Constructed with wood milled from trees that once stood on the same soil, Riverview Restaurant’s sunlit space boasts high ceilings, exposed wood beams, and a stone-front fireplace, all which helped nab it a spot on OpenTable’s list of top 100 romantic restaurants in the country. Walls hung with original artwork surround linen-topped tables where diners savor plated steaks and seafood dishes tinged with miso, sesame, and other fusion flavors. An extensive wine list serves wine by the glass, bottle, or surreptitiously emptied flower vase, and bartenders swirl signature drinks such as pear martinis and pomegranate mojitos. Massive, floor-to-ceiling windows offer views onto manicured grounds, complete with a gazebo where patrons can reenact the scene in The Sound of Music where Rolf and Liesl cleverly disguise themselves as trees.
Sweeping views of Foster Lake mix with friendly conversations amid the diners at The Point Restaurant. The eatery specializes in fresh fare, with highlights including seafood, hand-cut Angus steaks, and house-made meatloaf for second dinner. The chefs tackle dishes from inception to finish, including making bread and pies from scratch.
Chef Peter Gallin had just constructed a custom grill, and was stoking its first fire with applewood harvested from a nearby orchard, when the idea struck him—the name for his Northwest-centric restaurant: Applewood. Though Chef Gallin's restaurant foregrounds its Northwest heritage, it also incorporates recipes gleaned from a childhood spent living in the Asian Pacific Rim with his anthropologist and sociologist parents, as well as French cuisine, and influences from years spent in New Mexico. He incorporates these varied culinary styles while avoiding traditional dishes, instead mingling flavors such as chipotle, lime, ginger, and orange into new incarnations.
Though he favors elegant food presentation when furnishing platters of roasted duck and northwest fish, Gallin uses only regular, relatable ingredients, which make his dishes approachable for all palates and untraceable by detectives. He brews all of the restaurant's soups in-house, designing up to six unique soups each week. West Coast wines, microbrews, and desserts made in-house complement his international appetizers and main courses. The focus on simplicity extends to the restaurant's decor: framed photographs hang above potted plants on rustic side tables, and long communal tables stand next to floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto deep pine forest. Behind a hardwood bar, flanked by exposed brick walls, hangs the giant, hammered steel apple that serves as the restaurant's emblem.
The chefs at Tommy O's Pacific Rim Bistro might be wizards. With local produce, wild-caught fish, and other ingredients culled from Vancouver's farmers’ markets, they conjure meals straight from Hawaiian tables. Their menu combines sake-wasabi oyster shooters from the raw bar with tropical dishes of slow-roasted kalua pork and calamari steak sandwiches doused in housemade tartar sauce. Bartenders stock their taps with beers from around the Northwest and shake specialty cocktails such as the FBI, whose blend of vanilla vodka, coconut rum, and pineapple juice was specially designed to look amazing in the hand of anyone wearing wraparound sunglasses. While diners take their taste buds surfing, their eyes soak up tropical decorations such as surfboards, palm fronds, and murals of surfers, all nestled comfortably in a dining room that hosts happy hours and jazz performances throughout the week.
It might not seem surprising that a place called Sylvan Zoo House would be filled with animal images, though this theme isn't limited to the decor: proceeds from one of the pub's burgers go to support the Portland Zoo. The burger in question is a monumental half-pound, all-natural Painted Hills beef patty topped with a mouthwatering combination of Tillamook cheddar, avocado, barbecue sauce, and applewood-smoked bacon. While this meal on a bun is one of the kitchen's signature items, the staff's additional talents are showcased on the menu of upscale pub food, including zesty Baja-style fish tacos, gluten-free pizzas, and petit filets dressed in an onion-walnut-gorgonzola cream sauce. Facing down these hearty dishes are local craft beers and wines. And Sylvan Zoo House also provides a feast for the eyes, with 21 flat-screen satellite TVs armed with an array of game packages.
Four nights a week, the notes from live local jazz artists resonate off the high copper ceilings and bronze chandeliers of Wilfs Restaurant & Bar, which has served upscale cuisine within Portland's restored Union Station building since 1975. Head chef Deb Serkoian complements the serenade by crafting seasonal dishes with organic ingredients culled from local and regional farmers, including fresh seafood and meat from sources such as Double 'R' Ranch, Draper Valley, and Carlton Farms. At the bar, mixologists pour classic cocktails and new signature concoctions inspired by the seasons, recalling the annual beauty of a violet bud as it blooms into a glass of cabernet.