Dining: Downtown Portland


4 Essential Downtown Portland Restaurants

Downtown Portland is well-known for tree-lined streets, brickwork, green spaces, and eclectic shops and noteworthy eateries. Within its cozy confines, Portlanders and visitors alike have access to a stunning range of food choices, hailed across the nation as some of the absolute best eating around.

Dining in Downtown Portland

Whether you're visiting, recently relocated, or even a native Portlander (yes, we do exist), you need a "goto" list for every occasion. Nel Centro, Higgins and Departures are three Downtown restaurants that are some of the most emblematic of Portland’s food culture, and El Gaucho is just simply worth the visit. Obviously one cannot "know" the depth and breadth of Portland's commitment to world-class cuisine by visiting only four restaurants, so for those interested in the city's many other culinary offerings, you need only stay tuned for more.



Nel Centro

1408 SW Sixth Ave.
Portland, OR 97201

Award-winning chef and restaurateur David Machado takes his inspiration from the Riviera for one of his most popular restaurants, Nel Centro.  Conveniently located near the Keller Auditorium, Nel Centro is in the Hotel Modera and caters to a variety of tastes, from little sliders to the most elaborate French dessert pastries to gorgeous dishes of root vegetables or calamari. Breakfast, lunch, Happy Hour, dinner and bar food are all represented on its expansive menus, backed by an aesthetic none can beat: Italian marble, blown-glass lights, huge windows and a beautiful outdoor patio.




1239 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 222-9070

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Higgins Restaurant and Bar is a popular option for those headed to or coming from the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall – fondly known in Portland as the Schnitz. Making the most of the Willamette Valley’s incredible range of veggies, berries, mushrooms and more, Higgins renown for its farm to table fare.

One of the Pacific Northwest’s most influential restaurants, Higgins is the eponymous home of chef Greg Higgins, who left a celebrated stint at The Heathman 20 years ago ... The dining room, where local power-brokers and visiting dignitaries meet and greet, follows a super-seasonal approach.
— Michael Russell of The Oregonian/OregonLive

Whether you're people watching in the main dining room or enjoying an ale in the bar, think charcuterie boards, salmon salad sandwiches, stew, mushroom risotto and more. Enjoy it before a show or just for its own sake. 




525 SW Morrison Street
Portland, Oregon 97204

Courtesy of Departure

Located in luxury hotel The Nines, Departure Restaurant + Lounge juxtaposes its historic roots in the Meier & Frank Building with an ultra-modern interior for a truly unique dining experience.  Departure is nothing less than a nexus of Portland's classic past and a glimpse into the city's future.

In a space whose design is as daring as its cuisine, Departure is Portland’s sky-high retreat for both quick bites and leisurely dining. Step beyond its iconic façade into a world of cutting-edge interiors that seamlessly blend Portland’s pioneering past with its progressive future. With a relaxed, refined atmosphere, Departure is the ultimate location for encounters of every taste and style.
— Departure

As for its fare, Departure combines classic sushi, dim sum, stir-fry and more for a pan-Asian flair with American touches. The menu offers up rice and seafood as well as more unexpected dishes such as Brussels sprouts with chili, lime and mint. 



El Gaucho

319 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205

Another excellent restaurant nested within the storied Benson Hotel, El Gaucho brings the tunes and tastes of Southern Spain to Downtown Portland. With live flamenco guitar seven nights a week and delicious seafood, steaks, salads, wines and desserts, El Gaucho is certainly on our must-visit list.