"WHERE SHOULD WE EAT?” THIS MAY BE THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION IN PORTLAND. AND YES, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, WE HAVE ANSWERS—PASSIONATE, ARGUMENT-WORTHY, MOUTHWATERING ANSWERS.

OUR NOTION OF “BEST” IS ALWAYS SHIFTING AND EVOLVING. SOME OF THE CITY’S MOST ACCLAIMED AND BELOVED SPOTS ARE NOW GONE. IN THEIR PLACE, VOICES OLD AND NEW ARE WRITING THE NEXT CHAPTER. WE EXPECT THE LIST TO KEEP GROWING AND CHANGING, SO STAY POSTED.

Note: Many of these places have indoor and outdoor dining options. But the wise check websites or Instagram feeds in these moving-target times.

Jump to your quadrant:

North/Northeast/Northwest/Southeast/Southwest/Multiple Locations

North

Eem

Eem is so much more than the overnight phenom of 2019, when it nabbedour Best Restaurant award。的Thai-Texas BBQ-cocktail联合(见the top) is a pandemic hero, its scoped-down menu as precise as the atomic clock, available to go or at outdoor seating huts heated by gas flames. Four curries hold down the fort, all good, including the overlooked vegan red version, but don't sleep on the BBQ fried rice (meaty or meat-free). White curry says it all, its creamy hot-sweet broth thick with smoky burnt brisket ends from the Austin school of barbecue. Luscious drinks are not so much sipped as sucked down exuberantly, as if this was the last hour on Earth, and who knows, it may be. What a way to go.3808 N Williams Ave —KB


Gracie’s Apizza

These personal pies defy labels, drawing influences from Neapolitan pizza, Oregon ingredients, and pizzaiolo Craig Melillo’s upbringing near New Haven, Connecticut, which proudly boasts its own pizza style. Most importantly, Melillo nails the crux of pizza: the crust (tangy, airy, crisp) and the tomato sauce (garlicky and deeply flavored). Both shine in the tomato pie, which the menu dubs “the best pizza,” but you can’t go wrong with the calzone stuffed with fluffy ricotta, stringy mozzarella, Mama Lils, and house sausage. Let Melillo help you choose a natural Italian wine for pairing. The house ice cream alone is worth the drive over the St. Johns bridge, with flavors ranging from brown sugar coffee to bay leaf。8737 N Lombard St —KCH


Kayo’s Ramen Bar

We love Kayo’s for its delicate, nuanced broths, made in the lighter asari style. Osaka native Kayoko Kaye is the driven cook in the kitchen, even going so far as to make her own noodles. Roughly nine versions are available, traditional to playful, and most offer a vegan option. Ramen geeks go for the brothless spicy tantanmen ramen or the shoyu, which goes down like a power shot of Jewish grandma’s chicken soup. For dessert, the first bite of Kayo’s Japanese-inspired Basque Cheesecake is like the early stage of a toasted marshmallow, a golden, graham-y, sugar-fired head-rush, as much about smell as taste.3808 N Williams Ave, #124 —KB


Lovely’s Fifty Fifty

Sarah Minnick isthe bold auteur of Portland’s most iconic pizza—deeply connected to Oregon’s most adventurous farmers, minimally sauced, with cool stuff on top. Here, you’ll taste notes not typically associated with pizza: sour, bitter, funk, floral, and nuanced heat, all pinging off of a chewy sourdough crust. Toppings are built around whatever farmers drop off, stinging nettles to fenugreek bok choy raab, plus unusual Northwest cheeses. A moan-worthy pie of rainbow chard, fermented tomatoes, Calabrian chilies and goat cheese? Oh yeah, baby—and the weirder it sounds, the better the pie. Three bites in and it’s clear whyItalian pizza master Franco Pepe is a fan。For dessert, don’t miss one of the last reminders of what real ice cream tastes like.4039 N Mississippi Ave #101 —KB


Sweedeedee

IMAGE:SWEEDEEDEE

Once known as a brunch destination, Sweedeedee now boasts former Tusk/Ava Gene’s chef Sam Smith as chef and partner, which means lunch and dinner are now on the menu, too.Dinner is a gem, from seasonal salads to charcuterie and cheese plates with housemade seeded crackers, simple pastas like maccheroni alla vodka, and roast chicken. And it would be a sin to skip dessert, made by baker Mason Suda. Cakes might be quirky—carrot-peach, for instance—while pies might lean more classic, like coconut cream. At lunch, sandwiches or salads are ideal for grab-and-go, while pasta makes a nice mid-day break. And for brunch, the new must-order is French toast, served simply with butter, cinnamon, and fruit.5202 N Albina Ave —KCH

