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Two bowls sit on a table at Matutina. One is full of a porridge topped with mushrooms, microgreens, and a poached egg; another is full of greens, pinto beans, and scrambled eggs.
Porridge and beans and greens from Matutina.
Brooke Jackson-Glidden/Eater Portland

The Hottest New Restaurants and Food Carts in Portland, January 2023

Miso-butter porridge topped with chile morita oil, lamb Stroganoff tortas, and other noteworthy dishes from new spots around town

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Porridge and beans and greens from Matutina.
| Brooke Jackson-Glidden/Eater Portland

As a city rife with turnover, sitting comfortably on the culinary cutting edge, Portland sees restaurants open doors with regularity, hoping to make a splash in a town that’s overabundant with talent for its size. Some of those newcomers become the talk of the town quickly, among food writers or neighborhood regulars in search of something special.

Thus, we present the Eater Heatmap, which covers some of the most exciting restaurants that have opened in the past six months. Know of a spot that should be on our radar? Send us a tip by emailing pdx@eater.com.

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.

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Pastificio d’Oro

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Many Portland restaurants make pasta in house; few truly make it by hand, without extruders. At this St. Johns restaurant, in the former Gracie’s Apizza space, Chase Dopson rolls out dough with a plain-old pin, cutting tagliatelle and stamping out anolini for bowls of beautiful pasta. Pastifico d’Oro has a strong handle on the sophisticated simplicity of Italian food — dishes that may seem unadorned, but rely on hours of simmering, proofing, sweating, kneading, growing. Start with Maggie’s Salad, a cool combination of seasonal greens picked out by co-owner Maggie Irwin. Beyond that, any visit may involve squash-stuffed tortelli tossed in cultured butter and sage, ribbons of pasta dressed in ragú, pillowy-not-gummy gnocchi with Castelmagno cheese sauce and hazelnuts.

No Saint

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This Northeast Portland pop-up has settled into its own space, once inhabited by Seastar Bakery and Handsome Pizza. Those are big shoes to fill, but Gabriella Casabianca and Anthony Siccardi are clearly up for the task. At tables with mismatched chairs, plates of brown butter-balsamic-dressed chicories and kale leaves hidden under a pile of snowy Parmesan precede gorgeous, wood-fired pizzas. Forgoing gimmicks and cliches, these pies come topped with truly inventive combinations of flavors: n’duja and carrots, potatoes and pea shoots, saba and capers. It takes a lot to open a Portland pizzeria that stands out anymore. This one stands out.

Heavenly Creatures

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The candle-lit and boisterous dining room of this Broadway restaurant evokes memories of Barcelona wine bars, glasses of wine held in one hand while another swipes a potato chip through a cloud of aerated Camembert. Heavenly Creatures comes from chef Aaron Barnett and sommelier Joel Gunderson, the opening team at Eater 38 stalwart St. Jack; Barnett seems looser and more relaxed here, serving casual, sometimes rustic, primally tasty dishes. A fat slab of crusty bread slathered in tonnato with capers and yellowtail is a Bizarro World bagel with lox and schmear. That and the Camembert are must-orders.

Jojo (the Restaurant)

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While Jojo’s bright-blue Southeast Powell cart had already developed a rabid following for its fried chicken sandwiches and crispy potato wedges, the restaurant — a stylish, ’70s-retro-vibed spot in the Pearl District — is a step above the original cart, with an expanded menu including a variety of memorable additions. The vegan menu items are just as tasty as the longstanding hits, if not more: Spicy jojos dressed in Nashville hot “dust” and a vegan cheese sauce are satisfyingly messy and maximalist, and the hulking slabs of fried tofu on the sandwiches are crunchy with a fluffy, spongy interior. And when it comes to drinks, the cocktails have a silliness that matches the Jojo menu and owner Justin Hintze’s voice, whether it’s a Hypnotiq-spiked lemon vodka drink with the vegetal sweetness of carrot or a chocolate-banana milkshake with Cocoa Pebbles cereal milk and a dose of Green Chartreuse.

