I'm imagining something deeper than pdftotext (part of poppler-utils), because what I was imaging would be possible, would be to retain most of the layout on a virtual page, e.g. pipe this through a pager like most, and then possibly even get symbol-based replacements of simple graphics and such.
A chain of commands that you commonly use, or a script, would be really interesting to see.
I've added the word "common" to the question, to avoid asking a question that requires too much opinion, which is against the Stack Exchange ethos.
A big priority here would be if the solution was totally portable, like for example to use even in single-user mode on a Mac, for example.