Eastern European fare is on the menu at these four spots in the Northwest.
Given the Northwest’s love of cured meats, fermented vegetables, and wild mushrooms, it’s not surprising that Eastern European cuisine is riding a fresh wave of popularity here. Throughout the region, you’ll find the comforting foods and lavish hospitality of the former Eastern Bloc served in family diners as well as chic cafés.
- Drina Daisy, a taste of old Sarajevo in the coastal town of Astoria, Ore., serves up Bosnian cuisine, a blend of European and Middle Eastern flavors, in a cozy storefront. Mediterranean influences show up in phyllo pies, yogurt sauces, and roasted lamb. (503) 338-2912, drinadaisy.com.
- Kachka adds an upscale, colorful spot to an unassuming stretch in southeast Portland. Try chef Bonnie Morales’s zakuski (mixed appetizers) or the poetically named “herring under a fur coat,” a modern version of a classic layered salad of beets, boiled egg, potatoes, and salted fish. Hearty eaters may not be able to resist the chicken Kiev cutlet. (503) 235-0059, kachkapdx.com.
- Beloved by families in Albany, Ore., for 31 years, Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant combines a sitdown restaurant with a bakery specializing in housemade strudel. The family-style eatery offers a lush buffet (Monday through Thursday evenings and Saturday plus Sunday brunch) and an everyday menu ranging from kolbász sausage and chicken paprikash to pizza. Be on the lookout for matriarch Matilda “Mama” Novak, who makes her rounds to welcome diners. (541) 967-9488, novakshungarian.com.
- Polish-born Barbara Haines and her husband, Tom, run the little Boise gem Tres Bonne Cuisine. On Friday and Saturday nights, the couple hosts dinners that spotlight a different Eastern European country’s fare each week. Peruse shelves of European pantry staples and an impressive deli case boasting Polish cheese and Bavarian meats. (208) 658-1364, tresbonnecuisine.com.
Photography by Shawn Linehan
This article was first published in March 2015. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.