Jacob & Sons

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Don’t get too confused by the setup at this Northwest Portland Jewish deli; while dine-in is off the table for now, it’s still open for delivery and takeout orders of next-level pickles and cured meats. Owner Noah Jacob spent time at California deli Wise Sons before opening this catering-company-turned-restaurant, where he now serves super dilly matzo ball soups with the tiniest hint of ginger alongside a knockout Reuben with plenty of house kraut and pastrami. We mean it, though — don’t leave without a quart of pickles, especially half-sours when available.

Arriving just under the wire, this Pearl District pan-Asian spot could be one of the best restaurants to open in 2022. The space is stunning, all soft tones and low lighting with a sprawling cherry tree at the center of the dining room. Steak tartare arrives at the table looking flashy, petals of shaved black truffle showing off. The truffle flavor in the final dish is subtle, with a real elegance; onions marinated in paprika oil round out the dish, giving it a strong base note of allium. Short ribs, tucked in folded bao buns, are simultaneously juicy and silky, with a brightness provided by shiso. And the restaurant’s triumphant Peking duck, arriving at the table with steamer basket of chun bing, is all about its skin, potato-chip-crispness giving way to a ribbon of luscious rendered fat.

Matutina

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Republica & Co. continues to grow all over town, and this cheery cafe and bakery delves into some cool new territory for the “Mexican-forward” restaurant group. A case full of crackly-frosted conchas and other pastries sits next to the counter, where westside locals order porchetta breakfast sandwiches and champurrado. The star on the menu so far: a savory porridge, rich with miso butter, topped with an orderly row of surprisingly sweet and juicy mushrooms. It’s finished with a drizzle of chile morita oil.

Fortune BBQ Noodle House

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In the glass case of this tiny Montavilla storefront, glistening ducks hang from wire hooks alongside lengthy cuts of char siu and whole racks of spare ribs. The Chinese barbecue here is astoundingly succulent, lacquered in sticky-sweet glaze that traps in moisture. It’s available on a rice plate, by the pound, and resting on a pile of noodles in a bowl of soup. When opting for the soup, it’s imperative to add a few of the restaurant’s dumplings, stuffed with plump shrimp.

Gregory Gourdet’s long-anticipated Haitian restaurant has finally opened, and it has exceeded expectations. Diners walk under a row of pothos plants before sitting down at round white tables, drinking cocktails covered in edible flowers. The duck here is sticky with a cane syrup glaze, notes of pineapple and tamarind lingering among its hearty savory notes. But it’s the peanut creamed greens, earthy and slightly sweet with mounting heat, that are perhaps the hardest to forget. Reservations can be tough to nab, but they’re available online.

Menya Hokusei

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This ramen shop, hidden underneath the Hawthorne Bridge, isn’t the most intricately adorned spot in town, but it doesn’t matter — Menya Hokusei is focused on its noodles, and it shows. The ramen noodles here are made in house with Oregon grains, flecks of bran adding bite. The broths are precise and restrained without losing depth, in particular the mushroom-y umami Hokusei shoyu, a beef-and-chicken stock topped with shaved truffles and a slab of buttery rib-eye. For something more traditional, the restaurant’s miso is a fan favorite, with house-made, medium-thick massaged noodles.

Lilia Comedor

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At this spot from the team behind República, Pacific Northwestern cuisine is filtered through a Mexican American lens, translating into dishes like trout crudo nestled in a sweetly acidic Concord grape aguachile, or a chanterelle enchilada draped with silky guajillo adobo. Dishes here are highly seasonal, which means the hazelnut crumble perched atop a corn crème brûlée one week might be seen in a different dessert the next. Seats at the bustling chef’s counter are often open for walk-ins, giving diners the chance to see the heart of Juan Gomez’s domain — the restaurant is named after the former República sous chef’s late mother.

Street Disco

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This Foster-Powell pop-up-turned-restaurant exudes a laid-back energy that is reflected in their food. Servers deliver glasses of Slovenian rosé and chilled red to tables as diners wait for meatballs studded with pine nuts or chicories dressed in a celeriac dressing. Dishes at Street Disco are creative without overloading plates with unnecessary ingredients, making for a breezy dining experience from the first plate of oysters to the grand finale braised lamb neck. Reservations are available online.

