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A bowl of thinly sliced kohlrabi sits in a blue bowl with torn fresh herbs, pomegranate seeds, and crumbled pistachios.
A seasonal salad with lemon vinaigrette and pomegranate seeds at Ripe Cooperative.
Brooke Jackson-Glidden/EPDX

The 38 Essential Restaurants and Food Carts in Portland, Spring 2022

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

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A seasonal salad with lemon vinaigrette and pomegranate seeds at Ripe Cooperative.
| Brooke Jackson-Glidden/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 the city’s 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 brought back the newly reopened Erica’s Soul Food and Clinton’s Pacific Northwestern haven Jacqueline. Additionally, we added Vietnamese-Chinese stunner Jin Jin Deli, as well as relative newcomers Ripe Cooperative and Toki. For this update, we removed Teo, Master Kong, Duck House, Bhuna, and Maurice, while we review the new menu format. For some of the most exciting new restaurants and carts in Portland, the Eater Portland heatmap is a better fit.

Note: Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID 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 slings sourdough pies and top-notch ice cream out of this small St. Johns pizzeria, often selling out before the night ends. Tangy, char-dotted crusts support thin sheets of mortadella or house-pickled accoutrement, served alongside pints of flavors like amarena cherry or tahini chip. Melillo is 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. 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 owner Aaron Barnett’s take on French cuisine, now aided by the mind of chef John Denison. The simple classics are done astoundingly well here: 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. But dishes like mushroom vol-au-vent topped with a bouquet of lettuces and nasturtium, or beef tartare with pickled beets and rye crumbs, or cuttlefish with brown butter and electric green spring peas, are the ones that keep St. Jack at top-of-mind when thinking about special occasion restaurants. St. Jack is open for indoor and heated outdoor dining; reservations are recommended.

3. Ringside Steakhouse

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2165 W Burnside St
Portland, OR 97210
(503) 223-1513
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Ringside is Portland’s essential steakhouse, serving slabs of beef and James Beard’s beloved onion rings since 1944. Its cozy dining room — replete with fireplaces, burgundy booths, and white tablecloths — screams steakhouse, and the menu echoes the same: Diners start with prawn cocktail or an iceberg wedge, maybe a bowl of French onion soup encrusted with gruyere. Dry-aged rib-eyes or buttery filet mignon sit next to a gargantuan pile of garlic mashed potatoes, drenched in bearnaise or lavish foie gras butter. Prime rib comes with the customary Yorkshire pudding and fresh horseradish, perhaps with a decadent addition of lobster mashed potatoes. But the real draw of Ringside is likely its roster of career servers — the restaurant is home to the city’s finest service, from the first Old Fashioned to the last glass of pinot. It’s open for indoor and outdoor dining, plus takeout.

4. Toki Restaurant

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580 SW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 312-3037
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When the Han Oak team opened Toki on Portland’s west side, they started small, with a few fun, casual snacks: variations on Korean fried chicken, a dry-aged beef cheeseburger sealed inside a steamed bun, breakfast sandwiches stacked with koji-cured pork belly. Past its first anniversary, however, Toki has grown into a restaurant that shows off the wide range of talent found within the kitchen. All of the aforementioned dishes remain on the menu, but they’re joined by elegant house-made noodle dishes and a gorgeous scallop juk, little seared nuggets of shellfish dotted with amber trout roe. It has taken the magic of Han Oak and transformed it into something fitting the current dining climate — you can pop in for takeout fried chicken, or sit down to a full-on tasting menu. Toki is open for takeout, delivery, and dine-in service, with proof of vaccination.

5. 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, with proof of vaccination.

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

6. Republica

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721 NW 9th Ave Suite #175
Portland, OR 97209
(541) 900-5836
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It’s not just that República makes the city’s finest quesadilla, tri-colored masa folded over salty-stretchy quesillo with a side of nutty salsa macha. It’s not just that República’s tasting menu involves ingenious dishes like chanterelle adobo risotto with refried and nixtamalized beans. It’s not just that each server explains the ideation, culinary lineage, and historical context for each dish. It’s that República truly feels like a team effort, creative culinary minds coming up with a full day’s worth of excellence — from morning conchas to evening moles. It’s open for takeout and onsite dining during the day, with indoor and outdoor dining for dinner (proof of vaccination required).

