When I first discovered Flying Fish in 2011, owner Lyf Gildersleeve was hawking super fresh Chinook and Alaskan cod out of a windowless white truck on Southeast Division. Very suspect. But Gildersleeve graduated from his truck, making a name for himself at a wooden shack on Southeast Hawthorne, and eventually, in 2016, inside of Northeast Sandy’s upscale Providore Market. Now, not only is Flying Fish one of the best places to buy über-fresh Oregon seafood and meat, it’s also the best place to eat it.
The diminutive six-seat Flying Fish Oyster Bar is a little oasis across from aisles of European imports and pricy sparkling water. There, an unflappably cheerful Gildersleeve shucks below a big chalkboard listing the catch of the week: a half-dozen oysters, Willapa Bays to Amethysts, and dressed-up Northwest filets from the latest haul.
Gildersleeve taps a hard-earned list of local fisherman for his pristine catches, and the seafood speaks for itself; you won’t find fresher cuts anywhere in the city. A plate of never-frozen, bright orange beet-cured King salmon sashimi melts with the buttery texture of prosciutto. Bright chunks of rockfish ceviche come tossed with avocado and lime, scooped with Juanita’s chips. Meanwhile, peak-season, line-caught albacore poke served over warm coconut jasmine rice might be the best in Portland’s increasingly competitive scene.
Wash it down with the tight list of seafood-friendly wine, sake, beer, and cider, or waddle over to Providore’s impressive cellar for a bottle. Not in the mood for a full raw bar extravaganza? Slurp down an oyster or two, then head outside for a roast chicken dinner at perennial favorite Arrosto.