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Three small oysters topped with peach-colored granita sit on top of urchin, clam, and mussel shells in a bowl. Quaintrelle serves Pacific Northwestern seafood in Southeast Portland.
Oysters with watermelon granita at Quaintrelle.
Molly J. Smith / EPDX

The 38 Essential Restaurants and Food Carts in Portland

The city’s most astounding restaurants, food carts, bars, and more

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Oysters with watermelon granita at Quaintrelle.
| Molly J. Smith / EPDX

With its tangle of rivers, bevy of urban farms, and surplus of talented chefs, Portland is a dining city to its core. At food carts, subterranean bars, and white-tablecloth restaurants, chefs gather some of the region’s finest ingredients to transform into immaculate sushi, handmade pastas, and imaginative pintxos. For a city its size, Portland’s restaurant scene is impressively multifaceted — traditional and offbeat, casual and stylish, covering hundreds of cuisines from various countries and regions around the world. The through-line comes from a shared collaborative nature, a desire to work with other farmers, producers, and even competitors to make something fun and new.

Each quarter, Eater Portland updates the Eater 38, a list of exceptional restaurants, food carts, and markets that define what it means to eat here. The list sticks to businesses that have been open in Portland for at least a year, and add something distinct and invaluable to the dining scene at large. In particular, the restaurants and bars that this map celebrates are those who have gone above and beyond in a period when doing the bare minimum is herculean.

This update, we added standout cart Erica’s Soul Food, Filipino destination Magna, quirky fine dining standby Le Pigeon, vegan Sri Lankan spot Mirisata, and the colorfully eclectic Quaintrelle. We removed two favorite spots that are currently in transition: Langbaan, which is preparing to reopen in Northwest Portland; Ichiza Kitchen, which closes on Killingsworth October 28 and will reopen elsewhere as Jade Rabbit; and Berlu, which is shifting back into fine dining territory with a Vietnamese inflection. In addition, Canard left the map to make room for its sibling, as well as Paley’s Place, which is preparing to close in November. For some of the most exciting new restaurants and carts in Portland, the Eater Portland heatmap is a better fit. The points on this map guide are not ranked; rather, they’re organized geographically.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Gracie’s Apizza

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8737 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203
(971) 512-0007
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Pizzaiolo Craig Melillo doesn’t just make his own dough — a slow-fermented sourdough using Pacific Northwestern grain — for his pizzas; he makes his own cheese. Gracie’s, a small pizzeria in St. Johns, makes tangy and distinct pies with char-dotted crusts and house-pickled accoutrement, served alongside pints of house-made ice cream in flavors like amarena cherry or honey and black pepper. Melillo a humble and extremely talented guy, but he doesn’t make a big fuss about being noticed — that’s part of what makes his food feel so special: It’s something people get to discover. Gracie’s is open for takeout, with outdoor dining in a shared patio space.

A picture of a country ham pizza with cherry tomatoes and aleppo pepper at Gracie’s Apizza in St. Johns
A pizza at Gracie’s
Gracie’s Apizza [Official Photo]

2. St. Jack

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1610 NW 23rd Ave
Portland, OR 97210
(503) 360-1281
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Nothing feels as celebratory as a meal at St. Jack, where diners marvel at beautiful plates in a humming dining room, glasses of Champagne still bubbling on tables indoors and out. Here, diners will find chef Aaron Barnett’s take on French cuisine: Barnett frosts a craggy mountain range of a crispy-fried pork rind with espelette and a touch of maple syrup, the restaurant’s knockout chicken liver mousse is velveteen and has a sweetness reminiscent of rich ice cream, and a simple plate of steak frites comes with an on-point shallot-red wine demi-glace and tangy bearnaise. St. Jack is open indoor and outdoor dining.

3. Bhuna

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704 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(971) 865-2176
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The Indian food served by chef Deepak Kaul is simply soulful, turning each dish into its own little balanced ecosystem: Rich and finely honed spiced blends serve as the foundation for bowls of rogan josh, Goan pork vindaloo, and Chettinad chicken, balanced with refreshing raita and salty-briny mango pickle seeping into a bed of turmeric-yellow basmati rice. Kaul, an expat of fine dining kitchens, dug into his childhood to develop the menu at Bhuna, but make no mistake: This is his food, edited and recreated in his own voice. Bhuna is open for onsite dining, as well as delivery and takeout.

Plates of dishes at Bhuna
A meal at Bhuna, including naan, fried calamari, paneer, and more.
Katie Acheff

4. Mucca Osteria

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1022 SW Morrison St
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 227-5521
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Mucca harkens back to an era of dining — and a caliber of service — hard to find in contemporary Portland, where servers in ties and vests refill water glasses after a sip or two, where dishes meant to be shared are split and plated per person without a second thought, where a bowl of warm focaccia lands on the table just a few moments after diners place their orders. But service is nothing if the food can’t deliver, and Mucca delivers in spades: Ribbons of 500-day prosciutto di parma snugly encase a mound of burrata, a wild-tasting quail leans on a crisp polenta cake and a sprinkle of smoked paprika olive oil powder, a seared scallop sitting on a swipe of parmesan fondue plays pedestal to a dollop of caramelized shallots and garlic blossoms. The restaurant is open for indoor dining on white tablecloths, or outdoor dining just off the tracks of the MAX downtown.

A very yellow pasta comes with garlic blossoms, olive oil powder, veal bolognese, and sundried tomatoes on a grey plate at Mucca
Yolk-yellow pasta tossed with sundried tomatoes and veal bolognese at Mucca
Brooke Jackson-Glidden

5. Duck House Chinese Restaurant

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1968 SW 5th Ave
Portland, OR 97201
(971) 801-8888
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In a casual former taproom, Duck House has finally provided Portland with a dreamy Chinese restaurant in the heart of the city. Since his 2016 arrival, San Diego chef Ivan Liu has played with heat and aromatics like a master, from delicate wontons with savory chile-oil-spiked broth to tingly dan dan noodles with borderline-bitter bite. The restaurant is open for takeout, onsite dining, and delivery.

