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easy dinners in PDX?

hc489 | | Aug 4, 2009 07:52 AM

We come to Portland about one weekend a month, staying in the Riverplace area. We have yet to find an easy, dependable dinner spot. Suggestions?

What we're looking for:
* Easy, casual/casual upscale
* Reservations accepted but not required
* sit-down place. no food carts please
* prefer quieter places
* fast-ish service. (1 hour dinner, not 3)

What we're not looking for:
* No diners or dives please
* No "reservations only", booking months ahead type places
* No stand in line and wait - I know it might be worth it, but that's usually only if you don't have a starving toddler in tow.
* Not fast food
* Not totally fancy - we're looking for the "can go anytime and are sure to find something for everyone menu."
* no buffets
* Not too spendy
* No "kids friendly," type places that mean grilled Velveeta on white bread kind of places. The kid knows how to eat; why should we all suffer?
* No

Who we are:
2 Incurable foodies, with a well-behaved 3-year-old foodie-in-training and another on the way. Our son is an adventurous eater and loves food, but doesn't do well so well with Thai.
Plus I'm pregnant so can't eat at delis (nitrates) or salad bars (listeria), peanut products. Otherwise, fairly omnivorous.

Where we've been:
* Three Degrees - at the Riverplace. It's convenient and good, but too fancy for the pregnancy stomach. And a bit on the spendy side.
* Cafe Broder - good, but need more variety for what we're looking for. Plus it's so hot in the summer.
* Newport Seafood Grill - didn't like it. The quality just isn't there.
* Salty's - didn't like it. my salmon was fishy and overpriced for what it is.
* Bread & Ink - great vibe - that's the kind of place we're looking for, but with perhaps a broader menu? Food could be just a tad better too.
* Wong's King for dim sum - just not like in SF, despite what people say. except for the long wait times. haven't been for dinner.
* some Japanese place in the Pearl - can't remember the name, but it had a bar, a bunch of tables, a sake barrel outside and a few tatami rooms. It was decent, but not a staple.

Out-of-town references:
For those of you who know these places, we'd LOVE a place like this:
* 17th Street Cafe, in Santa Monica on Montana Avenue
* The Barking Dog, in NYC in the upper east side