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Which 'Hood Had the Best Eats in 2014? Experts Weigh In

Unlikely dining destinations sprouted up, and an old hotspot burns with new fire.

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As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions running the gamut from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers, and we'll be rolling out their expert opinions all week long. Responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Readers, please do add your survey answers in the comments.

What was the best dining neighborhood in 2014?

Chris Angelus, founder of Portland Food Adventures and Right at the Fork podcasts

The most burgeoning one has to be Buckman. Kachka, Oso Market, Trifecta, and Coopers Hall are exciting additions. Not far is Cyril's at Clay Pigeon Winery. All hit the scene with a bang and each is unique it its own way. Then you have Taqueria Nueve and Rum Club. That's some great bar hopping where you won't go hungry either — and free parking.

Samantha Bakall, restaurant reporter, The Oregonian

28th and Burnside area. Stammtisch, Angel Face, Langbaan, Navarre, Davenport — the hits keep coming.

Byron Beck, editor, GoLocalPDX

The West End continues to entice with its mix of dining opportunities. Can't help but love the trio of Racion, Grassa and Lardo and the nearby Cheryl's Kitchen. In the same vicinity you'll find Gruner, Tasty N Alder, Kask, St. Jack, Boxer Ramen, Pepe Le Moko, Clyde Common, Kenny & Zuke's. I know everyone else will rave about Division Street, but the West End has endless options for wonderful meals.

Karen Brooks, book author; food editor and restaurant critic for Portland Monthly

While it's exciting to see fresh energy in neighborhoods like Hollywood, for walking and gawking and noshing it's hard to dispute the domination of Portland's Eat Street — Southeast Division. There are power brokers (Salt & Straw, Ava Gene's, Pok Pok and the Andy Ricker empire), critical darlings (Roe, Bollywood), downright addictions (Lauretta Jean's biscuit sandwiches), the city's best upscale Mexican (Xico), and not least, an ambitious food cart (Artigiano) and a bustling, chaotic food cart pod (Tidbit). Those are just the highlights.

Brett Burmeister, blogger, Food Carts Portland

West End

Liz Crain, author "Food Lover's Guide to Portland" and "Toro Bravo" cookbook

This one is just too hard to choose. There are great restaurants in all Portland 'hoods now.

Andrea Damewood, restaurant critic, Portland Mercury

It's still Division, which is so goddamn far from my house. Although, I'm liking what I'm seeing in Cully/Roseway, and on Alberta.

Allison Jones, writer, Portland Monthly

NE 28th and Burnside swooped the crown from Division this year, with Langbaan, Angel Face, Cheese & Crack, and the city's best food cart pod of the moment. Toss in the Laurelhurst Theater and you've got Portland's unbeatable dinner and a movie.

Kerry Newberry, food and travel writer; wine editor at SIP Northwest

Division is hard to resist. Add a champagne or oyster bar and it's perfect. For 2015, a neighborhood I'm looking forward to exploring more is the emerging "Artisan Quarter"  in the Central Eastside Industrial District. I'm already a fan of Cyril's and Coopers Hall. And eagerly awaiting Renata, the Italian restaurant/urban creamery and the soon-to-open coffee and chocolate tasting room Cup and Bar.

Gary Okazaki, professional glutton (aka Gary the Foodie)

It was gratifying to see the resurgence of 28th Avenue with new additions such as Angel Face, Stammtisch, the Blue Goose, Cheese and Crack Snack Shop, and, of course, Langbaan.

Michael Russell, restaurant critic and reporter, The Oregonian

The stretch of 28th Avenue around East Burnside offered a smorgasbord of great restaurants and bars in 2014, from the new (Langbaan, Angel Face, Stammtisch) to the old (Ken's Artisan Pizza, Paa Dee, Navarre) to the newly reimagined (Chef Anh Luu's Vietnamese/Cajun/Creole specials at Tapalaya). Better yet, 28th hasn't been choked by the kind of bland, three-story, mixed-use condos that have sprouted up on Division like so much organic kale.

Peter Szymczak, writer, Oregon Wine Press and SIP Northwest

We're partial to Southeast, but really these days you can't throw a stick inside the urban growth boundary and not hit a place with good eats.

Mike Thelin, Feast Portland co-founder

Central Eastside.

Drew Tyson, writer and photographer

Central Eastside Industrial (Is that what we're calling it?).

Michael Zusman, cookbook author, restaurant critic (and judge)

Between the lemming-like rush by step-slow trendoid wannabes and the delusional utopianism of the City's Bureau of Transportation planners, Southeast Division has rapidly descended from white hot to black hole. So, that's out despite all the excellent restaurants there. I've come to love the evolving cluster of high-quality places at the Western edge of downtown: Cacao, Blue Star, Ración, Grassa, Lardo, Ruby Jewel, Boxer Ramen, Clyde Common, Tasty n Alder, Grüner, Multnomah Whiskey Library, and outposts of two top-notch coffee  roasters: Heart and Stumptown. I'm just hoping the same geniuses who wrecked Division will stay away.

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