7. Murata Restaurant

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200 SW Market St
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 227-0080
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When identifying Portland’s “essential” restaurants, it seems only fitting to include Murata, the stalwart Japanese restaurant downtown. Since 1988, Portlanders have stepped into its tatami room for dinners of miso soup, tonkatsu, and broiled mackerel, pots of soothing zosui filled with ribbons of egg, chirashi adorned with generous slices of salmon and sweet scallop. Murata is old-school in the best way, a style of Japanese restaurant becoming rarer and rarer with time; sitting in its dining room, mulling over crispy tempura or chicken teriyaki, induces a reinvigorating nostalgia hard to find elsewhere. Murata is open for onsite dining and takeout.

8. 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 charm — pizza and ice cream — and gave it a high-end twist. Seasonally rotating pizzas are a garden of edible flowers and mushrooms, atop an airy-but-sturdy pizza dough made with Oregon whole grains. If someone is defining Portland’s distinct pizza style, it’s Minnick. She takes pre-orders for pizzas, with instructions available via her Instagram; the restaurant is also open for dine-in.

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]

9. 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: ceviches land at the table like a work of art, fried calamari adding crunch to a bed of fresh seasonal seafood tossed with a summery leche de tigre. Arroz Chaufa, a Peruvian fried rice dish, gets an upgrade with a passionfruit reduction, which adds dose of acid and sweetness. And the pisco sours feel like they’re shipped straight from Lima, best sipped on Casa Zoraya’s back patio. The restaurant is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout.

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

10. 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. Flaky fataya (meat pies) satisfyingly stretch and tear apart to reveal a core of intricately spiced ground beef, while acid-laden, whole-fish yassa derives balance from a bed of yellow rice. The cart’s mafe yapp, a creamy tomato-peanut stew with tender hunks of beef, is particularly well complemented by the shop’s bissap. The cart is open for takeout and delivery, with a few tables onsite.

11. 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 and barbecue fried rice combining brisket with shishito peppers. 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 takeout, indoor dining with proof of vaccination, and outdoor dining in heated pods.

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

12. Erica's Soul Food

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120 NE Russell St
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 922-5519
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In a bright yellow cart parked outside East Coast sandwich shop Lottie & Zula’s, 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. 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.

13. 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. One meal is enough to feed four, and make no mistake: This is some of Portland’s finest soul food.

14. Berlu

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605 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214

Returning to the Berlu dining room after more than a year away feels, in many ways, like coming full circle. Tame Impala still plays on the speakers; the same little pillows hide in the nooks of the banquette. However, the menu now incorporates the context of Vince Nguyen’s last two years of cooking, exploring Vietnamese ingredients and dishes through his various pop-ups and pivots. Silken tofu custard arrives studded with pieces of fresh durian, geoduck, and little caramelized petals of lychee. Tiny lobster meatballs, peppery and juicy, float in a sweet broth, surrounded by luscious tendon and orange balls of squash. And for dessert, a charcoal-grilled bánh bò nướng, springy and almost savory; diners dunk the cake in a pandan-steeped, reduced, and smoked coconut milk, a decadent dollop of caviar and swirl of fig leaf oil floating on top. Berlu is open for tasting menu service indoors with proof of vaccination, as well as Sunday bakery service for takeout.

15. 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

16. 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 blending 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 dining by reservation only; proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required.

17. Matta

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807 NE Couch St
Portland, OR 97232
(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, with outdoor tables onsite.

18. 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.

19. 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.

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

20. Hat Yai

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1605 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 764-9701
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Akkapong 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 crunchy, 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 combines seafood with meaty oyster mushrooms in a broth pleasingly sour with tamarind and ginger. Hat Yai is open for takeout, with outdoor seating available.

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

21. Nimblefish

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1524 SE 20th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 719-4064
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This Southeast Hawthorne sushi counter has become a national destination for Edomae-style sushi: delicate, cured slivers of fish, potent and pristine in flavor and texture. Any visit may involve golden, buttery Bafun uni, or bracingly briny cured mackerel, or albacore marinated with garlic and shoyu. The restaurant’s stellar omakase experience has returned, with limited reservations available via Resy; the restaurant also offers a la carte meals for walk-ins.

