Best Restaurants

Portland’s Top 50 Restaurants

The legends, new voices, and mad-scientist ideas that make Portland a strange and wonderful food city.

By Karen Brooks, Katherine Chew Hamilton, and Matthew Trueherz December 19, 2022

What are the best restaurants in Portland? What are the defining spots right now, the weird and wonderful experiences that make Portland Portland?  

Think people are fighting on Twitter? Just lob these questions into a conversation. But hear us out. We have answers—passionate, argument-worthy answers. And a reminder: restaurants are still struggling and need our support more than ever.

What we're excited about right now: new voices, more nations at the table, and the crazy heart and passion that refuse to be extinguished.

Our new Top 50 edition has 12 new entries, some that opened recently, some that have been around for a while. We welcome: Haitian blockbuster Kann (PoMo's Restaurant of the Year for 2022); Nodoguro's Japanese-inspired feast; Sichuan Taste (hello, bullfrog with chile); Rangoon Bistro's playful Burmese; Scottie's Pizza Parlor; Tercet's new tasting menu; Campana's off-the-radar Italian goodness; Canard's Oregon City outpost; Jacqueline's seafood creativity; Angel Face's French bistro-isms; the MEC/Shalom Y'all empire; and, not least, Kachka's enduring vodka infusions and Russian excursions.

Plus, plenty of updates since our last visit. What did we miss? Drop us a line and let us know.

Jump to your quadrant: 

North / Northeast / Northwest / Southeast / Southwest 



Eem is so much more than the overnight phenom of 2019, when we named it PoMo's Restaurant of the Year. The Thai-BBQ-cocktail joint is now a forever sweet spot for soul-happy fast food inhaled at sidewalk seating huts or inside a jumping café-bar where goofy vintage glassware holds court. The small menu turns on four curries, one vegan. White curry says it all, its creamy hot-sweet broth thick with smoky, Texas-style burnt brisket ends. The sleeper is BBQ fried rice (meaty or meat-free). Luscious umbrella drinks are not so much sipped as sucked down exuberantly, as if this were the last hour on Earth, and who knows, it may be. What a way to go. 3808 N Williams Ave —Karen Brooks


Lovely’s Fifty Fifty

Sarah Minnick is the auteur of Portland’s most iconic pizza—deeply connected to Oregon’s most adventurous farmers and in its own flavor land. You’ll taste notes not typically associated with pizza: sour, bitter, funk, floral, and nuanced heat, all pinging off a thin, chewy sourdough crust. No sauce here—just cool stuff on top. Toppings are built around whatever Minnick's network of farmers is celebrating, stinging nettles to fenugreek bok choy raab, plus Minnick's imagination and unusual cheeses. A moan-worthy pie of rainbow chard, fermented tomatoes, Calabrian chiles, and goat cheese? Yeah, baby—and the weirder it sounds, the better the pie. Italian pizza master Franco Pepe is a fan, not to mention Netflix's Chef's Table: Pizza, which devotes an entire episode to the Minnick way. The ice cream is just as good. 4039 N Mississippi Ave #101 —KB

Image: Karen Brooks


Come to this indie café for everything: scratch-made bread and jam; farm produce spun into salads and scones; roast chicken with spicy mayo; homey pottery plates; mini-mart shelves worth scanning; and, not least, well-considered turntable music. Breakfast is served until 3 p.m., a sign of a place that respects the best meal of the day. Otherwise, watch for house salami sandwiches and spicy rigatoni.  French toast is from the “holy shit” school: thick slabs of custard-soaked house bread lavished with house jam and Okinawan brown sugar beads. Fluffy scrambled eggs with black beans, pickled onions, crusty potatoes, and hot sauce define simple satisfaction. The nostalgia-driven pastry case can make your day. If the coffee was better, we might never leave. 5202 N Albina Ave —KB



Angel Face 

NEW This may well be the city’s most underrated date spot. Most often, Angel Face, which opened in 2014, is celebrated for what it doesn’t have: a cocktail menu. Instead, crafty bartenders mix bespoke drinks to match your mood. “I like gin and citrus,” you’ll tell them over the horseshoe bar, or sitting in the windowsill banquette, or on the Parisian-style sidewalk patio. What you don’t always hear about is this spot’s classic French bistro food menu, stacked with a mix-your-own beef tartare served with melba toasts, duck confit and classic green salad, terrines and pâtés made in house, half roast chickens, and crèmes brûlées. You won’t be the only party looking to snag a spot at the bar or at one of the perfectly tiny tables, but if there is a wait, it will be worth it. Next door is its iconic older sibling Navarre, a pioneer of Portland's DIY scene. 14 NE 28th Ave —Matthew Trueherz

