The first time I passed Wild Abandon I mistakenly took it for a low brow breakfast diner. Why wouldn’t I? It’s covered in wavy sheet metal with a giant “Now Serving Breakfast!” banner proudly displayed above it’s entryway. As bamboo overgrows around the sides and back it doesn’t look like much particular care has gone into the building and provided no reason to stop and try… or so I thought. A celebratory work dinner got me there and I’ve now returned a number of times and would consider this one of my favorite date spots in Portland. What made my outlook change so drastically? Let’s discover.
Taking your first step inside the door reveals a much different scene than you’d expect. Comfy booths, romantic lighting, and extravagant murals which remind me of Greek Gods with their mistresses pronounce excitement. Small statues with dripping oil, caging them in a sea of color hang from the ceiling. A relaxed atmosphere with enough sounds from the kitchen to keep the experience authentic charm you during the meal.
Did we say charm? We thought the interior was amazing until we stepped out eh back door and up some steps to their outdoor patio. This is what all that tall bamboo was hiding. A quaint yet open environment which hosts all the restaurant seating on a calm summer evening. This, truly, is where you want to spend a nice meal.
Appetizers were few but all delicately made. The sauteed mushrooms stuck out with all their flavor, doused in a red wine and seemingly locally grown. We must also mention the Sangria, which provides enough citrus and fruit in a sifted carafe. It is house made and worthy whether you feel like a nice wine or just an afternoon pick-me-up.
An interesting fact gained by conversation with our waiter was that Portland’s famous Le Bistro Montage was originally housed at this very location before finding it’s well known hideout under the Morrison bridge. That’s quite a reputation to live up to. We ordered a number of items and were able to get a variety or fish, burgers, and pasta.
The Ziti Ziti was one of our favorites, with a thick but not overly heavy smoked mozzarella sauce. Roasted mushrooms, roasted garlic, scallops, and crunchy bread crumbs makes every bit seem to come from heaven. My personal favorite was the Ciopinno, a spicy stew which came with scallops, bay shrimp, oysters, and salmon. There’s enough spice to give kick but not enough to turn away those with sensitivity to heat. The flavors blend in such a way you’ll want to continue eating even after you’re full.
Wild Abandon is another place in Portland to enjoy an amazing meal for a moderate price (2 entrees, 1 appetizer, & a carafe of sangria = around $60). This should be considered for all those wanting a romantic night out with their partner. So are they worthy of replacing Le Bistro Montage in the original location? They have our vote.