22. 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, fermented garlic honey, or fennel confit. 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 Southeast Clinton for onsite dining; proof of vaccination required.

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

23. Jacqueline

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2039 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 327-8637
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When Jacqueline opened on Southeast Clinton, it slowly became known as a Pacific Northwestern seafood restaurant, a place for $1 oysters and Dungeness crab toast. Both are still available at Jacqueline today — the former during happy hour, the latter on the dinner menu. However, Jacqueline treats its seasonal produce with the same care and focus as its McFarland Springs trout or scallop crudo. A charred bite of pineapple mimics the sear on a slice of albacore; the pop of a pickled shiitake stands up to a smoked black cod; a lightly juniper-cured salmon benefits from the earthiness of charred beets. The restaurant is open for onsite dining, with proof of vaccination.

24. 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 collectively owned restaurants, 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. 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 well-suited to the restaurant’s 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 sporting oyster mushroom curry and deviled sweet potatoes. Mirisata is open for onsite dining and takeout.

25. 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 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. After a hiatus, Magna reopened with a new menu format that holds space for both the supremely casual and the festive, whether it’s a skewer of charcoal-grilled quail, a whole fried branzino cradling sweet-and-sour vegetables, or calamansi-scented sisig with silken egg. 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

26. Ripe Cooperative

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5425 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 841-6968
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When Beast, Naomi Pomeroy’s influential tasting menu restaurant, was open, it was a destination for tourists and locals — a quintessential celebration spot. Across the street, Pomeroy and Kyle Linden Webster ran Expatriate, a casual cocktail bar counterpart, with burgers and wonton nachos. Ripe Cooperative lands somewhere in between: On a leisurely weekend afternoon, Portlanders sip briny white wine on a plant-lined patio, daintily biting into shokupan rolls filled with Dungeness crab. In the evenings, bowls of lightly coated, house-made bucatini carbonara arrive at tables with pomp and circumstance, a yolk perched on top of a noodle beehive. And salads walk the line between intricate and chaste, well-executed vinaigrettes coating in-season produce with a few deliberate adornments. It is one of those any-time, dress-it-up or dress-it-down restaurants, with a freezer and refrigerator case full of take-home treats. It offers seating indoors or out.

27. 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, like 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 crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside croquetas de jamon, or a blackened slice of Basque cheesecake. Urdaneta is open for indoor dining with proof of vaccination, and outdoor dining for walk-ins.

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]

28. 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 crunchy 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, 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

29. Gado Gado

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1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 206-8778
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During the pandemic, 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 — particularly for its elaborate, prix fixe, “rice table” service. Here, globes of crispy panipuri cradle pickled cucumber and shallots, house-made siu mai are crowned with seasoned trout roe, and flaky roti canai sops up coconut-sweet beef rendang. It’s open for onsite dining, on the patio or indoors; proof of vaccination is required.

30. 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. Despite its brutally difficult first year, Malka surprises us again and again: the meals remain 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.

31. 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. The sleeper hit, however, is its KJG hot dog, an Olympia Provisions hot dog topped with sesame sprouts, spicy daikon, kimchi mayo, and pickled mango. 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. Kim Jong Grillin is open for takeout and delivery.

32. Dirty Lettuce

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4727 NE Fremont St
Portland, OR 97213
(971) 888-4158
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Alkebulan Moroski is 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 and onsite dining.

33. 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 methodical 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

34. 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 Southeast 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 daily, along with brace-yourself strong Vietnamese iced coffee. Portlanders often flock on Saturday for cao lầu, a regional Vietnamese noodle dish with 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

35. 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 spot in the food hall Rocket Empire Machine; Portland Mercado offers outdoor seating, as well.

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

36. Jin Jin Deli

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8220 SE Harrison St #138
Portland, OR 97216
(503) 774-8899
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In a neighborhood littered with exceptional Vietnamese and Chinese food, Jin Jin has consistently churned out fine tuned versions of both for decades. Here, visitors grab takeout containers of salted fish fried rice or bánh bột chiên, fried rice flour cakes, from an unassuming cafe space in a Montavilla strip mall. Many of the dishes on the menu are reliably delicious, but Jin Jin’s hủ tiếu sa tế bò — spicy sate beef noodle soup — is what really earns Jin Jin a spot on this map. It is a masterpiece: ribbons of thinly-shaved beef and wide rice noodles peek out of the depths of a nutty broth scented with five spice, supporting fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and greens. It’s available for takeout or dine-in.