Northeast

Expatriate

Candlelight spotlights what matters here: two turntables spinning vintage moods, careful cocktails, and Portland’s most dead-on perfect bar food. Expatriate, a destination since 2013, keeps the menu tightly curated. The house philosophy is “not just a dish, but a perfect version of that thing, hitting all the cylinders, a serious attempt.” That's how the kitchen masterminded Portland’s best classic cheeseburger (at least according toPoMo’s Burger Cabal) and a mountain of weirdly wonderful nachos crackling with fried wonton skin chips and spicy Velveeta cheese. Did we need another spicy fried chicken sandwich?Expatriate answered the question with an exclamation point, adding a fairy-dusting of Sichuan peppercorns and house-made black vinegar pickles。Like most things here, it elicits f-bombs of joy all around at the table.5424 NE 30th Ave —KB


Gado Gado

Since opening in 2019, Thomas and Mariah Pisha-Duffly have tickled our brains with some of the best eats anywhere—singular Indonesian-Chinese(ish) food, a whirling blender of family traditions and Thomas’s boundary-shredding food mind. The best way to eat here: let the kitchen cook for you. A “Rice Table Experience” is now Gado Gado’s centerpiece, with distinct omnivore and vegan menus. A la carte dishes are available for walk-ins, but only a fool would miss the kitchen’s riff on the Dutch-Indonesian rijsttafel feast. Expect waves of sambals, curries, dumplings, salads, grilled things, and desserts. In Gado Gado speak, that might mean Balinese duck satay, onion fritters sided by fermented coconut chutney and mezcal-pickled raisins, and roti apple hand pies. To drink: popping boba jello shots, anyone?1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd —KB


Güero

At this indie neighborhood spot, tortas on toasted telera rolls are the show. The Jaliscan-inspired ahogada—carnitas-stuffed and knee deep in achiote tomato sauce—cartwheels across the tongue like a smiling demon: messy, spicy, and wicked deliciousThe Desayuno, another fave, taps braised beef and chicharron de queso to upgrade the fried egg sandwich. Meanwhile, one of the city’s best bowls lives here, rife with pinto beans and toasted corn and swathed in avocado dressing. The mood is elevated by a tidy list of mezcals and tequilas.200 NE 28th Ave —KB


Navarre

In 2002, harebrained food philosopher John Taboada conceived a tiny “eat spot” with the feel of a park bench and a kind of lawlessness in the air. There’s still nothing quite like it: the dim sum-like plates, the ugly-delicious vegetable gestalt, the abiding wine passion, the delightful brunch that still worships French butter and homemade jam. Every few months, Taboada and his trusted kitchen crew plunge half the menu into a culinary exploration, Portugal to the Loire Valley, with wines to match. If authentic Portland can be summed up in one word, Navarre is it.10 NE 28th Ave —KB


Ox

Flames greet you just inside the door like the Burning Bush. A hand-cranked wood-burning grill is the centerpiece of Ox and the chariot to heavenly chops, ribeyes, and chorizo glazed in signature fatty, garlicky Black Gold juice drippings. The menu—Argentinian barbecue, coal-fired vegetables, a little Portland food mania—rarely changes and nearly every dish is a house classic, including the spicy beef tripe. Clam chowder is the star, fresh, deep, and garnished the Ox way with a smoked bone marrow the size of a Grecian pillar.2225 NE MLK Jr. Blvd—KB


Ripe Cooperative

Leave it to Naomi Pomeroy, Portland’s DIY Julia Child, to up the sidewalk dining game. Weatherproofed cafe tables, royal blue plates, fancy pastas, curated cheese plates, intricate salads, and lovely wines only hint at the options at this "all day cafe," noon till evening. It’s the food we’ve been missing since Pomeroy shuttered her iconic Beast in 2020 and reopened months later as a boutique market stocked with restaurant-quality food to go. Now, the Ripe market fuels the outdoor cafe. And Pomeroy is back in her element, charming us at tables, delivering the likes of ravioli stroganoff, French onion soup, and warm apple streusel tarts made by Ripe’s strong kitchen crew.5425 NE 30th Ave —KB


Thơm

In Portland’s eternal best phở argument, Thơm, opened in 2021, belongs in the conversation. The house broth—a head rush of slow-cooked marrow bones under flaps of melting tenderloin—may win the championship belt. The mood—mid-century modern hideout meets Vietnamese mini-mart—comes from the mind of LA photographer Johnny Le. In the kitchen, brother Jimmy pays tribute to the family's 32-year-old Phở Lê, one of Vancouver Washington's first pho spots. Care and quality define their tiny menu and space. The roasted skin-on cơm gà (chicken and rice) is a testament to dark sweet soy savor, and “Dad's Barbecue Pork Noodles,” reminds us that father really does know best。3039 NE Alberta St —KB