A pork sausage breakfast burger

Image: Thomas Teal

Café Olli

Most of what I need in life is found at Café Olli, where handmade everything is the house motto—the breads, the pastries, even the tomato paste. Day or night, a massive, wood-glowing brick oven is in play, firming up over-easy eggs or charring a fruit-crowned Dutch baby pancake. Seasonal salads, fresh pastas, and beautiful ricotta toast are in the mix. Portland's best new pizza is here: the Pomodoro, a Goodfellas-level pie mounded with stracciatella cheese. The breakfast sausage sandwich could be called a burger's cool cousin, and sandwiches arrive on terrific crusty house bread. Scan the pastry case up front for chocolate croissants, bomboloni doughnuts, pasteis de nata (Portuguese egg custard tarts), devil's food cake, happiness. On Tuesdays only, the breakfast sandwich of dreams: paper-wrapped fried egg, house bacon, and cheddar on cult Honey Bagels (which pops up at Café Olli on Mondays). Lines form early. 3925 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd —KB


NEW This out-of-the-way and under-the-radar spot is all about unpretentious and subtle Italian classics. Chef-owner George Kaden cut his teeth in New York under Marco Canora, a true chef’s-chef, lauded for his mythical gnocchi. Jazz booms through Campana’s long, sloping dining room down into the full bar, creating an atmosphere that’s upbeat yet never chaotic. Vintage Italian ads pepper the walls and lush plants hang from the ceilings. There’s Old World charm to be had, but nothing about the place, opened in 2020, is old or stuffy. A meal here is best bookended by a negroni and a Spella espresso, the latter served beside a rich and sticky house-made chocolate gelato. Between, go for crostini-sided ramekins of baccalà and chicken liver mousse for the table. Chubby and toothsome pastas like rigatoni amatriciana and tagliatelle alle vongole are the stars, carrying all the quirks of house-made noodles and nonna-approved sauces. 901 NE Oneonta St —MT  


Kevin Gibson is a quiet legend among his peers. You don't need to stare at the plates here or deconstruct the ingredients. The best of the season is front and center in dishes you might find at a romantic local spot off the main street in Europe. From the changing à la carte dinner menu, count on a masterly soup, a textbook pâté, the perfect steak. If agnolotti in brodo is in the house, grab it. The occasional cheeseburger is a work of art, topped in summer with a juicy-thick heirloom tomato round. And know this: no one makes better scallops than Kevin Gibson. The wine list has plenty of Euro treasures, mostly $45 and up. 2215 E Burnside St —KB



Everything here speaks deep into my soul—not just the food, which is pretty perfect, but the gritty-meets-glamorous aesthetic and not one, but two turntables. In the mix: arguably, the city's best cheeseburger and without question, its wildest nachos, plus James Beard's famed onion and butter sandwich, perfectly expressed, and careful cocktails. Which is to say: Expatriate, a destination since 2013, is more than a “bar”—the small food menu and ambience are as much of a draw as the drinks. The house philosophy is “not just a dish, but a perfect version of that thing, a serious attempt.” Truth. 5424 NE 30th Ave —KB

Gado Gado

To blow the mind of visiting eaters or just entertain my heart, this is my place. Nowhere else delivers a comparable parade of Indonesian-Malaysian-Chinese(ish) foods buzz-sawed with family traditions and boundary-shredding ideas. The expressive à la carte menu makes room for a grandma-worthy babi kecap (sweet soy pork), an exalted chicken satay, landmark roti, multiple sambals, charcoal-grilled albacore, house doughnuts, and an unusual taste of the seasons, perhaps a salad of green lentils, beets, cultured cream, and peanuts. Or just let the kitchen cook a family style “Rice Table” feast.  The popping boba Jello shots, eaten with a spoon from a tiny cup, rethink the notion of a cocktail. Have two. 1801 NE César E. Chávez Blvd —KB



At this bustling neighborhood spot, tortas on toasted bolillos are the show. The Jaliscan-inspired torta ahogada—carnitas-stuffed and planted in a pool of achiote-tomato sauce for “dipping or drowning”—skips across the tongue like a smiling demon, messy, spicy, wicked delicious. The Desayuno, another fave, taps braised beef and chicharrón de queso to upgrade the fried-egg sandwich. Meanwhile, one of the city’s best bowls lives here, rife with ensalada fresca, pinto beans, lime rice, and esquites (toasted corn), all swathed in avocado dressing and condiments. 200 NE 28th Ave —KB


Han Oak's house party atmosphere

Han Oak

This Korean home-turned-restaurant experiment from Peter Cho and Sun Young Park unfolds in a magical indoor-outdoor space. Everyone feels welcome in their “home,” a scene of house-party chill, family vibes, and kids romping around a grassy backyard in full view of the cozy dining nooks. The food? You never know where the tasting menu will go, and that's intentional. Tableside Korean barbecue and hot pots have taken center stage recently. Expect a mix of high brow and low, good ingredients, goofy-fun taste, and always, Peter's mom's kimchi. Plus: plenty of good beer, Korean makegeoli, interesting wines. It adds up to a singular experience, brought to life by charming eccentrics who double as staff. As the last diners are served, out come disco lights and a karaoke machine. You in? 511 NE 24th Ave —KB


