Culture

4.1
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25 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mediterranean
We are Culture, a brand-new breed of Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of Portland’s iconic Hawthorne Boulevard.
Culture is the only place on the west coast where you can order shawarma that is cooked and served to you right at your table!
Come try Portland's newest tableside dining experience!

Our bar features distinctive, delicious Middle Eastern-inspired craft cocktails, spirits, beer, and wine.

*Please make a reservation for our tableside shawarma. Prep time without a reservation is at least an hour.
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What 25 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.1based on recent ratings
3.9
food
4.3
service
4.0
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
81% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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P
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We absolutely loved our experience at Culture! Our food was fresh and super flavorful. We went for the Shwarma option and really enjoyed the variety of foods included. The service was on point and our server, Jeff, was a solid guy. We would definitely recommend this place to friends and family...in fact, we already have!

CH
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place Service was good. Food was excellent

SM
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent everything! Staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Food was superb and very plentiful! Highly recommend Culture. It's a fun dining experience! We'll definitely go again :-)

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Service was great! The staff is very accommodating.

r
Orange County
18 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We've now been to Culture a number of times since they opened not long ago. The food has been consistently excellent, and the service equally as great. The shawarma is a fun experience, either with a group or as a couple. There was a trio playing Irish music when we were there, though somewhat loud, it was interesting and they were very good. Highly recommend calling ahead so they can start the shawarma going, if you are ordering this course, otherwise it takes 60-90 minutes. The staff have been super-accommodating and have had our food ready when we got there.

M
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was my second time at Culture for brunch. I love it!
Great service, the food is delicious and you can't beat the bottomless mimosas.

M
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

We has a wonderful anniversary dinner at Culture. The service was delightful and we were there on the first Saturday of the month, which is when they have belly dancing and live Greek music. In terms of food, the Eggplant appetizer was the best, followed by lamb balls. Squid was tasty but skimpy in portion size. Moroccan chicken was was over-peppered. Rotisserie chicken was fun and tasty - possibly undercooked a bit. Baklava has great flavor but could have been flakier. In the past, we have enjoyed leg of lamb, which was fabulous and a salmon risotto which was also amazing. Overall, I recommend this place - very charming and fun.

GS
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall2food1service5ambience2

Did not care for food, prices on drinks and food were too high, unable to have conversations because music was too loud.

Culture
Responded on September 11, 2019

Hi Gail, we were hosting a special Greek Night on saturday which is why we had the live music and dancing. We are sorry you did not care for the food and would like to invite you back to join us during one of our regular dinner services. Thank you for your feedback.

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RE
Los Angeles
34 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Culture may be a new restaurant because there is much needed improvement to be had. They offer a special dinner with appetizers and then a main dinner. We were told that the meat would take 45-60 minutes to cookout that lots of appetizers would provide time to eat and enjoy while we waited for out lamb Kafka. We waited about 35 minutes for our soup to arrive. It was cold and had to be returned. Little plates of olives, hummus, pita, and veggies came next and while the portions were plentiful, nothing tasted especially truly amazing. The food was ok. After an hour we asked about our lamb and were told it would be another 20 min.
No one came to clear plates or ask if we needed anything.
When the lamb finally arrived it was so salty. The fries were delicious and the sauce brought with the meat was tasty.
The servers were nice but need training.
Our friends who did not order the meat ordered a la carte and really enjoyed their meals.

JS
Miami
2 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, terrific atmosphere, and wonderful food!

SC
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Lovely restaurant environment. Great staff. Lacking focused management. No coffee spoons and not toilet paper in the restroom. Crazy.

Culture
Responded on August 28, 2019

Hi Samantha, Thank you for your feedback. We agree our staff is great! We are so sorry that there was no toilet paper in the restrooms. We have someone clean and restock daily and will continue to monitor that as our business increases. We hope you will come back to see the continued improvements! :)

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M
Portland
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great setting with indoor/outdoor dining. Great choices of microbrews on tap. The lentil soup and onion bisque are both excellent. The shawarma was moist and tasty. The falafel and pita bread were both a little dry, but the accompanying hummus was excellent. The music was also wonderful.

KW
Portland
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Went here for our anniversary dinner. The food was great and there was plenty. We ordered the Tableside Shawarma: Lentil soup, hummus and pita, tabuli and grape leaves, French fries, grilled eggplant, falafel, and your choice of meat. Plus Baklava for dessert. Delicious cocktails and attentive servers. We will definitely go back.

Culture
Responded on August 15, 2019

Thank you for joining us for your anniversary dinner! We are so glad you chose our signature dish and hope you will come back again soon.

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j
Portland
11 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience2

This place is still new and has some refining to do however the food is fantastic and the staff very friendly.
We were there on a non-music night and so very quiet overall.
I really hope that they will dress up the dining area in the future as the bar area is quite cute but the dining area lacks any personality yet.

