The Picnic House

4.4
856 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
The Picnic House, opened in 2012 by Portland restaurateurs Aaron and Jessica Grimmer across the street from the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, has become one of the staples of downtown Portland’s flourishing culinary scene, welcoming guests to enjoy its seasonal, picnic-inspired New American cuisine, historic space, and heartfelt hospitality. The lunch menu consists of a seasonal rotation of artisan sandwiches, inspired salads, and housemade soups, while the Executive Chef Jessica Grimmer's dinner program adds curated meat & cheese boards and bright, savory grilled offerings to the mix. The Grand Room of The Picnic House sits in the nearly century-old lobby of the original Heathman Hotel and retains the original hand-tiled floor and fluted wood columns.
What 856 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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PH
Portland
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always delicious.

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CF
Portland
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The mac and cheese is so rich- so good! I love the Brussel sprouts and broccoli dish. And I always try to save room for the coconut tres leche dessert.

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M
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always good food at Picnic House, great vegan and gluten free options. Highly recommend the grilled vegetable skewers and the rice salad.

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JM
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

My salmon was excellent. My friend's brown rice salad was bland but she loved her gnocci. It was pretty loud.

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OT
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

The host stand was unmanned the first 4 or 5 minutes we were there, and when we were helped there was no eye contact made by the host. It was weird. You might want to more clearly define the concept of successful reception and first impressions with your host staff.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Great environment, a little loud since it is an open concept floor plan, food was great, service was a bit slow for receiving food but we did go at noon so it was a lunch rush crowd

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JR
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

I have eaten here for lunch twice in the past two weeks. it is woefully understaffed for the noon rush, and wait staff are young and inexperienced. I had multiple errors with my bill on the first occasion and was brought the wrong salad on the second occasion. The service was slow, distracted and harried on both occasions. The food is decent but not good enough to compensate. I will not be returning nor will I be recommending to others.

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OT
1 review
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful service, amazing food! One of my favorite restaurants in portland.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great for lunch meetings downtown. Great style inside, attentive and efficient service, and a variety of yummy options for different dietary restrictions. Mushroom soup is delish!

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F
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

This place has good food and ambience. However, this being my first time I noticed that it's getting worn and dirty. I think it's one of those places that people loved the minute it opened, but that's getting to be a while ago, and like the frog in boiling water haven't noticed the edges becoming decayed and dirty. Dirty restaurants make me wonder how clean the kitchen is.

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OT
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

All that I expected and more.
Had lunch with my wife to celebrate 18 years of marriage.
We will be back!

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MW
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 3

Food was delicious. It was colorful and fun! Our server on the other hand, was terrible. He was uninformed about the menu, or just didn’t care to tell us about it, and condescending. He checked with us once after someone else dropped our food off. We saw him sweeping and then never saw him again. Apparently he had left for the evening. The bartender became our server and tried to make up for it. He was very nice and apologized repeatedly. Sad because it was my sisters birthday and we don’t get out very often.

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OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Food was good, but nothing special. Restaurant is nice though. Reminds me of a speakeasy. Staff was great - very friendly and accommodating. Would go for drinks maybe.

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LH
Phoenix
28 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

We got there early and glad we did. By the time we left at 7 pm there was a line out the door and was getting really busy. We enjoyed a casual dinner. The mushroom soup was really good and the beat salad a nice mix of flavors. Absolutely recommend giving The Picnic House a try.

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L
Portland
12 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Picnic House is one of our go-to restaurants for pre-symphony dining. We were seated immediately and service was quick, efficient and attentive. Food was good comfort food. Portion size is perfect.

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MC
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 3food 1service 4ambience 2

Over priced and not very impressive. I will not go back.

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GP
Portland
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great lunch spot. Very professional and good food.

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s
Milwaukee
19 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 2

Service was friendly but servers were way over-stretched or there are problems in the kitchen. We waited over 10 minutes to have our drink order taken and another 15 to get 2 glasses of wine! Another 10 for our order; then only one of us was served while the other dinner sat in the kitchen for almost 10 minutes before we could flag down any help. Furthermore, the kitchen would not agree to cook the salmon less than medium, so had to change order. In the end, the lamb chops and veggie side order were very good, but the overall experience made this a one-time visit.

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NW
Portland
1 review
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

The food at Picnic House is OK and basic, but disappointing service. When I told our waitress we were going from dinner to a show and needed to leave at 7:15, she said, "well you'd better ask for the check when you need to leave" - as if there was nothing she could do to help us. We waited for our food with no update from her. Finally the food arrived with only 15 minutes before we had to leave. Again, no help from the waitress. I was the one who had to flag her down and say, please bring us the check and to-go boxes right away, so we can leave as soon as we've eaten. We had a weird interaction with the host, who was similarly indifferent to helping us with basic service. Because of their location, lots of people go to Picnic House before a show, but after this experience, I'll go somewhere more pleasant instead, somewhere where I don't have to be looking at my watch all the time to make sure we will make it to the performance.

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JD
1 review
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

My sister and I took our 84 year-old mother here for her birthday before a show at the Schnitzer. We all thought the food was scrumptious. I thought our server could have been more attentive, but it was a busy night right before a show. My only objection is that we were seating next to the bar and it got too loud to converse without yelling-not a good thing for an elderly person. We all would definitely go there again.

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PA
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 3

Soup was not hot, salad was just ok but not worth the price. Portions were generous. Server kept trying to remove my plate while I was still eating, grabbed my wine glass when there was still wine in it. Took forever to get bill..

