Among the locals of Portland, Oregon there are hardly any recognized hidden gems. This is mainly because the requirement for a place to be known as a hidden gem is for fewer than 7 people to even know that said place exists. So, without further ado or qualification I shall present to you a list (in no order of importance) of the top 10 Gems in Portland : under appreciated, often hidden, and usually in plain sight.
1) Voodoo Doughnuts
Known for it’s crazy flavors including froot loops and bacon, Voodoo Doughnuts is a Portland institution. Most of the tourists coming to Portland wait in line forever at the downtown location while the east side location is left to the locals. My hope is that this post doesn’t completely alter this state of affairs! 1501 NE Davis St.
Yes, it is a fast food restaurant chain that is spread throughout Oregon and Washington- a well loved local institution that serves line caught fish, locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables, and ethically sourced meats. Having spent some of my younger days flipping burgers in the back, I can attest to the fact that if a customer wanted to know the exact cow from which their burger was made, they could receive that information within a few phone calls. Burgerville makes this list because internet commentators from other parts of the country, namely New York and California, have the tendency of completely overlooking Burgerville in their poorly researched top ten lists of fast food restaurants. Burgerville is far superior to anything anywhere else in the country. Burgerville, Burgerville, uber alles! Of all the Burgerville locations, the restaurant at the corner of SE Powell Blvd. and SE 26th is the best. I have no idea why, but it is.
3) The Grotto
This is well known within the Catholic community, but not necessarily to outsiders. The Grotto, located at 8840 NE Skidmore St, features several grottos, but the most important feature is the Monastery Garden and meditation room that must be reached via elevator. If you need time to unwind and meditate this a great place to come.
4) Portland Stairways
Portland is filled with beautiful, old concrete staircases. Many of them were built as thoroughfares for the servants of the affluent living on top of Portland’s hills, now their primary use is for those of us who are not quite ready to tackle Mt. Hood. The following is a link to many of these often scenically beautiful means of ascent.
5) Tandoor Indian Kitchen
Located a couple blocks from the U.S. Bank Tower (known as big pink), Tandoor is a lunch buffet well used by the nearby office workers, but little known to the rest of Portland. It is the best Indian food in town and the best dishes to be had are the chicken tikka masala and the black eyed peas. 406 SW Oak St.