An overhead photo of a bowl of beef noodle soup at Downtown restaurant Duck House
Beef noodle soup at Duck House
Nick Woo

6. Maurice

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921 SW Oak St
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 224-9921
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In a bright, beautifully appointed hole-in-the-wall venue near Powell's Books, Kristen D. Murray delivers exactly what Portland didn't know it needed: an incredibly charming "pastry luncheonette" that focuses equal attention on sweets and savory fare. Now, Murray is serving her delicate black pepper cheesecakes, warm Meyer lemon pudding cakes, and artfully adorned open-faced sandwiches in an outdoor dining space. The restaurant is also open for takeout — it’s best to eat the restaurant’s rich cones of chocolat capuchin while strolling around downtown Portland.

The open-format kitchen at Maurice
The counter at Maurice’s famous luncheonette
Dina Avila

7. Lovely's Fifty Fifty

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4039 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 281-4060
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In a pizza cafe that feels casual but intimate, pizzaiola Sarah Minnick embraces paradoxes beautifully: She took something brimming with childhood nostalgia — pizza and ice cream — and gave it a high-end twist. Seasonally rotating pizzas arrive strewn with edible flowers and chanterelles atop an airy-but-sturdy pizza dough made with Oregon whole grains. Portland may not be known for its pies, but if someone is defining Portland’s distinct pizza style, it’s Minnick. She takes pre-orders for pizzas; the instructions can be found on her Instagram.

A picture of Lovely’s Fifty Fifty pizza, which comes topped with edible flower petals and squash
A seasonal pie from Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty [Official Photo]

8. Casa Zoraya

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841 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 384-2455
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Since Zoraya Zambrano and her children, Gary and Gloria Marmanillo, opened Casa Zoraya back in 2018, this Peruvian spot has been Piedmont’s under-the-radar destination restaurant: Gary Marmanillo’s ceviches arrive at the table like a work of art, fried calamari adding crunch to the bed of fresh seasonal seafood tossed with a summery leche de tigre. Arroz Chaufa, a Peruvian fried rice dish, comes cheerfully paired with a passionfruit reduction for a dose of acid and sweetness. And the pisco sours feel like they’re shipped straight from the pisco bars in Lima, best sipped on Casa Zoraya’s back patio. The restaurant is also open for takeout and delivery.

A bowl of ceviche in a light orange sauce sits in a bowl with crispy fried calamari and large Peruvian corn kernels.
Ceviche at Casa Zoraya
Brooke Jackson-Glidden

9. Kabba’s Kitchen

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4631 N Albina Ave
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 438-6770
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In a nondescript lot off Albina, Kabba Saidikhan quietly serves exceptional Senegalese and Gambian dishes out of a black-and-silver food cart, from flaky fataya (meat pies) that satisfyingly stretch and tear apart to reveal a core of intricately spiced ground beef, to an acid-laden, whole-fish yassa, balanced with the addition of yellow rice. The cart’s mafe yapp, a creamy tomato-peanut stew with tender hunks of beef, is particularly nice paired with the shop’s bissap. The cart is open for takeout and delivery.

10. Eem

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3808 N Williams Ave st 127
Portland, OR 97227
(971) 295-1645
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Eem is a restaurant born out of collaboration, an amalgamation of Matt Vicedomini’s smoked meats, Earl Ninsom’s curries and salads, Colin Yoshimoto’s snacks and fried chicken, and Eric Nelson’s lively drinks. The resulting menu feels like it truly and cohesively shares those voices, with burnt ends simmering in a sweet coconut milk curry in one of the restaurant’s most beloved dishes. But beyond the menu, Eem feels like a place that treats every employee and customer with respect, a warm spot in a cold city that still feels relaxed when nothing feels relaxing. It’s open for outdoor dining and takeout.

A plate of barbecue pork fried rice sits on an ornate floral plate at Eem
Barbecue pork fried rice at Eem
Dina Avila

11. Kee’s Loaded Kitchen

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5020 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97211

This red food cart and its massive “#Loaded” sign attracts hoards of customers as soon as it opens. Owner Kiauna Nelson and her staff load up gargantuan containers of saucy-and-smoky pot roast and garlicky macaroni and cheese; the menu changes per Nelson’s whim, and her fans usually go along with whatever she feels like serving. There’s a reason for that: Nelson’s food evokes shouts for how flavorful it is, from the fried chicken tossed in a seasoning reminiscent of Buffalo Bleu potato chips to her slices of cake, thrown in with the order for good measure. Plus, Nelson has consistently offered free food to her neighbors throughout the pandemic via her Feed Black Portland events. One meal is enough to feed four, and make no mistake: This is some of Portland’s finest soul food.

12. Nong's Khao Man Gai

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609 SE Ankeny St C
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 740-2907
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The original carts are gone, but Nong's Khao Man Gai’s restaurant space on SE Ankeny is still kicking, despite everything. Chef Nong Poonsukwattana’s signature dish, a deceptively simple take on Hainanese chicken, takes center stage here: Ask five acolytes their favorite part of the dish and each will offer a different answer: the soul-satisfying broth, the rice, Nong's ginger-heavy sauce, or the chicken itself, skins or no. Poonsukwattana’s story is one of dogged perseverance; that has not changed. Nong’s is open for onsite dining, takeout, and delivery.

