Each month, we update the Eater Portland Heatmap, usually swapping out two to four Heatmap entries to keep track of the latest and greatest "it" places of the moment. This forum post will now serve as your resource for keeping track of former entries (and descriptions from the last time they appeared on the Heatmap). Going forward, the current Heatmap will always be found right here.
Retired in December 2017:
- Southfork: The former long-time Paley's Place chef Patrick McKee is passing cornmeal-fried oysters, bourbon-glazed pork loin, and even beef brisket through the kitchen window at Southfork, the new American South-by-Asian restaurant that replaced Smallwares. There is live jazz most weekends, too.
- Nomad.PDX: Find dazzling, high-level modernist cooking and prix fixe menus. After building a reputation for its Pacific Northwest-inspired dinners as a pop-up, Nomad.PDX finally went brick and mortar. The added space provides three dining experiences: 1) a chef's counter for meals typically involving more than 12 courses, 2) a dining room with slightly abbreviated prix fixe dinners, and 3) Ash Bar, a funky, 12-seat bar with an a la carte menu, including a new burger and Nomad.PDX's Feast-famous version of the McDonald's Filet-O-Fish. To feel like you're at center of your own cooking show, the chef's counter is worth the splurge.
- Alto Bajo: Modern Mexican cooking is still rare in Portland, and Alto Bajo brings a menu by experienced chef Chip Barnes with an assist from famous Oaxacan chef Iliana de la Vega. Try the Meijollnes Nayarit, a dish of mussels with a spicy and intensely aromatic butter-based broth, served with freshly made Three Sisters masa for dipping. Then, head straight for the moles.
- Aviv: Come for the creative, well-priced brunch, lunch, and dinner plates — all of which are plant-based and inspired by Israeli cooking. Chef Tal Caspi is already well-known for his former Gonzo Falafel food truck, and those shawarma fries (make sure you get them with the soy curls) are on the menu, along with challah french toast and a creamy hummus. The vibe is upbeat and tinged with Old Portland.
- Nama: Nama has brought Portland's ramen-splosion to Sellwood, with several ramen bowls (including a vegan version), small Japanese plates like karaage fried chicken, and Hawaiian poke. It's sister-restaurant to Samurai Blue Sushi and Akasaru Ramen.
- Dil Se: Portland's newest Indian restaurant has a lounge-y decor, a bustling (there will probably be a wait) lunch, and a full dinner menu. The dosas are getting most of the attention, but don't sleep on the vindaloo and other curries. Brunch should kick off in November.
Retired in November 2017:
- Grand Army Tavern:The intersection of on-point cocktails and fine pork is now the Woodlawn neighborhood: Opened by two restaurateurs with NYC bartending backgrounds, this bar and lounge serves signature and classic cocktails and local craft beers, as well as a menu of meaty and vegetarian bar snacks and plates. The star so far is the pork platter, featuring seven preparations derived from whole pigs from Ephrata, Washington.
- Travnik Bosnian Grill: Travnik furnishes traditional Bosnian plates, including spirals of baked-to-order spanikotia (it takes around 40 minutes, so order in advance), goulash loaded with paprika, and the little Bosnian sausages, cevapi. The strip mall atmosphere won't likely inspire you to linger.
- Paadee: Paadee didn't just open, but it may have just provided a Langbaan hack: Powerhouse Thai chef Earl Ninsom now hosts a special Northeastern Thailand menu at Paadee on Monday and Tuesday nights, featuring intensely researched regional plates like papaya salads, a Thai omelette laab with curry rice crumble, and grilled head-on Hood River spot prawns. Those seeking a new side to Thai cooking will likely find it here. And no, Paadee's new Issan Dinner offering can't replace Langbaan, but at least it'll be easier to get a reservation and probably a bit gentler on the purse.
- Elvis Room: The latest bar from the owners of the Sandy Hut and Alibi Tiki Lounge has two floors, an Elvis-inspired decor, and the same cheap drinks and top-notch Club 21-style burgers as do most of their other venues. While the upstairs is ethereal, with whitewashed tin and columns, the downstairs is as dark as Lemmy from Motorhead's heart, with running fountains trickling forth from even the darkest recesses.
- Off the Griddle/A.N.D. Cafe: The hungry crowds keep growing at this plant-based breakfast and burger eatery. For breakfast and lunch, find all of the beloved vegan hashes and waffles (gluten-free available) from the A.N.D. Cafe, as well as a new plant-based tuna melt and French dip. The signature burgers roll out at dinnertime, along with breezy soda-heavy cocktails. Oh, and did you know the decor has a sort of Saved by the Bell theme.
Retired in October 2017:
- Pok Pok NW: After 12 years on SE Division and expansions to New York and Los Angeles, Andy Ricker decided he was ready to make the move across the river. The new West Side location takes over the former Bent Brick to serve Pok Pok's greatest hits alongside some new dishes. But the biggest news: Pok Pok NW takes reservations.
- Proud Mary: The Australia-based coffee roaster serves what? That's right, Proud Mary didn't leave its Asian-influenced Melbourne style behind, serving breakfast sashimi with Oregon albacore, miso-smoked trout with kimchee, and "Hong Kong Porchetta," a dish of Carlton Farm pork and peanut sauce. Then, of course, there's the house-roasted coffee to try out too — whether a flat white or cold brew. This is a new, food-forward style of coffee shop.
- Farmhouse Kitchen: Farmhouse Kitchen comes from on-the-move San Francisco restaurateurs Kasem "Pop" Saengsawang and Iing Chatterjee (Blackwood, Kitchen Story) to serve a blend of familiar and adventurous Thai dishes. Find Hat Yai fried chicken, beef short ribs in panang curry, and pad thai, alongside blue rice colored with pea blossoms and lesser-known Thai street foods. The original Farmhouse Kitchen in San Francisco is known for good prices, but it's yet to be seen whether the restaurant's pricing will be competitive in the Portland market.
- La Lena: La Lena promised Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken based on family recipes, but it opened with a full menu of Peruvian small plates and entrees, too. Try papa rellena, fried potatoes stuffed with beef or mushroom picadillo, or the pescado frito, a fried fish filet with lentils, garlic rice, and salsa criolla.