Urdaneta

At this buzzing, vibrant spot, sip sherry, eat pintxos, and pretend that Alberta Street is an upscale sidewalk cafe on a cobblestone road in Basque country. Must-orders include the foie bomba, a dumpling served inside a spoon with juices and plum gel ready to burst, and the Tortilla Española 2.0, a playful spin on a tapas classic with a Mason jar of potatoes in eggy foam, ready to shake and spread over a thin, round egg crepe. Meanwhile, the Bikini is a simple yet surprisingly flavorful take on a gooey American grilled cheese, layered with jamon serrano and truffle honey. Pair everything with vermouth, sherry, or seasonal sangria for an immersive experience.3033 NE Alberta St —KCH

Northwest

G-Love

Chef Garrett Benedict, an alum of San Francisco’s famed AL’s Place, is cooking his dream: light, fresh, eclectic but accessible, and sustainability-minded, with an emphasis on vegetables and smaller-portioned proteins. Still, the juicy, charred sliced hanger steak sided by new potatoes, whipped yogurt, and capers—one of the menu’s few meat options—nearly steals the show. Regulars come for a half an avocado encrusted in coco-blackspice seed mix (add tuna poke if you like) or the massive Ensalata Bomba, in which lettuces get spiffed up with plum dressing, aged gouda, avocado, and apple relish. Creative desserts, a globe-trotting wine list, and playful cocktails round out the menu.1615 NW 21st Ave —KCH


República

This Mexican-forward Pearl District restaurant’s evening tasting menu alone was enough togarner aPortland MonthlyRestaurant of the Year 2021 award。It’s rare to find ingredients like chicatanas (flying ants) or huitlacoche (corn truffles) anywhere in the States, let alone in Portland, yet República does it with flair. A tostada might get topped with chicatana aioli and slices of kanpachi smoked in chicatanas and applewood; huitlacoche might make its way into a risotto-like dish. The vegetable-forward tasting menu is just as intriguing as the meat and seafood, with options like heirloom tomato ceviche. Pair your meal with artisanal mezcals or Mexican wines. But that’s just dinner. By day, find pan dulce and eggs in salsa verde; for lunch, stop by for standout pozole, menudo, tortas, and tacos.721 NW 9th Ave #175 —KCH


Langbaan

In 2014, Earl Ninsom’s singular Thai tasting menu, in a secret room behind his PaaDee kitchen, went nationally lauded supernova, impressing seen-it-all critics like Ruth Reichl and nabbingPoMo’sRestaurant of the Year。For years, it was the hardest reservation in town as diners clamored for a modern-traditional menu that unfolded like a dinner party, Thai snacks to dessert, unexpected twists and turns included. The Langbaan adventure is moving soon to a new space, where it will serve as the nighttime arm of Ninsom’s soon-to-open Phuket Cafe in the former Ataula space.1818 NW 23rd Place—KB


Mama Bird

在这熙熙攘攘的Slabtown现货,家禽被提升d to biblical status, grilled in the center of the room on a giant funeral pyre of Oregon white oak. The magic is in the pineapple brine and spot-on grilling that assures a juicy, crispy-skinned, smoky bird, available as quarter, half or whole. Dunk it into one of seven sauces, the best of them a creamy, spicy aji verde. Salads are OK, but side dishes hit the bulls-eye. Grill-striped sweet potatoes over curry yogurt are a must. Watch for seasonal specials including grilled delicata squash, jumping with pomegranates and pumpkin-seeded salsa macha. The perfect everyday, any time meal.2145 NW Raleigh St —KB


IMAGE:KAREN BROOKS

St. Jack NW

For years, St. Jack paid homage to France’s bouchons, those jolly, cramped, offal-loving dens found around Lyon—sometimes thrillingly, sometimes too one-noted. In the summer of 2021, chef-owner Aaron Barnett spun off a grown-up suburban branch (Lac St Jack), giving talented new chef John Denison freedom to remake the Northwest Portland restaurant’s menu. Denison brings experience cooking in Paris’s neo-bistro style: casually serious, light, fresh, fun. He doesn’t reinvent the wheel but bends it, temptingly. Instead of airy cheese puffs, hot Gruyere fondue hides inside of his gougeres, the top donning a sweet knob of shortbread pastry. Vegetables taste like artful mood rings of the seasons. Where else can you find pheasant pot-au-feu? Grab anything with puff pastry, 17th century pithiviers to a mod mushroom vol-au-vent, delivered by enthusiastic, knowledgeable servers.1610 NW 23rd Ave —KB


