The Pearl District is known for its excellent restaurants like Blue Hour, Andina, and Mediterranean Exploration Company. But if you procrastinated on making a Valentine’s Day dinner reservation, you’ll find that every place is completely booked. No reservation? No problem. Here’s your guide to a last-minute V-day date.
Serve up a candlelit dinner at home
Pick up a new cookbook at Powell’s City of Books and head over to World Foods for ingredients. I like Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty—the recipe for lemon eggplant risotto is sure to impress your sweetheart.
Grab a drink with your date
After dinner, hit up a Pearl hot spot like Deschutes Brewery and Public House, Cerulean Wine Bar and Bistro, or Streetcar Bistro and Taproom. The best part about imbibing in the Pearl is that you can easily ride the Portland Streetcar home.
Indulge in sweets
Have your heart set on a nice dinner out? Try one of these restaurants
Here’s a list of romantic dinner spots that take walk-ins for two (they won’t accept reservations). My advice: show up early, around 5pm, and you shouldn’t have to wait too long for a table.
What’s better than sharing a paella with your sweetie? Ataula serves top-notch tapas and Catalonian specialties like rossejat, a paella-like noodle dish. Make sure you order the sangria—one sip, and you’ll be transported to a Barcelona sidewalk cafe.
Now with locations in all four quadrants of Portland, Bamboo Sushi serves delicious Japanese food with an upscale ambiance. Make sure you try the oyster-topped okonomiyaki and pair it with a sake flight. The sushi chefs at Bamboo only serve sustainable seafood, so it’s good for the ecosystem as well as your belly.
This Belgian spot is one of those cozy, dimly lit eateries that’s perfect for a date. They offer the best mussels you’ll ever eat, served with a choice of six flavorful broths and crunchy bread on the side. You can go classic with a garlic and butter broth or bring the heat with a spicy and sour Thai broth.
Southeast Wine Collective
Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to try a wine flight at this charming urban winery and wine bar. The sommeliers here really know their stuff and can guide you through their incredibly extensive wine list. In addition, they’ve got some great bites including baked polenta with mushroom ragout and charcuterie boards.
Is there anything more romantic than pizza? Dove Vivi’s pies are by far the best in Portland. After you’ve tasted their gluten-free cornmeal crusts, you’ll never turn back. The corn pizza, topped with smoked mozzarella, balsamic marinated roasted red onions, and fresh corn, is nothing short of life changing.