- Virtuous Pie: With its creative vegan pizzas and a fan following from its original location in Vancouver, British Columbia, this plant-based pizzeria and ice cream spot could be a game changer: Those toppings, often built with a junk-food angle, deliver bold flavors. To cap it off, Virtuous
Pie doubles as a casual coffee shop and weekend brunch spot mornings. Gluten-free pizza crusts are available.
Retired in September 2017:
- Ray: Nationally recognized chef Jenn Louis has pulled a major switcheroo: She closed her flagship restaurant, Lincoln, and opened Ray, with an entirely new vision and menu, in its place. Ray serves the melting pot of cuisines that Louis found in Israel while living on a kibbutz, with plates like hummus with Egyptian whole wheat pita and spatchcock fried quail with pomegranate molasses, dates, and mint. The revamp also brings signature Middle Eastern-inspired cocktails.
- Ox Box: Fresh off winning the 2017 James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton opened a pop-up food cart in the Ox restaurant parking lot serving sandwiches inspired by South America, like albacore tuna or chorizo sausage links with chimichurri. It's open daily, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Al-Hawr: The family behind South Waterfront's new Lebanese restaurant also operates a restaurant in Lebanon, and they tell Eater they're committed to sharing "real" Lebanese flavors. Begin with the beautifully presented hummus and move onto the skewers, spiced beef kafta, or grilled lamb ribs with basmati saffron rice.
- Zilla Saké: After 10 years, this sushi and saké den has expanded into the venue next door, adding 20 seats. The things that make Zilla one of the city's top spots for sushi remain intact: the moody Japanese atmosphere, truly expert saké selection, and traditionally focused sushi offerings made with reverence.
Retired in August 2017:
- Chalino: Accomplished chefs Johnny Leach (Momofuku) and Dave Haddow (Xico) brought a new style of Mexican cooking to the North Williams neighborhood in March. Don't expect burritos. Instead, find refreshing halibut ceviche, wild nettle sopes, and fried chicken pibil, in a casual setting.
- Big's Chicken: Update: With a devastating fire closing its brick and mortar on July 13, Big's Chicken plans to reopen in a new venue, but you can still get its smoked chicken sandwiches and quarter chickens coated in Alabama white sauce, with sides like potato salad, at its new parking-lot pop-up at Laurelhurst Market. It's open daily, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., on East Burnside.
- Schilling Cider House: Despite serving limited food, Schilling Cider House makes the list because it's the world's largest cider-dedicated taproom. Choose from 50 ciders on draft, all of which are made by cideries that are independently owned; naturally gluten-free; use no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives; and make ciders using 100-percent-fresh-pressed juice. The patio even provides uninterrupted views of Inner Southeast's expansive construction, too.
- Danwei Canting: Opened in January, Beijing-inspired Danwei Canting delivers traditional regional Chinese plates that just so happen to go perfectly with 22-ounce Yanjing beers. Explore all of the regional flavors, but so far, the go-tos are the chili-pepper-packed la zi ji fried chicken, lamb burger, and cauliflower. The ace up its sleeve? Late-night.
- Stacked Sandwiches: Stacked is gaining a deserved reputation for serving some of the best new sandwiches in the city: classics, given the gourmet touch by chef Gabriel Pascuzzi (Noma, Paulée). Begin with the ox-tail French dip, with a cocktail by Multnomah Whiskey Library-alum Jeanette Conner.
- Wailua Shave Ice: Wailua Shave Ice is a Kauai-based shop that just arrived in Portland, serving chipped ice saturated with all-natural fruit syrups. It couldn't be more summer 2017 if it came bearing slippers. Prepared for lines.
- Rock and Roll Chili Pit: Seeking gut-bomb burgers, chilis, and deep-fried delights? The downtown bar and restaurant with a counter shaped like a flying V guitar is indeed attracting attention. Hulking burgers are way over the top: The "Top Jimmy" comes loaded with an all-beef hot dog, plus house chili and shredded cheddar. The restaurant takes chili seriously, too, with four options (one is vegan), and the rest is rounded out with a lineup of loaded tots, boozy shakes, and on-tap beers. The key is eating here during its "Classic Rock Hour," which brings deep discounts from 2 p.m. to close daily.
- Shoko Sushi: Opening in December 2016, this intimate sushi spot has come into its own, with a lively atmosphere, a small izakaya menu, and some really great sushi. The clean flavors of the fish reveal careful sourcing; the plating is beautiful; and the combination specials actually make sushi affordable.
Retired in July 2017:
- Spitz: Located just a couple blocks from Milk Glass Market, the Portland location of this L.A.-based franchise makes undeniably on-point kebabs, and this includes a weekend brunch kebab and dirty fries that look like a kebab exploded on top of them, aka Street Cart Fries.
- XLB: This place was hot before it even opened. Chef Jasper Shen, a co-founder of Aviary who has since left the restaurant, delivers a tight menu of "home-style" Chinese dishes. Start with the soup dumplings, and let your belly fill in the rest.
- Jackrabbit: No sooner did Vitaly Paley's Headwaters open than another hotel restaurant with a big-name chef arrived: Jackrabbit is the swank, meat-forward establishment by celebrity chef Chris Cosentino inside the revamped downtown Hilton. Will it raise the bar in hotel dining? The ambitious dishes include braised rabbit with 80 cloves of garlic, a bone marrow-dipped pin bone steak, and an $18 burger, and there's also something called "meat in a can."
- Bar Casa Vale: Located in the same building as Biwa, Bar Casa Vale has finally hit its stride, becoming a sexy shrine to sherry cocktails and Spanish pintxos and tapas. The menu prepared by chef Louis Martinez doesn't hold back, with big flavors and offal offerings.
- Tusk: With a deep respect for local produce and love of Middle Eastern flavors, Tusk opened well over six months ago, but it's been steadily honing its menu and spring's flurry of incredible berries and vegetables takes it to the next level. Now's the time to try Tusk if you haven't (or if you have, now's a great time to return).
