoramic stretches of Forest Park and endless blue sky. The restaurant’s 9,000-square-foot patio is best visited just before sunset.
1111 E Burnside St.
Another well-loved destination for sunsets, Noble Rot has magnificent views of the city’s west side from just across the river. Grab a bottle from the wine bar’s 300-bottle list, order an extra-sharp mac and cheese with a spike of Dijon mustard and a crunch of bread crumbs, and watch downtown Portland’s glimmering buildings come alive at night.
5411 NE 30th Ave.
Portland’s mainstay izakaya takes the party outside with its tiered back patio, artfully landscaped with pretty pebbles, ferns, dinosaur plants, and Japanese maples. Come for the incredible selection of sushi and sakes, or the belly-busting burger. Stay for the backyard hot tub, which is reservable for private parties.
3715 SE Division St.
Xico’s 20-seat back patio is one of Division’s best kept secrets, crisscrossed with lights and overflowing with greenery that pops against a muted charcoal backdrop. This is the best place to enjoy Xico’s totopos con chile deluxe with a flight of rare mescal. Insider tip: come early or late—the back patio is first come, first served.
626 SE Main St.
It’s hard to see past the glitzy, 3,000 square-foot dining room, which is as big, bold, and Italian as the ambitious restaurant’s menu of hand-made pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and grilled meats. But the intimate patio space is a haven plopped in the middle of industrial southeast. Plus, it has its own aperitivo happy hour menu, with fried eggplant arancini, select vintages, and $8 cocktails. Just over a year old, it’s already become a classic for eastside diners in search of sunshine.