#ThursdayToursPDX {Date Night}

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Whether you are celebrating your 30th wedding anniversary or navigating the wild, wild world of online dating, having an arsenal of go-to date spots in your back pocket is an absolute must. Be it is drinks, a nice dinner, or romantic third date spot Portland has a lot of options to offer. To help us identify some of the best spots Erin and I asked Annie of Serious Crust and Brooke of Chocolate and Marrow for #thursdaytourspdx Date Night!

In case you don't know her, Annie is super cool. Over at Serious Crust she shares elegant yet accessible recipes, detailed and honest restaurant reviews, and always uses ooooh-factor ingredients. Not to mention, she has amazing personal style, is super funny, and is in a band. Yup - she is in a band!! So whether your date loves going to shows or shops at Zupans I know you will love her date spots.

And for Brooke's recommendations head over to Bakery Bingo!

Rustic and Laid Back: Navarre

Jars of preserved produce and bottles of wine line the walls of Navarre.

Navarre has been a go-to date night spot for me since I discovered it a few years ago. The wine list is great - they have plenty of options by the glass, ⅓ bottle, or ⅔ bottle, in case you want to try more than one wine or, you know, drive home. The food is simple and rustic, and has inspired many adventures in my own kitchen (trout en papillote has become a regular occurrence thanks to Navarre). Perhaps my favorite thing about Navarre is that you can order a small or large version of any dish, so even if it’s just the two of you, you can get lots of variety.

Cocktails and Small Bites: Box Social

A couple of candlelit cocktails at The Box Social

On the nights where all I want is a really good cocktail (or two) and a few snacks, I love going to The Box Social. They’re open until 2 a.m., so you can stay as long as you like enjoying their incredibly tasty and creative house cocktails, some of which rotate seasonally: I love sipping the Beatnik on a cold night. They’ve also got an extensive list of liqueurs and a very knowledgable staff, so feel free to request tastes and ask lots of questions! When it comes to something to munch on, they’ve got a great charcuterie plate, as well as a baked brie plate with roasted garlic and apple, and I’ve enjoyed the butter lettuce salad on many occasions.

Adventurous and Flavor-Packed: American Local

This jolly tanuki greets you at the host stand of American Local.

American Local is a recent addition to my date night arsenal. I’ve been there twice now, and the service has been really stellar. The food is, in my opinion, on another level. I love the adventurous flavor combinations, ranging from sashimi style fish dishes to chicken skin skewers to some truly intricate vegetable plates. On a recent visit the favorite was a tossup between roasted asparagus and ramps with togarashi and buttermilk miso, and the fiddlehead ferns with spinach, tamari, sesame, and pickled spring garlic. To drink, I recommend splitting a carafe of the sake on tap made in Forest Grove, OR.

Casual and Comfortable: Por Que No?

Above the salsas at Por Que No sit tubs of ingredients.

If you’d rather go for a more casual date, you can’t go wrong with Por Que No?. I love the whole experience, from chatting while standing in the inevitable line, to squeezing into a table, to deciding who’s going to go get samples of the wide array of salsas. The margaritas are killer - you can get the standard or have it made with any of their agua frescas (my favorite is a jamaica margarita). Now that you know what you’re drinking, you have to decide what to eat. The tacos are fantastic - I usually order chorizo and lengua - but the fan favorite has to be the Bryan’s Bowl: your choice of meat or veggies with beans, rice, guacamole, salsa, queso fresco, and served with either fresh tortillas or chips.

All photos are courtesy of Annie Fassler

#ThursdayToursPDX is a collaborative series between Portland, OR bloggers {Erin} Bakery Bingo + {Meredith} Martha Chartreuse. In a city filled with amazing restaurants, artisan experiences, and fantastic taste makers the inside scoop is a must. We will be asking our friends and fellow bloggers for their recommendations and tips for all the City of Roses has to offer.


  1. What great ideas! The hubs and I may check some of them out when we finally get another date night!

  2. How horrible is it that I still haven't been to Navarre? I need to get there stat! Great recommendations, Annie!

  3. I also have not been to Navarre. It's been around for ages so it always gets overshadowed by new places. Evidently I need to move it up on the list.

  4. I have to echo what Erin and Kristi says - thanks for bringing Navarre back on our radar since it's so classic that it gets a bit lost with all the newer names.

  5. These places look great! Now only if Hubby and I could get away for a date night...