- Wares: Smallwares chef Johanna Ware is back. She's opened Wares inside The Zipper complex, featuring aa tight menu of signature "inauthentic Asian" plates. Wares has four, four-top tables in addition The Zipper's communal seating. Find the gangbusters fried kale, along with things like ramen and pho, plus daily specials. It's open late, and so is the complex's bar, Paydirt.
- OP Wurst Division: They say every dog will have its day, and with OP Wurst, the third time is the charm: Its first legit brick and mortar features the fancy hot dogs and sausages only Olympia Provisions could make, a surprisingly top-notch cocktail program, and what is sure to be one of the hottest patios on SE Division in summer 2017.
- Doe Donuts: Of course Portland needed a dedicated vegan doughnut shop, and Doe Donuts offers potent doughnut varieties like the "All or Nothing," featuring cookie-butter filling, chocolate ganache, and raw chocolate-chip cookie dough. Most cost between $3 and $4, with coffee and tea available, too.
Retired in June 2017:
- No Bones Beach Club: A vegan tiki bar? Only in Portland — except No Bones Beach Club actually opened in Seattle first, in February 2016. The vegan love called it down here that fast, and it's now serving vegan Polynesian-inspired plates and tiki cocktails, with two stories of tiki decor and a nice little deck overlooking N Mississippi Ave.
- Lay Low Tavern: The folks behind Sandy Hut and The Alibi Lounge appear to have another ringer on their hands: Lay Low is a classic dive bar with all the hipster sheen, and it's also home to some of the best classic American cheeseburgers in the city: the former Club 21's build-your-own burgers and signature bacon-and-cheddar-stuffed burger.
- Heart Pizza: The first of several planned locations, this pizza spot from Blue Start Donuts co-founder Micah Camden is built for speed. Find creatively topped pizzas cooked in just 90 seconds inside an Italian wood-fired pizza oven for takeout (or delivery through a third party, such as Caviar).
- Guero No. 1 Tortas: The Guero No. 1 Tortas food cart brought its celebrated tortas, made with quality meats and house salsas and accompaniments, to the old Tabla Pasta e Vino venue. The menu's expanded to include things like the Mexican street-style "Hamburguesa," a burger with chicharron de questo, tamarind tomato, habanero slaw, and more, as well as a fleet of mezcals and signature margaritas. Begin with the signature Ahogada, a torta of Carlton Farms carnitas drenched in achiote tomato sauce.
- Fifty Licks: It's about time this ice cream shop with a cult following opened a second location. The custardy creations are all made from scratch, and believe it or not all you sorbet skeptics: Fifty Licks equally excels at creamy — and sometime boozy — sorbets.
Retired in May 2017:
- Tiffin Asha: Tiffin Asha opened it's doors January 5 riding a wave of fandom. That fandom is well-deserved, for those massive, creative, and satisfying Indian-style crepes. The signature dosa is the "Hot Chick," served with chicken pakora, black cardamom-infused honey, pickled kale, and yogurt cheese.
- Shizuku by Chef Naoko: The entirely revamped Chef Naoko, known for precise, seasonal bento boxes by Japan native Naoko Tamura, has undergone an immense transformation. The stunning interior comes replete with an indoor zen garden set among the tables, and while lunch remains similar, Shizuku by Chef Naoko now offers more ambitious bento and plates for dinner.
- Q Restaurant: Those seeking to relive the days of Veritable Quandary should head to Q Restaurant, which boasts mostly former VQ staff, including head chef Annie Cuggino. But Q is developing its own style, with a large bar area with on-point cocktails, and a modern dining room for plates like ricotta gnocchi and braised oxtail and house-made fettucini with Dungeness crab, scallops, and wild prawns.
- Figlia: This stretch of SE Grand has been in need of a solid breakfast and brunch option, and the team behind Italian hotspot Renata deliver everything from smoothies to grain-based salads and panini for those on the go. Onsite communal seating, too, and it's all located inside the Rejuvenation lighting and hardware store.
- PDX Sliders: One of the best burger food carts in Portland finally has a brick and mortar, and now it's sliders come in legit-size burgers, too. They range from the relatively classic Fremont burger, with beef, bacon, American cheese, roasted jalapeno, and aioli on a brioche bun, to the Hawthorne, made with beef, bacon, goat cheese, and strawberry preserves.
Retired in April 2017
- Headwaters: Opened in October, Headwaters shows all the signs of being a game changer. The fourth restaurant from Portland cooking royalty Vitaly Paley is as upscale as its digs inside The Heathman. Find a raw bar replete with geoduck and a menu of French-inspired seafood dishes, like Dungeness crab-stuffed lobster and black cod smothered in saffron vin blanc sauce.
- Afuri: Of all the cities in the world, one of Tokyo's most acclaimed ramen restaurants chose Portland for its first location outside Japan. Afuri's is the ramen to try right now, but the rest of the menu is also making waves, including sushi prepared by Yoji Harada, formerly of Michael Mina's Pabu.
- Biwa: On its tenth anniversary, Biwa relocated to a small venue inside of the same building for a much more intimate and bustling atmosphere. Renewed focus is given to the omakase menu, typically starting off with sashimi, along with other izakaya and Japanese plates. No longer on the menu are Biwa's ramen, gyoza, and burger, which are all now served at sister-restaurant Noraneko.
- Pollo Norte: Pollo Norte does one thing fantastically: Mexico City-style rotisserie chicken, offered in quarter, half, and whole birds. The second location will help take the pressure off the original location, which has been busy from the get-go, and now, those birds come with cocktails, like smoky mezcal margaritas.
Retired in March 2017
- Dame: Dame has style. Opened by a nationally known sommelier, its focus is natural wines, with a menu of Mediterranean-inspired snacks meant for pairing. Right now, it's the place to go if you're looking to escape with a glass or bottle of wine.
- Kim Jong Smokehouse: BJ Smith has officially transformed his flagship restaurant, Smokehouse 21, into the second location of Kim Jong Smokehouse, serving steamed buns and Korean bibimbap, with unorthodox fillings like pulled pork and cured salmon, not to mention kalbi short ribs. The collaboration concept with Kim Jong Grillin' opened its first location inside Pine Street Market in September 2016.
