Chef Sarah Pliner's Guide to Portland Dining Month

Chef Sarah Pliner's Guide to Portland Dining Month

Explore the dining scene with these tips from the Aviary chef.

February 24, 2020
Chef Sarah Pliner's Guide to Portland Dining Month

Chef Sarah Pliner's Guide to Portland Dining Month

Explore the dining scene with these tips from the Aviary chef.

February 24, 2020
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Chef Sarah Pliner's Guide to Portland Dining Month



In the rare times she’s not turning out Asian-French fusion dishes like foie bao at her highly lauded Portland restaurant Aviary, you might catch chef Sarah Pliner around town exploring some of Portland’s more adventurous options (stuffed duck neck, kung pao sausage) or simply enjoying a really really good chile relleno. It’s in that spirit of exploration, that Sarah has been checking out Portland Dining Month's line-up of over 100 participating restaurants. It couldn't be easier to try a few yourself– simply check out the list of participating restaurants that have put together a steal of a three-course menu together for only $33, and make a reservation for March.

Here are the spots on Sarah's list:



St. Jack:

I ate here recently, and they do an amazing stuffed duck neck. They're actually running it on their dining month menu, which is pretty surprising because you would think, it's a little risky. The version I had was with chiles and a bunch of parsley, and it was spicy, sweet and salty. It is a little intimidating because it comes out with the head and the beak attached, but it was the best thing we had that night, and it is one of the best things I've had in Portland. The restaurant is very French with a focus on Lyon, and it's kind of sophisticated and fun–for me, it's kind of a nice night out restaurant. They also have lots of French cheeses and French wines and it's pretty amazing to get in there and out for $33!

Acadia Bistro: 

There aren't very many restaurants doing Cajun food in Portland and Acadia Bistro in particular sources really good ingredients and takes a lot of care in their preparations. And they aren't just doing the same stuff on their dining month menu, they are giving people four choices for their entree course, which is a lot. So you can go with a group and you don't have to worry about everyone having to order the same thing. It's a nice, pretty casual spot you could go to any day of the week.

Taqueria Nueve: 

They do a really exceptional chile relleno and it's one of my favorite dishes in Portland. The batter is super light and crispy and it comes with a really bright tomato sauce--it's just a great version of a chile relleno, and it happens to be one of their Dining Month options for the entree!  I've also had all of their tacos, which are good. The ceviches are great, and they have really great margaritas too.

Flying Fish: 

It is brand new, but I'm hopeful this place will become a little bit like our version of Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco. It's very casual, with a huge array of impeccably fresh local and sustainably-sourced seafood choices, which is hard to find in Portland. I saw they have a Crab Louie Salad on the Dining Month menu, which is something I love and almost no one does anymore! Oh, and they're not forcing you to do dessert on the prix-fixe menu, so it's nice to have a choice of three savory courses. They serve all day and they're also a market! 


The chef, Erik Van Kley, used to be at Taylor Railworks and I really liked his food there, so I'm glad to see his food is available again! One of the Dining Month entree options is his Kung Pao sausage, which is really good. He's very good at charcuterie and so the sausage is always perfectly made. The restaurant itself is primarily a wine bar and now they have Erik doing the food so it's a big draw for me!


Quaintrelle's just kind of casual and cool and fun. A place I would bring friends. It's small, neighborhood-y, a little bit adventurous, and they use ingredients and techniques from around the world. It's also very vegetable-forward, which is something that I always enjoy. I really want to try the Delicata Squash Rings they have on the Dining Month menu, which is basically squash fried like an onion ring, served with chili honey and bonito mayo.


Revelry was opened by chefs Seif Chirchi and Rachel Yang from Seattle who are very serious, accomplished restaurateurs, and Eric and Karen Bowler who own some popular lounges in Portland. They're weird, their food is great, and the menu is a lot of fun. They do a late-night hip hop bar thing, but then they also do really really complex and serious food. I feel like it works, but it's good to know going in that there's going to be loud music. And they have Cracker Jack popsicles for dessert on the Dining Month menu!

Restaurant St Jack
Northwest, Portland
$$$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, French, Full Bar
12 Recommendations
Sabin, Portland
$$$, Southern, American, Lounge, Cajun / Creole
1 Recommendation
Southeast Portland, Portland
$$, Korean, Cocktail
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