How does a forested metro become America’s No. 1 Food Truck City?  You may need to visit Portland to find out. Having secured the title in 2023 by Food & Wine, Portland’s take on the art of eating well, the thing we all need to do while traveling, makes its food scene remarkably irresistible.

Food trucks, or “food carts,” as they’re known in Portland, are one of the central elements of the city’s F&B culture. Portland is home to more than 500 food carts—with “pods” (clusters of food carts) at locations like Portland State University, Midtown Beer Garden and Nob Hill.

We can even bring food carts to your events at the Oregon Convention Center. As your event takes place in the convention center’s 255,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space (including two ballrooms and 52 meeting rooms), the convention center can host food trucks in its outdoor plaza, steps from the main entrance. And with no sales tax, meeting planners can host their meetings in Portland with extra to spare for additional experiences, like adding an off-site adventure.

Although Portland’s food carts are worth telling all your attendees about, the foodie experience goes far beyond this.

Portland’s F&B Is a Certified Award Winner

The city has a long list of diverse award-winning chefs and restaurants. In 2023, Portland won the most James Beard awards of any other city in the United States. These restaurants offer a wide selection of flavors from around the world.

Kann won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in 2023. The restaurant blends Chef Gregory Gourdet’s Haitian heritage and Oregon’s seasonal and local ingredients. At Kann, groups will find a savory, Caribbean-inspired menu, made up of meals like chicken and dumpling soup flavored with chayote and ripe with plantains, spinach, epis and potato; espageti (spaghetti) made with spiced tomatoes, peppers and avocado, as well as sides like crispy okra and diri ak djon djon (black mushroom rice and lima beans). Kann can accommodate private events for groups of 12-40 attendees.

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Lilia Comedor, named one of the best restaurants in the U.S. by The New York Times, is led by Mexican-American Chef Juan Gomez. Named after his late mother, Lilia places a focus on “hyper-seasonality,” as Chef Gomez terms it, where his partnership with the local farming community plays a pivotal role in his restaurant’s operation, which also exerts a direct influence on the day’s meals.

Lilia offers three different F&B experiences. First, the Chef’s Counter, where visitors let the chef decide their meals; next, a la carte, where visitors decide their meals (according to Lilia’s website—staying true to the spirit of hyper-seasonality—“Our menu changes daily, so no day is ever the same”); lastly, chef’s choice for larger parties of four or more.

Screen Door

If you’re looking for Southern food in the Pacific Northwest, consider Screen Door, home to two locations in Portland. Screen Door serves up the cozy comfort you’d expect from a Southern-style restaurant—you’ll find the prolific chicken and waffles, fried catfish, and shrimp and grits, to name a few. You can even reserve all the southern charm for your group, even if only for a day, when you buy out either location for your private event; Screen Door’s Pearl District location can hold up to 110 seated; its East Side location can hold up to 90 seated.

Anchored by a large cherry blossom tree crowning the middle of the restaurant, Japanese-Korean restaurant Janken brings Pan-Asian culinary influences to Portland’s downtown area. Named one of the 6 Hottest Restaurants of Summer in 2023 by Portland Monthly, Janken offers Asian dishes your group will love.


The menu features fresh sushi rolls, nigiri, a healthy happy hour list and hot and cold plates like tuna tartare and lobster rolls or Lan-Roc pork belly and wagyu gyoza. alongside a healthy list of hot bites, like charred corn, mushroom bao buns and crispy prawns, among its long list of nigiri, sashimi and numerous surf and turf meals. Janken can accommodate groups of 16 in its main dining room, groups of 17-40 in its private dining room and groups of more than 40—and up to 120 seated or 160 for a standing reception—on its main dining floor.

Xiao Ye was inspired by the nostalgia of late-night snacking (“xiao ye” means “midnight snack” in Mandarin). Led by first-generation Americans, the restaurant’s menu is an homage to late nights spent eating with those dear to us. Xiao Ye’s menu is a mix of Brazilian (“little bites” like butter-basted chicken hearts), Italian (“warm dishes” like rigatoni all’amatriciana) and Asian dishes (“bigger stuff” like curry jus half fried chicken). Xiao Ye is an ideal location for intimate groups, home to a main dining room for up to 12 and a private dining room for up to 16.

Phuket Cafe is a Thai restaurant and cocktail bar that offers traditional Thai food in a lively, colorful setting. The man behind the restaurant, Chef Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom, was a finalist for the James Beard Award as Restaurateur of the Year in 2022.

Whether ending the day at Phuket for dinner or grabbing a midday lunch instead, you just may find your new favorite meal. Groups take their pick from a wide selection of Thailand-based dishes, like vegan, prawn, panang curry, Thai paella and Lan-Roc pork chop on the dinner menu, or massaman curry (grilled chicken thigh, cauliflower and fried potato) and several rice noodle dishes on the lunch menu.