- Rockin' Crab Cafe: This unassuming spot that took over Trent Pierce's B&T Oyster Bar does several things well and one thing exceptionally: an Asian-inspired version of the Louisiana seafood boil. Prepare for bibs, lots of napkins, a fun bar vibe, and a sauce with so much depth you'll never see the bottom. Seafood options abound, including Dungeness crab and Louisiana crawfish, when in season (local, all other times). Happy hour runs long, and daily.
- Gabagool: The food truck known for handmade pastas and piadina (Italian sandwiches on unleavened flatbread) finally went brick and mortar in December, and the good people of St. Johns bought so much of its food it sold out the first few opening nights. Find expanded offerings for lunch and dinner.
- Pok Pok Wing: Andy Ricker's fourth Portland restaurant has settled in after opening in October. It's a fast casual spot for grabbing a quick order of Ike's Fish Sauce Wings, Thai-style fried chicken, and steamed buns. It's the only Pok Pok serving those wings in vegan form (with tofu), and it offers the best prices of all Pok Pok's local locations.
Retired in February 2017
- Duck House Chinese: This new downtown Chinese restaurant near PSU has a full menu of American-Chinese dishes, like pot stickers and Kung Pao chicken, but everyone's talking about the dumplings, in all their varieties.
- Jacqueline: Opened by an experienced team, Jacqueline is a collaborative kitchen of chefs doing what they love, which, in this case, focuses on local seafood and vegetables and a variety of cooking styles. Find excellent cocktails, a hospitality industry vibe, and a Life Aquatic theme, as well as $1 oysters and $2 Rainiers from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday — all in the former home of St. Jack Restaurant on SE Clinton.
- Tusk: The new restaurant backed by chef Joshua McFadden shows the same appreciation for vegetables as Ava Gene's (McFadden's own restaurant), only with Middle Eastern flavors. Executive chef Sam Smith, the opening sous chef at nationally renowned Zahav, designed the dishes to be shared, regardless of which you order first. They include fried beet and sprouted chickpea fritters and chicken skewers with miso and sweet onion, as well as desserts like Amish butter popcorn baklava. The rush has calmed down a bit, but you might still have to wait at peak hours.
- Revelry: The new late-night Korean snacking restaurant with menus by Seattle powerhouse chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi opened on MLK Boulevard in August, and that peanut-brittle-topped fried chicken is calling. Though the food menu is short, Revelry is a five-senses experience, with huge subwoofers, a wall covered in 90s boomboxes, cocktails involving miso, and a doorway that leads straight into the Evo outdoor store.
- Wayfinder: This expansive brewpub is quickly becoming an after-work go-to for those seeking clean, European-style beers and comfort foods. Fried oysters come with jalapeno tartar sauce, and steaks, chicken, lamb chops, and more come smokin' hot from a wood grill.
- Bridgetown Bagel Co.: Run by Kettleman's alums (if you're too new to the city to get the reference, it's worth looking up), it makes New York-style, hand-rolled and boiled bagels. The food cart location is still operating on NE Sandy, too.
Retired in January 2017
- Pop Bagel: Beloved Portland bakery Nuvrei has opened a shop dedicated to its signature pretzel-style bagels. Blasphemy? Best-thing-ever? You decide, with a variety of schmears and sandwiches, plus cookies, granola, Heart coffee, teas, and more.
- Solo Club: Sister-restaurant to Besaw's — and located right next door — The Solo Club is an all-hours cafe only owner Cana Flug, chef Dustin Clark, and barman Mark Bitterman could have imagined: Find coffee and Asian-inspired pastries mornings, and at night, small plates, like fried green beans and crispy frog legs, and a bar loaded with Italian liqueurs, including one of the city's best selections of amari.
- Musubi: Musubi and onigiri fanatics rejoice: A new spot aimed at offering quality versions of the Hawaiian and Japanese rice snacks has opened, and it's doing creative combinations, like one topped with kalbi beef and kimchi. It focuses on takeout, with only a handful of seats onsite.
- Associated: Taking over the old P.R.E.A.M. venue, Associated is heating up thanks to the plates from former P.R.E.A.M. chef Nick Ford. The menu offers pizzas and tacos, and it has an equal number of meaty and vegan options. Reasonably priced, creative cocktails let you know you're still in a neighborhood bar.
- Rachel's Ginger Beer: Seattle's already gone bonkers over Rachel Marshall's potent ginger brew and chef Monica Dimas's fried chicken sandwiches, and now, you get them on SE Hawthorne. Those ginger beer cocktails will start flowing just as soon as the license goes through, which should be any day now.
- Kim Jong Smokehouse Pine Street Market: The fact this place already has a second location in the works should give a sense of how quickly its fans are gobbling up its steamed buns and Korean bibimbap, which come with unorthodox fillings like pulled pork and cured salmon, not to mention kalbi short ribs. Located inside Pine Street Market, it's a collaboration between several of Portland's biggest chefs: Kim Jong Grillin's Han Ly Hwang, Smokehouse Tavern's BJ Smith, and Langbaan's Earl Ninsom.
Retired in December 2016
- Pizza Jerk: In September, the out-of-the-pizza-box pizzeria from Bunks Tommy Habetz reopened after this spring's devastating fire. Lovers of East Coast pizza will find a Connecticut-style white clam pie, and lovers of Chinese food and Italian food will find the fusion noodle dish Duck Dan Dan.
- Rue: Since opening in June, Rue has settled in as one part bar, one part industrial restaurant, and the food and drink are always on the pin-point of seasonality. See what vegetable-forward cooking is all about, along with dishes like steak tartare with sauce americaine, pickles, and egg yolk and fried manila clams with garlic aioli. The wines and beers are good, but the cocktails are exceptional.
- Urdaneta:Urdaneta has been holding its own in the crowded NE Alberta dining scene, since opening in July. The winning combo: modernist Northern Spanish and Basque tapas based on family recipes; a touch of Old World hospitality; and an erudite selection of sherries, Spanish wines, and ciders. Dive into the many small plates over a fine Spanish beverage.
