Bistro Agnes
Parisian Bistro Fare in Downtown Portland's West End

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OREGONIAN: Portland's 40 best restaurants, ranked

Portland's 40 best restaurants, ranked

By Michael Russell | The Oregonian/OregonLive | Posted July 31, 2019 at 05:05 AM | Updated August 01, 2019 at 02:26 PM

31. BISTRO AGNES

f52_bistroagnes.jpeg

Cassoulet dreams, courtesy of Bistro Agnes. (Beth Nakamura | The Oregonian)

527 S.W. 12th Ave.
503-222-0979
bistroagnes.com
Lunch and dinner, daily; weekend brunch
$$$

For their latest trick, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, the celebrated chefs behind creative Argentine steakhouse Ox, gave Portland something it didn’t know it was missing: a classic French bistro in the bourgeois tradition. Executed at the high level the James Beard Award-winning duo have been known for since their days at the Pearl District’s Metrovino, Bistro Agnes is the place to come for bubbling onion soup gratinée capped with melted Gruyere, escargot and button mushrooms drowning in herb butter or a note-perfect cassoulet with slow-cooked duck, roasted pork belly, pork sausage and tender, meaty white beans. In some ways, it’s helpful to think of Bistro Agnes as a pendulum swing away from SuperBite, the couple’s high-profile Ox follow-up that closed after a year in this same space. No, Bistro Agnes isn’t as creative as that restaurant or Ox — there’s no bone-marrow clam chowder equivalent here — but the food can be just as delicious.

Order: Salade niçoise (an ideal lunch), escargots, sole quenelles in lobster sauce, cassoulet, a pre-dinner drink at next door’s Kask (1215 S.W. Alder St.).

Insider tip: The restaurant shares a name with Ox’s Dirty Grandma Agnes, a well-loved vodka-pickle martini that has found a place among the absinthe bottles here.

Daniel Weiner