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Portland Food Writers and Influencers’ Go-To Dining Destinations in 2022

The restaurants Portland’s professional eaters kept revisiting this year

Thokes, fritters, and more at Rangoon Bistro.
Fried chicken and other dishes at Rangoon Bistro.
Carla J. Peña/Eater Portland

Each December, Eater Portland ends the year by reflecting on the last twelve months of dining in a series we call Year in Eater. We reach out to Portland food writers and influencers for their perspectives on major trends, impressive newcomers, and standout meals, and share their responses in a single package.

In a city that has a vibrant food scene as Portland, diners are spoiled for choice. Yet, when facing the perennially dreaded question of “Where do you want to eat?” branching out often takes a backseat to the tried-and-true. We asked Portland’s food writers and personalities which restaurants they kept returning to this year.

Responses are edited and condensed for clarity.

“As the editor of Eater Portland, part of my job is to visit as many different restaurants as I can, which means it’s hard to become a regular anywhere. The little exception I make is for a weekend breakfast — I love to grab a Bernstein’s bagel on my way out to the river, or walk over to Jinju Patisserie for a croissant before running some errands. I also developed a real obsession with Enchanted Sun, the breakfast burrito stand at the Portland State University farmers market. For years, I wrote it off because of the ridiculous line, but it turns out, there’s a reason people will wait that long for a breakfast burrito. When it comes to emotional support delivery, I’m all about the classics — Nong’s Khao Man Gai, pho from Mekha, cao lau from Rose VL Deli.”
-Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor

Rukdiew Cafe is the new regular Thai spot for curry crab rangoon and make-your-own cotton candy in pink fairyland digs. I also ate a lot of Hat Yai, Double Dragon, and G-Love.”
-Thom Hilton, Eater Portland contributor

“This is a tough one since work often dictates where I eat, but Rangoon Bistro has definitely become a go-to. [Co-owners and chefs] Alex and David spent years living and cooking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is where my family is from and where I spent part of my childhood, so we definitely bonded over missing Malaysian food. Which reminds me: The fried chicken they put on the menu this fall is as close to my grandma’s as I’ve ever had. Everything on the menu at Rangoon is delicious, but don’t sleep on the fried chicken.”
-Janey Wong, Eater Portland reporter

“By numbers alone, Milk Glass Mrkt continues to be the place where we return the most — for its hand pies and rugelach, the Saturday vegetable sandwich, and the ever-changing lineup of wines. I’m glad that the dining room at Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty has reopened, but I’m even more glad that they still let me order par-baked pizzas to finish cooking on a baking stone in my home oven. And I make biweekly stops at Bui Natural Tofu for onion tofu, sticky rice with Chinese sausage, soy pudding, and spring rolls.”
-Jonathan Kauffman, Portland-based food writer and author of A Place Is a Gift newsletter

“This year I’ve made a concerted effort to revisit many of my local spots around Hollywood and Rose City. I always enjoy the plethora of options at Rose City Food Park between Chochu Local, Rocket Breakfast, J Vein Caffé, Charlie’s, Momo House, etc. Outside of that, Wajan, Sahuayo Taqueria, and Chin’s Kitchen have been staples to my semi-regular neighborhood rotation.”
-Ehow Chen (@ehow.eats), influencer

“Living within walking distance of Rose VL, it’s hard not to drop in for its rotating menu of soul-restoring soups at least once per week. 5 & Dime is the platonic ideal of the neighborhood bar: relaxed vibes, bartenders happy to sling canned beer or top notch cocktails, Blazers game on without sound, irresistible hot dog selection (incl. vegan glizzys).”
-Nathan Williams, Eater Portland contributor

“So many go-tos! Congee and dumplings from Master Kong. Indian takeout once a week (rotating between Dil Se or Silsila the Flaming Tandoor, depending on the mood). Grabbing morning pastries at VilleVelo Bake Shop, which might be one of the best and most underrated bakeries in Portland. Pizza from Ranch. We might be slightly biased here, but we also order fresh juice from the Celery at least three or four times a week. It’s called balance.”
-Vicki and Vanessa Ng (@foodbellypdx), influencers

“I’m a creature of habit, and I want to see my favorites stick around, so many of my go-tos are the same year after year: Mirisata for curry and rice, Boxcar for the pizza, Ichiza Kitchen’s pop-up for dim sum, Mama Dut for bao, Obon Shokudo for curry udon, and Mis Tacones for tacos and burritos. They’re comforting in different ways — all foods that feel like a hug. When it comes to vegan newcomers, Daddy’s can’t be beat when I’m craving a smash burger. Whenever I have out of town guests, I love introducing them to the meze and raki at Lokanta.”
-Waz Wu, Eater Portland contributor

“Due to a busy year, my go-to spots were generally food carts. I’m always down for Matt’s BBQ Tacos at Hinterland (paired with one of the matching cocktails from the bar), a classic jianbing from Bing Mi, a breakfast sandwich from Fried Egg, and pad see ew from Suphatra Thai at the Barley Pod. Other than that, my husband and I never say no to a hearty bowl of tonkotsu red ramen from Kinboshi.”
-Zoe Baillargeon, Eater Portland contributor

“When I wasn’t eating for work, I regularly went to the Grocery Cocktail and Social, Los Alambres, Grassa on the Vancouver waterfront, BBQ Blessings, Joe Brown’s, and Slow Fox.”
-Rachel Pinsky, Eater Portland’s Vancouver contributor

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have dined at Kann more than any other restaurant this year. My other go-to destination was Elmer’s for lunch with my dear friends Peter Cho and Sun Young Park.”
-Gary Okazaki (@garythefoodie), renowned globe-trotting eater

“I hate to admit I’m still fully in goblin mode, which means I order delivery way more than I go out. That said, Mekha has definitely been my go-to, whether I get the Phnom Penh noodles, bo bun hue, or classic pho with everything in it. The broth is always phenomenal and somehow manages to still be hot when it arrives. Nicholas is also in my regular rotation. The Arabian Breeze meze (with a kabob on the side) is good for at least two or three meals. Honestly, I could eat fluffy pita and muhammara daily and not get bored.”
-Krista Garcia, Eater Portland contributor

“A list of my regular go-to destinations in 2022 starts with Eem/Paadee/Langbaan/Phuket Cafe… basically Earl Ninsom’s restaurants. That restaurant group has provided homes away from home for me. They’re so much the foundation of my food-centric life here that I actually secretly-ish eloped in the back of Paadee, where Langbaan was originally located. Magna Kusina, Sunrice at Deadshot, and Baon Kainan are also foundational go-tos for me in 2022. I found comfort in food from my Filipino roots to get me through the pandemic, and I’ve found community and home with the people who have made the cuisine accessible here and put it in the spotlight. Sebastiano’s and Lazy Susan are less than five minutes from my house, and again, the people behind both businesses became my source of community and comfort. Both spots also took the food game to the next level in the Montavilla neighborhood. República and Co. restaurants are a major fixture in my dining destinations of 2022, in particular breakfasts and lunches at La Fondita, Los Ponchos, etc etc.”
-Nori de Vega (@nomnom_nori), influencer