NEW Nodoguro lives on its own terms, a kind of alternative chef's counter where diners gather around a festive table for Michelin-caliber omakase, which happens to include some of the best sushi in America. It's the kind of place you might find off the beaten track in Tokyo, backed by rigor, ego-free creativity, and impeccable, poetic expressions of the seasons. Different iterations of Ryan and Elena Roadhouse's intimate vision have emerged over the past seven years, including one that was PoMo's Restaurant of the Year 2015. The latest, a hidden loft-like space opened in November, boasts a cozy living room for pre-diner sake sipping. The parade of 22 mini-dishes might include an ethereal vision of Dungeness crab, custard, and matsutakes or a startlement of savory-candied fried walnuts. The risotto-like uni rice has a cult following. Sushi arrives with perfectly seasoned ricewarm, fresh from the pot, each grain individual. Reservations go whip-fast. Sign up for their newsletter to get the jump. 623 NE 23rd Ave —KB


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, rib eyes, and grilled maitake mushrooms, much of it glazed in signature fatty, garlicky “Black Gold” juice drippings. The menu—Argentine-inspired wood grilling, coal-fired vegetables, a little Portland food mania—rarely changes, and nearly every dish is a classic, spicy braised beef tripe and octopus with mint aioli to coal-roasted spaghetti squash. Clam chowder is the unexpected star: fresh, deep, and garnished the Ox way, with a smoked bone marrow the size of a Grecian pillar. 2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd —KB 


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—midcentury-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 Phở Lê, one of Vancouver, Washington’s first pho spots, opened in 1991. Care and quality define this tiny four-dish menu and space. The roasted skin-on cơm gà (chicken and rice) is a testament to dark sweet soy sauce, and “Dad’s Barbecue Pork Noodles” remind us that father really does know best. 3039 NE Alberta St —KB


At this buzzing spot, sip sherry, eat pintxos, and pretend that Alberta Street is an upscale sidewalk café on a cobblestone road in Basque country. In true Spanish form, Urdaneta offers an impressive selection of vermouth and sherry (get a flight for the full experience), seasonal sangria, and plentiful Spanish wine. But these aren’t your basic Spanish tortillas and patatas bravas—the kitchen taps modern fine dining techniques to make spherified olives (inspired by Spain’s famous El Bulli) and aerated truffle potatoes. Even a simple pressed American cheese sandwich, known here as the Bikini, is elevated with jamon serrano and truffle honey. 3033 NE Alberta St —Katherine Chew Hamilton




Northwest District
Chef Garrett Benedict, an alum of San Francisco’s famed AL’s Place, is cooking his dream: light, eclectic, and sustainability-minded, emphasizing vegetables and limited proteins in a chic Slabtown spot that's always crowded. The “little things” section is a draw for dabblers, from mushroom toast to the house signature, a halved avocado encrusted in seeds and spices. Regulars swear by the massive Ensalata Bomba, in which baby lettuces get spiffed up with plum vinaigrette, aged gouda, and apple relish. Still, the charred steak—one of the few meat options—nearly steals the show. Creative desserts, a globe-trotting wine list, and playful cocktails add to the appeal. 1615 NW 21st Ave —KCH


Phuket Café’s Coffin Maker

Image: Karen Brooks

Langbaan & Phuket Café

Northwest District
Think of Phuket Café and Langbaan as happy roommates who share a love of refined Thai flavors, fun cocktails, and eclectic music—both from the Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom and Eric Nelson school of Portland dining. Phuket, open daily, has dishes small and big (and colorful outdoor seats in a colorful train car). Come for fine oysters laced with nahm jin sauce, a dramatic whole fried pompano salad, or a Thai-style steak house platter. Three nights a week, half of the seats are given over to Langbaan's modern Thai tasting menu, with changing themes, a deep engagement for Oregon's seasonality, natural wines, and engaged servers. Where else can you find Thai food this imaginative, while hoisting a cocktail called Candy Gram for Mango, its rim dripping bright-red Chamoy sauce? 1818 NW 23rd Place —KB

Mama Bird

Northwest District
At this bustling Slabtown spot, poultry is elevated 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 six sauces—best are the creamy, spicy aji verde and the herb-thick chimichurri. Charred sweet potatoes set over fancy curry yogurt are a must. Watch for seasonal specials, and kudos to a salad that cares, with herbs, seasonal interest, and a fine charred scallion dressing. The perfect everyday, anytime meal. 2145 NW Raleigh St —KB

Mediterranean Exploration Company (Sesame Collective)

