The Picnic House

4.5
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989 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American

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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 989 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service4ambience4

The food was delicious. We ordered the bruschetta appetizer and it exceeded our expectations. The brown rice salad and butternut squash salads were fresh and the food combinations interesting and tasty.

OT
Portland
15 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We have always wanted to try this restaurant for its farm to table cuisine and creative twist. I am sorry to say that we were very disappointed after dining here on a Saturday night. The restaurant isn’t particularly busy however they do have few large groups. The service was a little slow but not unbearable (we are very patient people). We are most disappointed in the food prepared. My daughter and I had the fried chicken. The chicken wasn’t seasoned, not the chicken nor the breading but was sitting on a pool of sugary syrup with bits of red pepper (thai honey chili sauce came to mind.) Their new take on corn bread was not good at all. It’s mushy and has strong taste of chicken grease, which was unpleasant. Neither of us enjoyed it. My husband ordered the TABOULEH & FALAFEL PLATE entree. It came with 3 falafel on it. The entree was appetizer size with entree price tag of $24. When we spoke to the waitress she kindly took it off our bill which was not expected but appreciated. Overall we love the service and the concept but the food needs to step up the game to say the least.

JB
New York Area
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience5

We went to the Picnic House for Valentines Day.
We were sat right at our reservation time.
This doesn’t happen often elsewhere, so very appreciated.

The curated menu was great.
The main courses were fine. Sadly the least exciting part of the experience.
The scallops were a bit overcooked and the beef cheek was just fine.

The pairings for each course were perfect.
The beignets (dessert) were fantastic! Highlight of meals.
Given the event style and date, I can appreciate the service being what it was.
As everything was included (taxes, fees, tips) it was somewhat obvious that the servers were not working or relying on tips.

In general, good restaurant. Fun time.
Great drinks and desserts!

j
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food4service2ambience4

Valentines Date - Prix Fixe - The Picnic House caught my eye with its connection to Barlow and previous experiences. My date and I had a prepaid tickets for the meal, which was great. Welcoming into the experience was fine. A single host welcomed us, but had to wait 5 mins or so for our seating. Again, nothing out of the ordinary for PDX etc, but nothing “special” for a special occasion.

Ambiance of the physical build-out is awe inspiring. The printer press plates on the walls, the wood bar etc were stunning. High ceilings, great lighting vibes. Sat at our table and ready for a great evening. Seating was very symmetrical, and we sat uncomfortably close to another partner couple on each side. Privacy wasn’t possible. Disappointed w that.

Service was SLOW as F. Period. Surprised the staff was so overwhelmed. 7:15 seating. 40 mins from sit to oyster app. Just felt like a number, and not special guests. Expectations for a $75 dollar meal without beverage included are special. I had service that crushed on a random Tuesday night on a cruise ship w Royal Caribbean. This was garbage compared to that. Service also was not reloading water jug, silverware, napkin service. Attention to detail you’d expect for the price.

Food quality was good to great. Oysters were great. My partner had the mousse which was spot on. I had the Cioppino. Disappointing and was served a fork for silverware option. Just seemed weird and out of touch. Scallops were on point. Partners pasta was too spicy for the palate. Again, not terrible food. Nothing that was like holy chit. Desserts were on point/aligned with $75 meal.

I’m not going to write off PH, but our relationship is off on the wrong foot. Thanks for a memorable evening, that simply fell short of expectation. Let’s make it a great one next time!

-JJ

l
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Mehhh. Have had some good food and some not so good food at the Picnic House. Service was amateur at best the last time we ate there.

OT
Portland
6 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent food and live music just right for the setting. Spent $235 for dinner and a couple drinks for the two of us. Would have expected much better portion sizes for the price. They are super small for such a high price, but again very well prepared and what we had was all delicious. We were still hungry afterwards and stopped for a couple slices of pizza on the way home.

P
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was a special prix fixe menu for Valentines Day so I can't comment on what the regular menu is like. This was our first time at this restaurant as we had lived in Oregon for one month only! Based on this experience, however, we will certainly go again. The food was delicious - every course was prepared with great attention to detail, plated beautifully, and as I said, delicious. Service was a little rushed - I'm not sure they had experience with this kind of event or if it was their first - but didn't detract from our experience. The restaurant was quiet - hooray! - there was a jazz trio but they played didn't drown out conversation and we were seated close to them, so all in all we couldn't have picked a better choice for Valentine's Day. If all of Portland is like The Picnic House, we moved to the right place!

w
Portland
24 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

It was an ok meal, nothing we felt that ws spectacular. Though the fried chicken dinner was good.

