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 

Food News

These 7 Portland Chefs and Restaurants Are James Beard Award Semifinalists

Berlu's Vince Nguyen, Gado Gado's Thomas Pisha-Duffly, and Magna's Carlo Lamagna are in the running for Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific.

02/23/2022 By Katherine Chew Hamilton

First-Look Review

Acclaimed Han Oak Reopens with Hot Pot, Caviar, and Korean Chips

After nearly two years on hiatus, Portland's fun-loving Korean restaurant returns with a new concept

02/23/2022 By Karen Brooks

First look review

Wood-Fired, Greek-Inspired Bluto's Is an Instant Portland Destination

Hummus, pita, and killer lamb skewers make Bluto's, located at 2828 SE Belmont St., worth a visit.

02/15/2022 By Karen Brooks

Dining Guide

Portland’s Most Romantic, Date-Worthy Restaurants

Planning a date with that special someone? Peep this list first.

02/08/2022 By Karen Brooks and Katherine Chew Hamilton

Grocery Stores

How Providore Became a Portland Food Paradise

With a new expansion, the NE Portland store is a treasure hunt, a cookbook curator, a wine bar, and a love letter to small farmers.

02/08/2022 By Karen Brooks

Q&A

Exit Interview: Portland Bread Legend Ken Forkish

Parting thoughts on the baker and pizza maker’s legacy, comic book cookbook, and why he left Portland

01/05/2022 By Karen Brooks

Year in Review

Portland's Most Obsession-Worthy Dishes in 2021

Breakfast champions, fast-food makeovers, and game-changing tasting menus top our best dishes of the year.

12/28/2021 By Karen Brooks and Katherine Chew Hamilton

Cafes & Chocolate

Portland's 7 Belly-Warmingest Hot Chocolates

From classic milk chocolate to peppermint to snickerdoodle, here are the best hot chocolates to get you through the winter.

12/17/2021 By Katherine Chew Hamilton, Dalila Brent, Fiona McCann, Gabriel Granillo, Cami Hughes, Julia Silverman, and Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants 2021

Best Restaurants 2021: The Next Eat Wave

New voices and cuisines are rising. Tables look different, literally and figuratively. Meet the charismatic newcomers, fearless cooks, and daring dishes char...

12/09/2021 Edited by Karen Brooks and Katherine Chew Hamilton

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