A picture of Nong Poonsukwattana standing at the counter of her restaurant
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Johnny Acurso

13. Le Pigeon

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738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 546-8796
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Gabriel Rucker, in his years at Le Pigeon (and, on occasion, Canard and the now-closed Little Bird), often molds the casual or unexpected into a fine dining format, from fried chicken to coconut shrimp; it made him uniquely prepared for the “pandemic pivot,” with his “bird boxes” of takeout and meal kits. When Le Pigeon returned, it dabbled in a few different iterations of itself, but the restaurant has settled into its new form, one that is perhaps surprising to those who know Rucker and the restaurant: Le Pigeon is no longer offering an a la carte menu, no longer serving burgers at its bar. Instead, it has become a tasting menu only restaurant, which was, after all, the best way to enjoy Le Pigeon in the old days. Still, Rucker is a master at combining the best of both worlds: A single menu may include “duck in a blanket” with chanterelle mushrooms, “orange chicken” made with rainier cherries, and a dessert of Rucker’s legendary foie gras profiteroles. Tasting menus are available vegetarian, as well, for indoor or outdoor dining by reservation only.

14. Scotch Lodge

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215 SE 9th Ave #102
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 208-2039
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Scotch Lodge, when it opened in 2019, was easily one of the most exciting new bars in Portland — not just for the hard-to-find whisky selection and creative cocktails, but for its menu of truly inventive bar snacks. The menu has retained some of those standouts: a soft shell crab sandwich gets its energy from a white kimchi slaw, the mushroom fettuccine comes coated in fiore sardo and a house Fresno spice, and fried brie sticks rolled in pumpernickel crumbs will rule over any mozzarella stick you’ve ever eaten. The bar is open for indoor dining, with reservations.

15. Normandie

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1005 SE Ankeny St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 233-4129
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Twenty-somethings in t-shirts and jeans sit at teal tables in this airy, cool dining room, surrounded by stormy blue walls printed with seahorses. The decor nods at the restaurant’s vaguely oceanic theme, which the kitchen enforces with dishes like Pacific Northwestern oysters with horseradish granita, or a scallop-shrimp ceviche swimming in an aromatic coconut-pineapple leche de tigre. Surprisingly, some of Normandie’s most memorable dishes rely on land-locked ingredients, from spare ribs that easily release from the bone in a silk glove of maple-bourbon glaze, to a miso deviled egg with a filling whipped smooth and dusted with furikake. Then again, those eggs come with just a few dots of tobiko — a little briny touch never hurt anyone, after all. Normandie is open for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout.

Cut strawberries, cherries, apricots, and nectarines are piled with pistachios and basil over ricotta at Normandie in Portland, Oregon.
A tomato and stone fruit salad at Normandie, piled over a mound of ricotta.
Brooke Jackson-Glidden

16. Hat Yai

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1605 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 764-9701
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Earl Ninsom did it again: After treating Portland to deftly executed Thai cooking at Langbaan and Paadee, the chef and restaurateur created a casual southern Thai compatriot with hardcore devotees. Hat Yai’s shallot-fried chicken, salty and fragrant and just a touch sticky, pairs beautifully with Malayu-style curry and crispy roti, all available in the popular combo No. 1. However, diners will be rewarded for straying from the top billing: The restaurant’s searingly spicy kua gling ground pork is abundant with aromatics and alliums, and the dtom som shrimp pairs seafood with meaty oyster mushrooms in a broth pleasingly sour with tamarind and ginger. Hat Yai is open for takeout, delivery, and patio dining.

Hat Yai fries chicken with a crust of fried shallots, which go well with an optional combination plate of dippable curry, flatbread, and sticky rice
Hat Yai combo with fried chicken, roti, and curry
Nick Woo

17. Ok Omens

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1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 231-9959
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Ok Omens is one of those places that successfully straddles the line between fine dining and casual wine bar, thanks to the rockstar duo of Castagna chef Justin Woodward and sommelier Brent Braun. Woodward’s menu covers everything from airy cheddar-filled beignets and fried chicken Caesar salads to raw Oregon albacore in a lime-leaf guacamole and chicken liver mousse served with house-pickled vegetables. The wine list at Ok Omens isn’t only one of the city’s best, it’s also one of the most fun, written in Braun’s nerdy-cool voice; many of these wines are elusive — rare or from small producers — but Braun makes them feel accessible. The restaurant is open for onsite dining on the patio, as well as takeout and delivery.

The hand of chef Justin Woodward holds a bowl of cheesy beignets at Ok Omens
Cheesy beignets at Ok Omens
Dina Avila

18. Gumba

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1733 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 975-5951
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Gumba seemed like an impossibility: How could someone successfully make gorgeous ribbons of pappardelle in a food cart, let alone pappardelle tossed in mind-bogglingly complex braised short ribs? Now, Jesse Martinez, the man behind the noodles, and business partner Robin Brassaw have moved their pastas, salads, and house-made burrata into a roomy new restaurant space, with additions like killer fried chicken sandwiches and saba-braised beef. Martinez and Brassaw display the same remarkable culinary skill and creativity in the new kitchen as they did in their tiny cart. Gumba is open for onsite dining, with takeout and delivery as well.

19. Nimblefish

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1524 SE 20th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 719-4064
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Chef Cody Auger’s SE Hawthorne sushi counter has become a national destination for Edomae-style sushi: meticulously cured and delicate slivers of fish, potent and pristine in flavor and texture. During the pandemic, Auger transitioned his restaurant into a more takeout and delivery-accessible format, which means the restaurant’s salt-and-vinegar-cured salmon and wild bluefin tuna can arrive alongside maki filled with things like crispy salmon skin, mackerel, and natto. However, the restaurant’s stellar omakase experience has also returned, with limited reservations available via Resy.