E
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience3

There were four of us in our party. We all got the table-side shawarma dishes. I was pretty disappointed with most of the food. Seemed pretty bland and the shawarma was just ok, which was surprising since I think it’s supposed to be their signature dish. Also, the shawarma comes out on a huge platter that is set on your table. It ended up taking up all the space in front of two out of four of us and left them no room to put their plates. In general, the fact that many plates of food are being brought out, in addition to the gigantic shawarma platter, seemed to be given very little forethought. We also had to repeatedly ask them for extra plates to share the food. Also, I ordered two very basic cocktails and neither of them were very good (too much simple syrup in the first and not much flavor in either). To be fair, they didn’t bat an eye when I asked them to make me another drink without the simple syrup. And actually, all the staff was very kind and helpful. The place seems like it has much potential. Nice outdoor seating is available, in addition to wide open windows for an in/outdoor experience. They’re still relatively new so hopefully they will get better with time.

Culture
Responded on August 17, 2019

Hello, Thank you for the review and feedback. We are sorry you were disappointed with your experience. We would like to welcome you back to join us again and give the Shawarma another shot. Based on your description it does not like you received the presentation nor service that we strive for. Please email us to set up your reservation. Thank you.

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KC
Portland
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

I would be willing to try Culture again, but the food was not particularly tasty or memorable.

SS
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Highest rating. We have dinner with a friend every month at a different place and discovered Culture as part of a search for something new. What a find! The food by itself was truly great, and so were the staff and the ambience. I recommend the patio and the shawarma. We had beef, but the lamb called to me. Be aware that because it's cooked for you, there's a bit of a wait - which is easily filled by the fantastic mezza. Best stuffed grape leaves ever. More food than we could eat. Thanks, Culture. We had a great time.

KE
Seattle
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Enjoyed the Appetizers. Main course was ok but lacking seasoning.

NB
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Absolutely fabulous. I will go back again soon! Our service was top notch.

TD
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall2food1service2ambience1

I had high expectations for this restaurant. We started with the muscles and a hummus appetizer. The hummus was delicious. The mussles had several that have not opened and as anyone who eats mussels know that you can't eat the ones that are not opened. I was unsure why those were served to me and when I mentioned it no one seemed to really care. Then I order the grill Romaine salad with anchovies. It came back not grilled and people were trying to convince me that it had a light Char there was no charge there was no Grill very disappointing when comments were made indicating that there was something wrong with the muscles there was something wrong with the salad it was like looking at a deer who was staring into headlights. Don't waste your time or your money.

GB
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

We had a confirmed reservation through open table. When we arrived st the appointed time our guests were sitting outside. The place was deserted and locked with chairs upside down on the tables. We had to find another place to eat. We are most disappointed with Culture and with open table. I doubt we will use you again.

OT
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Not business-like whatsoever. Servers were rude, and outright disrespectful. Suggested that our server in particular got laid.

DS
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As you enter into Culture you're enveloped on one side by the warmly lit bar guiding you into an embraced on your left by the long many pillowed bench. This embrace, like a warm hug, pulls you in, past the blue and yellow curtains , towards the corner stage. As you round the bar from the stage oh, you coming to the main dining area. The inside walls are a warm and golden with playful splashes of cool blues. Along the right is a hallway with  a Multi cultural mural. At the end of the room and to the right is the entrance to the outside veranda which can be seen through many windows along the wall. Here we are seated and then comes the food. We started with the cocktail the flour and Vine it was a tart sweet that makes you make a kissy sound oh, I love that. It was served with four grapes instead of olives. First we were served the lentil soup it was just this right side of al dente and had the right level of flavor to heat ratio. It was followed by an appetizer platter, which consisted of pickled garden vegetables that were crisp and tart and brightly colored. The tomatoes and cucumbers were cool and tasted of the garden. And the tabouli was a nice balance of Tangy and sweet. The stuffed grape leaves were delicious and beautifully made. The hummus and pita bread was a nice contrast to and, and palate cleanser from, the appetizer platter. Because now we were ready for the main course. The lamb Shawarma on a spit it took an hour and a half to cook;  I recommend calling ahead for this particular dish, but well worth it. Cameron came out and showed us how to carve the lamb and allow the slices to fall on the fries a raid beneath.  The lamb was tender  and delicious  and the fries were crisp on the outside and  fluffy on the inside .  To one side of the dish  were these delightful little falafel.

I
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Superb service. Nice ambiance. Food was very good except for shawarma. Way too salty. Mentioned to the waiter, he took some to the chef and all agreed. Also, a bit dry so serve with more bread and tzatziki. Hope they are successful. Very fun evening. Good, strong drink!

CC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place just opened so I was a little nervous booking a table for nine for my husband's b-day - but I live for danger. What a relief! It was terrific! Friendly staff, great outdoor seating options, delicious food, lots of options on the menu, and we could all hear each other talk. Our party was a varied group - age 14-80, meat-eaters and vegetarians, picky eaters and foodies. And everyone was pleased. This is the first restaurant review I've ever posted online. Well, technically, the second. Because I just wrote this review and then accidentally deleted the entire thing before it posted. Then I went back and filled it all out again. I think that indicates a certain level of enthusiasm. (Also, the total bill for all nine of us was about $100 less than I was expecting, so THAT was nice.)