Pearl District
NEW Along with its sister restaurants Shalom Y'all and Lil' Shalom, MEC rounds out a trio of interconnected, centrally located spots from the Sesame Collective (which we're grouping together as one entry in our 50) that covers a lot of bases: grab-and-go falafel to sit-down meals of refined mezze, Greek lamb racks, and perfectly tender hanger steaks. Downtown’s Lil’ Shalom is an adorable closet of a restaurant that manages to turn out house-baked-to-order pita and criminally smooth hummus. Mediterranean Exploration Company, or MEC, is big and makes a great post-theater date spot in the Pearl. It also has a $4,000 bottle of Pappy Van Winkle hiding behind the bar, not to mention perfectly bronzed Moroccan brick chicken and hulking wedges of shawarma-spiced roasted cauliflower. Southeast's Shalom Y’all is somewhere between the two. Go for the gussied-up chicken shawarma and order an extra side of s’hug, vibrant green hot sauce. Quality is high across the board, and airy pita is a constant. 333 NW 13th Ave —MT


Scottie’s Pizza Parlor

Northwest District
NEW A coterie of pizza philosophers put Portland on the pizza map with crazy rigor and passion for the humble pie. Scottie's Pizza Parlor is one of them. Scottie Rivera pays homage to his hometown Brooklyn heroes at his tiny Southeast take-out joint (whole pies only) that was joined in December 2022 by a 28-seat Northwest shop offering six daily slices, whole pies, wine, and cocktails. Pies here embody 1970s Mean Streets New York: hand-tossed, big and foldable, nostalgic. But Rivera also embraces a thin, sour crust and high-heat char that melds with organic tomatoes and good-quality cheese. The results are perfectly crisp, chewy, tender, and tangy. Standouts include “The No 1” (named for the cheese pie that won Rivera the 2018 Caputo Cup) and the square-shaped DeFino (grandma pie), with sauce that sits on top of fresh and aged cheeses. 685 NW 21st Ave & 2128 SE Division St —KB



St. Jack NW

Northwest District
In a town that prizes quirky and outlandish cooking, a lust for the past and a neo-Parisian bent bring chef John Denison damn near the top of Portland's food scene. Thirteen years in, St. Jack still delivers steak frites with a savory demi-glace and béarnaise to dip your fries. But the magic is in the seasonally rotating cast of deftly modernized antique recipes. Gougères, humble cheese puffs, sport a crunchy craquelin top and an aerated filling that hits between Velveeta and Ritz crackers. Pastry-clad pâté en croûte and truffle-dusted tarts that celebrate tomatoes in the summer and celery root in the winter are worthy of a swoon—and a photo. The vibes are grown-up, but always comfortable. Casually dressed servers are attentive and easily guide you through the deep cellar of French and PNW wines. On paper, St. Jack stays inside the lines. In practice, it's drawing the map of where French food is headed. 1610 NW 23rd Ave —MT 


A spread of dishes from Takibi


Northwest District

This tony spot is hushed and swanky by Tokyo's izakaya standard, tucked in the back of Snow Peak, the cult Japanese outdoor gear store famed for its titanium camping gear. The pride of the kitchen is sashimi, including some rare cuts from Japan, expertly cut and cured by chef Cody Auger, an old-school sushi purist (Nimblefish). From the extensive menu, dishes can be subtly refined or underwhelming. Gems include killer-rich pork belly and a seared hambagu patty that pays homage to Japanese moms everywhere. But the extensive list of terrific, complex, next-level cocktails make Takibi unique. Bar stars Jim Meehan and Lydia McLuen are the kind of people who infuse rum with two sheets of nori for precisely 75 seconds just to get just a hint of umami. For me, the salty-juicy Japanese Plum cocktail, blending cognac and umeboshi paste, is the face of God. 2275 NW Flanders St —KB


Afuri Izakaya

Buckman & Beaverton
This Japanese ramen chain often has a line, but it’s  worth the wait for the ramen—six options  featuring thin, house-made 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, lacy-crusted gyoza, stuffed with gingery pork or cashews and miso, are a must-order. Sushi options include seasonal varieties from Japan plus freshwater eel with lightly sweet house sauce. The beverage menu presents endless options for pairings, sake flights to house yuzu lager to Japanese whiskey cocktails to strawberry-yogurt soda. 923 SE Seventh Ave (additional Beaverton location at 12555 SW First St) 



Portland’s only sit-down West African restaurant is bigger and better in its new industrial-chic digs near Ladd’s Addition. After months of study in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Burkina Faso, chef-owner Fatou Ouattara is leaning deeper into traditional ingredients. Some staples remain: whole filled fish with attieke (mouth-puckering fermented cassava grated into couscous) to velvety vegan peanut stew. But the spinach stew now boasts the full-bodied punch of smoked fish, which goes particularly well with fresh blue crab and shell-on shrimp, scooped up with fluffy fufu. Fried chicken wings, wet-rubbed with Nigerian smoky-peanutty suya spice, contend for Portland’s best. Caveats: Service can be slow and disorganized. Expect several dishes to run out, especially with supply chain shortages. But you can usually still sweeten the deal with South African wine from the extensive list, and a slice of tropical, tangy soursop cheesecake. 1001 SE Division St —KCH  


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 choice here (down to the whole-leaf Caesar salad), but it’s 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. 4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd —KB


Vince Nguyen, our Chef of the Year 2022, has created one of America's most original Vietnamese tasting menus. A dinner here will include tradition, impressive technique, trippy originals, something in a test tube, and cooking that can blur the line between life and dessert. Who else dares to spoon geoduck and candied lychees over ethereal durian custard, or pair charcoal-grilled honeycomb cake with caviar and coconut cream? The backdrop for this is a 15-seat chamber rendered entirely in eggshell-white hues, with pop music overhead. Dairy and gluten are nowhere to be found. On Sunday mornings, Berlu becomes Berlu Bakery, dispensing lovely sweets and savories. 605 SE Belmont St —KB

Canard’s Oregon City location debuts new dishes like Dungeness crab dip and smoked pork with XOXO sauce.