20. Quaintrelle

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2032 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 200-5787
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It had been open for years, but chef Ryley Eckersley helped Quaintrelle become a must-visit destination in Portland. Nothing about his food is minimalist: Eckersley plays with a full palette, be it Oregon seafood or fermented garlic honey or edible flowers or a smoked chanterelles or nuoc cham. Each dish, then, feels specifically his, the same way bar manager Camille Cavan’s cocktails, leaning on everything from amari to house-made tiki-adjacent syrups, are hers — it could be said that Cavan is one of the city’s most underrated bartenders. Quaintrelle has moved from its original North Mississippi location, now serving dishes on SE Clinton for indoor and outdoor dining.

A plate comes with a pile of fruits and vegetables, accompanied by a dollop of a pale white sauce dusted in red spice. The dish was served at Quaintrelle’s new location on SE Clinton in Portland, Oregon.
Albacore tuna with cherry, sweet onion, chili and a side of tonnato at Quaintrelle
Molly J. Smith / EPDX

21. Mirisata

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2420 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 233-4675
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There is so much that feels revolutionary about Mirisata: It’s one of Portland’s few — if not the only — collectively owned restaurant, serving vegan Sri Lankan food; Sri Lankan food is already an under-represented cuisine in Portland, let alone a version that is animal-product-free. But a concept does not a restaurant make; Mirisata could be awfully cool without actually making palatable dishes. Good news: the restaurant’s soft string hoppers (essentially pucks made of noodles) sop up sweet, caramelized seeni sambol, as well as a soothing red lentil dal and an earthy potato curry. The restaurant’s string kottu, a sort of stir-fry noodle with veggies and vegan egg, is comforting and best paired with a jackfruit curry. And the parippu vada, crispy fritters filled with split pigeon peas, are absolutely dreamy when dunked in the accompanying green chile sauce. Weekend visitors who can order off the rice-and-curry menu are in for a real treat, banana leaves piled with oyster mushroom curry and deviled sweet potatoes. Mirisata is open for onsite dining and takeout.

22. Magna Kusina

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2525 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 395-8542
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When the highly anticipated Filipino restaurant Magna opened in 2019, it was a great restaurant, one that got better every visit with silky squid ink noodles slick in crab fat, homey bowls of pancit bihon, and a sweet and gently charred biko, or coconut sticky rice. But it seems that chef and owner Carlo Lamagna reaches a new level each time his restaurant passes an anniversary, not just as a chef but as a leader. In 2020, he sold takeout containers of porky lechon, bright purple ube cookies with neon-green pandan frosting, and a supremely tender and saucy brisket kaldereta, setting aside a portion of his takeout profits every week to give back to the community. This year, after a hiatus, Magna reopened with a new menu format that holds space for both the supremely casual and the celebratory, whether it’s a skewer of charcoal-grilled rib-eye, a take on duck dinuguan that turns the blood-laden stew into a deep sauce, or a kare kare that swaps the peanut sauce for a butter made with roasted pumpkin seeds. Magna is open for onsite dining.

Carlo Lamagna’s adobo uses his father’s recipe
Chef Carlo Lamagna cooking in the kitchen at Magna.
Celeste Noche / EPDX

23. Urdaneta

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3033 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 288-1990
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At this intimate pintxo bar, Javier and Jael Canteras have developed a reputation for straight-up goofy dishes winking at Northern Spanish staples, whether it’s an absurdly tender lamb skewer glazed in kalimotxo, a combination of Coca-Cola and red wine, or a ham-and-cheese sandwich made with jamon serrano and American. Still, the traditional Spanish dishes on the menu remain true to the originals, whether it’s a crispy croqueta de jamon or the blackened slice of Basque-style cheesecake. Urdaneta is open for indoor and outdoor seating.

A pintxo sits on a board to be delivered to a table, while chefs continue to prepare dishes in the open-format kitchen
Chefs at Urdaneta prepare pintxos
Emily Moller Photography [Official Photo]

24. Holy Trinity Barbecue

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3582 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97202
(469) 964-9256
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Portland’s Texas barbecue scene has become nationally significant in recent years, from the brisket at Matt’s in North Portland to this up-and-coming Southeast Portland cart. Kyle Rensmeyer is a newer kid on the block, but his 14-hour-smoked brisket, savory and captivating smoked sausage, and cheesy green chile grits have made him a star. Holy Trinity is open for pre-order takeout and walk-ups, with tables available at the pod.

25. Jojo Food Truck

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3582 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97202
(971) 331-4284
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The fried chicken sandwiches at Jojo have become the stuff of legend, hypebeast towers of smoked-then-fried chicken topped with everything from Alabama white sauce to pepper relish. However, often the simplest dishes at Jojo are the team’s finest: the cart’s namesake jojos are crispy with mashed-potato filling, often gleefully dipped in house ranch. Jojo is open for takeout and delivery, with onsite dining at the pod.

Jojo’s spicy chicken sandwich includes a potato salad, crystal hot sauce, sambal mayo, shredded lettuce, butter roll
Fried chicken sandwich at Jojo
Nick Woo

26. Gado Gado

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1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 206-8778
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The Pisha-Dufflys went through a lot last year: Mariah Pisha-Duffly and Tom Pisha-Duffly, the couple at the center of eclectic Indonesian restaurant Gado Gado, opened a second restaurant, had a baby, and lost Tom’s grandmother, all while weathering the challenges of working in the food service industry in 2020. It is astounding, more than anything, that they pulled off what they did: Gado Gado’s colorful takeout stand and patio became a welcoming and cheery respite during a grueling year. Now, the a la carte staples have moved over to Oma’s Hideaway, and Gado Gado has evolved into a true celebration restaurant: The restaurant hinges on an elaborate, prix fixe, “rice table” service, with globes of crispy panipuri cradling sweet corn and shallots, shrimp in lobster broth with brown butter and pineapple, and Gado Gado legends like its roti canai and coconut-sweet beef rendang. It’s open for onsite dining.

