Hidden Gems Await You at These Amazing Pearl District Restaurants

November 5, 2020
Food & Drink
jason wolfe

They say that the chances of finding a pearl tucked away inside an oyster are about one in ten thousand. In Portland’s Pearl District, you won’t find pearls appearing everywhere in the literal sense of the word, but you may just discover a neighborhood brimming with rare finds as far as restaurants go. It’s no secret that the Pearl District is home to some of the snazziest restaurants in town.

Pearl District

If you’re looking for some of those rarer restaurants, however, the ones that tick all of the boxes when it comes to Portland’s best restaurants, you might have to work your way through quite a few before you find the one you’ve been looking for. We’re here to make that search a little easier. These are some of the best “hidden gem” restaurants in the Pearl District.

About GiftYa

The Pearl District is packed with lovely upscale restaurants that will make your mouth water just thinking about them, but if you’re looking for some of the best ones to try the next time you and your friends head out for a restaurant crawl, GiftYa is here to make your life a little easier. GiftYa has made it their mission to help you find some of the best restaurants near you and shave a portion off your final bill while they’re at it with their e-gift cards. Order one to enjoy a nice meal in the Pearl District today!

Yama Sushi & Sake Bar

All sushi deserves to look as pretty as this does, and if it doesn’t, you’re definitely missing out! Image courtesy of Facebook

926 NW 10th Ave | Pearl District | yamasushiandsakebar.com

If you’re familiar with the original Yama Sushi, you’re probably well-aware of just how good their sushi is. With a well-renowned name for offering up some of the best sushi all across the country, it’s only fitting that their child company, Yama Sushi & Sake Bar should be on your list of restaurants to visit in Portland’s Pearl District.

Fans rave about just how fresh their sushi is, and even people who aren’t usually fans of sushi in general have come forward to gush about just how amazing this restaurant is. Not only do they offer up some of the most delicious food in the Pearl District, but they also have some of the best service around.

Here, they’ve combined many of the classics you’ll find at other Yama Sushi locations around the country with sake - a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice. Bring along your vegetarian friends as well because they have plenty of options to satisfy people with all diets here!

“I am a bit of a sushi snob and this place is amazing. The quality of the fish was amazing, great portions and amazing all around.  I can't wait until I can eat here because the ambience inside was amazing.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Yama Sushi & Sake Bar >

Mediterranean Exploration Company

There is something so refreshing about a Mediterranean meal cooked up using the simplest of ingredients. Image courtesy of Mediterranean Exploration Company Instagram

333 NW 13th Ave | Pearl District | mediterraneanexplorationcompany.com

Most people are either all-in or all-out for the traditional flavors that accompany authentic Greek food. If you’re a bit on the fence about just how much you like Greek food, Mediterranean Exploration Company is the best possible way for you to, well, explore the world of Mediterranean cuisine.

While you’ll certainly find plenty of Greek staples here, this particular restaurant prefers to focus on the flavors and ingredients that are featured throughout the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea as a whole.

You’ll find dishes featuring traditional Mediterranean eats, such as falafel or tzatziki sauce, but fused together with other ingredients that you might be a little more familiar with. Ever had a burger made with falafel instead of beef? Here’s your chance!

“I seriously have dreams about the food here...Put this place on your must try list. Come here for a special occasion and splurge on the tasting menu. You will not regret it.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Mediterranean Exploration Company >

Deschutes Brewery: Portland Public House

The beers are good, but the real hidden gems: the food! Image courtesy of Deschutes Brewery Instagram

210 NW 11th Ave | Pearl District | deschutesbrewery.com

Deschutes Brewery originated in Bend, and they have another location in Roanoke, Virginia, so there’s a good chance you’ve probably heard of it. Luckily, though, even if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the original or travel across the country to Roanoke, Portland has one of those locations right in the Pearl District - at Portland Public House!

Prepare yourself, because your knowledge of beer and everything that goes into making it and bringing out different flavors is about to expand tenfold when you walk through the front door of Deschutes Brewery at Portland Public House.