Image: Thomas Teal


Buckman & Oregon City
NEW Since opening in 2018, Le Pigeon's casual-cool sister restaurant has become a Portland institution, inspired by France, Americana, and wherever the kitchen wants to roam. The duck stack (duck fat grilled hotcakes, duck gravy, optional foie gras), the acclaimed steam burgers, a killer Paris-Brest, and towering soft-serve parfaits mingled with the likes of pine nut fudge are now classics, accompanied by an A-level wine list. In 2022, Canard spread its wings to Oregon City, where the mode is family-friendly (hello, kiddie crudites and mac and cheese) but the mood includes plenty of Canard staples: party plates, clam ceviche nachos to deviled crab dip, playfully nod to cuisines including Hawaiian, Chinese, Mexican, and Japanese. Whatever you do, don’t skip dessert. 1500 Washington St, Oregon City; 734 E Burnside St —KB

Coquine & Coquine Market Café

Mt Tabor
Raise your glasses and toast the good old days, when we waltzed in here for an à la carte menu of home-cooking delights … that is, if your home cook had Michelin star–quality chops. Like at many top Portland restaurants, Coquine dinners are prix fixe only—a choice of four or seven courses intensely driven by local farms, bolstered by gracious service and a compelling wine list. The à la carte spirit still lives next door at Coquine Market Café, a combo casual eating space and market with a focus on oysters and spirit pairings. The menu is strong on stepped up comforts, Dungeness crab mac' n' cheese to poached albacore with white beans. For dessert: epic chocolate chip cookies or brown butter peanut cake with dark chocolate ganache. 6839 SE Belmont St —KB

Fermenter Kombucha Brew Pub  

Portland’s plant-based laboratory flies under the banner of “your friendly neighborhood bacteria emporium.” 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 house-made, 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

Hà VL & Rose VL 

Powellhurst-Gilbert & Foster-Powell
These sister noodle soup shops have such a devoted following that there’s an entire fan site dedicated to their daily menus. It’s worth planning your week around your favorite Hà VL or Rose VL soup—only two or three options per day, and each soup is offered only once a week, with slight variations between the two restaurants’ menus. Highlights include the creamy, coconut-y chicken curry noodle soup and the melt-in-your-mouth Vietnamese beef stew with noodles. On Saturdays, Powell's 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—the restaurants open as early as 8 a.m., and prized soups might sell out by noon. 2738 SE 82nd Ave & 6424 SE Powell Blvd —KCH

Slurp, swoon, and repeat at Jacqueline.


NEW Six years after opening, it’s still tough to snag a table at this seafood-focused, Life Aquatic–inspired spot. The obvious draw: dollar oyster happy hour daily, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Stick around for dinner, where options might include hamachi crudo with charred pickled pineapple, seasonal salads boasting the likes of black sesame tahini, and rotating whole fish, perhaps fried branzino with salsa macha. Pastry chef Darla Shaffer, formerly of bespoke bakery business Mama Box, concocts beautiful, delicate desserts. Watch for pineapple tres leches cake in an umbrella-garnished glass, petite key lime pie with torched meringue and blueberries, or fig leaf–tulsi tea ice cream. 2039 SE Clinton St —KCH

Image: Thomas Teal


NEW The best restaurants expand the conversation about what and how we eat. At Kann, Portland Monthly's Restaurant of the Year 2022, chef Gregory Gourdet has us thinking about the underappreciated foods of his youth, the cuisine of Haiti, via a wealth of iconic and imagined dishes served with casual refinement and unstinting heat. Gourdet's healthy lifestyle and philosophies are in play: no dairy or gluten; zero-proof cocktails get equal billing; and the staff, cooks to managers, is made up of women and people of color. Reservations drop online at the beginning of each month, and nabbing a seat is the new Hunger Games as diners vie for spots online. Feast on the starters, like butterfish crudo under seasonal shaved ice to the dumpling-bobbing chayote soup. Vivid seasonal salads might tote sugarcane-glazed squash, plantains, and a coconut-habanero dressing. Meat people fixated on a bone-jutting smoked beef rib big enough to exhibit at a natural history museum. Revelations include the peanut butter–creamed collards and blackened cabbage under an African pepper relish and spiked with dry-smoked herring. For dessert: spice-deep Haitian pineapple upside-down cake or brûléed sweet potato pudding served in a cast-iron skillet? Get both. 548 SE Ash St —KB


