Portland’s most revered chefs are not only hard at work creating memorable dining experiences in their well-established and frequently-visited restaurants, they’re busy creating new, more casual spaces to showcase their food alongside great wines. These new wine bars-cum-restaurants are offering guests approachable menus with extensive selections of interesting and obscure wines while serving as a kitchen playground for the chef.


Thelonious Wines first opened as a bottle shop, then began serving wine by the glass, and eventually served small bites. But as their business grew, and customers expressed interest in more food options, owners Kelsey Glasser and Alex Marchesini looked at expansion. The Arden space, barely a block away, had been sitting empty, and when the couple fortuitously connected with Michelin-starred chef Sara Hauman, they knew they had the makings of a real restaurant. Glasser jokes that she and Marchesini quickly realized they just might kill each other if they were running two business together, so they split them up; Marchesini kept Thelonious and Glasser kept Arden.

Glasser says Arden is moving away from the “wine bar” label to avoid the connotation of cheese, charcuterie and wine flights. “We are really a wine-focused restaurant.” She thinks the recent explosion of wine bars dedicated to great food is fantastic, though. “Any chef worth their salt has a good palate and enjoys good wine. So, it makes sense that chefs would want to create dishes that are enhanced by great wine and vice versa.”

Enjoy Arden’s prix fixe menu with wine pairings or order a la carte for a more casual night out. The wine program is largely a curated collection of cellared bottles which also means the list is always changing, as cellared bottles are not available in large quantity. The intimate space demands fresh ingredients are ordered daily. And because sourcing from small, local farms, means they don’t often get the same ingredients twice, Arden’s menu reflects the seasonal availability. Glasser says that’s exactly what their patron’s love. “Even if they come in once a week, there are always new dishes and new wines to try.”

Arden is open Sun–Thurs 5 to 9pm, Fri–Sat 5 to 10pm. 417 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, 503.206.6097




Two-time James Beard winning chef Gabe Rucker (of Le Pigeon and Little Bird) and wine director Andy Fortgang created a place that serves playful food in an all-day café, alongside a serious wine program. Boasting wild French bar food, the menu at Canard is conducive to either snacking or dining. But the script is flipped, where the food is paired with the wines.

Rucker says, “Our menu changes constantly, but we like taking things that have become passé (i.e. wonton chips or Ritz crackers) and working them into a menu in new, creative, and fun ways.” Canard showcases Rucker’s playful, no-rules-style in the form of dishes like Steam Burgers, Ducketta, and Foie Gras Dumplings. “The sky’s the limit here. Our goal is to make anything possible, for anyone, at any time of day. Andy and I want Canard to be a place people want to hang out, and not take anything too seriously,” says Rucker.

Fortgang’s hope is that people come in for a glass and a snack and leave hours later after dinner and several bottles. With 20 wines by the glass and over 250 bottles (ranging from inexpensive to unique and collectable), the only rule with Canard’s wine list is that it must taste good. Fortang says, “The wine list is meant to spark conversation. Some of the wines on this list are about innovation, and some are about tradition. We hope our guests will feel encouraged to ask questions, explore, and enjoy.”

Canard is open Mon–Fri 8pm to midnight, Sat–Sun 9am to midnight. Next door to Le Pigeon at 734 East Burnside, Portland, OR 97214, 503.279.2356




The Dame Collective serves seasonal Northwest food alongside a wine list that acts more like a tour of natural wines from around the world. The Collective’s unique restaurant model highlights chefs-in-residence and burgeoning restaurant concepts (like Estes and Pasture) paired with Dame’s au natural wine program.

Pasture’s menu changes with the whims of the seasons and weather that dictates the harvest available from local farmers. The concept started when chef/butcher/owners Kei Ohdera and John Schaible (formerly Farm Spirit and Blue Hill) considered what was lacking from the thriving Portland food scene. Ohdera says, “Most chefs in Portland strive to source locally, as we do, because it means better flavor and geographical relevancy. Our goal is not to offer just the best of the land, but to also support the community we are in.”

Estes Executive Chef Patrick McKee’s (formerly Perlot and Paley’s Place) menu is inspired by the dishes his mom made while he was growing up, like her Spaghetti & Meatballs, or Braised Oxtails with Potato Gnocchi. McKee says that what makes Estes unique is that he cooks food based on landmark times in his life, “Whether it’s the influence of family and food from my mom, my decade with Vitaly Paley, being on Iron Chef America, or my stage at Arzak Restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain, we cook from the heart and want to bring people together over well-thought out and heartfelt food.”

Dame is open Wed–Sat 5:30 to 10pm, Sun–Tues 5:30 to 9pm, check the menu for what chefs are in residence. 2930 NE Killingsworth Street, Portland, OR 97217, 503.227.2269




After more than a decade serving Italian classics and regional wines in the rustic Tuscan farmhouse (i.e. the Nostrana dining room), chef Cathy Whims (six times James Beard award nominee) and her husband David West opened the adjacent Enoteca Nostrana to add a modern Italian venue with great ambiance and a strong wine emphasis.