Southeast

Afuri Izakaya

This Japanese ramen chain nearly always has a line, even though the airy, glass-walled dining room boasts plenty of seats at its tables, sushi bar, and cocktail bar. But it’s absolutely worth the wait for the ramen, featuring thin, housemade noodles with assertive bite and flavorful yet delicate broths. The signature yuzu shio ramen balances bright citrus with soy sauce and chicken broth, while accompaniments like melt-in-your-mouth slices of fatty-lean chashu pork and a jammy-yolked egg add luxury. The silky-skinned gyoza, complete with a lacy crust and stuffed with gingery pork or cashews and miso, are a must-order. Don’t pass over the sushi offerings, which include many seasonal varieties from Japan plus freshwater eel with lightly sweet house sauce. The beverage menu, from sake flights to house yuzu lager to Japanese whiskey cocktails to strawberry-yogurt soda, presents endless options for pairing.923第七大街和12555 SW 1 St,比佛顿- katherine Chew Hamilton


Apizza Scholls

Who makes Portland’s best pizza? Arguments rage here like debates over points of scripture. But for a strong contingency, Apizza Scholls, opened in 2005, is the Bible—muscular, 18-inch neo-Neapolitan pies made with eccentric perfectionism and fine-tuned toppings. Not a bad choices here (down to the whole-leaf Caesar salad), but it’s 4 hard to get past the Diablo Bianco, a sauce-free wonder splotched with super-creamy ricotta pools, jalapeño wheels, and a roasted tomato-pumpkin seed pesto that tastes, somehow, like chorizo. Takeout only for now.4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd —Karen Brooks


Berlu

Weeks after we filed the last of our Best Restaurants 2021 copy, Berlu reopened its tiny white food chamber with a new direction and a major statement: one of the best, most daring Vietnamese tasting menus, anywhere. Gone are the minimal, modernist French food poems from Vince Nguyen. In their place: Vietnamese food as only imagined by someone whose bathroom is wallpapered with images of David Bowie. Think street foods mingled with conceptual experiments, delivered with grace and a few mind-blowers in the mix. Who else dares to spoon geoduck and lychees over an ethereal durian custard? Who serves shallot cake—for dessert? (It's amazing).On Sunday mornings, Berlu becomes Berlu Bakery,serving lovely sweets and savories, plus rigorous noodle soups. Note: Berlu is dairy-free and a dedicated gluten-free zone.605 SE Belmont St —KB


Canard

什么《拉鲁斯美食百科》,大吗codifier of French food, make of Canard? Perhaps this Eastside diner would be its own entry: “A place in Portland, Oregon that swapped duck à l’orange for a stack of duck fat grilled hotcakes and duck gravy, best savored slowly and wickedly with a fine Burgundy from the house list.” After all, delicious send-ups of Paris and Americana are the specialty of James Beard winner Gabriel Rucker, wine-ace partner Andy Fortgang, and veteran chef Taylor Daugherty. Once an all-day eatery,PoMo's Restaurant of the Year 2018is now a battened-down, dinner-only collection of Canard signatures (foie gras dumplings, a White Castle-crushing steam burger) and ongoing brainstorms, perhaps a salmon dip with maple BBQ wontons or beets swaddled in nasturtium yogurt and pumpernickel chili crunch. Desserts include a twisted Paris-Brest and aDairy Queen-worshipping Pine Nut Buster Parfait。French food scholars, avert your eyes and giggle.734 E Burnside St —KB


Coquine

Raise your glasses and toast the good old days, when we waltzed in here for an a la carte menu of home cooking delights … that is, if your home cook had Michelin star-quality chops. Like many other top Portland restaurants, Coquine dinners are now pre-fixe only—four courses driven by local farms, and backed by gracious service and a compelling wine list. A few snacks kick things off, perhaps chef-owner Katy Millard’'s lusty chicken liver mousse and plum jam on gingerbread-y pan d’epices. Expect classic Coquine moves throughout the meal—beautiful composed salads, perfect pasta, black currant-glazed duck, with optional oysters or caviar. Brunch is still among the city’s best, rye pancakes to yeasted barley waffles, not to mention killer triple-fried fries to pair with good sandwiches (or pancakes … who’s looking?). The pandemic-born Coquine Marketnext door juggles curated groceries, market produce, a bakery-espresso counter, and an epic chocolate chip cookie.6839 SE Belmont St —KB


Davenport

Previously, this East side boite was dinner only. Now, two days a week, Davenport vies for Portland's civilized indoor lunch crown, linen napkins included. Low-key Kevin Gibson is known as a chef's chef among his peers. Who else in town would garnish an arugula salad , at noon, with tony Jacquin Buche De Lucay cheese? Watch for daily inspirations as they come—rabbit agnolotti in brodo, scrambled eggs and chanterelles on toast, a sandwich of lamb belly, sumac, and tzatziki. And know this: Quietly, Gibson makes a killer bistro burger with exquisite meat. Weekend dinners continue the mode, but a little more formal.2215 E Burnside St —KB