NEW It’s been eight years since Kachka broke into Portland’s restaurant scene, serving fish boards, cod liver toast, and dumplings in a hip, modern environment, earning accolades left and right. It might not be as splashy as it once was, but Kachka, which umbrellas Lavka, a Russian-inspired mini-market and breakfast-lunch cafe, is now something of a local institution. Vodka is in the house, and there's plenty of it, including the famed house infusions with flavors like horseradish, matsutake, cacao nib, bison grass, and sunflower. The signature (and classic) Herring under a Fur Coat shapes salted herring, beets, eggs, carrots, and potatoes into a round rainbow of layers reminiscent of a cake, with sweet, salty, and starchy perfectly complementing one another. The pelmeni—quarter-sized Siberian dumplings stuffed with beef, pork, and veal—are essential cold-weather comforts, each one coated in a velvety butter vinegar sauce and bursting with meaty juice. Another signature, rabbit with sour cherries sided by crisp potato pancakes, nails the flavors, but can lean dry, an imperfection helped by a creamy porcini sauce. Don’t miss the airy, marshmallow-like cubes of Russian ice cream topped with caraway caramel. 960 SE 11th Ave —KCH

Wood-fired pepperoni at Ken‘s Artisan


Ken’s Artisan Pizza

Famed namesake Ken Forkish, author of The Elements of Pizza, has retired to Hawaii, though he left his esteemed pizzeria in good hands: Ken's Artisan Pizza may, in fact, be better than ever, in a wood-rich corner space that feels like an old Portland shoe. No bones about where the restaurant's heart lies—these wood-fired 12-inchers demand engagement with their leopard-spotted rustic crust, made from long fermented dough and wood-fired with classic toppings. Get the Caesar. And starters can surprise you, wood-roasted Jimmy Nardello peppers to calamari in spicy tomato sauce perched over rustic garlic crostini. 304 SE 28th Ave —KB/KCH

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, who went on to win two James Beard awards. We ate elbow to elbow at crowded tables, devouring eclectic send-ups of French food and offal parts, backed by a great wine list. The new world is chef's tasting menu only, with distinct omnivore and vegetarian menus. Rucker still thrills to meaty decadence, with courses like ox heart, dispatched with walnut jam and bone marrow sabayon. Veg people get their own wild ride, with the likes of cornflake fried squash or an arrangement of seared chanterelles, black hummus, persimmon tzatziki, and sunflower crunch. Desserts are in the spirit here. Seasonal Dreamsicles, anyone? 738 E Burnside St —KB


This charming spot evokes small-town Italy and the best of Portland, from the handmade ambience to a certain personal voodoo that makes food, drink, and magic happen at tiny indoor tables and a street-eatery patio. Even the floor-to-ceiling mini-mart grocery shelves are candlelit. (The room could be mistaken for a ladylike hardware store.) Unadorned plates 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, octopus with potatoes, 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

Sparks fly while making charcoal-grilled skewers at Magna Kusina.


Image: Carter Hiyama

Magna Kusina

Come for cheffed-up versions of family classics, among them the best pancit in town; skewered charcoal-grilled banana ketchup-glazed chicken hearts; super-crisp lumpia; and not least, sizzling pork-pig ear sisig. Adding to the cheer: a fragrant, vibrant green gin-pandan cocktail and super-comforting biko, a dessert of warm, coconut-scented sticky rice with crumbled polvoron cookie topping. But chef Carlo Lamagna, named one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2021, is also a community leader in his own right and known to offer his space for emerging chefs’ pop-ups on days when Magna is closed. 2525 SE Clinton St —KCH



Jessie Aron is a poster girl for the times, rewriting the rules for what it means to be young, a woman, and a restaurant owner. Here, that translates to strong community values, empowered kitchen comrades, romantic Victorian décor, and whimsical maximalism—red mole–draped tater tots to an eggplant sandwich that involves more than 100 ingredients. The food has its own internal illogic: no two dishes alike, no two bites alike, brought to life with names like “An Important Helmet for Outer Space.” A COVID refresh shifted Malka from à la carte to a choose-your-own three-course menu—a move well-suited to this adventure of a restaurant. 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

Ribs, no-beef stew, and banh mi—they’re all vegan at Mama Dút, a street food and snack shop opened by former hair stylist Thuy Pham. Growing up as a Vietnamese refugee in Portland, Pham often struggled to fit in, but after a pandemic career shift she's now expressing herself through creative, soulful, and ethical food as colorful as her ever-changing hair. Her inspiring story earned her a central role on the Portland episode of Netflix's Street Food USA (2022). The constantly shifting menu and specials are enticements to return. You might find nostalgia-filled vegan hot dog buns to playful desserts like purple ube whoopie pies. Top it off with 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

