Whether you are a Portland native or tourist, there are a few restaurants you’ve either been to or heard of and been told you need to go to. One of these essential Portland restaurants is Ava Gene’s.
Located in the heart of Portland’s Division Street district, Ava Gene’s is a gem. Started by chef, owner, and Portland celebrity Joshua McFaddan, Ava Gene’s is a gorgeous restaurant with a Roman inspired menu that uses the best local produce and meats grown and raised by farmers and ranchers in the Pacific Northwest. Walking in, guests are greeted with sparkling white marble floors, many hanging globe lights, and a darker yet inviting ambiance.
The waiters are full of knowledge and more than willing to help you decide what to order on Ava Gene’s menu that changes daily due to what is in season. Every dish at Ava Gene’s is driven by one or two perfectly in-season ingredients. The starters are focused on different vegetables including options like fried cauliflower with brussels sprouts and broccoli in chili honey, focaccia with kale pesto, and a squash based dish. Ava Gene’s also has a delicious and extensive salad menu, which seems to be constantly coming out from the kitchen and placed on tables. The salad sampler board is a great way to share with others in your party and get a taste of multiple salads.
We can’t forget about the star of the show, the pasta. Ava Gene’s pastas are handmade with grains and flours sourced from local farmers, and some milled in house. The flavors are unique and unlike pasta you will experience anywhere else. The pasta dishes are also ever-changing based on what is in season, such as their current offerings including spaghetti with Manila clams, garlic, thyme, potato and ramps, ravioli with ricotta and kale pesto, or Cavatelli with pork sausage and leeks. The flavors of the Ava Gene’s pasta truly explode in your mouth, and you can’t help but smile as you take each bite.
While Ava Gene’s is not cheap, we recommend sharing pasta and eating family style. Also, take advantage of their regional Italian wine list and their creative cocktail menu. The dessert menu, of course, is also a winner. Featuring items like Tiramisu, Gelato, and Pana Cotta, this menu, like the others, is also dependent on what is in season.
Ava Gene’s recently started their weekend brunch menu, but definitely try for dinner first! The dining experience is one of the best in Portland, and the service is unmatched. Though, don’t think you can just walk in and get a table. Reservations for Ava Gene’s go fast, so be sure to check their website at least a week ahead of when you plan to go. If you are looking for some of the best food, and the best dining experience, Ava Gene’s is it.
3377 SE Division St.