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 Food Carts

From kare kare fries to birria taquitos to vegan sushi rolls, this crop of newcomers is raising the ceiling of what a food cart can be.

09/17/2021 By Katherine Chew Hamilton

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

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

Food News

Expatriate’s New Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich Is a Strong Contender for Portland’s Crown

The Northeast Portland bar nails the heat, the meat, and the crust. Bonus: frozen custard banana splits from co-owner Naomi Pomeroy across the street. 

05/28/2021 By Karen Brooks

Bakery

Kimura Toast Bar’s Japanese Basque Cheesecake Is Ready to Conquer Portland

Kayoko Kaye unleashes her own version of the cult food phenom.

05/26/2021 By Karen Brooks

Home Bakers

Meet the Bread Heads at Starter Bread

How two nerds captured Portland’s whole-grains movement in a loaf unlike any other

05/25/2021 By Karen Brooks

Breaking News

Oma's Hideway Opens with Chinese-Malaysian Street Foods, Char Siu Pork Platters, and Mai Tai Slushies

The owners of Portland's acclaimed Gado Gado open a new spin-off, with cocktail collaborations from Eem wiz Eric Nelson.

05/19/2021 By Karen Brooks

Book Review

Gregory Gourdet's New Cookbook Blends His Love of Global Flavors and Paleo Foods

Plus: a recipe for grilled carrots and a spicy pineapple turmeric smoothie.

05/11/2021 By Karen Brooks

Food News

Goodbye, Le Pigeon Burger: Big Changes Ahead for Rucker’s Restaurants

The iconic Le Pigeon will move to a tasting menu-only model on May 4; Canard is dinner-only for the foreseeable future.

04/28/2021 By Karen Brooks

Food News

Veteran San Francisco Chef Readies to Open Brasa Haya in June

Michelin-starred kitchen alum Ian Muntzert unveils his brand of Spanish cuisine: fire-kissed, ingredients first.

04/22/2021 By Karen Brooks

Breaking News

Portland’s Beloved Ataula Will Not Reopen

José Chesa and Cristina Baez's iconic Catalan restaurant is no more. A farewell to one of the city's defining food gems.

04/22/2021 By Karen Brooks

Food to Go

10 Best Takeout Spots in Portland

Where to get classic cheeseburgers, vegan Sri Lankan street food, briny crab-and-featherback dumpling soup, and more.

03/22/2021 By Katherine Chew Hamilton and Karen Brooks