With over twenty different varieties of beer to serve up for you here and a constant rotation of seasonal items, you’ll never be without something new to try. Don’t forget to check out their menu of some of the most delicious traditional American fare in the city!

“Yummy Yummy Yum! Every time I go to this place, I keep reminding myself why this is one of my favorite brew pubs...It's the beer, yes, but it's the Elk Burger and the fries and those beer nuts!” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Deschutes Brewery: Portland Public House >

Andina Restaurant

Fresh ingredients are the key ingredient to this Peruvian restaurant. Image courtesy of Andina Restaurant Instagram

1314 NW Glisan St | Pearl District | andinarestaurant.com

Portland is no stranger to a diverse collection of cuisines from around the world, but one that seems to slide under the radar throughout the whole country is Peruvian cuisine. The good news? 

The Pearl District is home to some of the best Peruvian food in Portland at Andina Restaurant, and you can get a taste of it while enjoying all of the best parts of dining out to go with it. While the owners of Andina Restaurant aren’t from Peru, themselves, they have family out there and they’ve visited enough times to pick up on the cuisine.

Whether you prefer small plates featuring all of the best flavors of Peru or you’re in it for the traditional dishes, such as empanadas, Andina has a little something to satiate everyone. Whether you’re vegetarian or you’re itching to try something authentically Peruvian with the meat included, Andina is waiting for you!

“They have some of my all time favorite cocktails including the Sacsayhuamán and Pisco Sour. Amazing food, amazing service. Will always be a favorite of mine.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Andina Restaurant >

Carlita’s

Taco Tuesdays just got a whole lot better. Image courtesy of Carlita’s Instagram

1101 NW Northrup St | Pearl District | carlitaspdx.com

Who said that living in the northwest of the United States means you can’t find a good taco? While it’s true that you’re more likely to find an authentic taco closer to the southern border than you ever would up north amidst cloudier and rainier weather, Carlita’s has made it their mission to change that.

As one of the Pearl District’s most notable taquerias, Carlita’s is offering up a chance for you to get your taco fix in one of the most delicious ways possible. Everybody loves tacos, and this is your opportunity to enjoy some authentic Mexican fare with a northwestern twist.

That’s right: just because the folks at Carlita’s are bringing tacos up north, that doesn’t necessarily mean their abandoning their own roots altogether. They source all of their ingredients from local farmers, which means that everything used to fill your homemade tortilla will still have a little taste of home.

“Great tacos and drinks! Excellent vegetarian options! The corn on the cob (I forget the correct name) is something I have EVERY time!!” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Carlita’s >

Arden

What do you get when you break recipes down to the barest ingredients packed with immense flavor? Arden! Image courtesy of Arden Instagram

417 NW 10th Ave | Pearl District | ardenpdx.com

Looking for a restaurant that you can escape to and just be for a little while? At Arden, they’re changing the game of what it means to enjoy a meal out at a restaurant by striving to provide you with the kind of service that really makes you feel like you’re being pampered.

In their mission statement, they frequently cite the modern boom of technology as one of the driving forces behind the inspiration of their restaurant. With social media setting up unrealistic expectations for you to meet leering at you from every angle, they want to create a space where you can escape all of that, even for a short time.

Their menu is made up of simple, yet effective ingredients that have all been sourced locally in the hopes of keeping you more connected to your community. It’s a small menu, but it’s packed with so much flavor that you’ll want to try something new every time you stop by.

“In all seriousness it was a great meal. The best I've had in awhile. (I'd rank it near Single Thread Farms.) The food is light, well thought out and every ingredient is intentioned.” - Yelp Review

Buy a GiftYa to Arden >

Good restaurants aren’t hard to come by in the Pearl District, but finding the one that checks off all of the boxes in what you look for in a truly amazing restaurant isn’t quite as easy. These are some of the best restaurants in the area. Let us know which one had the tastiest meal in the comments below!

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