27. Matta

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4311 NE Prescott St Ave
Portland, OR 97218
(971) 258-2849
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Matta chef Richard Le refers to his food cart as a Việt Kiều experience: Việt Kiều, a term that refers to ethnically Vietnamese people living outside the country, is how Le identifies, a first generation Vietnamese American chef from California. Thus, his food is a representation of that identity: He recreates fast food classics like Filet-O-Fish with Thai chili tartar sauce and breakfast sandwiches on pandan milk buns, while also making dishes his mom, aunt, and grandmother made while he was a kid, like thit kho, a caramel-y pork belly reined in with a hit of fish sauce. Le is a deeply casual, instantly likeable chef, and his dishes reflect his creativity, charm, and honesty. Matta is open for takeout.

28. Malka

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4546 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97206
(503) 899-4245
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When Malka opened at the worst possible time — the beginning of 2020 — it was clear it would be something special. Jessie Aron and Colin McArthur created an otherworldly space in which they concoct mystifying, maximalist dishes, including an unforgettable matzo ball khao soi. But in a brutally difficult first year, Malka surprised us again and again: Employees like Eli Goldberg spent off-hours working with mutual aid networks. The restaurant donated meals to food insecure diners on a day-to-day basis. And the meals themselves remained dazzlingly intricate, like a Umi ramen curry bolognese with stir-fried Brussels sprouts, or a mac and cheese with traces of berbere and vermouth. Malka is open for takeout and delivery.

29. Kim Jong Grillin

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4606 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97206
(503) 929-0522
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Kim Jong Grillin, a Korean cart that has probably earned its spot in the city’s hall of food cart fame, still nails every “bibim box” it sells, from the lightly charred japchae to the lipstick-red kimchi. Han Ly Hwang, the cart’s owner, has been slinging bulgogi and kimchi fried rice for free on and off throughout the pandemic, feeding food insecure and unemployed restaurant workers. When he’s not doing that, he’s raising money for the Black Resilience Fund or celebrating other restaurants on his cart’s page. Kim Jong Grillin is open for takeout and delivery.

30. Dirty Lettuce

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4727 NE Fremont St
Portland, OR 97213
(971) 888-4158
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Dirty Lettuce’s Alkebulan Moroski is meticulous and exacting with the meat-free proteins at their vegan restaurant, Dirty Lettuce: The chef goes down to the very foundations of the protein structure, mimicking the balance of fat and muscle that gives chicken its juiciness or pork ribs that “fall off the bone” quality. But at the core of Dirty Lettuce is an allegiance to the true Southern classics, be it a Cajun mac and cheese that boggles the mind with its faux sausage, or a fried “chicken” with a crackly skin indistinguishable from the real thing. The mission is to make vegan comfort food that feels true to the original, in an effort to get people more interested in eating less meat — non-judgmental, but still intent on excellence. And trust us: Eating those sour cream and onion mashed potatoes won’t feel like any sort of sacrifice, even without the dairy. Dirty Lettuce is open for takeout.

Two takeout boxes of fried and barbecue vegan meats from Dirty Lettuce, with sides of black-eyed peas, greens, and jambalaya
Takeout from Dirty Lettuce.
Waz Wu / EPDX

31. Apizza Scholls

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4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215
(503) 233-1286
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Hawthorne’s no-frills pizza cafe still produces some of the town’s best pies. Brian Spangler shows respect for his dough, refusing to overload his crisp, quick-fired crusts with more toppings than they can handle. Thankfully, there's no need for DIY concoctions given the pizzeria's meticulous equation of sauce, fresh mozzarella, pecorino romano, and, in the case of the Pizza Amore, salty capicola scattered on top. Apizza Scholls is open for takeout or delivery.

A pizza with mozzarella, sausage, and tomato at Apizza Scholls
A while pizza at Apizza Scholls
Nick Woo

32. Rose VL Deli

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6424 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97206
(503) 206-4344
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Tucked into a mini strip mall on SE Powell, Rose VL is the cheerful sister restaurant to Ha VL, serving those famous traditional Vietnamese soups with unending depth. Two to three different soups or noodles are served for takeout daily, along with brace-yourself strong Vietnamese iced coffee. Portlanders often flock on Saturday for cao lầu, a regional Vietnamese noodle dish with piles of herbs and a tangy, savory sauce. It’s open for takeout, onsite dining, and delivery.

A dish of noodles, pork, chicken, and a mess of herbs, with a side of hot stock
Cao lau at Rose VL Deli
Nick Woo

33. Tierra Del Sol Cuisine and Catering

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7238 SE Foster Rd #1
Portland, OR 97206
(503) 975-4805
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Most of the carts at Portland Mercado, the colorful Latin American food cart pod in Foster-Powell, could earn a spot among Portland’s best restaurants; still, Tierra Del Sol’s complex moles and sloppy-delicious tlayudas — smothered fried tortillas with beans — stand out. Chef Amalia Sierra left a career as a social worker for migrant farm workers to focus on her family business, which serves meticulously balanced Oaxacan specialties. No visit is complete without mole amarillo; its elusively layered spice is hard to forget. Tierra del Sol is open for takeout from both the original cart and its new spot in the food hall Rocket Empire Machine.