- Kasbah Moroccan Cafe: Opening in Old Town/Chinatown in June, Kasbah Moroccan Cafe brings well-priced Moroccan dishes for breakfast, lunch, and early-evening snacking (except on Saturdays when it stays open to 7:30 p.m.). Chef-owner Naji Bouhmid says he cooks the type of food families cook in the city of Fez, so look for lamb and eggs in Morocccan sauce, spice-packed sandwiches, couscous dishes, and tangines, and flabreads for dipping in fava bean and other purees.
- Bamboo Sushi's Annex: If you love the way Bamboo Sushi does sustainable sushi, The Annex could be your go-to spot for getting in on the Hawaiian poke craze. Slipped into the cozy venue beside Bamboo Sushi West End (in the former Hop Dog space), it serves build-your-own poke bowls, plus signature creations, for takeout and delivery. Begin with The Bamboo Bowl, with Oregon albacore, avocado, fried shallots, scallion, nori, and Bamboo's signature Green Machine sauce.
- Century Bar: Right out of the gates, Century Bar wooed fans with its mind-bogglingly ambitious (and beautiful) decor when it opened in June. The larger of its two bars is designed after a basketball court, complete with mahogany bleacher seating that wraps around the room. But don't think it's all about sports here: Century Bar can instantly transform into a trivia night destination; late-night, DJ-fueled dance party; private events space; or even, wedding venue. Find thoughtful cocktails in 24 ounce mason jars with a focus on tequila and a fun menu of tacos, nachos, burgers, and other handheld snacks, all of which can be made vegan or with meat.
- Poke Mon: The Hawaiian poke trend is off the hook right now, and of all the places to serve poke, Poke Mon is the first in Portland entirely dedicated to it. Accordingly, you'll find a menu of build-your-own bowls and signature bowls, for lots of poke-tunities. And now, it does fried chicken on Fridays.
- Quaintrelle: Featuring the farm-inspired cooking talents of Ava Gene's alum Bill Wallender, Quaintrelle is a neighborhood bistro all about seasonal, vegetable-forward dishes, like sheep cheese dumplings, with cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and basil.
Retired in November 2016
- Hat Yai: Casual, with counter service, Hat Yai serves Thai fried chicken and other traditional dishes, like curries, from the Southern Thai city of Hat Yai. Earl Ninsom (Langbaan, PaaDee) and bartender Alan Akwai opened Hat Yai in May, and they brought in chefs from Thailand to help in the kitchen, so expect to find Thai dishes you've likely never tasted before along with fun cocktail pairings. Visit during off hours or prepare to wait.
- SuperBite: The new restaurant from the chefs—and James Beard Award 2016 finalists—behind Ox, SuperBite opened April to bring a menu of flavor-packed bites, with family-style platters to cap off your meal. Bites include duck liver scrambled egg with sturgeon caviar, and Dungeness crab with artichoke custard served in an onion ring.
- Pollo Bravo: Opening two locations in May, Pollo Bravo is going strong, with perpetual updates, such as adding happy hour at both locations and weekend brunch at the Alder spot. John Gorham (Toro Bravo, Tasty N Sons) delivers Spanish tapas, many made using ingredients straight from Spain, and one of the top rotisserie chickens in the city (which says a lot for a town currently overflowing with rotisserie chicken). The Pine Street Market location will be more bustling, and the Alder spot lets you sip vermouth away from the noise.
- Nodoguro: When Nodoguro opened as a brick and mortar in May, reservations sold out nearly instantly. But new reservations drop monthly, and the new venue has greatly expanded seating. Now's the time to try the "hardcore" sushi, at around 19 courses, or the creatively themed Sousako Tasting dinners, whether Alice In Wonderland or Twin Peaks.
- Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry: In the vein of Sweedeedee and Milk Glass Market, Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry is cute and comfortable, with a clean white decor, Extracto coffee, and dishes like egg sandwiches, a porridge of oats and quinoa with toasted coconut, and beans on toast. Opened May, it's just what the neighborhood needed.
- Stella Taco: Droves are heading to the second location of NE Alberta's popular Tex-Mex fast-casual taco spot, opened in May, for its menu of soft and crispy tacos, as well as massive breakfast tacos for just $3 each. A regular and long happy hour brings $2 street tacos and dollar-off beers and margaritas.
- Honky Tonk Taco: [Update: Honky Tonk has unexpectedly closed for good]: Built by an all-star team including restaurateur Nate Tilden (Olympia Provisions, Bar Casa Vale) and Clyde Common executive chef Carlo Lamagne, Honky Tonk Taco is a counter-service restaurant with a country music soundtrack and great patio. Creative tacos feature locally made Three Sister Nixtamal tortillas and come stuffed with local meats and cheeses. Happy hour brings $2 tacos.
- Whiskey Soda Lounge: The Thai drinking lounge from Pok Pok's Andy Ricker now does weekend brunch, from patangko (Thai-style crullers), to Khai Kratha, a Isaan-Vietnamese breakfast dish of fried eggs, Chinese sausage, muu ya, and ground pork served with baguette. Fans of Ricker's now closed Sen Yai will recognize many of the menu items. Make sure to season the dishes to your liking using the provided condiments.
- Han Oak: Accomplished chef Peter Cho opened Han Oak as a mixed-use space in February, and it's finally settled in, with Korean barbecue dinners regularly scheduled Fridays and Saturdays and Korean brunches on Sundays. Taste what it's all about before this unique spot is completely overrun as a result of pure awesomeness. And those friendly prix fixe prices will go up.
- Accanto: New executive chef Chris Frazier has transformed Accanto since taking over in May. The restaurant has been known for traditional Italian food since 2009, but now it's gone more seasonal, with dishes like an herbed salad of tomatoes, plums, and watermelon with ricotta salata and honey agrodolce, and inventive house-made pastas, like the buckwheat tajarin pizzoccheri, with brown butter, prosciutto, and kale. The sweet breads are a standout.
Retired in October 2016
- Marukin: The Tokyo-based ramen franchise Marukin opened its first United States location in Portland in April, and the ramen hoards have descended, slurping through its wide variety of ramens. Its tonkotsu-style ramens may remind you of the meaty ramens found in Japan, while Marukin also created chicken-based and vegetarian ramens specifically for Portland. The atmosphere is spartan, but the flavors are potent, rooted in local, seasonal ingredients.