Enoteca is definitely a wine place. In addition to a no-reservations, casual service style, they encourage a convivial atmosphere for guests to taste myriad of global bottles. Whims says, “How can we get exciting juice into our customers’ glasses and expose them to something they previously wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try?” Though Enoteca takes wine seriously, the atmosphere strives to be light, enjoyable, and accessible, encouraging a growing enthusiasm among all wine drinkers. “We provide a platform where the wine community can engage in a fun and lively setting,” says wine director Austin Bridges. “It’s a place where we would like to drink.”

The heart of Enoteca Nostrana is the two-story, glass-encased wine cellar which stores up to 3,000 bottles. With a wide European focus, representing Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and America, the selections have an underlying emphasis on natural winemaking and experimentation. And of the fresh, colorful, and whimsical design, Whims says, “The vibe is just as funky and fresh as the wines we pour.”

Enoteca is more than just a wine bar. It also serves delicious, creative, and inspired dishes. The menu,mainly share-plates, is tied to the seasons and inspired by classic Italian recipes both from Whim’s notebooks and clippings, as well as her own creativity.

Enoteca Nostrana is open daily 4pm to midnight. Next door to Nostrana at 1401 SE Morrison Street, Portland, OR 97214, 503.234.2427




Chef Justin Woodward wanted to open a bar that could juxtapose with his restaurant Castagna. It would be something casual and bustling, a relaxed place to stop by for a drink and a bite to eat; where he could just pop into for good food and drinks without having to make a reservation. And OK Omens was born.

The entire concept is based on doing things in a new, thoughtful, and intriguing manner. Known for using unusual ingredients such as green Szechuan peppercorns, turnip green XO sauce, koji aioli, sansho, smoked beef fat remoulade, steak with Roquefort, nuoc cham, foie gras, Urfa biber, and black garlic hoisin, Woodward’s food grabs your attention. He remarks, “There are too many options in Portland to do something boring, besides, that just isn’t who I am. Being true to myself means pushing the envelope, in every aspect of the dining experience. Why go out to dinner to be bored? The food and wine are interesting, that is the concept. We don’t serve baked brie with apples and if we pour Chardonnay, I give Brent hell about it.”

OK Omens is also known for having one of the most dynamic wine lists in Portland (not to mention wine shots). Typically, they don’t overlap the wines served at Castagna, but they also try not to set too many rules for themselves and Brent Braun (wine director of Castagna and OK Omens and winner of Food and Wine Magazine’s Sommelier of the Year) is notorious for writing tasting notes on his menu that make the wines almost as much fun to read about as they are to sip.

OK Omens is open daily 5pm to midnight. Next door to Castagna at 1758 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, OR 97214, 503.231.9939




Just say “Yes!” to Oui! Wine Bar and Restaurant at the Southeast Wine Collective where Chef Althea Grey Potter is using a variety of textures and surprising ingredients to catch the attention of her guests in this bustling Southeast Portland location. Like fuel to the fire, being able to pair Chef Potter’s inspired menu with wine flights from a dozen small producers from the Southeast Wine Collective’s urban location, makes for an explosion of taste.

Named locally as the best New Restaurant of 2018, Chef Potter is no longer flying under the radar after the restaurant’s soft opening, but has instead become well known for taking a bold approach to food, combining her love of garden-fresh ingredients with droves of international flavors to build a creative , colorful, and flavorful menu that changes as much with the season, as it does with her whim. Of this, Chef Potter says, “The menu at Oui! is inspired primarily by the changing of the seasons and the beautiful vegetables and fruit that arrives with them. We have a few dishes that stay on the menu year-round, but we change most of it in celebration of produce at the height of its deliciousness (not unlike wine!).” Rooted in French technique but playful with global flavors, guests can enjoy small ala carte share plates to larger, more satisfying meals, or choose the chef’s five-course, family-style tasting menu with wine pairings (one of the most affordably priced in town), and let Potter work her magic.

And because all great meals are better with wine, Oui! offers five different flights of wine to choose from. Enjoy a selection of Division wines from founders Tom Monroe and Kate Norris, a sampling of wines from the members of the Collective, a variety of Pinot Noir from regional micro-producers, Rosés from local and international producers, or have some fun with a surprise flight, chosen by the uber-capable bar staff. Norris says, “Our Collective wines are half the menu, and the other half is wines that inspire us to do what we do, and that push us to keep on discovering. We have wines of the old world, both classic and avant guard, and wines from North America that we feature in our Guest Winemaker program, which kicks off every month with a free tasting at the winery.

Potter is delighted about the influx of wine bars with exciting food programs. She says, “Gone are the days where the only food option at a wine bar or winery was a second thought, often relegated to a cheese board. Wine can be enjoyed with so many different foods and cuisine and I’m glad Portland is embracing that.”

Oui! is open Wed–Thurs 4pm–10pm, Fri 4pm–11pm, Sat 1pm–11pm, Sun 1pm–9pm, Mon 4pm–9pm. 2425 SE 35th Place, Portland, OR 97214, 503.208.2061