V-Day 2019

Valentine’s Day 2019: 10 Places to Eat Your Heart Out

Dreamy Francophile inventions to sustainable surf and turf, Portland chefs turn the Hallmark holiday into a creative cooking bonanza.

By Ryan Ashby January 30, 2019

Silken tofu with butternut squash, treviso, pomegranate and persimmon at Aviary


Starting at 5 p.m. Thu, Feb 14, 1733 NE Alberta St, $75 per person 
Northeast Portland’s standby alt-Asian eatery has crafted a creative, international smorgasbord prix-fixe menu for Valentine’s Day. Chef Sarah Pliner’s four-course menu will include olive oil cake with gravlax and yuzu butter, quail stuffed with spiced lamb and quinoa, and hoisin-braised beef with macaroni salad croquette and sour mango powder—just to name a few of her crazy mash-ups.

Bamboo Sushi

Starting at 5 p.m. Thu, Feb 14, NW, 836 NW 23rd Ave, $155 per person 
Like a love letter to sustainable fishing, Bamboo Sushi gives people a chance to meet some of its certified fishers in-person. The event includes a cocktail hour followed by a seven-course dinner, featuring MSC-certified seafood, with wine and saké pairings. Sustainable fishing aside, you’ll still get a mighty V-Day surf-and-turf feast, between spiny lobster with grilled lemon and beurre blanc and Wagyu beef NY strip with shaved truffles. 

Bistro Agnes

Starting at 5 p.m. Thu, Feb 14, 527 SW 12th Ave, $85 per person 
As expected, this devoutly Parisian bistro is dishing out the Frenchiest of French classics on February 14, from bouillabaisse to bourguignon. Choose between the likes of cassoulet of duck confit, roasted pork belly, Toulouse sausage, and potato gratin dauphinoise. Resolutions be damned; it’s Valentine’s Day! 

Noble Rot

Starting at 5 p.m. Thu, Feb 14, 1111 East Burnside, 4th Floor, $70 per person
Short of joining the old-school suits at Portland City Grill, Noble Rot is your best bet for glittering city lights and all that jazz. The fourth-floor restaurant’s special four-course menu boasts your usual V-Day fare, but with a good deal of PNW-winter seasonality. But really, you’re here to get wine-drunk and watch downtown go dark.

St. Jack

Starting at 5 p.m. Thu, Feb 14, 1610 NW 23rd, $75 per person
Working a bit more outside the box than your straightforward French bistro chef, St. Jack’s Aaron Barnett dreams up things like foie gras gemelli pasta with maitake and pomegranate seed and truffle-celery root tarte with tarragon hollandaise. If you’re not sufficiently larded with V-Day staples, you can still go crazy and accessorize your braised short rib entrée with seared foie gras ($27) or black truffle ($30).


Seatings at 6 and 8:45 p.m., Thu, Feb 14, 5425 NE 30th Ave, $225 per person
Fun fact: Beast’s Naomi Pomeroy is not one of Portland’s most celebrated chefs, but also a killer florist with her own flower shop, Colibri, on Northeast Prescott. For $80, you can pre-order “lush” flower bouquets from the chef herself, delivered to your table to accompany that five-course dinner of burrata ravioli and dry-aged Waygu beef over lobster-kale gratin.

Pix Patisserie

Seatings at 2 and 3:30 p.m., Feb 9–10, 2225 E Burnside St, $80 per couple
Pre-game Valentine’s Day (is that a thing?) with tea service for two on the preceding weekend, with 20 sweet and savory bites and two glasses of sparkling wine. On Valentine’s Day proper, Pix will hold its yearly giveaway: hiding a pair of 14-karat white gold and diamond earrings in a box of chocolate. Hey, even if you don’t get the prize, you’re still getting your cacao fix.


Starting at 5 p.m. Thu, Feb 14, 3715 SE Division St, $75 per person
If beurre blanc and lobster aren’t your jam, Xico’s Mexican indulgences might do the trick. Ceviche verde comes packed with wild Mexican white shrimp, Oregon Dungeness, and whole stuffed branzino with blood-orange mezcal salad. 

Little Bird 

Starting at 5 p.m. Thu, Feb 14, 215 SW 6th Ave, $65 per person 
V-Day is a great excuse to check out the newly revamped Little Bird, now helmed by Le Pigeon alum Xan Gilmartin. It’s also your best bet for a majorly French evening, apart from Bistro Agnes (listed above). There are some awesome-sounding nuggets on this menu, including a foie gras terrine with pineapple-rum compote and ginger-toasted challah, and a “Mille Crepe Suzette” with Grand Marnier buttermilk ice cream and poppy-pine nut brittle. Yum.

Salt & Straw

Through February at all Salt & Straw locations
Portland’s favorite ice cream slinger revives its annual celebration of February’s most consumed ingredient: chocolate. Salt & Straw highlights Portland’s next-gen chocolatiers and chocolate makers from Cloudforest to Xocolatl de Davíd—basically, it’s a box o’ chocolates in ice cream form. Among the new flavors: Chocolate PB&J, Gray Chocolate & Matcha, and Oaxacan Honey & Pasilla Fudge. Also, ordering several tubs of chocolate ice cream will totally get you out of a full-blown Valentine’s Day dinner.

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