- The Waiting Room: Thanks to its no-holds-barred Southern cooking, The Waiting Room could be the restaurant that sticks in this notorious Nob Hill venue just off NW 23rd that's seen so many restaurants cycle through in recent years. It opened in March with hand-sown seersucker napkins to focus on oysters, fried chicken, and bubbly, and you'll also find a charming outdoor deck and $3 Miller High Life served in mason jars. Ultimately, it delivers two of the fundamental elements of Southern cooking: sweet things to pair with fried things.
- Americano: Americano opened April to remind us food should be hilarious (waffles topped with any and everything) and coffee and booze shouldn't be mutually exclusive. But then it did a quick 180, replacing gonzo New Orleans chef Chris DeBarr with John Willis, previously of Navarre and Luce. While the food continues to be ironed out, the coffee and vermouth-focused cocktail program remains the focus. Yes, you can get a cocktail in a French press, and it comes from bartender Kate Bolton, alum of San Francisco's craft cocktail bar, Maven.
- Double Mountain Brewery Taproom: The Portland taproom edition of this insanely popular family-friendly Hood River brewery is also insanely popular, with lines flowing out the doors on Fridays and Saturdays. This is one spot that's probably too hot to handle for those who do not like crowds, but it's totally worth it for those IPAs, sour beers, on-tap cocktails, and signature pizzas.
Retired in September 2016
- The Hairy Lobster: First, executive chef David Root and renowned pastry chef Mellisa Root confounded many by naming their casual Pearl restaurant, The Hairy Lobster. Then, they announced a seemingly bonkers menu of elevated-yet-playful dishes, such as the Maine Lobster Cubano, a sandwich involving house-baked vanilla cornbread. While WWeek critic Michael Zusman recently found The Hairy Lobster more show than substance, the buzz remains mostly positive, confirming that the seemingly wacko dishes work for the most part. And then there's Mellisa's modernist desserts.
- Willow: Designed to feel like a dinner party at a friend's apartment, Willow is a ten seat, chef's counter-style restaurant that took over the old Fenrir space in March. Respected chefs John Pickett and Doug Weiler are making good on their mission to push the boundaries of Pacific Northwest food, with hyper local and seasonal dishes like poached salmon served with labneh and vegetable poutine. Anyone who can make a healthy poutine that's just as good as the original monstrosity of fries, gravy, and cheese curds is likely on their way to world domination in our book.
- Pine Street Market: With eight new restaurant concepts inside—all from cool kids in the Portland food scene—what else is there to say about the massive new food hall? Find Olympia Provisions Wurst, Salt & Straw's Wiz Bang Bar, Trifecta Annex, Barista Brass Bar, Marukin Ramen, and John Gorham's Shalom Y'all and Pollo Bravo.
- Fukami Sushiya: The now-closed Hokusai was a favorite sushi spot for many, but the owner pulled an epic switcheroo, opening Fukami Sushiya in the same venue in February. The restaurant has found its legs and is serving a la carte items as well as two omakase chef's tasting menus five days a week. Get it before it's gone, as owner Cody Auger may relocate when his lease is up.
- The Bible Club: What can we say: Things like The Bible Club only happen in Portland. It's a speakeasy that finds all other speakeasy's gimmicky, so it's filled almost entirely with American-made antiques dating before 1930 to authentically celebrate American bar history. Bartenders make stunningly balanced craft cocktails using old-school bar gear and serve them in vintage crystal glassware, and the former Racion owner and chef Anthony Cafiero twists the classics, like olives smoked with hay and a flavorsome mac and cheese with white truffle and wild mushrooms.
Retired in August 2016
- Besaw's: You saw it coming. Besaw's, the historic Northwest institution that shuttered amid controversy last spring, reopened two blocks from its former location in January, bringing back owner Cana Flug's magnetic hospitality, as well as Besaw's classic dishes upgraded by former Wildwood chef Dustin Clark.
- 180: Does anyone not like churros? Ataula co-owners Jose Chesa and Cristina Baez opened 180 in January to bring the Spanish version of churros, xurros, to Portland (note: xurros also come chocolate-covered and stuffed with Catalan cream). The breezy cafe also serves Spanish drinking (and dipping) chocolate featuring Cocanú chocolate and coffees by Local Roasting Co.
- Kichinto: Shigezo sister-restaurant Kichinto quietly opened in January to serve a variety of ramen styles with house-made noodles, as well as izakaya dishes, like gyoza and karaage. Like at Shigezo, the Kichinto dining room has tables hidden away in nooks and crannies, which is always nice when you're trying to seriously slurp some ramen. Now it offers all-night happy hour Monday through Thursday, with some sushi rolls on offer, too.
- Pizza Jerk: Opened in November, the pizza and pasta place by Bunk's Tommy Habetz was hot right out of the gate. Lovers of East Coast pizza will find a Connecticut-style white clam pie, and lovers of Chinese food and Italian food will find the fusion noodle dish Duck Dan Dan.
- Olympia Oyster Bar: As Portland continues to adore oysters almost as much as it does pizza, Olympia Oyster Bar kicked things off with inventive oyster preparations and cocktails by wiz-bartender Ryan Magarian (Over & Shaker, Hamlet) in December. It's a laid-back atmosphere for sampling the Northwest's finest winter oysters, but the chefs also offer a selection of small plates inspired by Mexican and Asian flavors, as well as seafood charcuterie.
- Wei Wei: Quietly opened last fall in Sellwood, Wei Wei may be the family-run Taiwanese restaurant you've been looking for. Dumplings, beef noodle soup with house-made noodles, and several Taiwanese dishes rarely found in Portland all appear on the small menu.
- Paiche: What began as a quiet December opening in a restaurant-sparse area of the Corbett neighborhood has turned into one of the city's leading restaurants for South American food. Chef Jose Luis de Cossio delivers traditional flavors, especially when it comes to seafood ceviche, yet much of the menu is vegetarian, too, such as the vegan ceviche, which may feature everything from beets and green papaya to sea beans and sweet potato.