Dimo’s Apizza

Dimo来到这个生活的像一个demon-seed孩子, sometimes nailing the perfect crust, other times incinerating pizzas into a char with a glance. Now, the one-time parking lot pop-up has one of the city's most craveable pies—thin, rimless, with a distinctive crisp crackle-crunch. Just the thought can stick in your head like theSuccessiontheme song. The best of them boast little more than concentrated tomatoes and garlic (the Russo) or a wealth of spicy meat (Hail Mary). Being heretics, we crushed hard on a summer special flashing creamed corn butter. To channel New Haven’s coal oven pies, owner Doug Miriello deploys an electric oven to start, then finishes the rounds in a fire-breathing wood oven hand-built in Naples. Our kind of nut.701 E Burnside St —KB


Fermenter Kombucha Brew Pub

Portland’s plant-based laboratory, which flies under the banner of “your friendly neighborhood bacteria emporium,” has a new name: Fermenter is now Fermenter Kombucha Brew Pub, because, as owner Aaron Adams puts it, “It sounds kitschy.” It makes sense, too. As it outgrows its tiny punk rock beginnings, Fermenter has morphed into a future-forward analog to Portland's beer-culture hangouts, obsessively crafting all things spored and fizzing in a house of rollicking sandwiches, bowls, and hazelnut ranch. Most everything is homemade, even the vinegars. The beet Reuben is a masterpiece etched in ruby kraut and hazelnut cheese on rye. The burger juggles a black bean lentil tempeh patty, smoked onions, leaf lettuce, house ketchup, and miso mayo, plus tempeh bacon if you like. It’s a whopper.1403 SE Belmont St—KB


Ha VL & Rose VL

These sister noodle soup shops have such a devoted following that there’s anentire fan sitededicated to their daily menus. It’s worth planning your week around your favorite Ha VL or Rose VL soup—only two or three options per day, and each soup is offered only once a week. Right now, our favorite day is Wednesday, when two signatures emerge: the creamy, coconut-y chicken curry noodle soup and the melt-in-your-mouth Vietnamese beef stew with noodles. On Saturdays, Rose VL unveils its exclusive cao lau, a hard-to-find dry noodle bowl thick with chewy noodles, tender pork, tons of herbs, and a sweet-salty sauce on the bottom; pork broth comes on the side. It pays to be an early bird, though—the restaurants open as early as 8 a.m., and some of the most sought-after soups sell out by noon. Ha VL,2738 SE 82nd Ave Unit 102, and Rose VL, 6424 SE Powell Blvd —KCH


Ken’s Artisan Pizza

Ed Levine, founder of the popular New York–based blogSerious Eats, calls Ken Forkish “one of the world’s great pie men,” and, halfway through a spicy sopressata pie here, it’s hard to disagree. After all, Forkish pennedThe Elements of Pizzacookbook, a must for home cooks hoping to pass for pros. No bones about where his heart lies—these wood-fired 12-inchers demand engagement with their rustic crust, as you might expect from one of Portland’s premiere bread bakers (though he's now retired to Hawaii and handed over ownership to long-time former managers).304 SE 28th Ave —KB


Lazy Susan

One surefire way to find a good restaurant: figure out where the local cooks are eating. Right now, the industry hangout is this self-styled “family charcoal diner” conjured by youngish restaurant vets, among them food couple Andrew and Nora Mace, former New York chef Julian Calcott, and wine somm Danny McGeough, who has assembled an exciting wine list. Honestly, Lazy Susan can be inconsistent. But the game plan is appealing and as imagined—classic, unfussy, good value. Watch for chilled mussels on the half shell, coal-roasted vegetables, quail skewers, Basque-style chistorra sausage, and serious homemade pie.7937 SE Stark St —KB


Le Pigeon

In the ancient days of 2006, Le Pigeon first welcomed us in for a wild ride from Portland’s most gifted chef, Gabriel Rucker, holder of two James Beard awards. We ate elbow-to-elbow at crowded tables, eating eclectic send-ups of French food, Americana, and offal parts, backed by a great wine list.The new world is now tasting menu only, each course seemingly from a different Rucker planet. It’s the kind of fine dining we need, weird and wonderful, with distinct omnivore and vegetarian menus. Meat courses have turned up a flaming foie-gras crepe Suzette and spiced duck sided by a “duck in a blanket.” Veg people get their own surprises, perhaps matsutake mushroom tortellini under pine nut crunch or beet hash browns with apple butter.738 E Burnside St —KB


