A round up of all the best dinner places in Southeast.
Khun Pic’s Bahn Thai
3429 SE Belmont St.
There’s a good chance you’ve walked by this joint and wondered what kind of people live in it or how much rent is. While I can’t answer the second part, Khun Pic’s is arguably the city’s best Thai restaurant, enshrouded in a scary-looking Victorian house on Southeast Belmont. A husband-and-wife team runs the entire show, so waits can be somewhat tedious, but the payoff is Siamese perfection.
310 SE 28th Ave.
There’s been a lot of hype surrounding this place. Believe it. In this writer’s opinion, this is bar-none the best sushi in the entire city. Something you may not know: In finer sushi restaurants, sitting at the sushi bar and ordering omakase (Japanese for “it’s up to you”) will guarantee you the best of the best. Be warned, though—omakase is not on the menu, so the price isn’t either. Prepare to shell out some green (my bill came to $122 after tip for two) and you’ll never forget it.
912 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Located in a tiny, unassuming strip-mall-looking stretch of lower Hawthorne, Iorio sits with modest signage that barely suggests an establishment. However, enough people have eaten here—and savored every morsel—that the restaurant was named the best in Portland by Citysearch users. That’s quite a bragging right, considering how fickle online critics can be. That said, Iorio is the people’s Italian restaurant. One meal there will tell you why.
8325 SE Mcloughlin Blvd.
Portland’s version of a dinner show—a strip club it may be, but the A-crop has the best steak in town for the money. Even after paying the $5 night cover, ordering the most expensive item on the menu will bring your total to well under $20. The owner of Acropolis also owns a cattle ranch, so the meat is always fresh and delicious. They even boast a “colossal burger”—a five-pound mammoth that will lay the hungriest diner low—for less than $10.
1001 SE Water Ave. #160
This Portland staple has remained so for a reason. Upon walking in, the smell of burning wood pouring from their huge wood-fired oven punches you in the face. It’s almost like a free appetizer—your mouth will be watering in seconds. Their menu is the definition of Portland dining—fresh, locally sourced ingredients that keeps the lineup rotating weekly. Check their website to find out what they have this week.
533 SE Grand Ave.
The exterior of Slow Bar doesn’t look like much—a black awning and frosted glass. Looking inside, you’ll notice it appears to be somewhat of a trendy bar. And it is, but some time ago, the secret got out. Their hamburgers are far and away the best the city has to offer. Since the word has spread, many have tried to capture their crown, but none have succeeded. The drinks are stiff and the ceviche is great—but you’re here for the burger. Get their classic monolithic Slowburger or their seasonally named special. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.
La Calaca Comelona
2304 SE Belmont St.
“Everything that swims, grows, flies, trots…into the pot!” is this place’s motto. Burrito joint, it ain’t. Portlanders are entirely too used to Mexican places serving up burritos, tacos and little else. Right on their menu, La Calaca Comelona tells you that it’s not the way they really do things. Sure, they have tacos, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a burrito on the menu. LCC prides itself on using seasonal ingredients you can’t find at many other places. Example: Last time I dined at LCC, they had grasshoppers on the menu. Now that’s authentic.