Oregonian's best new restaurants of 2018
For the 2018 Portland Restaurant Guide, we've tracked down the city's 10 best newcomers, with paradigm-shifting pizza, sandwiches and tacos emerging alongside a handful of scene-changing wine bars with impressive food.
-- Michael Russell
With Portland welcoming a bumper crop of Paris-aping neo bistros in 2018, it’s almost refreshing to find a French bistro this classic. Bistro Agnes comes from Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, the James Beard Award-winning chefs behind Northeast Portland’s Argentine-inspired Ox, and replaces the couple’s short-lived SuperBite. This is the place to come for straightforward takes on onion soup with melted gruyere, butter lettuce salad in a dijon vinaigrette or coq au vin with wild mushrooms, all served with absinthe cocktails or good Old World wine. If it’s surprising to find the chefs behind one of Portland’s most exciting restaurants offering a menu this tame, it might help to think of the restaurant as a response to SuperBite, a high-profile follow-up built around unusual flavor combinations served in bite-sized packages. SuperBite never found its form and lasted just a little more than a year. Bistro Agnes might not be as creative as Ox -- there’s no jalapeño-spiked bone marrow clam chowder here -- but it does serve some delicious food. The shallow pan of slow-cooked duck, roasted pork belly, toulouse sausage and tender, meaty white beans makes a strong case for Portland’s best cassoulet.