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Portland Food Writers’ Best Restaurant Meals of 2022

Tasting menus across Portland — and beyond — cemented themselves as core food memories this year

A lemon is filled with cultured cream and topped with lemon thyme leaves at Okta.
A cultured-cream-filled lemon at Okta in McMinnville
Evan Sung

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.

“Okay, so full disclosure, my best restaurant meal of the year was in Spain, at this place called Cinc Sentits. But in Portland, it’s a tougher call. My first meal at Kann was so lovely — six of us sat at a big, round table and ate all the appetizers, all the desserts, plus that amazing whole fish, epis-brined chicken, and beef rib. Working on the prix fixe map, I had so many amazing meals, though the three that really stick out in this moment were my meals at Le Pigeon (Watermelon ham! Hamachi crudo topped with cantaloupe popping boba!), Langbaan (Halibut in fermented fish curry! Pickled mussel salad with lotus stems and mint!), and Nimblefish (A5 Wagyu! Cold-smoked saba!).”
-Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor

“Top-to-bottom meal, I think it’s got to be the Taste America dinner that Kann hosted. Chef de cuisine Varanya Geyoonsawat served an original menu with visiting chef Natalia Vallejo from Cocina al Fondo in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There was an amazing crab stew, smoked butterfish with sweet corn mayi moulen, and a spiced chocolate mousse with avocado ice cream. It was comfort food in a way I’d never experienced, and I’ve been reminiscing about it ever since.”
-Janey Wong, Eater Portland reporter

Tartuca. In August, chef Jamie Wilcox made me fall somehow deeper in love with the Oregon peach with an incredible burrata app and corn cake dessert. Plus a lamb sausage-Humboldt Fog pizza I still dream about.”
-Thom Hilton, Eater Portland contributor

“There are three experiences that stand out in my mind: Surong’s tasting menu, Berlu’s tasting menu, and a family-style spread of Kann’s vegan dishes. What made those meals so memorable is how each one highlights the chef’s heritage, whether it’s Chinese, Vietnamese, or Haitian, through a series of creative dishes. Outside of Portland, Crossroads Kitchen in LA impressed me yet again; this time, thanks to the most decadent vegan carbonara I’ve ever had.”
-Waz Wu, Eater Portland contributor

“In Portland, Langbaan’s strong comeback to the tasting menu got me to fall in love with them all over again, which I didn’t know was possible since I never stopped. From start to finish and every single time, no other experience comes close in regards to variety and depth of flavors. Modern Thai food at its finest. Just outside of Portland, Ōkta in McMinnville absolutely blew my expectations out of the water. From the meticulous level of service to each and every well thought-out course, it was the most refined without being rigid fine dining experience I’ve ever had.”
-Nori de Vega (@nomnom_nori), influencer

“I finally went to Oma’s Hideaway (I know, I was so late) and fell in love with their flaky, fall-apart-in-your-hands roti and the wonton mee.”
-Zoe Baillargeon, Eater Portland contributor

“The Cafe Rowan charity dinner “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” was simply a joy to be a part of. The amazing line-up included some of my favorite chefs around town, and I got to spend the evening with great friends I’ve made this past year through my food blog. My favorite bite that evening was the scallop dish by chef Maristela of Langbaan. Time slowed down as I indulged in each bite.”
-Ehow Chen (@ehow.eats), influencer

República and De Noche. These restaurants from the same group both explore the excellence of Mexican food and drink. República is great for a special occasion with its exquisite tasting menu and mezcal pairings, while De Noche is a casual spot with comforting offerings like sopa de fideo and quesadilla Oaxaqueña folded into a tortilla made with three types of masa.”
-Rachel Pinsky, Eater Portland contributor

“No place fused creative with comfort as naturally as Toki, distilling the best of Han Oak alongside fresh takes on more obvious Korean classics. Bring as many friends as possible so you can order — and share — every last thing on the menu.”
-Nathan Williams, Eater Portland contributor

“Prix fixe is having a comeback, and our first visit to Tercet blew us away. The menu is just so thoughtfully and flawlessly executed, and the wine pairings are fun and interesting. Hard to believe there’s only three people running this hidden gem. They truly delivered such a world-class dining experience.”
-Vicki and Vanessa Ng (@foodbellypdx), influencers

Ryan and Elena Roadhouse were responsible for three of my favorite meals of the year. First, ‘Izakaya in the Canaries’ was their summer popup that was inspired by their trip to Spain. Second, their ‘Lil Nashi’ popup is my all-time favorite brunch highlighted by an astounding dish of mashed potato, soft-boiled egg, dashi gravy, and ikura. Last, there was a November dinner at the re-opened Nodoguro with some of the finest sushi in the USA. The most memorable single dish of the year was from a September meal at Berlu: melon, shiitake, durian ice cream with a melon/shiitake tea - absolutely revelatory. My overall favorite meal was in LA at chef Brian Baik’s pop-up called Corridor 109, a Korean-inspired tasting menu. The food was stupendous and world-class.”
-Gary Okazaki (@garythefoodie), renowned globe-trotting eater

“Is it a cheat to name a place that’s not in Portland? 2022 was when I was finally able to resume international travel, so I might have to shout out the carne in su jugo at Nicos in Mexico City and pretty much all the pintxos in San Sebastian — the scallop in ajoblanco cream and topped with coffee vinaigrette, fried seaweed and sesame seeds at Casa Urola in particular. In Portland, it was nice to see the return of Langbaan (even if I miss the backroom vibes a bit). The summer tasting menu was full of standouts, especially the clam dish in broth with fresh coconut meat. (I can’t remember all of the other components!)”
-Krista Garcia, Eater Portland contributor