Portland eats: Andina

It’s always a pleasant surprise when you encounter a restaurant that evokes an emotional reaction. Sometimes it’s excitement, sometimes it’s glee. Occasionally, you’ll find a place that so overwhelms your senses that it literally takes a few days to process your experience, which is why I’ve saved Andina in Portland as my last entry of my Pacific Northwest tour.

Andina took me by surprise primarily because I walked into the restaurant with absolutely no preconceptions. I had never even heard of it before my trip, so I didn’t do any research like I did with Tilth, Cafe Juanita and Bisato. The only reason I went to Andina was because one of the locals I talked to recommended it. I was lucky to get a reservation on short notice, and I was at the restaurant less than an hour after hearing about it. As I approached the front door, I could see that it was filled with “best of” decals, and there were even more on the inner door. The restaurant was packed to the point where you couldn’t walk without bumping into chairs. It was obviously a popular place, and I was about to find out why.

Mango Verde y Langostinos

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Although it looked good on the menu, the passion fruit was all wrong for me. The sauce was way too acidic and overpowered the rest of the dish. As for the prawns, they were almost to the point of being overcooked. I would have liked to have had this dish with raw prawns instead. The acid in the sauce could easily have par-cooked the prawns, and the butteriness could have helped cut the tartness of the sauce.