- ChkChk: Opening with a bright "barn-pop" design early February, ChkChk is the fast-casual fried-chicken-sandwich shack on NW 23rd Avenue, serving straight-forward fried chicken sandwiches using all-natural chicken and sides like mac n cheese and waffle fries. It's also the fourth restaurant by Aaron and Jessica Grimmer (Barlow, Picnic House) and donates 5% of its gross profits to Portland's Q Center.
- Homegrown Smokehouse and Deli: Apparently the market for imitation barbecue, viz. vegan barbecue, is HUGE. Moving in with the Vtopia vegan cheese deli last December, Homegrown Smokehouse makes meat-free pulled pork, smoked H-yam, and other vegan barbecue that can actually win over meatlovers. The combo platter is the place to begin, and from there, hit up the long list of deli sandwiches.
- Bamboo Sushi NW: Opened mid-December, the West End Bamboo Sushi unveiled lunch January 4, prompting lots of buzz among downtown sushi and izakaya fans. Additionally, the fourth and final Portland Bamboo Sushi location offers delivery through Postmates and has a den-like bar for sharing plates and drinks.
- Garden Bar:The Portland-based build-your-own-salad chainlet is growing faster than you can decided between ranch and raspberry vinaigrette. The fast-casual spot open its third location in January, and a fourth location is underway in the former Son of a Biscuit on SE Division (not to mention another forthcoming location in the Hassalo on 8th building). Not downtown? Try the Pearl and Old Town locations. Don't like salad? They also serve one soup.
- Zoiglhaus Brewing Co.: This massive 200-seat German-inspired brewery opened in the Lents neighborhood in Septemberâmore or less putting the outer Southeast neighborhood on the map. Just because brewing isn't yet underway and Zoiglhaus is still serving brews from sister-brewery, Pints, doesn't mean it's not the place to drink local beer made in the German style while woofing down platters of sausages, Jagerschnitzel, and Weissbier cheese soup.
- Taylor Railworks: After serving as Little Bird executive chef for five years, Erik Van Kley opened Taylor Railworks in September to share "borderless" American cuisine. The weathered wood and industrial interior hosts refined dinners of raw plates, small plates, and entrees, like grilled octopus, cooked to order, with pea tendrils and heirloom tomatoes.
- La Moule: Who knew that Portland needed a Belgian mussel bar? Opened September, La Moule has an intimate, European ambiance and serves fancy but not-too-fancy bowls of mussels, steak tartar, crispy frites with three styles of mayo-based dipping sauce, and a burger topped with triple-créme brieâall conceived by St. Jack executive chef Aaron Barnett. Tommy Klus, formerly of Multnomah Whiskey Library, rules the bar, with cocktails, unusual wines by the glass, and plenty of Belgian beers on tap.
- Tastebud: Um, finally! Mark Doxtader found a home for his wood-fired restaurant in Multnomah Village, and he brought in Jobie Bailey (Firehouse, DOC) to lead the kitchen. Tastebud's wood-fired pizzas and whole roasted chicken are back, with lines of diners hungry to welcome them to the neighborhood.
- Clutch Sausagery: Last October, sausage-savant Ken Norris closed his Beaverton brick-and-mortar to open a downtown food cart serving all of your favorite foods in the form of sausages. To be clear, Clutch takes a dish like nachos and turns it into a beefy sausageâliterally. Other $7 sausages include Pad Thai, made with chicken; Pizza, with pork shoulder; and Hot Smoked Ribs, with Texas-style rib sausage.
- Mama San Soul Shack: Opened in St. Johns in September, Mama San Soul Shack keeps gaining steamâespecially during lunchâturning neighborhood locals onto its Asian-American South mashup of rice bowls and sandwiches, with the standouts so far being the chicken wings and the Banana Leaf Braised Pork Bowl. The laid-back, no-nonsense eatery also makes its own "dranks," like The Purple, a blend of hibiscus, orange, and rum or vodka.
- The Zipper: Where else can you find an outdoor patio, punk rock salon, 50-foot bar, and handful of different cuisines? The Zipper building brought these establishments to NE Sandy in September, and the complex all centers on a big communal patio with picnic tables and fireplaces. Food and drink options include Paydirt, Chickpeadx, Slice Pizzeria, Rua, and Seven Virtues Coffee Roasters at the Zipper.
- Coquine: Combine backpacking around the globe with experience cooking at five Michelin-starred restaurants in France, and you get Katy Millard, the executive chef of Coquine. A former pop-up dinner series, Coquine found a home on the north side of Mt. Tabor in July, and it specializes in elegant surprises, such as chilled almond soup and rice flour-dredged fried duck wings. There's no need to put Coquine's cuisine in a box, because Millard would just destroy it. The Chef's Choice Prix Fixe menu costs $60 ($100 with wine pairings).
- Broder Soder: Outer Southwest is hungry for restaurants, and when a restaurant as acclaimed as Broder moves in, food fans apparently go downright berserk. Settled in since opening in July, Broder Soder serves Broder's Scandinavian brunch and lunch dishes inside of the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation's Nordia House.
- Nomad.PDX: Looking for Portland's innovative, modernist cooking? You've found it. Having added two new chefs to the team in the past month, owners and chefs Ali Matteis and Ryan Fox have only pushed their precise plates further. Nomad.PDX now serves dinner Thursday through Sunday, with four to five nightly seatings and tasting menus that continue to clock in at around 15 courses.
- Burrasca: When it comes to traditional Italian food, the key seems to be cooking simply and with an eye for detail (yes, Italian grandmothers call this love). Burrasca, the former food cart turned brick and mortar this July, serves the homemade pastas that chef Paolo Calamai learned to cook growing up in Florence. Offering big, balanced cocktails and a patio often buzzing with Italian accents, it's the place for Tuscan cuisine right now.