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JT
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

Second time at PH but likely my last. We were seated promptly for our reservation & started with a decent cheese plate & drinks. In addition, we ordered a salad, mac & cheese, & salmon. These three dishes were hastily dropped off all at the same time a short while later, making us feel rushed & disappointed-I like to enjoy my food but the hot dishes cooled quickly. The mac & cheese had a great flavor, although there were barely any noodles with the cheese. The salmon with green beans was our favorite dish, despite being cold. The most disappointing part was the absolute lack of attention from our server. She took our order, dropped the plates off & totally ignored us after that. No check-ins to ask if the food was okay, or if we wanted another round of drinks. My husband had to approach her twice to ask for the check while she chatted with fellow staff. Needless to say, we were bitter to be paying for such a lack respect & ended up at a 2nd location for dessert and a second round of drinks. Too many great options in Portland to go back. I just can’t imagine showing up to my job & getting paid not to do it well.

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RP
Edinburgh
41 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We stopped in for dinner before seeing a show at the Newmark. As first time diners at The Picnic House, we found the ambiance and setting really cool. We were able to take advantage of the last day of Portland Dining Month and the set menu items were delicious, although there were so many other tasty sounding items on the menu, so we will have to come back! Our cocktails were also great.

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A
Portland
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Super delicious food choices. A bit on the speedy side!!!!

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CC
Seattle
4 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As usual, the rotating menu didn't fail. The grilled cheese, the loaded baked tater with truffle oil, the wild mushroom soup, the lamb chops and appetizer plate...impeccable. The service is top notch.

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HC
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Could be the best mac’n’cheese I’ve ever had. Pick 3 great opportunity to sample menu items. Staff was accommodating and gracious - rarer than you might expect in Portland. This will be a regular stop.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server was amazing the food was fantastic. We are happy to find this place. We enjoyed our evening experience.

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JT
1 review
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The dining experience was very good. We had reservations and were seated soon after arrival at a quiet table at our request. Prior to our reservation at Picnic House we went next door to their companion bar Barlow, for a Happy Hour drink. Barlow was very loud due to the music turned up loud, it was difficult to hear our server even while seated at the bar. We welcomed the quieter ambiance at Picnic House. our server was delightful she explained the menu options to us. The kitchen did make one error, my husband had ordered the Baked Potato Soup, what came was a Twice Baked Potato, it was outstanding, a positive mistake! The Tomato Soup was delicious with the Grilled Cheese Sandwich and the shared Gnocchi was excellent. The Garden Salad was just good. We will be returning in the future to enjoy the dining experience again and again.

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J
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I believe our waiter was Donavan, he was positively wonderful. Seeing that my daughter had brought in her stuffed animal, Cocoa, he set a place for Cocoa, complete with menu, plate, and water. She was so pleased and when we make a special occasion to go and find this gem, waitstaff included, it was a marvelous meal.

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SD
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was very good. Some dishes better than others. A bit too much onion in the cole slaw, but that is a minor complaint. The brussel sprouts dish and the boards were awesome.

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F
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 5

My water glass was chipped and cut my lip. Server changed glasses but didn’t offer apology or check on my status.

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OT
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food as usual. Front desk always seems overwhelmed and it takes way too long to be seated. Otherwise, all good.

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w
Portland
19 reviews
Dined on March 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The place is so welcoming. We loved the decor and the seats were comfortable and spacious! It’s a really fun menu, they have a beautiful option so you can enjoy a variety of things. We each ordered from the “pick 2 or pick 3” option which included (soup, 1/2 sandwich or salad). One of us ordered the mushroom soup and turkey sandwich, one order the same soup, a tomato and cheese sandwich and beet salad, and the third person ordered 2 sandwiches (grilled cheese and buffalo) and the tomato basil soup. Each of us raved about our food. You can do any combination so all three soups or 2 sandwich or 2 salads and soup as long as it adds up to the 2 or 3 option. It’s a great concept. The soups were so creamy but not too thick and delicious! Each of us loved our combination of meats cheeses and veggies on the sandwiches. Really fresh and plentiful. They have a variety of alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages but we just enjoyed a cup of hot tea, beer and water. We were too full for dessert but they sounded very good. Our wait staff was so kind and friendly. We will definitely be back!!

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CW
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 5

The Picnic House came highly recommended by people I trust. Overall, it was a good experience. The charcuterie plate and lamb chops were delicious, but the service was pretty slow. We were seated in the front space, which was drafty. We all kept our coats on. While the server took our drink orders right away, it was at least 15 minutes before they came, and the restaurant only seemed to be about 1/2 full. Not sure what the delay was. We had to order our second round twice, and we were almost done with our entrees before they showed up. As I said, it wasn't a terrible experience, but my expectations were high, and in the end, I left a little disappointed. I will give it one more chance before writing the place off completely.

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h
Portland
23 reviews
Dined on March 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

I usually consider the Picnic House good value in both food and service for both dinner and lunch, but on this lunch occasion, that didn't prove true. Service was the usual courteous and efficient, but the food was almost tasteless except for the oversalting of the soup. Loud rap music made conversation difficult even though many diners were clearly trying to have conversations. A disappointing experience overall.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on March 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was wonderful and delicious!

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JM
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is our favorite place to eat. Their food is amazing

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OT
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is reliably excellent and always great service. A bit loud.

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DO
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

I am happy The Picnic House is part of the March 2019 Portland Foods month. For $33 you can get a 3 course meal. That meal of Caesar salad, beef cheeks and Smore cake sounded great. The salad was really good but enough for 4 people. The beef cheeks were a bit salty and parmesan pudding cake and all the complimentary parts was way too rich and filling. The SMore cake was dry-loved the meringue though. The soups were fantastic as were the drinks. The service was excellent but it was a bit spendy. We did like the place though. Your $33 deal needed some calorie laden balancing.

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r
Portland
96 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great for pre-symphony dinner. Casual food done really well. Service was friendly, relaxed but attentive. The food was very well prepared and very tasty. I had tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, and both were as good as I've ever had. Recommend.

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