Luce

这个迷人的地方唤起意大利和小镇best of Portland, from the handmade ambiance to a certain personal voodoo that makes food, drink, and magic happen at tiny tables. Even the floor-to-ceiling mini-mart grocery shelves are candlelit. (The room could be mistaken for a ladylike hardware store.) Unadorned plates, indoor or out, carry the kitchen’s paean to honest Italian food: pasta, fresh focaccia, and olive oil cake. Make a party out of the $2 antipasti list, slurp a truly soulful cappelletti in brodo, or make hay on insider favorites— stuffed trout, potatoes and octopus, and a hunk of blackened cabbage seemingly cooked by an ironworker, twinkling with garlic oil. Nearly everything is under $20, backed by a terrific Italian wine list, priced to drink.2140 E Burnside St —KB


Magna

Filipino cuisine is on the rise in Portland; this year ushered in an excellent new cart,Baon Kainan, and two new pop-ups,Pulu by SunriceandTikim。But the trailblazer of this movement is undoubtedly chef Carlo Lamagna, who opened his restaurant Magna in late 2019. Since then, the restaurant has garnered praise inPoMo’s Best Restaurants 2020, and in 2021, Lamagna earned a spot onFood & Wine’s Best New Chefs list. It’s easy to see why with his cheffed-up versions of family classics, from charcoal-grilled banana ketchup-glazed chicken hearts to super-crisp, lighter-than-usual lumpia to sizzling pork and pig ear sisig. Adding to the cheer: a vibrant green, fragrant gin-pandan cocktail and desserts like biko—warm coconut-scented sticky rice with crumbled polvoron cookie topping.2525 SE Clinton Ave —KCH


Malka

Jessie Aron is a poster girl for the times, rewriting the rules for what it means to be young, female, and a restaurant owner. In the mix: strong community values, empowered kitchen comrades, romantic Victorian décor, and whimsical maximalism—red mole-draped tater tots to an eggplant sandwich that involves over 100 ingredients. Even a salad gets the full Malka treatment, juggling lime-plum vinaigrette, pickled cherries, tahini, mustard greens, fried shallots, and more. The food has its own internal illogicalness: no two dishes alike, no twobitesalike, brought to life with names like “An Important Helmet for Outer Space.” Call it global hippie food from a mad scientist or a tornado twisting of Thai food and Shabbat dinners, Malka is poetry in motion, made with unthinkable determination.4546 SE Division St —KB


Mama Dút

排骨、五花肉、面饼和banh mi-they艾尔l vegan at Mama Dút, a street food and snack shop opened by former hair stylist and longtime Portlander Thuy Pham. The ever-changing menu entices customers to come back for frequently changing specials, from nostalgia-filled hot dog buns to playful desserts like ube whoopie pies and pandan custard pie. Top it off with a dose of blasting hip-hop, a desire to give back to the local community via food deliveries to AAPI seniors, and live streams about social causes from Black Lives Matter to cultural appropriation in the restaurant industry, and you’ve got yourself an iconic Portland eatery.1414 SE Morrison St —KCH


Meals 4 Heels

Nikeisah Newton’s shirt says it all: Pro Black, pro brown, pro trans, pro science, pro hoe. It hangs in the Meals 4 Heels take-out crib, a 150-square-foot restaurant in residence at the Redd on Salmon Street. Each vegetarian bowl (vegan or gluten-free by request) tells a different flavor story—jumping off Ethiopian mushroom or black-eyed pea fritters or a happy jumble of tom kha cauliflower, sweet potato glass noodles, and truffled tomatoes. She’s flying on her own terms, fighting for a more just world.831 SE Salmon St —KB


Nostrana

Local food legend Cathy Whims and her kitchen posse present Italian home cooking as it should be—stripped down, honest, very local, lots of wood fire. No place better serves a diverse crowd: kids, wine insiders, adventure-fearing relatives, and lovers of Italian classics. The mandatory preamble is the Caesar-esque InsalataNostrana stocked with radicchio and rosemary-sage croutons. Pizza is often good, and hot-from-the-oven fruit crisps can make your day. Bistecca alla Fiorentina vies for the city’s best rib-eye: a 2 ¼ -pound beast, cooked over fire, and big enough for a couple of Trailblazer guards.1401 SE Morrison St —KB


OK Omens

酒whisperer and house somm Brent Braun brings his Riesling madness and small, sustainable farming ethos to this grown-up gastro-bar, opened in 2018 as a counterpoint to the abstract glamour of big sister Castagna next door. Castagna is shuttered for now, leaving OK Omens as the only place to taste the musings of its Michelin-caliber chef, Justin Woodward. The mood swings from baked oxtail lasagna to The Torito, a double-downed Caesar crackling with corn nuts and fried chicken glowing green with Sichuan peppercorn dust. Desserts include a bad-ass Blizzard send-up and a landmark brownie. OK Omens found its groove during the pandemic, with classy outdoor cabanas and a major wine list expansion, as equally devoted to elegant classics as funky naturals.1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd —KB


