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 seven questions running the gamut from best dining neighborhood 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 share your survey answers in the comments.
Gary Okazaki, professional glutton (aka Gary the Foodie)
It was not a banner year for PDX openings — my favorites, in order, are Chalino, Proud Mary, Chin’s Kitchen, and the much improved XLB.
Andrea Damewood, restaurant critic, Portland Mercury
In terms of like actual, sit-down restaurants, 2017 didn't really bring it. That being said, I really liked Chalino's inventive twists and overall fun atmosphere. If you read "best new restaurant" lists for 2017, many of them actually opened in 2016. Interestingly, sandwiches (and here I'll include burgers) have been really great: Stacked, Guero's tortas, Baker's Mark, BYH Burger.
Michael Russell, The Oregonian’s food reporter and critic
The only place that would absolutely force their way onto our best new restaurants list from this summer is Chin’s Kitchen, the Northeastern Chinese restaurant from sisters Wendy and Cindy Li. The dumplings, braised meats, vaguely Russian-influenced pickled things, and stews are hearty enough to keep the Night’s Watch going against an undead army with an ice-breathing dragon. (PSA: Winter is here.)
Erin DeJesus, deputy editor of Eater.com
My ideal meal, constructed from newish restaurants, would be: the tofu at Afuri, a dozen oysters at Jacqueline, five spice popcorn chicken at XLB (two orders, probably), and all the brunch dishes at Tusk.
Mike Thelin, co-founder of Feast Portland
2017 seemed to be a very casual year. BYH Burgers, Burger Stevens and the burger torta at Gueros all deliver on that front. Stacked and Sammich are both great additions to the Portland sandwich game, and for those of us who work in the Central Eastside, Figlia has been a godsend. Urdaneta is really good and really underrated, and it knows how to cut iberico ham without hacking it to death! Vivienne Kitchen on Sandy is so lovely.
Michael Zusman, cookbook author, restaurant critic (and judge)
Nothing transformative this year, but some solid newbies include: La Leña, Poke Mon, XLB, and Jackrabbit. Too soon to make an assessment on Roe redux.