Critics Comments: Salty's on the Columbia River
From floor-to-ceiling windows that look upon the Columbia River near Portland International Airport, you can see planes taking off and landing, boats traveling up and downriver — and all you really care about is that big Dungeness crab on your plate. Come any evening for a feast of shellfish — mussels, clams, oysters, or shrimp — plus award-winning seafood chowder and regional wines to pair. Australian rock lobster tail and blackened salmon are popular entreés. Sunday brunch offers 50-odd temptations: crab and fresh oysters, of course, but also carved roasts, omelets to order, eggs Benedict, and a plethora of desserts. The atmosphere is conducive to dressing up, the staff is friendly, and the service excellent. And if your'e not a seafood lover, you'll also find hearty steaks on the menu. Legendary jazz drummer Mel Brown and his trio play here on Friday and Saturday nights. COME HERE FOR BRUNCH AND A HUGE VARIETY OF SEAFOOD.
—Elizabeth Lopeman, Best Places Portland, 8th Edition Go-To Spots, Restaurants with a View: Big-ticket seafood and a no-holds-barred brunch buffet at Salty's on the Columbia.
—Liz Crain, Food Lover's Guide to Portland "On the banks of the Columbia river sits this upscale yet comfortable seafood house. Go for the view, good drinks, and atmosphere. Brunch on the weekends, and mellow live music occasionally.Can get pretty crowded — with a bit of a wait on weekends, so plan accordingly."
—Read more at Portland Mercury Web Site "A happy, happy guide ... There is nothing better than happy hour...Perfect scores bond some diverse spots, including Voodoo Lounge, Salty's and Uptown Billiards Club."
—Lee Williams, The Oregonian, March 9, 2007. See full story. "It may be surprising to recommend a restaurant for its view in the waning days of December. Especially a restaurant with a water view. Especially when the many windows of Salty's on the Columbia look out these days, more often than not, on gray water streaming from the skies. It's hard to see all that much of the river in the dark anyway. But even after the sun goes down, it's oddly relaxing to gaze at the murky water especially when inside all is warm and bright. If you're not a boat person, there's little reason to travel on Northeast Marine Drive except to go to Salty's, so a visit there really feels like an expedition..."
—Portland Tribune, December 29, 2006 See full story at portlandtribune.com "Poke me if the seafood here isn't some of the freshest in Portland. Start with the creamy crab and artichoke dip, which runs away with appetizer honors; skip the tough, over-blackened calamari. Salty's signature seafood cioppino is zippy-tangy, filled with from-the-tank crustaceans. Desserts and cocktails tend to run toward standard-issue fare, and service is of the factory-stamp variety&—pleasant and somewhat forgettable. But don't forget the breathtaking views and the denizens of the deep procured daily for your perusal. That's what you're paying for here, and it's damn well worth it. (SMB) Signature dish: Salty's calls it their signature, and they mean it&—the signature seafood cioppino is just that good. Standouts: Crab and artichoke dip, enough for three or four people, and a Sunday brunch that will fill you up for three or four days.
—Willamette Week, Restaurant Guide 2006 "Salty's on the Columbia: For the longest time, this popular two-story restaurant overlooking the Columbia River embodied the notion that places with great views are doomed to serve terrible food. But a recent visit shows there's good reason for seafood lovers to put Salty's back on their hot sheet. The coconut prawns, while hardly trailblazing cuisine, were pop-in-the-mouth addictive. A filet of wild salmon with grilled artichokes was nicely done (though its accompanying leek risotto was gummy). On weekends ask to be seated in the upstairs bar, where jazz drummer Mel Brown holds court. A sunset, some simply prepared fish, a bit of jazz — not a bad way to start a weekend.
—Grant Butler, Oregonian, August 19, 2005 "Salty's on the Columbia has managed to shed some of its musty rep in the past year, reemerging as a lovely, but spendy, spot to indulge in scallops, lobster and other marine life. Be forewarned: Drab outfits still make the waiters look like a bunch of stiff Clark Kents compared with the restaurant's super-food. Better to focus on Salty's gorgeous views of both Mount Hood and Portland's vibrant sunsets."
—Kelly Clarke, Bite Club, Willamette Week, July 2005 "The seafood chowder and blackened-salmon Caesar are standouts, especially when combined with sunset views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood from the wraparound deck. With sunset views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood and wraparound decks during warmer weather, and there's barely a bad seat in the house at this outpost of the regional chain. During the week, Salty's mostly draws business travelers from nearby airport hotels rather than casual or special-occasion diners from the city. But on weekends, the parking lot fills up and reservations are a necessity. On Friday and Saturday you can sip cocktails and listen to live jazz in the Cafe, the restaurant's scaled-down dining area."
—AOL Cityguide's City's Best Seafood 2005 "... Salty's offers a relaxed atmosphere that mixes well with its unpretentious approach to classic seafood."
—Ken Hoyt, Ourtown Magazine "... Salty's features the freshest seafood and finest steaks, sunniest decks and dispositions..."
—Marketplace Magazine "... Once in Salty's, all that's left is to turn your sales to the wind, order another bottle of wine and enjoy the food and the sunset..."
—Pacific Northwest Magazine "The service staff was exceptional — They made our party so much better than our past parties. The food was great and the room and decorations gave us a memorable party!"
—BR & R Insurance