An overhead picture of Tierra del Sol’s mole amarillo on the left and mole verde on the right
An assortment of moles from Tierra del Sol
Brooke Jackson-Glidden

34. Erica's Soul Food

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803 SE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 922-5519
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In a bright yellow cart parked outside Growler’s Taproom on 82nd, Erica Montgomery tosses wings in maple barbecue sauce, smothers chicken thighs in mushroom gravy, and tops grits with gouda and roasted tomatoes. Here, Portlanders will find staples like crispy-fried catfish, black-eyed peas, and boiled peanuts, though Montgomery caught the attention of greater Portland thanks to her Atlanta-style hot lemon pepper wings: One bite into a crispy-but-saucy wing induces a tangy pop of acid, blended with a gentle-but-present heat that coats the mouth. The cart’s Buffalo bacon ranch wings cling to that same acid with a nice touch of smoky, porky flavor for balance. But if the wings are off the menu, savvy diners should nab a box of those tender chicken thighs drenched in rosemary-heavy gravy, with a scoop of textbook-tasty mac and cheese. Erica’s Soul Food is open for takeout, with no seating onsite.

Two takeout boxes sit on the hood of a car, filled with chicken in a mushroom gravy, mac and cheese, collard greens, and red-hued wings.
Wings, mac and cheese, and smothered chicken at Erica’s Soul Food. Erica’s, a food cart in Southeast Portland, is known for its soul food as well as its Atlanta-style wings.
Brooke Jackson-Glidden / EPDX

35. Tèo Bun Bo Hue

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8220 SE Harrison St #230
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 208-3532

In one of the most talent-packed restaurant alcoves off SE 82nd, this Vietnamese restaurant — with its line of shiny Vespas near the counter — has no formal menu; instead, customers walk up and order pho (chicken or beef) or the restaurant’s namesake dish, bún bò Huế. Pros know to go for the latter, extra spicy: In a dark-but-pristine broth, meaty pork knuckles, thin ribbons of beef and pork shank, and slippery rice noodles swim below a floating layer of alliums, joined by the accompanying mound of herbs and vegetables. Bún bò Huế is a perfectly multifaceted dish, with the soprano notes of lemongrass and mint given body with the brooding flavors of pork blood and beef bones; Teo makes the city’s best. It’s open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.

36. Master Kong

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8435 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97266
(971) 373-8248

This Chinese restaurant in Southeast Portland is as casual as they come, but the dishes that roll out of Amy and Kang Zhu’s kitchen are deftly executed and profoundly flavorful — juicy pork dumplings lovingly made by hand, the interplay of ginger and pork in a bowl of congee, and the pile of herbs tucked into a jianbing keep the memory of a meal at Master Kong in mind long after it’s finished. Master Kong is open for takeout and delivery.

An overhead shot of an assortment of plates at Master Kong
Wonton noodle soup and jianbing at Master Kong
Nick Woo

37. Birrieria La Plaza

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600 SE 146th Ave
Portland, OR 97233

Tijuana-style quesabirria, a cheesy take on the braised beef dish birria de res, is a national sensation for a reason: Melty, gooey, and sometimes crispy cheese is objectively delicious when paired with a slow-braised beef. But Birrieria La Plaza, the truck serving crisp and cheesy vampiros, takeaway cups of steamy consomme, and plates of snug tacos topped with scattered cilantro and onions, is so much more than a cart capitalizing on a trend; the tacos coming out of this cart could be some of the city’s best — the foundational birria is a gently spicy and grounded masterpiece. Birrieria La Plaza remains open for takeout.

38. Tortilleria Y Tienda De Leon’s

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16223 NE Glisan St
Portland, OR 97230
(503) 255-4356
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Under a ceiling of piñatas, this Mexican market and deli remains one of the Portland area’s top spots for guisados. Pros know to order at least one of the the beefy, gently spiced birria tacos, which come on the market’s house tortillas, though the pork in chile verde is no slouch either. For those uninterested in tacos, the deli’s chile relleno serves as a worthy vehicle for the various guisados. Taking home a few pints of each, plus some tortillas and cactus salad, is the move.

A close-up shot of carnitas tacos from Tienda de Leon
Tacos from Tienda De Leon
Nick Woo

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1. Gracie’s Apizza

8737 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203
A picture of a country ham pizza with cherry tomatoes and aleppo pepper at Gracie’s Apizza in St. Johns
A pizza at Gracie’s
Gracie’s Apizza [Official Photo]

Pizzaiolo Craig Melillo doesn’t just make his own dough — a slow-fermented sourdough using Pacific Northwestern grain — for his pizzas; he makes his own cheese. Gracie’s, a small pizzeria in St. Johns, makes tangy and distinct pies with char-dotted crusts and house-pickled accoutrement, served alongside pints of house-made ice cream in flavors like amarena cherry or honey and black pepper. Melillo a humble and extremely talented guy, but he doesn’t make a big fuss about being noticed — that’s part of what makes his food feel so special: It’s something people get to discover. Gracie’s is open for takeout, with outdoor dining in a shared patio space.

8737 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97203

2. St. Jack

1610 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97210

Nothing feels as celebratory as a meal at St. Jack, where diners marvel at beautiful plates in a humming dining room, glasses of Champagne still bubbling on tables indoors and out. Here, diners will find chef Aaron Barnett’s take on French cuisine: Barnett frosts a craggy mountain range of a crispy-fried pork rind with espelette and a touch of maple syrup, the restaurant’s knockout chicken liver mousse is velveteen and has a sweetness reminiscent of rich ice cream, and a simple plate of steak frites comes with an on-point shallot-red wine demi-glace and tangy bearnaise. St. Jack is open indoor and outdoor dining.

