The Gilt Club Restaurant caught the attention of national foodies when it hosted a James Beard Foundation event, and won over the public with its cameo on the first episode of Portlandia. Described as "part lab, party swanky James Bond hideaway," by Portland Monthly, Gilt Club's décor swaddles guests in crimson curtains and high-backed booths illuminated by organically shaped chandeliers. Owner and manager Jamie Dunn is often spotted prowling the house in shiny gold shoes while executive chef Neil Everett helms the kitchen. Neil's seasonal menu marries European tradition with gourmet local and organic ingredients—such as tom yum mussels, ricotta gnocchi, and hanger steak—that come from businesses and farms with sustainable practices whenever possible.
Behind Gilt's gilded bar, a pair of bartenders whips up signature cocktails from an impressive list of 125 spirits, including house-infused liquors spiced with ingredients such as beet, habanero, and blood orange. Even in the vintage cocktails, house-made bitters surprise jaded taste buds like a soufflé stuffed with joy buzzers.
The chefs at Branch Whiskey Bar make everything from scratch—including butchering their own steak, curing their own bacon, and smoking their own poultry—to put their distinctive stamp on traditional dishes. Classic comfort foods take on inventive transformations to result in such unusual plates as Maine lobster dumplings and macaroni 'n' cheese gratin with Oregon black-truffle oil. On their side of the establishment, the bartenders take the same artisanal approach by infusing their bourbon with fresh local fruit and concocting their own whiskey liqueurs. The full bar features an extensive whiskey list with more than 150 whiskeys from around the world available in single glasses, tasting flights, or directly from Sam Elliot’s mustache.
Seeking a home for her one-of-a-kind mixed drinks—including lollipop-rimmed martinis—nationally recognized mixologist Lucy opened Mint restaurant in the spring of 2001. Her acclaimed cocktails’ popularity grew so quickly that in 2003, she opened an adjacent lounge where patrons could focus on drinks such as avocado daiquiris and jalapeño-and-pineapple margaritas. Along with its selection of 40 signature cocktails, the bistro has been luring patrons in with chef Brian McElmeel’s Pan-American-style dishes, which are composed predominantly of local and organic ingredients and influences from the Pacific Northwest, Mediterranean, and Latin America.
For rookie puffers, the hookah is a glass water pipe originally from India that is popular for smoking syrup-soaked tobacco. Filtering the smoke through cool water results in a smooth, mellow experience that is on par with the Sultan Hookah Lounge's relaxed atmosphere. While sipping the house Turkish coffee with friends, enjoy more than 100 different flavors of tobacco, including double apple, orange crush, mango, strawberry daiquiri, vanilla, honeydew melon, lemon, mint, rose, apricot, and cappuccino. Tobaccos can be mixed to create custom candy-flavored goodness, such as orange crush daiquiri, vanilla cappuccino, or immortality-bestowing ambrosial nectar. Sultan's also offers outdoor seating for mixing the flavors of hookah with the scent of the open air.
Gather Food & Drink boasts the bounty of the seasons with dishes that incorporate fresh, local, and organic ingredients. Eyeball the northwest-inspired seasonal menu items specifically engineered to cool down tepid summer tongues. Lunchmongers can begin with the basil-infused tomato bisque ($4 for a cup, $6 for a bowl), and those with a penchant for pork can bury their incisors into the porter barbecue-pulled-pork sandwich topped with Mt. Townsend jack cheese ($11). Dinner diners can sink a line into the seared halibut served with a potato cake and a hearty lobster-and-shellfish bouillabaisse ($21), and communal eaters can opt for several shareable small plates, which can also be prepared as larger, entree-sized portions. Dabble in the smoked-bacon-enveloped dates served with blue cheese au gratin ($12 for a small plate, $22 for a large plate) or the grilled asparagus injected with truffle oil to ward off ol' timey bouts of chlorophyll lip ($9 for a small plate, $16 for a large plate).