Dining Guide

13 Great Portland Dining Destinations for Groups

Planning a holiday party? We can help.

By Eat Beat Team November 20, 2018 Published in the December 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

HK Café's dim sum spread


Andina aims for the peaks, with high-end Peruvian fusion cooking not often seen outside of Lima, but with enough local ingredients to keep it grounded in Portland. Colorful pepper sauces over hunks of beef or lamb, fanciful ceviches, and quinoa “risottos” appeal to a wide range of appetites (especially when nibbled in La Bodega, its stone-clad, candle-flickering private dining room for 14). The jewel-toned bar is a perpetual Pearl District hot spot, with Latin-inspired cocktails like the Sacsayhuaman, a seductive dance of sweet, fire, and passion fruit. Just order it by its nickname: “sexy woman.” 1314 NW Glisan St

Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar

Adam and Jackie Sappington can be credited with bringing a new level of whole-animal cooking and grown-up service to the comfort food table, morning and night. Bourbon-goosed challah French toast smothered in clabber cream and berry ooze. Skillet-fried chicken with tangy sour cream spuds drowned in bacon-hunky gravy. The Cat’s self-described “glorified gramma cuisine,” revolving around a hog butchered in-house weekly, has become the city’s neighborhood dining blueprint, and years of accolades seem only to root the kitchen more firmly in our regional bounty. Rent out the next-door Calico Room—large enough for 50 Southern-grub-loving eaters. 7937 SE Stark St

Clyde’s rustic American-meets-European dishes are a Portland classic.

Clyde Common

Chefs have come and gone from Clyde, set in the ground floor of the Ace Hotel, bringing and leaving a mash-up of intercontinental influences that linger on the menu. A recent dinner had its moments: togarashi-spiced popcorn, a happy hour staple; a sprightly grilled trout. It had its fair share of misses, too. But then, Clyde Common never affected the culinary auteur theory that often informs Portland’s darlings of the moment. Instead, owner Nate Tilden and his shifting teams of talent created an enduringly necessary restaurant: here, you could end up next to a local power broker or a Japanese tourist—or sharing a long table for 12 with your nearest and dearest—all of you united by a $6 happy hour cocktail. 1014 SW Stark St


At this NE Killingsworth boîte, au naturel is the only way to go. Originally built by star sommelier Dana Frank (although she’s since left), the dark, soigné restaurant is a stronghold of natural wine: vintages pressed and bottled from unadulterated, imperfect, organically grown grapes, Oregon to Bosnia, with a light, seafood-and vegetable-focused menu that plays nicely with the curated list. A deep turquoise back room seats up to 16 around one, big, beautiful table. 2930 NE Killings-worth St

Duck House

A throwback Chinese restaurant near Portland State University’s campus, Duck House is a Szechuan-style haven for crisp-skinned Peking duck (call ahead) and simmering fish stew. But the handmade dumplings and buns are the real draw—some of the best steamed, fried, rolled, and savory-stuffed starters in town. Reserve a 13-person round table in the back room and devour Szechuan pork wontons in chile oil: a vat of crimson oil and vinegar bobbling with silky, slithery wonton wrappers. 1968 SW Fifth Ave


When high-end kitchen vet Gregory Gourdet took over the Nines hotel’s astro-sleek 15th-floor restaurant nearly a decade ago, it was better known for its bridge-and-tunnel singles scene than for its eats. Since then, the telegenic chef has turned the dining room into a hub for creative, ambitious modern-Asian cuisine—bold yet comforting dishes that sizzle and pop with chile, lime, and ginger. (And another stellar seven-spice Peking duck, reservable December 1-31.) Visiting the restaurant, with its Vegas-style decks and unparalleled views of the city, is an expensive but giddy-making surprise. Plus, you can reserve the semiprivate Sea of Love alcove for a dozen diners. 525 SW Morrison St, 15th floor,