Crab rice at OK Omens

Image: Karen Brooks

OK Omens

It took a few years to find its groove and identity. But OK Omens has evolved into a gastrobar destination and one of the city's most reliable restaurants, helped by knowledgeable, enthusiastic service. The wine list, via esteemed house somm Brent Braun, straddles elegant classics and funky naturals, though cocktails are good, too. Musings from Michelin-caliber chef Justin Woodward swing from fresh pasta baked with roquefort mornay to intricate brassicas in seaweed butter. You want, minimally, the warm beignets oozing molten white cheddar, and the super creamy saffron rice with pristine shreds of Dungeness crab laden on top. Don't sleep on PoMo's Dessert of the Year—an airy square of frozen coconut cream, perched precariously over luxe oat ice cream, warm chocolate sauce, and chocolate-coated rice puffs, notably dairy free. Sitting outside, the elegant sea of umbrella-covered gazebos feels like a forgotten civilization. . 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 (grandma’s) kitchen. But stoner food fun and Indonesian psychedelic rock are also in the house. Options are always changing, but head turners of the moment include spicy katong laksa, wonton mee noodles with house char siu, baby back ribs glazed in fish sauce caramel, and a charred pinepple rujak salad. Lunch brings on its own surprises and house humor, including a Filet-o-Fishball sandwich dabbed with Sichuan chile crisp, tartar, and “shred-uce.” The vegan roti wrap shows where the mash-up thinking can go: a green pea and mint fritter, cumin beet raita, and mezcal raisins. 3131 SE Division St —KB

Image: Thomas Teal

Rangoon Bistro 

NEW Finally, one of Portland’s standout Burmese eateries, and one of PoMo Best Restaurants 2022, has a permanent home, growing from a cult-favorite farmers market stand to a brick-and-mortar restaurant off Division Street. The creative popup spirit still prevails. Beyond a few staples (tea leaf salad, pickled ginger salad, and tofu noodles), the menu shifts seasonally. That might mean corn fritters and mango salad in the summer, and chicken curry noodles in the winter, meaning there’s always something new to come back and try. Change and creativity, says co-owner David Sai, “keeps [us] alive.” 2311 SE 50th Ave —KCH



Scotch Lodge

Yes, it's a great bar, a dark and sexy whiskey cave par excellence and a premier cocktail spot, led by a crack team of friendly bartenders. Honestly, you haven't lived until you've sucked down a purple-hued Painkiller Cobbler lush with ube coconut cream. But make no mistake: Scotch Lodge is also a food destination, yet it’s somehow under the radar. Chef Tim Artale makes familiar foods both fun and serious, delivered with bistro-quality plating.  That goes for the monumental soft shell crab sandwich and arguably the city's best pastas. And who can argue with pickle-spiced fries? It all pairs beautifully with whiskey treasures from owner Tommy Klus’s collection as well as the smoky drinks. 215 SE Ninth Ave —KB

Scottie’s Pizza Parlor

NEW A coterie of pizza philosophers put Portland on the pizza map with crazy rigor and passion for the humble pie. Scottie's Pizza Parlor is one of them. Scottie Rivera pays homage to his hometown Brooklyn heroes at his tiny Southeast take-out joint (whole pies only) that was joined in December 2022 by a 28-seat Northwest shop offering six daily slices, whole pies, wine, and cocktails. Pies here embody 1970s Mean Streets New York: hand-tossed, big and foldable, nostalgic. But Rivera also embraces a thin, sour crust and high-heat char that melds with organic tomatoes and good-quality cheese. The results are perfectly crisp, chewy, tender, and tangy. Standouts include “The No 1” (named for the cheese pie that won Rivera the 2018 Caputo Cup) and the square-shaped DeFino (grandma pie), with sauce that sits on top of fresh and aged cheeses. 2128 SE Division St & 685 NW 21st Ave —KB


Image: Karen Brooks

Shalom Y'all (Sesame Collective)

NEW This is part of a trio of interconnected, centrally located spots from the Sesame Collective (along with Lil'Shalom and MEC) that covers a lot of bases: grab-and-go falafel to sit-down meals of refined mezze, Greek lamb racks, and perfectly tender hanger steaks. Downtown’s Lil’ Shalom is an adorable closet of a restaurant that manages to turn out house-baked-to-order pita and criminally smooth hummus. Mediterranean Exploration Company, or MEC, is big and makes a great post-theater date spot in the Pearl. It also has a $4,000 bottle of Pappy Van Winkle hiding behind the bar, not to mention perfectly bronzed Moroccan brick chicken and hulking wedges of shawarma-spiced roasted cauliflower. Southeast's Shalom Y’all is somewhere between the two. Go for the gussied-up chicken shawarma and order an extra side of s’hug, vibrant green hot sauce. Quality is high across the board, and airy pita is a constant. 117 SE Taylor St #101 —MT


