Portland is a baking city. We have a national reputation for our bread and whole-wheat bakeries, using Oregon-grown flour for inventive croissants, cakes and cookies. Portland’s pastry chefs have written famous, award-winning baking books, turning their patisseries and bakeries into destinations. And some of Portland’s best restaurant kitchens whip up jaw-dropping desserts that are gaining a cult following, whether it’s a luxurious foie gras profiterole or a slice of bánh bò nướng.
Identifying Portland’s essential bakeries is tricky enough – this map will help you find them – but this guide celebrates Portland’s most unforgettable baked goods, found in restaurants, lunches, bakeries and pop-ups across the city. Below, find a tasting tray of Portland’s emblematic desserts, all in illustrated form.
Ken’s Artisan Bakery338 NW 21st Avenue
Ken Forkish may be gone, but his legacy lives on: named for its snail-shell shape, this crescent pastry swirl arrives coated in a tangy, flaky, sweet passionfruit glaze. Portland is home to several standout croissants and flaky pastries, but Ken’s Passion Fruit Escargot strikes the right balance between simplicity and style.
Berlu Bakery, 605 SE Belmont Street
Ever since chef Vince Nguyen started serving this pandan pastry in his pandemic-era pop-up bakery, it’s caused a stir: the satisfying chewy dough gets its elasticity from tapioca flour, while the pandan offers vanilla sweetness. It is such a phenomenon, you can buy socks covered with small slices of bánh bò nướng.
Mauritius921 S.W. Oak Street
It’s hard to choose which fika of this downtown luncheonette to order on any given visit – will it be the lemon puff pudding cake, the capuchin chocolate conical cake with lapsang souchong? Almost always, the answer is Kristen D. Murray’s Black Pepper Cheesecake, a velvety ring filled with a seasonal compote, all sitting on a three-nut shortbread. The fill may change, but not its shine.
Jinju Patisserie4063 N Williams Avenue
Baking couple Kyurim Lee and Jin Caldwell’s Vegas tenure can be seen in their bakery slice: Every bakery in the storefront is gorgeous and meticulously constructed, from heart-shaped yuzu candies to flaky croissants. Nothing beats the standout that is Jinju’s lemon-raspberry pie, a crown of toasted meringue surrounding a core of silky raspberry-lemon filling, cradled in a buttery pastry crust.
Pigeon738 E Burnside Street
Pigeon’s tasting menu has changed countless times in more than 15 years, but there would likely be riots in the streets if Gabriel Rucker ever took his foie gras profiterole off the menu. A scoop of rich foie gras ice cream is sandwiched in choux pastry, drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with sea salt. It’s the fanciest ice cream sandwich we’ve ever had, without feel overdone.