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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:30am–11:00pm
Fri 11:30am–2:00am
Sat 6:00pm–2:00am
Sun 6:00pm–11:00pm

Features Good wines, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted


1014 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR
(503) 228-3333
Clyde Common
The ultimate Portland scene, chic and trendy and with pretty darn good food, too

Clyde Common is a veritable Who’s Who of Portland. The downstairs is all community tables; you may find yourself seated between the City Commissioner and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There are the trendy, the not-so-trendy, the gays, the straights, the socialites, the out-of-towners, the indie-emo rockers. And all of these people seem equally happy in the middle of the buzz. What Clyde Common is certainly not is intimate.

Soaring ceilings and window-walls fill the space with light. An open kitchen allows you to watch the cooks from anywhere in the dining room. A mezzanine wraps two walls, providing a great vantage point to view the crowd below and a slightly quieter atmosphere. Service can be plagued by annoying mishaps. Sometimes, the wait for food is longer than it should be; sometimes one guest’s plate arrives ten minutes later than the rest. Orders are often mixed up; refills are scarce, although the waitstaff is certainly professional and experienced.

The menu frequently changes and prices are very reasonable, making it easy to try multiple items and still walk out the door with a pretty small tab. It is difficult to critique specific menu items here because they change so frequently, but we’ve lately been impressed by a thick, rich sweet-onion soup that showed unexpected depth, and albacore, in a loose interpretation of Niçoise, which had a great vinaigrette and summery pickled wax beans. Excellent french fries, one of the mainstays here, are of the thin school, served with a homemade aïoli and ketchup that tastes of harissa and cumin. Homemade pastas can be a touch overcooked, but are usually sauced well and complemented by unusually light sauces of fresh vegetables and good shaved cheese. Rare are dishes that completely miss the mark, like “Spiced Chickpeas” that were neither spiced nor spicy, but rather soaking in a watery, reddish sauce.

Classic cocktails are done well here, as are artisanal modern creations. The bar uses fresh juices, house-pickled onions, infused vodkas, and so on. The selection of top-shelf liquors is one of the best in town. A handful of well-chosen draft beers is rounded out by bigger celebrities in the bottle. The wine list is excellent, with a good selection of varietals from around the world at good markups. Even when Clyde Common suffers from overhyping, you should make no mistake—this is one of Portland’s most brightly shining stars.

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