Portland Mexican favorite Xico has opened its sibling restaurant in Northwest Portland, complete with a menu of mezcal flights, banana-leaf-cooked tamales, and gummy-bear-laden Dorilocos.
Xica Cantina, the new restaurant from the team behind Xico, has been slowly opening in Northwest Portland for months now — owner Elizabeth Davis has barely said a word about the new restaurant to press. But now, the restaurant is open, and the recently posted menu has several of the Division restaurant’s classics: pollo asado, Oaxacan-style tamales, and its chopped kale salad with cashews and red fresno chiles.
However, the menu veers into more casual territory, with a number of botanas — Mexican stacks — including chicken flautas, “roasted potatoes tossed with 100 chile chorizo,” and house-made beef jerky. For light eaters, the restaurant also has house-made chips in several outfits — dressed in warm arbol salsa with cotija, served alongside a choice of three salsas, or the classic Mexican street food snack, “Dorilocos.” Dorilocos are Nacho Cheese Doritos loaded with things like cueritos (pickled pork rinds), cucumber, peanuts, and, crucially, gummy bears. Xica Cantina’s Dorilocos come with fresh organic corn chips covered in nacho powder, with cucumber, tomatillo avocado, gummy bears, candied tomatillos, and salsa.
For more substantial fare, the restaurant slings a handful of small, medium, and large plates, including a torta with turkey leg confit, carne en su jugo (beef braised with salsa verde), and whole-roasted trout served with various salsas. The menu also gets into summery territory, with a lime-juice-cooked shrimp ceviche and salad tacos with pepitas.
A huge portion of the bar is dedicated to mezcal, and the posted menus advertise several mezcal flights, including some “suitcase mezcals” — samples from the bar’s private collection. Non-drinkers can stick to hibiscus sweet tea, sparkling limeade, and horchata.
Xica Cantina is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays at 1668 NW 23rd Avenue. Davis has not responded to a request for comment, but this story will be updated if that changes.
• Xica Cantina [Official]
• Xico [Official]
• Xico Will Open a Regional Mexican Restaurant and Mezcal Bar on NW 23rd [EPDX]
• Previous Xico coverage [EPDX]