Enoteca Nostrana

Enoteca Nostrana

Enoteca Nostrana looks nothing like its neighboring mother restaurant, Nostrana. Instead, it’s an expensive marvel of postmodern Italian design: Tetris tiles in shades of gray, Champagne-cork-inspired bar stools, and a dramatic 30-person private dining nook upstairs. Sommelier Austin Morris Bridges stocks the massive cellar with well-aged Italian wines. But Enoteca isn’t just a waiting room—it has its own kitchen and menu of Italian staples and snacks, including a smoky oyster dip that falls somewhere between stringy queso and bluefish pâté, and a DIY tomato pasta. Silly? Yes. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a better spaghetti in red sauce anywhere in the city. 1401 SE Morrison St


The Heathman Hotel’s nearly century-old dining room and bar received a seriously modern makeover in 2016. Even more impressive is the huge, seafood-obsessed menu overseen by veteran Vitaly Paley. Headwaters is a fresh take on hotel dining, complete with whole roasted fish and octopus carpaccio, updated French classics served table-side, cheeky modernist desserts, and an expanded, refreshed bar. It’s a grandly laid-back (a.k.a. Portland-style) fine dining spot with room for groups up to 20 that aims to delight both intrepid seafood adventurers and more conventional eaters morning, noon, and night. 1001 SW Broadway

HK Café

A multisensory clamor of grinning maneki neko cats and rattling carts that leave pork- and ginger-perfume contrails in their wake, this dim sum hall has a massive roster of flavor bombs and, if you’re willing to wait, room enough for a family of 12. Nibble pork-and-shrimp-popping siu mai dumplings and sautéed green beans heady with tiny fermented shrimp. You could graze at this hectic Chinese brunch utopia for hours and never get bored. Flag down a server and demand an egg yolk bun—a yeasty mind-scrambler hiding a drippy trove of hot, sweet golden goo inside. They are round, sugar-crusted, and usually hiding in the bottom level of the glass-doored carts. Find them. Eastport Plaza, 4410 SE 82nd Ave

Huber’s Café

As if the dark wood and art deco tile work weren’t clue enough that you’ve just stepped into the oldest bar in town, there’s the distant aroma of mustache wax lingering like ghostly potpourri. Turkey dinner, the house specialty, is served in abundance year-round. (It can host festive, no-fuss meal for groups of up to 50 revelers.) Roving bartenders whip up flaming Spanish coffees with the flourish of magicians performing sleight of hand. A round of applause won’t embarrass anyone. 411 SW Third Ave

Ned Ludd's skillet cookie

Ned Ludd

With his locavore intensity, Jason French embodies everything to love about Portland’s food scene. The playful depth of his homesteader’s cabin gone mad never lets up, from the name (after the 19th-century British folk hero) to the restaurant’s lone stove, a six-foot-high fireplace fueled by logs stacked everywhere. The vibe extends to Elder Hall—a detached gathering space with up to 42 seats. Among the surprises tumbling out of that 750-degree oven: a plate-size chocolate chip cookie, rising in a cast-iron skillet, its salt-crunching surface emerging one lucky degree shy of torched. 3925 NE MLK Jr. Blvd

Noble Rot

On the fourth floor of Lower Burnside’s Rocket Building, Leather Storrs cooks comfort food from his rooftop garden to pair with Noble Rot’s wine program. The patio offers unparalleled views of downtown Portland, especially from its bookable, 30-person Atrium room. Diner staples top the list: extra-sharp mac and cheese with a spike of Dijon mustard; crisp, airy onion rings; a flatiron steak with creamy romesco sauce. The evergreen list of small-plate faves, like the caramelized onion tart on a flaky pastry shell, make Noble Rot more than just a room with a view. 1111 E Burnside St


Oaxaca is represented at Xico, but so is Oregon: playful notes, purist notions, and fresh-ground masa fill out a room that feels like a beach hut with pearls. A few dishes hold near iconic status, like a crispy, smoldering mass of chile-glazed chips with cotija cheese and a pozole makeover, starring a whole roasted trout and a broth you’d be happy to swim in. Among the desserts is a dark chocolate–dipped oblong of coconut, almonds, and raisins that would make the Mounds folks blush. Xicos airy upstairs loft has seating for 40 and a reservable light-strung downstairs patio. 3715 SE Division St

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