OT
Atlanta
4 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome dinner and service including a visit with the owner.

LR
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great food and service as usual.

DS
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely love this restaurant. Cool vibe inside. I love the lunch combos, the food is delicious!

JB
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Terrific food and great location. Great place for a casual meal before a show.

J
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

Food was very good, nice menu in a cool eclectic space. Worked well for a large group.

RD
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place attached to Barlow. Great food, fantastic drinks.

SK
San Diego
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall3food2service4ambience5

Nice ambience but there was a strong smell of cleaning products as you entered the restaurant. Also, the food was too salty.

CM
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

I had my 30th birthday at the Picnic House and the food like always was phenomenal. The ambiance of the restaurant is so great too, it’s honestly one of the best places in portland. The service was a little slow but it was a busy night and our waiter was very, very nice. The only issue was actually when we went over to Barlow for drinks after dinner. Several people cashed out and left over the next couple hours and when we were brought the bill for the “balance on the table,” which was fine, until we noticed multiple duplicate drinks and drinks that had already been paid for separately at the bar. We waited for awhile for the waiter to return to fix the bill, but ended up having to leave (on a time crunch with a babysitter).

This isn’t the end of the world and I know it happens, but it put unnecessary stress on the end of the night unfortunately.

S
San Diego
15 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

The restaurant is nicely laid out and casual. The broccoli was excellent. The steak was just ok - not as flavorful as I would have liked. Drinks were very slow to come out.

OT
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

everything was AMAZING!

OT
New England
2 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2020
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Last minute reservation. The food was excellent especially the steak.

J
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience4

I can't get enough of the wild mushroom soup. It alone would keep me coming back.

LR
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great recommendations from our server

WU
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Food was great as usual. There was some confusion at first about what was available but it all worked out to our satisfadtion.

ID
Portland
37 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

excellent service salad was overly dressed.
very much a Portland atmosphere of patrons. tasty food. very good value. first-timers who will return.

L
Portland
14 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Pleasant efficient service, interesting food. The orange polenta cake was amazing.

OT
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Love this place. A bit bummed that the “shares” section of the menu is no longer part of the picnic menu options.

H
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Easy atmosphere, attentive waiter, good food

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Food was good. Servers were scarce.

J
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food, service, and atmosphere! I would highly recommended this place!

K
Portland
10 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a warm friendly welcoming place. Our table was all set as we arrived and we were greeted and seated immediately. Our waitress was attentive and helpful in describing the menu items for us and our delicious soups, salads and sandwiches were served promptly. The location is good for walking around downtown Portland with a couple of parking garages nearby. Also convenient to MAX. Definitely recommend.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Love the dining experience at the Picnic House. The food is reasonably priced and all tastes amazing!

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Great service, yummy cocktails and food...all around great spot for a staff holiday dinner.

I
San Francisco
35 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent venue, food, and service! Been there several times and never disappoints. Highly recommend!

c
Portland
4 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love this restaurant. Favorite for events! Had a great time!

MA
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a lovely dinner, would prefer too see a few more Vegan dishes, but made do.
The bartender was outstanding!
I prefer Vodka and Grapefruit, and usually have too settle for canned grapefruit juice, but this bartender squeezed the grapefruit fresh! I do not even do that at home!
Excellent!!

LR
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Very enjoyable in advance of Symphony evening. Unusual but tasty menu. Ample portions. Served in a timely manner. Fully intend to return.

CR
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The restaurant didn’t have our reservation (made earlier that day), but it didn’t matter because we were seated right away.

OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cool vibe with Exceptional food and drinks!

OT
Portland
15 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience3

First time visitors.

The good:
Spacious, good noise level, food smells and smoke was minimal in the restaurant so clothes do not end up smelling like oil and food. Taste of food was good.

The bad:
Steak portion was very small and was not enough for a normal eater as an entree.
The service did not feel authentic with not much attention to the table. It was the bare minimum.

D
Portland
61 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Food (dinner) was nicely presented and tasty with interesting pairings of ingredients. Just a bit pricy for the amount served.

KS
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We enjoy the food and ambiance for lunch. We brought a friend who is a vegetarian and there was lots of choice for her as well!

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