1610 NW 23rd Ave
Portland, OR 97210

3. Bhuna

704 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Plates of dishes at Bhuna
A meal at Bhuna, including naan, fried calamari, paneer, and more.
Katie Acheff

The Indian food served by chef Deepak Kaul is simply soulful, turning each dish into its own little balanced ecosystem: Rich and finely honed spiced blends serve as the foundation for bowls of rogan josh, Goan pork vindaloo, and Chettinad chicken, balanced with refreshing raita and salty-briny mango pickle seeping into a bed of turmeric-yellow basmati rice. Kaul, an expat of fine dining kitchens, dug into his childhood to develop the menu at Bhuna, but make no mistake: This is his food, edited and recreated in his own voice. Bhuna is open for onsite dining, as well as delivery and takeout.

704 NW 21st Ave
Portland, OR 97209

4. Mucca Osteria

1022 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205
A very yellow pasta comes with garlic blossoms, olive oil powder, veal bolognese, and sundried tomatoes on a grey plate at Mucca
Yolk-yellow pasta tossed with sundried tomatoes and veal bolognese at Mucca
Brooke Jackson-Glidden

Mucca harkens back to an era of dining — and a caliber of service — hard to find in contemporary Portland, where servers in ties and vests refill water glasses after a sip or two, where dishes meant to be shared are split and plated per person without a second thought, where a bowl of warm focaccia lands on the table just a few moments after diners place their orders. But service is nothing if the food can’t deliver, and Mucca delivers in spades: Ribbons of 500-day prosciutto di parma snugly encase a mound of burrata, a wild-tasting quail leans on a crisp polenta cake and a sprinkle of smoked paprika olive oil powder, a seared scallop sitting on a swipe of parmesan fondue plays pedestal to a dollop of caramelized shallots and garlic blossoms. The restaurant is open for indoor dining on white tablecloths, or outdoor dining just off the tracks of the MAX downtown.

1022 SW Morrison St
Portland, OR 97205

5. Duck House Chinese Restaurant

1968 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97201
An overhead photo of a bowl of beef noodle soup at Downtown restaurant Duck House
Beef noodle soup at Duck House
Nick Woo

In a casual former taproom, Duck House has finally provided Portland with a dreamy Chinese restaurant in the heart of the city. Since his 2016 arrival, San Diego chef Ivan Liu has played with heat and aromatics like a master, from delicate wontons with savory chile-oil-spiked broth to tingly dan dan noodles with borderline-bitter bite. The restaurant is open for takeout, onsite dining, and delivery.

1968 SW 5th Ave
Portland, OR 97201

6. Maurice

921 SW Oak St, Portland, OR 97205
The open-format kitchen at Maurice
The counter at Maurice’s famous luncheonette
Dina Avila

In a bright, beautifully appointed hole-in-the-wall venue near Powell's Books, Kristen D. Murray delivers exactly what Portland didn't know it needed: an incredibly charming "pastry luncheonette" that focuses equal attention on sweets and savory fare. Now, Murray is serving her delicate black pepper cheesecakes, warm Meyer lemon pudding cakes, and artfully adorned open-faced sandwiches in an outdoor dining space. The restaurant is also open for takeout — it’s best to eat the restaurant’s rich cones of chocolat capuchin while strolling around downtown Portland.

921 SW Oak St
Portland, OR 97205

7. Lovely's Fifty Fifty

4039 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217
A picture of Lovely’s Fifty Fifty pizza, which comes topped with edible flower petals and squash
A seasonal pie from Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty [Official Photo]

In a pizza cafe that feels casual but intimate, pizzaiola Sarah Minnick embraces paradoxes beautifully: She took something brimming with childhood nostalgia — pizza and ice cream — and gave it a high-end twist. Seasonally rotating pizzas arrive strewn with edible flowers and chanterelles atop an airy-but-sturdy pizza dough made with Oregon whole grains. Portland may not be known for its pies, but if someone is defining Portland’s distinct pizza style, it’s Minnick. She takes pre-orders for pizzas; the instructions can be found on her Instagram.

4039 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217

8. Casa Zoraya

841 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97217
A bowl of ceviche in a light orange sauce sits in a bowl with crispy fried calamari and large Peruvian corn kernels.
Ceviche at Casa Zoraya
Brooke Jackson-Glidden

Since Zoraya Zambrano and her children, Gary and Gloria Marmanillo, opened Casa Zoraya back in 2018, this Peruvian spot has been Piedmont’s under-the-radar destination restaurant: Gary Marmanillo’s ceviches arrive at the table like a work of art, fried calamari adding crunch to the bed of fresh seasonal seafood tossed with a summery leche de tigre. Arroz Chaufa, a Peruvian fried rice dish, comes cheerfully paired with a passionfruit reduction for a dose of acid and sweetness. And the pisco sours feel like they’re shipped straight from the pisco bars in Lima, best sipped on Casa Zoraya’s back patio. The restaurant is also open for takeout and delivery.

841 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97217

9. Kabba’s Kitchen

4631 N Albina Ave, Portland, OR 97217

In a nondescript lot off Albina, Kabba Saidikhan quietly serves exceptional Senegalese and Gambian dishes out of a black-and-silver food cart, from flaky fataya (meat pies) that satisfyingly stretch and tear apart to reveal a core of intricately spiced ground beef, to an acid-laden, whole-fish yassa, balanced with the addition of yellow rice. The cart’s mafe yapp, a creamy tomato-peanut stew with tender hunks of beef, is particularly nice paired with the shop’s bissap. The cart is open for takeout and delivery.

4631 N Albina Ave
Portland, OR 97217

10. Eem

3808 N Williams Ave st 127, Portland, OR 97227
A plate of barbecue pork fried rice sits on an ornate floral plate at Eem
Barbecue pork fried rice at Eem
Dina Avila

Eem is a restaurant born out of collaboration, an amalgamation of Matt Vicedomini’s smoked meats, Earl Ninsom’s curries and salads, Colin Yoshimoto’s snacks and fried chicken, and Eric Nelson’s lively drinks. The resulting menu feels like it truly and cohesively shares those voices, with burnt ends simmering in a sweet coconut milk curry in one of the restaurant’s most beloved dishes. But beyond the menu, Eem feels like a place that treats every employee and customer with respect, a warm spot in a cold city that still feels relaxed when nothing feels relaxing. It’s open for outdoor dining and takeout.