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 consomé, 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. 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 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 slings sourdough pies and top-notch ice cream out of this small St. Johns pizzeria, often selling out before the night ends. Tangy, char-dotted crusts support thin sheets of mortadella or house-pickled accoutrement, served alongside pints of flavors like amarena cherry or tahini chip. Melillo is 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. 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 owner Aaron Barnett’s take on French cuisine, now aided by the mind of chef John Denison. The simple classics are done astoundingly well here: 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. But dishes like mushroom vol-au-vent topped with a bouquet of lettuces and nasturtium, or beef tartare with pickled beets and rye crumbs, or cuttlefish with brown butter and electric green spring peas, are the ones that keep St. Jack at top-of-mind when thinking about special occasion restaurants. St. Jack is open for indoor and heated outdoor dining; reservations are recommended.

1610 NW 23rd Ave
Portland, OR 97210

3. Ringside Steakhouse

2165 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97210

Ringside is Portland’s essential steakhouse, serving slabs of beef and James Beard’s beloved onion rings since 1944. Its cozy dining room — replete with fireplaces, burgundy booths, and white tablecloths — screams steakhouse, and the menu echoes the same: Diners start with prawn cocktail or an iceberg wedge, maybe a bowl of French onion soup encrusted with gruyere. Dry-aged rib-eyes or buttery filet mignon sit next to a gargantuan pile of garlic mashed potatoes, drenched in bearnaise or lavish foie gras butter. Prime rib comes with the customary Yorkshire pudding and fresh horseradish, perhaps with a decadent addition of lobster mashed potatoes. But the real draw of Ringside is likely its roster of career servers — the restaurant is home to the city’s finest service, from the first Old Fashioned to the last glass of pinot. It’s open for indoor and outdoor dining, plus takeout.

2165 W Burnside St
Portland, OR 97210

4. Toki Restaurant

580 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

When the Han Oak team opened Toki on Portland’s west side, they started small, with a few fun, casual snacks: variations on Korean fried chicken, a dry-aged beef cheeseburger sealed inside a steamed bun, breakfast sandwiches stacked with koji-cured pork belly. Past its first anniversary, however, Toki has grown into a restaurant that shows off the wide range of talent found within the kitchen. All of the aforementioned dishes remain on the menu, but they’re joined by elegant house-made noodle dishes and a gorgeous scallop juk, little seared nuggets of shellfish dotted with amber trout roe. It has taken the magic of Han Oak and transformed it into something fitting the current dining climate — you can pop in for takeout fried chicken, or sit down to a full-on tasting menu. Toki is open for takeout, delivery, and dine-in service, with proof of vaccination.

580 SW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97205

5. 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, with proof of vaccination.

1022 SW Morrison St
Portland, OR 97205

6. Republica

721 NW 9th Ave Suite #175, Portland, OR 97209

It’s not just that República makes the city’s finest quesadilla, tri-colored masa folded over salty-stretchy quesillo with a side of nutty salsa macha. It’s not just that República’s tasting menu involves ingenious dishes like chanterelle adobo risotto with refried and nixtamalized beans. It’s not just that each server explains the ideation, culinary lineage, and historical context for each dish. It’s that República truly feels like a team effort, creative culinary minds coming up with a full day’s worth of excellence — from morning conchas to evening moles. It’s open for takeout and onsite dining during the day, with indoor and outdoor dining for dinner (proof of vaccination required).

721 NW 9th Ave Suite #175
Portland, OR 97209

7. Murata Restaurant

200 SW Market St, Portland, OR 97201

When identifying Portland’s “essential” restaurants, it seems only fitting to include Murata, the stalwart Japanese restaurant downtown. Since 1988, Portlanders have stepped into its tatami room for dinners of miso soup, tonkatsu, and broiled mackerel, pots of soothing zosui filled with ribbons of egg, chirashi adorned with generous slices of salmon and sweet scallop. Murata is old-school in the best way, a style of Japanese restaurant becoming rarer and rarer with time; sitting in its dining room, mulling over crispy tempura or chicken teriyaki, induces a reinvigorating nostalgia hard to find elsewhere. Murata is open for onsite dining and takeout.