Oma’s Hideaway

The thrust here is nominally Malaysian Chinese—nominally being the operative word. The jumping point is family food memories from chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly’s Oma’s, or grandma’s, kitchen. But Oma’s Hideaway also embraces complex sambals, stoner food fun, and Indonesian psychedelic rock. It adds up to one of Portland’s best nights out. Splendid house char siu holds down the wonton mee noodles while feathery, buttery roti tastes like some giant croissant in the sky. Steak tartare is like no other—funky, herbaceous, capped in candied anchovies and salted egg yolk, with jumbo shrimp chips for scooping. Don’t sleep on the cheeseburger, its bun grilled in lime leaf coconut butter.3131 SE Division St—KB


Pho Oregon

我们宣布越南河粉的官方冬天菜rtland, and what better place to devour a bowl than at this long-time pho palace off 82nd? You’ll want to slurp every spoonful of the deeply flavored broth, the base of twenty different permutations that include steak, fatty or lean brisket, flank, tendon, tripe, and meatballs. For best results, order a side of onion oil—scallions served in the fatty skimmings of the broth. Dip your meat into the oil, but also add a little to the broth to unlock its maximum flavor. The massive, two-sided menu offers plenty more delights, from uber-crisp, giant banh xeo to the signature nem nuong (grilled pork sausage) rolls to rarely seen soups like bun mang vit (duck with bamboo shoots) or bun mam (fish broth laden with seafood, pork, and banana flower).2518 NE 82nd Ave —KCH


Scotch Lodge

The perfect night in Portland: sitting in a dark, dreamy whiskey cave, sipping from an A-caliber list that goes deep, wide, and sideways, and wolfing into Portland's best-kept secret—a monumental crab sandwich, uber-crispy, lavished in white kimchi and jutting over the edges of tender milk bread. Chef Tim Artale is on a roll, making familiar foods fun and serious at once with ideas, skill, and bistro-quality plating. The menu pairs beautifully with whiskey treasures from owner Tommy Klus’s collection as well as smoky cocktails from a crack team of friendly bartenders eager to share knowledge and swap stories. Watch for carpaccio that somehow tastes like steak au poivre and half-shell oysters under playful toppings, perhaps granita and tobiko or tequila-laced tropical punch.215 SE 9th Ave—KB


Sebastiano’s

Is Sebastiano’s an Italian-American deli, a New Orleans sandwich shop, a Sicilian bakery, or an Oregonian farm-to-table eatery? All of the above. Shortly after its summer 2020 opening,Sebastiano’s vaulted into our 2020Best Restaurantsissuethanks to its standout muffuletta. House-baked sesame bread meets mozzarella hand-stretched in store, layered with Olympia Provisions mortadella and ham and homemade giardinera. The standout vegetarian version boasts eggplant instead of charcuterie. And then there are the cannoli, our pick for best in the city, freshly fried and stuffed with fluffy ricotta, Italian chocolate chips, and house candied orange peel. Look for baked goods like focaccia, almond-pine nut cookies, and Sicilian zeppole, plus occasional dinner events.411 SE 81st Ave—KCH


Taqueria Los Puñales

One of Portland’s finest taco shops is also proudly queer, owned by friends David Madrigal and Brian Aster. The shop’s name is a homophobic slur in Spanish, but the duo has reclaimed the word, occasionally handing out stickers to customers that read “Gay Tacos.” There’s a dazzling array of guisados, or stews, on offer here—from chicken mole to soy curl tinga, lengua en salsa verde to beef barbacoa, all served atop freshly pressed corn tortillas. Make it a party with one of their pint glass margaritas, from classic to mezcal to spicy to mango.3312 SE Belmont St —KCH

Southwest

Duck House Chinese Restaurant

When a dumpling craving hits, Duck House should be your destination—especially for xiao long bao. Slurp soup from the pork or pork-shrimp filled dumplings inside a moody, wooden-walled former bar that now serves up its own twists on cocktails with Sichuan peppercorn, cilantro salted rims, and Sriracha. The restaurant bills itself as Szechuan, and you’ll find fine examples of that cuisine, from ma po tofu to dry-fried green beans—but the restaurant also branches into Cantonese and Chinese American cuisine with dishes like honey walnut prawns (be prepared to gobble them like popcorn).1968 SW 5th Ave —KCH


