Karen Brooks eats, drinks and thinks about food for Portland Monthly, as the magazine's trend-spotting food critic. Karen's reviews and think pieces ferret out the restaurants, food carts, and maverick thinkers defining Portland's food voice. In 2017, Karen won one of the food world's most prestigious titles: the James Beard Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Reviewer Award. She's penned nine books on food and drink, and in 2020 guest-starred on Hulu's food series, Eater's Guide to the World 

Best Restaurants 2021

Portland's Best New Dining Experiences: Toki, St. Jack, Sweedeedee & Oma’s Hideaway

Meet the restaurants—beyond República—that transported us into their worlds and mindsets.

12/01/2021 By Karen Brooks and Katherine Chew Hamilton

Best Restaurants 2021

In the Portland Dining Scene, These Little Lights Really Shine

Thơm, Coquine Market, Meals 4 Heels, and Le Clos are some of our new favorites.

11/30/2021 By Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants 2021

Pizza Hits Peak Pie Time in Portland

Dimo’s, Pizza Thief, and Cafe Olli bolster the case that Portland is America’s best pizza city.

11/19/2021 By Karen Brooks

Reflection

The Last Days of Paley’s Place

Parting thoughts on the Northwest bistro icon, one of the last pioneers of Portland's farm-to-table fever dream

11/05/2021 By Karen Brooks

Restaurant Openings

Cafe Olli Is Portland's Next Great Pizza Place

An all-day, worker-owned cafe is rising soon in the former Ned Ludd—everything handmade, major cakes included.

10/28/2021 By Karen Brooks

Pop-Up

A Vegan Goth Bakery Pop-Up Is Coming to Mama Dút this Halloween

Kachina Williams, aka Baker Ghoul Magic, is a vegan, horror movie-obsessed Black Filipina baker ready for her close-up Oct. 31 on SE Morrison.

10/20/2021 By Karen Brooks

Eat This Now

3 Essential Portland Rainy Day Dishes

Time to break out the rain boots, umbrellas, mittens, curries, noodle soups, and stews.

09/30/2021 By Katherine Chew Hamilton and Karen Brooks

Food News

Berlu Cooks Up One of the Country’s Most Daring Vietnamese Tasting Menus

Conceptual street food debuts at Vince Nguyen's acclaimed SE Belmont spot, reopening in mid-October.

09/29/2021 By Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants 2021

Portland's Best New Food Carts

From kare kare fries to birria taquitos to vegan sushi rolls, this crop of newcomers offers a broad range of voices and experiences.

09/17/2021 By Katherine Chew Hamilton and Karen Brooks

Review

Head to Coquine Market for Sexy, Bocce Ball-Sized Onions

Plus a whole island of farm-fresh produce, impeccable pastries, and serious French fries.

09/09/2021 By Karen Brooks

Review

Portland's Best New Cheeseburger Is Hiding on Davenport's Lunch Menu

Once again, acclaimed chef Kevin Gibson makes a burger for the record books—heavenly meat included.

08/31/2021 By Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants 2021

Portland’s Best New Vegan Restaurants, Food Carts, and Pop-Ups

Where to eat Detroit-style pizza, barbecue ribs, banh mi, and spicy fried chicken sandwiches without any animal products involved.

08/27/2021 By Katherine Chew Hamilton and Karen Brooks

Breaking News

Next-Gen Vietnamese American Noodle Shop Thơm Opens Soon

Jimmy and Johnny Le, who grew up in their parents' restaurant, have created a cool new haunt for old-school pho, opening August 19.

08/12/2021 By Karen Brooks

Review

St. Jack’s New Chef Serves Dishes Rarely Seen Outside of France

The restaurant's new chef is serving dishes rarely seen outside of France.

08/05/2021 By Karen Brooks

Breaking News

Baon Kainan, Portland’s New Filipino-American Food Cart, Is 'Not Your Tita’s Cooking'

Seattleites Ethan and Geri Leung weave traditional home cooking, cheffy twists, breakdancing philosophy, and a love of American fast food.

07/28/2021 By Karen Brooks

First Look

Chewy Sourdough Crust Steals the Show at Slabtown's New Pizza Thief

An LA baker jumps into Portland's singular pizza scene, backed by whole-grain baking, seasonal handpies, and one rollicking chocolate chip cookie.

07/19/2021 By Karen Brooks

Restaurant Review

Oma's Hideaway Is Portland's Most Exciting New Restaurant

Welcome to a world that flickers with Malaysian Chinese barbecue, Indonesian sambals, French sausages, and psychedelic stoner food fun.

07/15/2021 By Karen Brooks

Pizza

Portland’s Got the Best Pizza in the Country, Says a New Book. Yeah. We Knew That.

PDX has been anointed the best pizza city in America. Here’s a reminder of why we agree.

07/08/2021 By Karen Brooks, Kelly Clarke, Katherine Hamilton, Fiona McCann, Jordan Michelman, and Ben Tepler

Food News

Derby Kenton 2.0 Unleashes Tropical Cocktails, Smash Burgers, and Filipino-Inspired Brunch

For her second North Portland act, Filipino American restaurateur Judith Stokes will unleash her vision of food and hospitality—drag bingo and live jazz in tow.

06/16/2021 By Karen Brooks

Review

Move Over, Peanuts. Meet Canard's Dairy Queen-Inspired Pine Nut Buster Parfait

Chef Taylor Daugherty goes all in on pine nuts to create the great new Portland sundae.

06/10/2021 By Karen Brooks