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A selection of Middle Eastern snacks at Tusk

Image: Courtesy Tusk

There’s never a bad time to feast your way through the Rose City, but the best time is undoubtedly Portland Dining Month. From March 1–31, restaurants throughout the city will celebrate this annual gastronomical extravaganza by offering sumptuous three-course meals for only $29. But with 125 eateries offering exclusive prix fixe menus, it can be difficult to know where to start—we’ve got some great ideas for you below.

Brand-New Spots

What better way to experience Portland’s hottest new restaurants than during Dining Month? Helmed by James Beard Award-winner Vitaly Paley, Headwaters brings hearth-fired flatbread, herb-crusted albacore, and butterscotch pudding to the storied Heathman Hotel. Nearby, downtown newcomer SuperBite serves up a variety of creative small plates, from Dungeness crab and chicken-fried quail to beef tongue Spam musubi. Across the river, romantic Jacqueline offers oysters, fisherman’s stew, and other locally sourced seafood dishes.

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Oysters galore at SE Clinton Street’s Jacqueline

Downtown Classics

Since 1994, Jake’s Grill has served up elegant, all-American dishes like iceberg stack salad, split pea and ham soup, and four-cheese chili mac, all of which are available on its Portland Dining Month menu. Two blocks away, Clyde Common anchors the ultra-hip Ace Hotel; during Dining Month, the tavern is trading its typical European-style fare for Filipino pancit bihon (stir fry-style noodles), pork adobo, and sponge cake with marshmallow fluff. Also nearby, Mother’s Bistro specializes in made-from-scratch comfort food such as short rib pot roast, pork loin medallions, and chicken and dumplings. 

Gluten-Free & Vegetarian

Folks of all diets will find plenty to enjoy during Dining Month. Opened in 2016, the buzzworthy Tusk offers Dining Month participants a mezze of vegetarian Middle Eastern snacks (think seasonal salads, olives, pickles, hummus, and flatbread), chickpea and hominy stew, and an apricot and orange blossom layer cake. Cumin-spiced chickpea fritters and chocolate hazelnut mousse cake are on the menu at vegan stalwart Blossoming Lotus, which also offers many gluten-free finds. Another favorite for special diets, veggie-centric Harvest at the Bindery gets creative with dishes like smoked kohlrabi carpaccio and beet-infused gnocchi.  

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Find comforting vegetarian fare at Harvest at the Bindery.

Around the World

Perched on the top floor of the Nines Hotel in the heart of downtown Portland, Departure offers Asian-inspired small plates like chicken tom kha soup, Szechuan beef noodles, and coconut ash chocolate cake, all artfully crafted by Top Chef runner-up Gregory Gourdet. To continue your world tour, head to Russian restaurant Kachka for authentic Soviet recipes like roasted beet salad and lamb pelmeni (dumplings), best paired with the eatery’s signature vodka flights. For a taste of Spain, check out tapas restaurant Ataula for Spanish pulpo (octopus), chorizo dogs, and dark chocolate ganache.

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For a full list of Portland Dining Month menus and participating restaurants, visit portlanddiningmonth.com.

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