Higgins

In 1984, Greg Higgins biked to Portland and mounted a farm-to-table food revolution, connecting chefs and farmers. First at the Heathman, then at his own Higgins, the gardener-chef gave voice and direction to everything we now hold as our Portland food birthright: local-first dining, smoking, pickling, charcuterie (before anyone could pronounce the word), and the realization that ambitious food needs to be more than a pretty plate. Now, Higgins (and longtime business partner Paul Mallory) is the last man standing from the first wave of Portland’s Beard-winning chefs in the 1990s. The menu still boasts impressive charcuterie, a formidable beer list, Old World sauced meats, eclectic vegetable dishes, daily soup acumen, and Higgins’s longtime loyalty to local farmers.1239 SW Broadway —KB


Måurice

People always ask, “What should we not miss in Portland?” Inevitably, we tell them Måurice, which is less of a restaurant than 580 square feet of tunnel-vision fervor, refinement, and seasonal joy expressed in a daily menu from the talented Kristen Murray. The city’s most finicky chefs come for the perfect steamed mussels or true quiche with shocking custardy jiggle, sided by a glass of wine or bubbles. Others are fixed on fruit-filled brioche, the currant scones, and house Fig Newtons. The lemon soufflé cake is tangy enough to win the French Legion of Honor. Food guru Ruth Reichl summed up Murray’s signature black pepper cheesecake: “The most mature cheesecake on Earth.” Takeout and outdoor dining only for now.921 SW Oak St —KB


Murata

Portland’s old-school Japanese restaurant, opened in 1988, is still running strong today, though not much inside has changed—the soft jazz, the sushi chefs wearing ties, and the sought-after private tatami rooms. Sushi is the main draw here, with a menu that spans crowd-pleasing rolls to standard nigiri to seasonal fare (sweet, local Dungeness crab, anyone?). But sticking solely to sushi would be doing yourself a disservice. In the fall and winter, don’t miss the seasonal matsutake mushroom soup served in a teapot; year-round comforting dishes like chawanmushi, agedashi tofu, and chazuke (fish soup) are also on offer.200 SW Market St —KCH


Toki

遵守规则在岐的厨房吗?“只是让stuff you want to eat.” Turns out, it’s also what we want for dinner: dumplings, Spam hand-rolls, hand-pulled noodles in chili oil, and a Taco Bell-homaging Gim-Bap Supreme. Brunch makes craveable things at the intersection of Korean joy, Japanese comforts, and TikTok trends, served in a chill, inclusive hang. The absolute perfect morning meal? Creamy, whipped Dalgona coffee (it has enough caffeine to hot-wire a car) and a “KimCheese” and pork belly ho-dduk, which has its own force-field of super-crispy American cheese welded onto the bottom of a classic Korean street food pancake. As with their acclaimed Han Oak, Peter Cho and Sun Young Park are part of something bigger here—a philosophy, an inspired food culture.580 SW 12th AveKB

Multiple Locations

Hat Yai

With Pok Pok out of the picture, Portland’s most famous Thai fried chicken now lives at Hat Yai, another member of theEarl Ninsom crew of restaurants。Get the combo with the classic accoutrements: flaky roti, rich coconut curry, and simple sticky rice. But don’t overlook the other dishes, from the Killingsworth-exclusive oxtail soup with sour-spicy lemongrass broth, tomato, and celery, to the Southern Thai ground pork, complete with a “THAI SPICY!” warning label. You might need a pandan gin and tonic, a tamarind whiskey smash, or a coconut-mango horchata to calm all that chile.1605 NE Killingsworth St and 605 SE Belmont St —KCH


Nong’s Khao Man Gai

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably already heard ofNong, the icon,creator, and rock-star personality behind one perfect dish, Thai chicken and rice, bundled old-school-style in butcher paper bound with a rubber band. Each packet holds jasmine rice simmered to absolute perfection, each grain moist and defiantly individualistic, a feat that eludes pretty much every restaurant. It’s the foundation for tenderly poached chicken, a cilantro bouquet, and Nong’s nose-tingling sauce.The famed cart is gone, but with two tiny brick-and-mortars, you can get your KMG fix on either side of the river.609 SE Ankeny St C and 417 SW 13 Ave —KB


Pizza Jerk

Tommy Habetz, son of Connecticut, everyday tastebud master, and lord of the pepperoni pie, has gone where we never imagined: to Planet Vegan. Sitting on the menu alongside Pizza Jerk’s ecstatic signatures—18 inches of clam jam, meatball parm, and the animalistic “meatzza”—is an alternative universe of nine vegan pies and vegan ranch. Truly, the new dawn is here. Meat or not, Habetz has found his metier in 12-inch thick pan crust pies with a grunt-worthy Detroit vibe. Multiple locations4028 NE 42nd Ave, 621 SE Morrison St, and 1708 SW 6th Ave —KB

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