Duck House Chinese Restaurant 

When a dumpling craving hits, Duck House should be your destination—especially for xiao long bao. Slurp soup hidden inside pork or pork-shrimp dumplings and soak in the atmosphere—a moody, wooden-walled former bar now serving twists on cocktails with Sichuan peppercorn, cilantro salted rims, and Sriracha. Duck House bills itself as a Sichuan restaurant, and you’ll find fine examples of that cuisine, from ma po tofu to dry-fried green bean. But the restaurant also branches into Cantonese and Chinese American cuisine with dishes like mayo-coated honey walnut prawns. (Be prepared to gobble them like popcorn.) 1968 SW Fifth Ave —KCH

Image: karen brooks


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. Today, Higgins (with 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 masterful charcuterie, a formidable beer list, eclectic vegetable dishes, and Higgins’s loyalty to local farmers. To come here is to bask in warmth, commitment and one of the last great tastes of Portland's history. 1239 SW Broadway —KB

Lil’ Shalom (Sesame Collective)

NEW This is part of a trio of interconnected, centrally located spots from the Sesame Collective that covers a lot of bases: grab-and-go falafel to sit-down meals of refined mezze, Greek lamb racks, and perfectly tender hanger steaks. Downtown’s Lil’ Shalom is an adorable closet of a restaurant that manages to turn out house-baked-to-order pita and criminally smooth hummus. Mediterranean Exploration Company, or MEC, is big and makes a great post-theater date spot in the Pearl. It also has a $4,000 bottle of Pappy Van Winkle hiding behind the bar, not to mention perfectly bronzed Moroccan brick chicken and hulking wedges of shawarma-spiced roasted cauliflower. Southeast's Shalom Y’all is somewhere between the two. Go for the gussied-up chicken shawarma and order an extra side of s’hug, vibrant green hot sauce. Quality is high across the board, and airy pita is a constant. 1128 SW Alder St —MT

Image: Karen Brooks


Portland's most unique lunch spot is surely Måurice, an intimate kingdom of French-Norwegian fervor, antique dishes, baking joy, chanteuse music, and seasonal excitement. It comes together in a daily à la carte menu from the talented Kristen Murray. The city's most finicky chefs come for a true French quiche that bulges with custardy jiggle. Or perhaps rye toast accompanied by chicken liver pâté, radishes, and poached quince. Others are fixed on  the cloud-like polenta clafoutis, capped with a gorgeous poached egg.  The great 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.” Reservations recommended. 921 SW Oak St —KB


Portland’s old-school Japanese restaurant, opened in 1988, is still running strong today, though little inside has changed—the soft jazz, the sushi chefs donning ties and kimono-clad servers, and the sought-after private tatami rooms. Sushi is the main draw, lunch or dinner, with an extensive 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, consider comforting dishes like chawanmushi, agedashi tofu, and chazuke (fish soup). 200 SW Market St —KCH

Sichuan Taste

NEW While many folks wrongly complain that Portland lacks good Chinese food, this new restaurant quietly opened downtown in 2022 right under our noses. It’s the best restaurant for Sichuan dishes in the Portland metro area, suburbs included, pushing out dishes like bullfrog with chile, thinly sliced beef in golden chile broth, and spicy mashed eggplant with peppers and century egg. Grab a big group—your coworkers, your friends, family, whoever—order everything, and dive in. 515 SW Fourth Ave —KCH


NEW As much as Portland is known as a food city, sumptuous dining rooms and long-form tasting menus have never gripped the local scene. Stripped of superfluous aspects, Tercet makes a convincing case that there is room in our dressed-down dining culture for the curated and the ultrarefined—with passion and without pretension. True to its name, Tercet is run by just three people, and while they do dabble in foams and dishes cooked sous vide, it isn’t just for show. Here, modernist techniques coddle petrale sole to an impossibly flaky texture, turn farm-fresh eggs to the texture of fudge, and zip house-made buttermilk into a creamy and refined sherbet. Expect oysters, expect caviar, but don’t expect fossilized formalities or a four-hour meal: they’re about the food here, above all else. 515 SW Broadway #100 —MT

The Dalgona coffee

Image: Thomas Teal


The abiding rule in Toki’s playful Korean kitchen? “Just make the stuff you want to eat.” Turns out, it’s also what we want for dinner: steamed dumplings, smashed potato salad, a thoughtful radicchio salad, a bone-in short bib with beef tallow mayo and fries, and, not least, Korean fried chicken wings flavored with the DNA of instant ramen. Weekend brunch, one of the city's best, dives into freewheeling breakfast sandwiches, steak-and-eggs bibimbap, and the art of yoshoku—Japan's reimagined Western foods, found in dishes like Toki's omurice, which parks kimchi fried rice and Spam beneath a sheet of tornado-swirled eggs. Day or night, the cult steamed bao burger is Portland's best magic trick: a mini double cheeseburger hiding inside a fluffy bao, pan-seared on one side, steamed on the other. As with their acclaimed Han Oak, Peter Cho and Sun Young Park and their tight staff are part of something bigger here—a philosophy, an inspired food culture. 580 SW 12th Ave KB

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