Salty’s on the Columbia, a local landmark since 1987, has arguably the best view of the historic river of any Portland restaurant, sports a nautical, elegant interior, and proudly presents Chef Josh Gibler’s inspired and polished steak and seafood menu.
The two-story restaurant’s dining rooms and top-floor deck afford fantastic views from virtually every seat in the restaurant. As guests enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner they can watch sailboat races, tugboats pushing huge barges on the Columbia, and airplanes on final approach to Portland’s airport.
Sipping a variety of cocktails diners are treated to one of the best sunset views in the city, the sun dipping in the West reflected dramatically on Mt. Hood to the East.
The interior is stunning and classy, with jazzy paintings, fish carvings, and the starched white tablecloths, gleaming stemware and polished table service indicative of a fine restaurant. You feel like dressing up whether you’re coming for happy-hour clam chowder and a beer or a celebration dinner and fine wines.
An open kitchen faces one large dining room, and up a winding red-carpet staircase are another dining room, a cozy bar, and the most pleasant deck. Used mainly in the summer, some hardy guests eat lunch outside year-round, the matchless view apparently mitigating the brisk air.
Salty’s starters emphasize seafood, presenting crab, prawns, oysters, clams, and calamari. The Dungeness Crab Cake is huge, sits on drizzles of mustard-aioli, is mantled with a crisp celery-fennel slaw, and is one of the best we’ve ever sampled.
The Coconut Prawns crowned with pineapple chutney, accompanied by a mildly fiery Thai dipping sauce, sit on a chic foot-long dish.
The most popular salad is the Oregon Harvest, a generous serving of organic greens, golden raisins, spiced hazelnuts, all gently touched with a tangy-sweet apple-cider vinaigrette.
Their signature Cioppino entrée, a brimming bowl of Vancouver Island clams, wild salmon, true cod, and prawns, is bathed in a succulent tomato broth, and can optionally be topped with Dungeness crab legs.
Our favorite though is their succulent Snake River Farms Peppercorn-Crusted New York steak sitting atop Parmesan Yukon potatoes and sautéed vegetables, and smothered in foraged mushrooms.
Pastry Chef Darla Swanson’s desserts are simply incredible edible artworks. The White Chocolate Mousse Cake is as beautiful on the eyes as on the tongue, and a close second is the towering Chocolate Peanut Butter pie surrounded by decadent caramel-peanut sauce and triple chocolate lace.