- Bit House Saloon: After a bit (pun definitely intended) of a slow start in July, Bit House Saloon is smoking. Liquid nitrogen-pouring, too. Its historic architecture and veteran staff crossed with cutting-edge mixology and booze-sourcing know-how represents a new era in Portland: that of the gourmet gastropub. Heading the kitchen, chef Jeremy Sturm has taken Dustin Clark's (Wildwood) lead and run with it. The burger is one of the most formidable in town, and the other upgraded pub grub is worth exploring in detail. Where else can you add an adult version of the Otter Pop to your meal?
- Dar Salam Lazurdi: As it kicks off its sixth month since opening, the downtown Iraqi restaurant Dar Salam Lazurdi has settled in and is picking up steam, recently singled out by Eater restaurant critic Bill Addison for its Iraqi versions of dolma (onion-skin and zucchini versions, in addition to the popular grape-leaf dish). Find cocktails infusing Middle Eastern flavors and a plentiful selection of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
- Next Level Burger: Vegan fast food clearly has legs. Opened in October, Next Level Burger offers all vegan, non-GMO, and organic food and drink, including vegan "milk" shakes, "bacon"-topped burgers, special sauce, chili "cheese" fries, and hot dogs.
- Rose VL Deli: Which is more exciting: The menu of Vietnamese soups and banh mi or the fact that you no longer have to wake up before noon to eat them? The long-awaited expansion of HA&VL, Rose VL Deli opened in July, and it simmers broths with more punch and balance than Bruce Lee. Rose VL offers two soups a day for $9.50 each, and critic favorites include Vietnemese Tumeric Yellow Noodle and Crabflakes Noodle Soup. You'll also find around ten banh mi, all priced $3.75, and a selection of coffees, boba teas, and smoothies.
- Shift Drinks: Sommelier Anthony Garcia and bartender Alise Moffatt, who met while working at Multnomah Whiskey Library, opened their buzzy new wine and cocktail bar on May 18. It's already a restaurant industry favorite, but its refined service and minimalist-cool atmosphere has put it on everyone else's radar, too. There's a "nerdy" wine list, craft cocktails, and refined snacks from Garcia's wife, chef Anne Garcia. And their off-premise liquor license means you can take bottles of wine to go until late in the night.
- Renata: The much-anticipated wood-fired restaurant with an emphasis on Italian pastas and pizzas opened a year behind schedule in mid-May (although apparently the official opening date was June 1). It's owned by former French Laundry alums and a chef who has spent time in some of San Francisco's top Italian restaurants.
- Farm Spirit: When it comes to vegetarian menus, the recipe for hotness appears to involve nine- to twelve-course dinners; limited seatings and reservation announcements via Twitter and Facebook. Farm Spirit does all of these things -- and they also take the tired farm-to-table refrain to new heights. A recent compilation of coriander-spiced almond yogurt, compressed strawberries, fresh strawberries, grilled green beans, compressed cucumbers and fried almonds is more revelation than salad. That pretty much says it all.
- Hamlet: Hamlet is a trifecta of stylish digs, expert cocktails and pork-centric plates from the uber-experienced trio of chef Cathy Whims, cocktail guru Ryan Magarian, and restaurateur Kurt Huffman of ChefStable. It is, in short, a slam dunk, and a prime place to relax and recharge while day-tripping through the Pearl or waiting for a table at one of the packed restaurants nearby. The small menu is focused on hams in a range of styles from all over the world, to be eaten in snacky sandwiches and small plates. The craft cocktails were designed to pair with all that salty-savory-porky goodness, which is why there's an emphasis on using sherries (a natural with pork) as a mixer.
- Swift & Union: Swift & Union makes balancing industrial design, faux taxidermy, and a family-friendly vibe look easy. Executive chef Aaron Hepp-Buchanan prepares light, veggie-packed dishes that sound and taste delicious; for instance, the Jicama Salad reinvents something as simple as carrot sticks, with sticks of jicama, cucumber, watermelon, and pineapple dressed in chili spice, cilantro, and lime juice. There's a kids menu, of course, but there's also a menu of well-priced signature cocktails.
- Kukai Ramen & Izakaya: The first Oregon location of the popular Japanese ramen chain just opened, promising some of the area's most authentic bowls. Here you can pick your broth as well as your noodle style. And among the dozen varieties of ramen, there are also rice dishes and izakaya-style offerings like dumplings and kara age.
- PREAM: Chef Nicholas Ford and bartender Brandon Gomez, the duo behind the insanely popular P.R.E.A.M. pizza popups at Ned Ludd last year, took over old Tennessee Red's space and gave the old barbecue joint their own unique vision of rough-around-the edges style. Along with their signature hip-hop soundtrack on the stereo, there's half a dozen pizzas built on charred crusts, with white versions smeared with rich bechamel and topped with seasonal produce. Apps and salads are inventive, like grilled romaine with smoked mayo and chicken skin. And there's a whole section devoted to a range of polenta dishes. As for the drinks, Gomez has built a signature cocktail list inspired by soda fountain drinks, including a Root Beer Flip with bourbon, egg, and cream, and a bourbon-spiked cola.
- Handsome Pizza: After closing shop in January, Handsome Pizza reopened in August on NE Killingsworth, and it shares space with Seastar Bakery. That's right: wood-fired pastries in the morning, wood-fired pizza at night. Handsome uses a signature dough recipe to make New York/Neapolitan-pizza hybrids. This is one place that gets the classic margarita.
- Chizu: Portland's beloved cheesemonger, Steve Jones, opened a tiny, 18-seat ode to cheese next to Multnomah Whiskey Library downtown. There at Chizu, cheese plates get the sushi bar treatment. Diners can order their selections of cured meats, cheeses and accompaniments off of a sushi-style score card, or trust in the experts and order omakase. The space is too small for taps, but there's a tight selection of carefully selected beer, wine, cider, and sake that pair perfectly with the cheese.
- The Feisty Lab: This South African-tinged brunch and dinner spot, which opened in Goose Hollow in July, keeps breaking the rules. The décor is straight out of Alice in Wonderland, and chef Micah Edelstein rarely serves the same dish twice. The result is lamb belly bacon breakfast sandwiches, rotating shakshuka, soups topped with curried squash blossoms, and desserts with house-made rooibos gelato. Note that dinner is served Fridays and Saturdays only.