Portland is home to a lot of restaurants, and though certain spots generate all the buzz, there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Portlanders — ourselves included — just aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food luminaries to share with us their under-the-radar recommendations for a new weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Chef Daniel Mondok, of Genoa (and June and Sel Gris) fame, is first up to kick things off in the series.
"My pick... is not under the radar to a lot of chefs, but to most common people, it is a must place to check out. Ha & VL is my number one place to go for amazing, authentic Thai food. It's situated on SE 82nd Avenue just before Division Street. [Pok Pok's] Andy Ricker told me about this place about two years ago, and I cannot stop talking about how good the food is... it]s also very affordable. I go with my two-year-old son Rene on Mondays, because they feature their crab flake soup... red rich stock, crab flakes, perfectly poached quail eggs, and thick noodles... oh my god! It is heaven in a bowl. My son always has a little bowl of chicken noodle soup, which he devours. Quite amazing for a two-year-old. I will keep returning week after week, as long as I am not to busy with work."
Image of Ha & VL courtesy Gastrolust