by Louis & Annette Bignami

Portland served up classic restaurants like the Heathman, Ringside, Ark or Columbia Gorge Hotel even before rotund local James Beard loomed over American gastronomy. But below the top half-dozen restaurants eating out, in and around Portland limited diners to simply prepared salmon, clams, oysters, crabs, local cheeses, berries, and wild mushrooms.

Today, preparation matches provisions. Portland may have more good to exceptional restaurants than any other American city of its size with our favorite Typhoon as a prime example. Demanding diners fueled the transition from plain to fine food, for as traditional commercial fishing and logging languished, computer firms joined Oregon companies Nike and Columbia Sportswear to service both U.S. and Pacific Rim markets. High tech meant high salaries for sophisticated goodies who flood in from San Francisco, Boston or Chicago to provide a solid customer base. Superb chefs could now emigrate to the Northwest to fly fish, ski or enjoy the laid back Oregon lifestyle. The wonder is that you don't see many rotund residents. Must be the Nike influence.
The Heathman Restaurant and Bar

The Ringside


The Ark

Columbia Gorge Hotel