Portland, Oregon is the setting for multiple movies, including some newer teen movies like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Moxie. A couple of TV shows have also featured the city as a backdrop, including the sketch-comedy Portlandia, fantasy Grimm, and crime-drama Stumptown. Most recently, Top Chef’s eighteenth season was filmed in the city, showing that the food scene is good enough for the big screen. If you’ve been watching from home, you may have noticed a few great local businesses featured front and center or in the background.
Akadi PDX– This restaurant serves as an excellent example of West African traditional dishes from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and more. Some popular dishes include attieke poisson, peanut butter mafe and shosho, and chicken or beef suya.
A review by Fiona L. on Yelp says, “The flavors in these dishes are out of our league. There’s this enticing aroma that gets you to keep eating. … I honestly would not get tired of having Akadi everyday.”
Though Akadi is temporarily closed, they plan to re-open after chef/owner Fatou Ouattara returns from a trip to the Ivory Coast. In the meantime, pick up vegan dishes and bottled hot sauce from Akadi in Green Zebra Grocery’s deli section.
Bake on the Run – A food cart located in the Hawthorne Asylum pod, Bake on the Run serves Guyanese cuisine. On TV, contestants sampled the puff breads stuffed with either a bacalhau omelet or chana aloo. The menu doesn’t stop there, with sweet options as well as rice and noodle dishes.
One Yelp reviewer, Xochithl S., said, “I will give up a lot of things for this food… I could swim in this channa aloo. Everybody needs to eat here.”
Yaad Style Jamaican Cuisine– It was a pleasure to be introduced to this busy MLK Jr. Boulevard location. Curried goat, brown stewed chicken, oxtail stew, and jerk chicken are all amongst the Jamaican specialties served here.
Angela D. said in their Yelp Review, “Amazing. Spectacular. Delectable. Chicken falls off the bone. Plantains are fresh with the perfect crispness on the exterior. Jerk has just the right amount of spice.”
Soter Vineyards – One of two Portland-local chefs in the news lately, Soter Vineyard’s head chef has many accolades and a wealth of experience in San Francisco, Spain, and more. In an interview with PDX Monthly, she said, “We’re booking up [at Soter Vineyards] left and right. I think it’s a combo of the … exposure and vaccines being doled out. During the week, we have a bit of availability, so if people come to Soter, I would say play hooky from work and come in on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, and you’re probably going to get in.” Soter Vineyards is located in Carlton, OR, approximately an hour southwest of Portland.
Stacked Sandwich Shop / Feel Good – These two concepts are the brainchild of the second Portland-based chef seen on TV lately, also the chef-owner behind NW Portland’s Mama Bird. Aiming to start a new concept right when the pandemic hit, the Stacked Sandwich location was turned into the elevated grain bowl establishment known as Feel Good. As business gets back to normal, each concept will hopefully expand to their own location.
Royal Sonesta – Not mentioned explicitly, but seen in the background, is the hotel Royal Sonesta (formerly known as Kimpton Hotel Monaco). Centrally located minutes from the Pearl District, this circa-1912 building is now an eclectic hotel space. A historic architectural marvel, Yelp reviews say, this hotel has “Gorgeous and unique decor all throughout the building, great customer service, and dog-friendly!”
Portland Japanese Garden – Spectacular anytime of year, the Portland Japanese Garden features rotating art exhibits, a museum with indigenous art, beautiful waterfalls, multiple zen gardens, 100-ear-old bonsai, lovely scenery, and its own dining experience at the Umami Cafe. Thankfully, when you visit, there won’t be the stress of using Ota Tofu in a three-round, sudden-death, cook-off tournament… only relaxation.