200 SW Market St
Portland, OR 97201

8. 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 charm — pizza and ice cream — and gave it a high-end twist. Seasonally rotating pizzas are a garden of edible flowers and mushrooms, atop an airy-but-sturdy pizza dough made with Oregon whole grains. If someone is defining Portland’s distinct pizza style, it’s Minnick. She takes pre-orders for pizzas, with instructions available via her Instagram; the restaurant is also open for dine-in.

4039 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217

9. 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: ceviches land at the table like a work of art, fried calamari adding crunch to a bed of fresh seasonal seafood tossed with a summery leche de tigre. Arroz Chaufa, a Peruvian fried rice dish, gets an upgrade with a passionfruit reduction, which adds dose of acid and sweetness. And the pisco sours feel like they’re shipped straight from Lima, best sipped on Casa Zoraya’s back patio. The restaurant is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout.

841 N Lombard St
Portland, OR 97217

10. 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. Flaky fataya (meat pies) satisfyingly stretch and tear apart to reveal a core of intricately spiced ground beef, while acid-laden, whole-fish yassa derives balance from a bed of yellow rice. The cart’s mafe yapp, a creamy tomato-peanut stew with tender hunks of beef, is particularly well complemented by the shop’s bissap. The cart is open for takeout and delivery, with a few tables onsite.

4631 N Albina Ave
Portland, OR 97217

11. 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 and barbecue fried rice combining brisket with shishito peppers. 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 takeout, indoor dining with proof of vaccination, and outdoor dining in heated pods.

3808 N Williams Ave st 127
Portland, OR 97227

12. Erica's Soul Food

120 NE Russell St, Portland, OR 97212

In a bright yellow cart parked outside East Coast sandwich shop Lottie & Zula’s, 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. 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.

120 NE Russell St
Portland, OR 97212

13. 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. 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

14. Berlu

605 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214

Returning to the Berlu dining room after more than a year away feels, in many ways, like coming full circle. Tame Impala still plays on the speakers; the same little pillows hide in the nooks of the banquette. However, the menu now incorporates the context of Vince Nguyen’s last two years of cooking, exploring Vietnamese ingredients and dishes through his various pop-ups and pivots. Silken tofu custard arrives studded with pieces of fresh durian, geoduck, and little caramelized petals of lychee. Tiny lobster meatballs, peppery and juicy, float in a sweet broth, surrounded by luscious tendon and orange balls of squash. And for dessert, a charcoal-grilled bánh bò nướng, springy and almost savory; diners dunk the cake in a pandan-steeped, reduced, and smoked coconut milk, a decadent dollop of caviar and swirl of fig leaf oil floating on top. Berlu is open for tasting menu service indoors with proof of vaccination, as well as Sunday bakery service for takeout.

605 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214

15. 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

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16. 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 blending 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 dining by reservation only; proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required.

738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214

17. Matta

807 NE Couch St, Portland, OR 97232

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, with outdoor tables onsite.

807 NE Couch St
Portland, OR 97232

18. 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

19. 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.

1005 SE Ankeny St
Portland, OR 97214

20. 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

Akkapong 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 crunchy, 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 combines seafood with meaty oyster mushrooms in a broth pleasingly sour with tamarind and ginger. Hat Yai is open for takeout, with outdoor seating available.

1605 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211

21. Nimblefish

1524 SE 20th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

This Southeast Hawthorne sushi counter has become a national destination for Edomae-style sushi: delicate, cured slivers of fish, potent and pristine in flavor and texture. Any visit may involve golden, buttery Bafun uni, or bracingly briny cured mackerel, or albacore marinated with garlic and shoyu. The restaurant’s stellar omakase experience has returned, with limited reservations available via Resy; the restaurant also offers a la carte meals for walk-ins.

1524 SE 20th Ave
Portland, OR 97214

22. Quaintrelle

2032 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202
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

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, fermented garlic honey, or fennel confit. 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 Southeast Clinton for onsite dining; proof of vaccination required.

