Old World Eats

A hearty trek through Portland's Central European feasts

Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks By Marty Patail February 22, 2013

Café Hibiscus chef-owner Jennie Wyss with émincé zurichoise

Émincé Zurichoise

Café Hibiscus 

Hawaii meets Switzerland at this tropically decorated Euro café that’s the proud home of “Martin’s Swiss Dressing.” Say “aloha!” to a mighty dish of émincé zurichoise—a supremely salty comfort of slivered pork (in place of traditional veal) bathed in a rich mushroom sauce alongside a mound of hand-pressed spätzle. Wash it all down properly with a frosty can of Salzburg’s Stiegl lager. ($12)

Pork Schnitzel and Cabbage Gratin

Spints Alehouse (Now Closed)

With a menu embracing Mexican appetizers and Mediterranean shellfish, Spints seems “German” only in its hunger for global tourism. But the schnitzel is pure Alpine bliss: a thinly pounded pork loin, breaded and panfried, sided by a mustard seed–laden cabbage gratin blanketed with golden cheese. Sip from a list of lagers rarely glimpsed beyond Bavaria—we recommend the Augustiner Edelstoff. ($16)

Chicken Paprikás and Berliners

Grüner (Now Closed)

Chef Chris Israel’s cuisine skips playfully from Switzerland to Alsace to Bavaria. For lunch, follow him down the Danube to Hungary. Start your journey with a deal on chicken paprikás, braised in a deep, paprika-spiked tomato–crème fraîche sauce and girded by a quintet of potato dumplings. End with a trio of sugar-dusted Berliners (German-style doughnuts) plumped with warm raspberry jam. ($11)

Bohemian Goulash


Sure, this Czech food cart earned national acclaim for its iconic Schnitzelwich—but the menu rewards deeper exploration. A homey bowl of spicy Bohemian goulash, for instance, promises a food high on even the most rain-soaked day, with delicate beef steeped in caraway, then spooned over fluffy pillows of potato dumpling. ($7)

Embrace cabbage at Southeast Portland’s new Bar Dobre.


Bar Dobre (Now Closed)

This little bar blends a touch of Portland posh with its Polish roots—dark woods, intimate tables, and sexy lighting from a hanging chandelier. Order up a “traditional Polish cocktail” (hint: it’s vodka on ice) and dig into the golumpki—two boiled cabbage leaves swaddling onions, beef, and rice, all drizzled with a subtly fiery tomato sauce. ($10.50)

Polish Sausage


The no-brainer at this unassuming yellow cart is the Polish sausage on a bun—a glorious, eight-inch monstrosity holding sautéed onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers. If your stomach is really growling, go all in with a six-piece side of cheese-stuffed pierogi ($4.50)—boiled crescents of melted cheese wrapped in moist dough, with sour cream for dipping. ($6)

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