Summer in Portland happens as much on our plates as it does in our gardens and on our weather reports, and late summer is when the state's bounty reaches its peak. Tomatoes and cucumbers share market real estate with padron peppers and peaches, while winter squash and sweet potatoes wait in the wings, ready to offer everyone the best of both worlds. Before we get swept up in the romance of fall, let's pay tribute to one quintessential summer ingredient could stand in as a symbol of the whole season: melon!

Whether you crave cantaloupe, hunger for honeydew, or would rather wait for some watermelon, here are this year's hottest melon-centric plates gracing Portland's casual and white tablecloth establishments alike:

  • Acadia's summer melon salad is a farmers market worth of melons on a plate, with watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, cucumber, avocado, fresh basil, Edwards country ham, and maple syrup gelée. 1303 NE Fremont
  • Accanto is blending up tomato and water melon gazpacho with dungeness and herb salad, and offering a lamb tartare paired with cantaloupe in rosemary oil and caramelized yogurt. 2838 SE Belmont
  • Aviary's chilled salted duck gets a cool upgrade with cucumber, watermelon, tahini, and a savory five spice crisp. 1733 NE Alberta
  • Besaw’s cold cucumber melon gazpacho is a refreshing combo of honeydew, cukes, and mint. 2301 NW Savier
  • Bluehour's new executive chef Kyo Kyoo's Five Course Tasting Menu opens with a composition of melon, Gravenstein apples, mint, puffed amaranth, and bacon. 250 NW 13th
  • Cocotte's salad of heirloom melon and smoked salmon is topped with bacon lardons, pesto, orange, and breadcrumbs is a great starter—but be sure to go all the way with dessert, too: melon ice cream with brown sugar pain perdu, coconut caramel, and coconut creme fraiche should do the trick. 2930 NE Killingsworth
  • Departure's Gregory Gourdet has dreamt up a bowl of grilled octopus with watermelon curry, avocado, and Chinese sausage. 525 SW Morrison
  • Frice Pastry is dishing up a yuzu panna cotta with cantaloupe, vanilla gelee, and fresh mint. 4082 N Williams
  • Imperial's watermelon salad is doused with chile oil, and finished off with fennel and herbs, and a Southern-accented fried rabbit comes with a semolina corn cake, pickled watermelon rind, and fried bacon. 410 SW Broadway
  • As a perfect summery side to their signature sandos, Lardo is featuring a watermelon and tomato salad with red onion, cucumber, cilantro and chili-lime dressing. 1212 SE Hawthorne and 
    1205 SW Washington 
  • Over at Lincoln, chef Jenn Louis is plating up seared albacore topped with a delicious and refreshing melon salsa. 3808 N Williams
  • Little Bird's dessert menu currently features horchata panna cotta topped with melon, "rice crunch", cinnamon syrup, and borage flowers. 219 SW 6th
  • Ned Ludd is offering a seasonal melon salad with lettuce, tomato, frikeh, scallions, cucumber, and feta. 3925 NE MLK
  • Old Salt Marketplace's heirloom tomato and watermelon salad is tossed with lemon vinaigrette, saba, and cilantro, while house cured speck (smoked and cured pork leg roast) is balanced by fresh charentais melon5027 NE 42nd
  • The Parish tosses its Oregon bay shrimp salad with 51 (a tasty cantaloupe varietal), along with green pineapple melon, lemon cucumber, kiwi cucumber, and fresh lime juice. 231 NW 11th Ave
  • Racion takes melon in a modern direction with a cherry tomato and watermelon dish topped with shrimp mousse, almond horchata, and shungiku (chrysanthemum greens)1205 SW Washington
  • Remedy Wine Bar keeps it classic with a gorgeous variety of melon straight from the market with La Quercia prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella. 733 NW Everett
  • Salt & Straw's farmers market–themed August menu featured a sweet, earthy carrot watermelon sorbet. All locations
  • On the liquid side of things, Alberta's new Stella Taco offers a melon margarita with cantaloupe-and-basil-infused Tequila Blanco, Triple Sec, and a squeeze of lime. 2940 NE Alberta
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