2032 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202

23. Jacqueline

2039 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202

When Jacqueline opened on Southeast Clinton, it slowly became known as a Pacific Northwestern seafood restaurant, a place for $1 oysters and Dungeness crab toast. Both are still available at Jacqueline today — the former during happy hour, the latter on the dinner menu. However, Jacqueline treats its seasonal produce with the same care and focus as its McFarland Springs trout or scallop crudo. A charred bite of pineapple mimics the sear on a slice of albacore; the pop of a pickled shiitake stands up to a smoked black cod; a lightly juniper-cured salmon benefits from the earthiness of charred beets. The restaurant is open for onsite dining, with proof of vaccination.

2039 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202

24. Mirisata

2420 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214

There is so much that feels revolutionary about Mirisata: It’s one of Portland’s few collectively owned restaurants, 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. 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 well-suited to the restaurant’s 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 sporting oyster mushroom curry and deviled sweet potatoes. Mirisata is open for onsite dining and takeout.

2420 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214

25. Magna Kusina

2525 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202
Carlo Lamagna’s adobo uses his father’s recipe
Chef Carlo Lamagna cooking in the kitchen at Magna.
Celeste Noche / EPDX

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 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. After a hiatus, Magna reopened with a new menu format that holds space for both the supremely casual and the festive, whether it’s a skewer of charcoal-grilled quail, a whole fried branzino cradling sweet-and-sour vegetables, or calamansi-scented sisig with silken egg. Magna is open for onsite dining.

2525 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202

26. Ripe Cooperative

5425 NE 30th Ave, Portland, OR 97211

When Beast, Naomi Pomeroy’s influential tasting menu restaurant, was open, it was a destination for tourists and locals — a quintessential celebration spot. Across the street, Pomeroy and Kyle Linden Webster ran Expatriate, a casual cocktail bar counterpart, with burgers and wonton nachos. Ripe Cooperative lands somewhere in between: On a leisurely weekend afternoon, Portlanders sip briny white wine on a plant-lined patio, daintily biting into shokupan rolls filled with Dungeness crab. In the evenings, bowls of lightly coated, house-made bucatini carbonara arrive at tables with pomp and circumstance, a yolk perched on top of a noodle beehive. And salads walk the line between intricate and chaste, well-executed vinaigrettes coating in-season produce with a few deliberate adornments. It is one of those any-time, dress-it-up or dress-it-down restaurants, with a freezer and refrigerator case full of take-home treats. It offers seating indoors or out.

5425 NE 30th Ave
Portland, OR 97211

27. Urdaneta

3033 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211
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]

At this intimate pintxo bar, Javier and Jael Canteras have developed a reputation for straight-up goofy dishes winking at Northern Spanish staples, like 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 crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside croquetas de jamon, or a blackened slice of Basque cheesecake. Urdaneta is open for indoor dining with proof of vaccination, and outdoor dining for walk-ins.

3033 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

28. Jojo Food Truck

3582 SE Powell Blvd, Portland, OR 97202
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

The fried chicken sandwiches at Jojo have become the stuff of legend, hypebeast towers of crunchy 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, with onsite dining at the pod.

3582 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, OR 97202

29. Gado Gado

1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd, Portland, OR 97212

During the pandemic, 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 — particularly for its elaborate, prix fixe, “rice table” service. Here, globes of crispy panipuri cradle pickled cucumber and shallots, house-made siu mai are crowned with seasoned trout roe, and flaky roti canai sops up coconut-sweet beef rendang. It’s open for onsite dining, on the patio or indoors; proof of vaccination is required.

1801 NE Cesar E Chavez Blvd
Portland, OR 97212

30. Malka

4546 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

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. Despite its brutally difficult first year, Malka surprises us again and again: the meals remain 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.

4546 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97206

31. Kim Jong Grillin

4606 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206

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. The sleeper hit, however, is its KJG hot dog, an Olympia Provisions hot dog topped with sesame sprouts, spicy daikon, kimchi mayo, and pickled mango. 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. Kim Jong Grillin is open for takeout and delivery.

4606 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97206

32. Dirty Lettuce

4727 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213

Alkebulan Moroski is 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 and onsite dining.

4727 NE Fremont St
Portland, OR 97213

33. Apizza Scholls

4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215