Portland’s Creme-de-la-Creme French Cafes

When you tell people Portland, Oregon and Paris, France are a lot alike, you’ll probably get a few raised eyebrows. Sure, Portland doesn’t have the centuries-old architecture, major fashion houses, museums or same magical charm as the City of Light – but look past the surface and you’ll quickly realize that this Northwest city and the French capital have a whole lot more in common than you initially thought: French Restaurants.

Saint Honore Salad
Saint Honore Salad

In fact, Portland is a French Restaurant haven on the West Coast. From artistic and creative residents, to a love of green city spaces, to public transportation, and emphasis on walkable neighborhoods, the two P cities align very closely. Add to that an incredible food scene starring many up-and-coming, creative chefs, an emphasis on local, seasonal products and an abundance of excellent and local wines, and you’ve got a place where you can get a taste of Paris without ever leaving the country.

Next time you are jonesing for that trip to old Par-ee, visit either of these terrific Portland establishments and you’ll experience a little bit of France, right in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

Saint Honoré
After living in Paris, I’m a hard sell at most U.S.-based French bakeries, but Saint Honoré is flat-out the best French bakery I have been to outside of France. If you are looking for local, simple ingredients that have been transformed into mini edible masterpieces (all with a French flair), then make sure you stop by this boulangerie in Northwest Portland.

Tarte aux Fruits de Saison
Tarte aux Fruits de Saison

French native and bakery owner Dominique Geulin (who won a Meilleur Ouvrier de France Award for his boulangerie), keeps the menu simple—and very Parisienne.

He serves up simple French fare that’s focused on high-quality ingredients, like fresh salads (with the most perfect French vinaigrette), an amazing prosciutto, arugula and brie sandwich on a baguette, and the best chausson aux pommes (flaky pastry filled with French applesauce) this side of the Atlantic—in a great atmosphere that encourages guests to linger (just like in France). So, get a big café au lait and a fresh-baked boule, and linger awhile.
Location: 2335 NW Thurman, Portland

Le Bouchon
Another French-run restaurant with traditional French fare, Le Bouchon has a mostly native, French-speaking staff that serves up flavorful, simple dishes in a cozy space. Always on the menu: savory specials including duck or rabbit (ah, French comfort food), as well as other specialty regional dishes. It’s definitely à la francaise without being pretentious (or overly expensive).
Location: 517 NW 14th Avenue, Portland

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