7 Oregon Restaurants to Try
Justin Bailie, Photographer
September 14, 2015 (Updated June 23, 2017)
Since opening Frankie’s Restaurant in 2013, chef Cody Utzman has forged close relationships with local farmers in Albany, serving upscale family style fare that’s as fresh as you can get. Before moving back home to Oregon, Utzman ran a handful of acclaimed farm-to-table eateries in New York City. “So many of the great products that I would use, and that chefs want to use, come from Oregon,” he says. Now that he’s closer to those sources than ever before, he doesn’t take the state’s bounty for granted. You’ll often find him tending to his garden or visiting a local farm. <a href="https://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/itineraries/portland-to-mthood/"> Follow him to Mt. Hood, one of his all-time-favorite foodie destinations</a>.
WildCraft Cider Works, Eugene’s first cidery and taproom, takes a sustainable approach to their craft — gleaning the majority of the apples they use from wild, fruit-bearing trees. “These trees grow in our backyards and side streets, on our hiking trails and in our neighboring farmland,” says owner Sean Kelly, explaining that this sense of place also inspires chef Ryk Francisco’s cider-friendly menu. Each season, they harvest fresh ingredients in every corner of Oregon. <a href="https://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/itineraries/coast-bounty-with-wildcraft-cider-works/">Find fresh seafood with them on the Oregon Coast</a>.
In 2008, chef Jenn Louis and her husband, David Welch, opened the Lincoln Restaurant on North Williams Avenue in Portland. In the years since, Louis has garnered two nominations for the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest and was named Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef” for the Northwest region in 2012. And when you taste her culinary creations, it’s no wonder why she’s received so much praise. At Lincoln, she makes some of Oregon’s most irresistible pasta dishes from scratch. But when she’s not cooking up a farm-fresh feast in her kitchen, chances are she’s embarking on a road trip. <a href="https://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/itineraries/tasty-adventures-at-crater-lake/">Follow her for tasty adventures around Crater Lake</a>.
At the Decarli Restaurant in Beaverton, the simple Italian fare reflects Oregon’s seasonal bounty. “We print our menu daily,” says chef Paul Decarli. “One day my mushroom forager might bring in some great truffles, but next week he has something else.” The restaurant’s wine list also reflects Decarli’s intimate connection with the land, and he enjoys vineyard-hopping around Oregon to revel in the state’s distinct terroir. <a href="https://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/itineraries/delicious-day-trip-in-the-gorge/">Enjoy a delicious day trip with him in the Columbia River Gorge</a>.
Chef Pascal Chureau opened Allium Bistro in 2010, inspired by the bistro fare in his home country of France. He was born in the Loire Valley and raised in Bordeaux — and now he brings that Old World culinary heritage to the town of West Linn, sourcing seasonal ingredients for his menu from local farmers. An avid outdoorsman, he often spends his free-time venturing out into Oregon’s great outdoors. <a href="https://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/itineraries/pascal-chureaus-culinary-trail/">Trace his footsteps to Wallowas, an area he likens to the French Alps</a>.
In the heart of Willamette Valley wine country, you’ll find vintners dining at Ruddick/Wood, a casual eatery in downtown Newberg. In the kitchen, chef Paul Losch cooks up New American dishes defined by a tavern-meets-restaurant ethos and inspired by the Valley’s seasonal bounty. But when he wants a different flavor, he ventures to the wild frontier of Central Oregon for a different taste of place. <a href="https://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/itineraries/paul-losch-culinary-tour/">Follow him to Smith Rock and his culinary picks in Oregon's high desert</a>.
On the 15th floor of Portland’s luxury hotel The Nines, chef Gregory Gourdet cooks up pan-Asian fare at Departure Restaurant and Lounge. This sleek restaurant not only offers excellent city views; Gourdet and his crew also grow many of their own ingredients in their rooftop garden, demonstrating his dedication to locally sourced cuisine. When not running a fast-paced urban kitchen, Gourdet enjoys solitude in nature, specifically the wilds of Eastern Oregon. <a href="https://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/itineraries/gregory-gourdet-culinary-tour/">Follow him to the Painted Hills, picking up some satisfying snacks along the way</a>.
Oregon’s wonders don’t stop with the great outdoors; our edible bounty is a wonder that can be found in every meal prepared here. There’s a reason so many of the world’s best chefs call Oregon home.
To help you navigate all that this great state has to offer, we’ve asked seven favorite chefs from across Portland and the Willamette Valley to share their favorite culinary destinations around Oregon. Kick off or finish up your culinary adventure at these restaurants in
Portland and Willamette Valley to see how local food and ingredients influence some of our best menus.