Ever since I first dipped my first chunk of crusty bread into a warm ceramic pot filled with gooey Emmentaler and Gruyére cheeses, I’ve been a goner for this classic alpine dish, which originated in the mountains of Switzerland centuries ago. Today, fondue can encompass any melted cheese, desert, broth or oil dish that’s served in a communal pot and kept warm over a heat source. And, if you know where to look, you can find great fondue in Portland.
So whether you’re looking for a romantic fondue dinner or an interactive meal for the whole family, here are four of my favorite fondue restaurants that will keep you dipping all evening long.
Best Special Occasion Fondue: The best-known (and original) fondue restaurant in town, The Melting Pot in downtown has an extensive menu filled with cheese, broth, oil and chocolate fondues. There’s also a variety of entrées and a kids menu, so you’ll find something to please every palate. Prices range from $92-$114/person for a four-course meal to $33 for a pot of a la carte fondue for two. Great bets: cheddar fondue, classic alpine fondue, and flaming turtle dessert fondue.
Best Swiss Fondue: Along with its authentic made-from-scratch Swiss and German cuisine, Alberta Arts District eatery Swiss Hibiscus serves up a fondue appetizer ($24) made with traditional Swiss cheeses, white wine and kirschwasser (a dry cherry schnapps). French bread is included for dipping.
Best Fondue for Families: At their four locations in the Portland metro area, Gustav’s Pub & Grill offers a handful of appetizers based on its Rheinlander cheese fondue ($10.25-$13.45). The ambience is casual and festive, perfect for families. Best picks: the crab fondue and the pretzel fondue.
Best Fondue for Two: For a casual date night, Northwest’s Urban Fondue is just the ticket. The dinner menu is filled with nearly a dozen savory cheese and broth fondues ($11.95 a la carte) as well as a variety of meats, seafood and vegetarian dishes for dipping. Be sure to save room for one (or two) of their 12 desert fondues. Great bets: brie and gorgonzola fondue, ruby port fondue and the chocolate Heath bar fondue.