3808 N Williams Ave st 127
Portland, OR 97227

11. Kee’s Loaded Kitchen

5020 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97211

This red food cart and its massive “#Loaded” sign attracts hoards of customers as soon as it opens. Owner Kiauna Nelson and her staff load up gargantuan containers of saucy-and-smoky pot roast and garlicky macaroni and cheese; the menu changes per Nelson’s whim, and her fans usually go along with whatever she feels like serving. There’s a reason for that: Nelson’s food evokes shouts for how flavorful it is, from the fried chicken tossed in a seasoning reminiscent of Buffalo Bleu potato chips to her slices of cake, thrown in with the order for good measure. Plus, Nelson has consistently offered free food to her neighbors throughout the pandemic via her Feed Black Portland events. One meal is enough to feed four, and make no mistake: This is some of Portland’s finest soul food.

5020 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97211

12. Nong's Khao Man Gai

609 SE Ankeny St C, Portland, OR 97214
A picture of Nong Poonsukwattana standing at the counter of her restaurant
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Johnny Acurso

The original carts are gone, but Nong's Khao Man Gai’s restaurant space on SE Ankeny is still kicking, despite everything. Chef Nong Poonsukwattana’s signature dish, a deceptively simple take on Hainanese chicken, takes center stage here: Ask five acolytes their favorite part of the dish and each will offer a different answer: the soul-satisfying broth, the rice, Nong's ginger-heavy sauce, or the chicken itself, skins or no. Poonsukwattana’s story is one of dogged perseverance; that has not changed. Nong’s is open for onsite dining, takeout, and delivery.

609 SE Ankeny St C
Portland, OR 97214

13. Le Pigeon

738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

Gabriel Rucker, in his years at Le Pigeon (and, on occasion, Canard and the now-closed Little Bird), often molds the casual or unexpected into a fine dining format, from fried chicken to coconut shrimp; it made him uniquely prepared for the “pandemic pivot,” with his “bird boxes” of takeout and meal kits. When Le Pigeon returned, it dabbled in a few different iterations of itself, but the restaurant has settled into its new form, one that is perhaps surprising to those who know Rucker and the restaurant: Le Pigeon is no longer offering an a la carte menu, no longer serving burgers at its bar. Instead, it has become a tasting menu only restaurant, which was, after all, the best way to enjoy Le Pigeon in the old days. Still, Rucker is a master at combining the best of both worlds: A single menu may include “duck in a blanket” with chanterelle mushrooms, “orange chicken” made with rainier cherries, and a dessert of Rucker’s legendary foie gras profiteroles. Tasting menus are available vegetarian, as well, for indoor or outdoor dining by reservation only.

738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

14. Scotch Lodge

215 SE 9th Ave #102, Portland, OR 97214

Scotch Lodge, when it opened in 2019, was easily one of the most exciting new bars in Portland — not just for the hard-to-find whisky selection and creative cocktails, but for its menu of truly inventive bar snacks. The menu has retained some of those standouts: a soft shell crab sandwich gets its energy from a white kimchi slaw, the mushroom fettuccine comes coated in fiore sardo and a house Fresno spice, and fried brie sticks rolled in pumpernickel crumbs will rule over any mozzarella stick you’ve ever eaten. The bar is open for indoor dining, with reservations.

215 SE 9th Ave #102
Portland, OR 97214

15. Normandie

1005 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214
Cut strawberries, cherries, apricots, and nectarines are piled with pistachios and basil over ricotta at Normandie in Portland, Oregon.
A tomato and stone fruit salad at Normandie, piled over a mound of ricotta.
Brooke Jackson-Glidden

Twenty-somethings in t-shirts and jeans sit at teal tables in this airy, cool dining room, surrounded by stormy blue walls printed with seahorses. The decor nods at the restaurant’s vaguely oceanic theme, which the kitchen enforces with dishes like Pacific Northwestern oysters with horseradish granita, or a scallop-shrimp ceviche swimming in an aromatic coconut-pineapple leche de tigre. Surprisingly, some of Normandie’s most memorable dishes rely on land-locked ingredients, from spare ribs that easily release from the bone in a silk glove of maple-bourbon glaze, to a miso deviled egg with a filling whipped smooth and dusted with furikake. Then again, those eggs come with just a few dots of tobiko — a little briny touch never hurt anyone, after all. Normandie is open for indoor and outdoor dining, as well as takeout.

1005 SE Ankeny St
Portland, OR 97214

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16. Hat Yai

1605 NE Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97211
Hat Yai fries chicken with a crust of fried shallots, which go well with an optional combination plate of dippable curry, flatbread, and sticky rice
Hat Yai combo with fried chicken, roti, and curry
Nick Woo

Earl Ninsom did it again: After treating Portland to deftly executed Thai cooking at Langbaan and Paadee, the chef and restaurateur created a casual southern Thai compatriot with hardcore devotees. Hat Yai’s shallot-fried chicken, salty and fragrant and just a touch sticky, pairs beautifully with Malayu-style curry and crispy roti, all available in the popular combo No. 1. However, diners will be rewarded for straying from the top billing: The restaurant’s searingly spicy kua gling ground pork is abundant with aromatics and alliums, and the dtom som shrimp pairs seafood with meaty oyster mushrooms in a broth pleasingly sour with tamarind and ginger. Hat Yai is open for takeout, delivery, and patio dining.

1605 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211

17. Ok Omens

1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214