Tracing the culinary through lines of Eastern Europe and Mexico is not easy. However, Sasanna Babashoff is intimately familiar with them: Her family, with roots in both Mexico and Russia, grew up eating borscht and tamales, and at her Sellwood food cart, she blends her culinary lineage for dishes like lamb Stroganoff tortas and, naturally, borscht tamales. The former is a captivatingly complicated blend of chile-laced meat, pickled onions, and subtly spiced Stroganoff, cohesive despite its intricacy. The borscht tamales are similarly detailed, topped with dill and cilantro and beets with a heavily seasoned masa. These dishes are hard to nail down, but they work impressively well.

Maisha PDX

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Historically, trying to find Kenyan food in Portland has been almost impossible — that fact proved particularly frustrating for Tachibana Sheikh, who spent his childhood in Kenya before his family made its way to the United States. Now, he runs his own Kenyan cart in Sellwood’s Piknik Park pod, stuffing pockets of mandazi with a salty-sour yellow curry and scooping a collard greens dish known as sukuma wiki over ugali, a savory maize flour porridge. Some of the dishes on the menu borrow from Somalian culinary traditions, considering his family’s roots there; bariis, a richly spiced rice dish, arrives with bananas and a pile of savory beef suqaar, made with faux beef. The kicker: The whole cart is vegan.

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Pastificio d’Oro

Many Portland restaurants make pasta in house; few truly make it by hand, without extruders. At this St. Johns restaurant, in the former Gracie’s Apizza space, Chase Dopson rolls out dough with a plain-old pin, cutting tagliatelle and stamping out anolini for bowls of beautiful pasta. Pastifico d’Oro has a strong handle on the sophisticated simplicity of Italian food — dishes that may seem unadorned, but rely on hours of simmering, proofing, sweating, kneading, growing. Start with Maggie’s Salad, a cool combination of seasonal greens picked out by co-owner Maggie Irwin. Beyond that, any visit may involve squash-stuffed tortelli tossed in cultured butter and sage, ribbons of pasta dressed in ragú, pillowy-not-gummy gnocchi with Castelmagno cheese sauce and hazelnuts.

No Saint

This Northeast Portland pop-up has settled into its own space, once inhabited by Seastar Bakery and Handsome Pizza. Those are big shoes to fill, but Gabriella Casabianca and Anthony Siccardi are clearly up for the task. At tables with mismatched chairs, plates of brown butter-balsamic-dressed chicories and kale leaves hidden under a pile of snowy Parmesan precede gorgeous, wood-fired pizzas. Forgoing gimmicks and cliches, these pies come topped with truly inventive combinations of flavors: n’duja and carrots, potatoes and pea shoots, saba and capers. It takes a lot to open a Portland pizzeria that stands out anymore. This one stands out.

Heavenly Creatures

The candle-lit and boisterous dining room of this Broadway restaurant evokes memories of Barcelona wine bars, glasses of wine held in one hand while another swipes a potato chip through a cloud of aerated Camembert. Heavenly Creatures comes from chef Aaron Barnett and sommelier Joel Gunderson, the opening team at Eater 38 stalwart St. Jack; Barnett seems looser and more relaxed here, serving casual, sometimes rustic, primally tasty dishes. A fat slab of crusty bread slathered in tonnato with capers and yellowtail is a Bizarro World bagel with lox and schmear. That and the Camembert are must-orders.

Jojo (the Restaurant)

While Jojo’s bright-blue Southeast Powell cart had already developed a rabid following for its fried chicken sandwiches and crispy potato wedges, the restaurant — a stylish, ’70s-retro-vibed spot in the Pearl District — is a step above the original cart, with an expanded menu including a variety of memorable additions. The vegan menu items are just as tasty as the longstanding hits, if not more: Spicy jojos dressed in Nashville hot “dust” and a vegan cheese sauce are satisfyingly messy and maximalist, and the hulking slabs of fried tofu on the sandwiches are crunchy with a fluffy, spongy interior. And when it comes to drinks, the cocktails have a silliness that matches the Jojo menu and owner Justin Hintze’s voice, whether it’s a Hypnotiq-spiked lemon vodka drink with the vegetal sweetness of carrot or a chocolate-banana milkshake with Cocoa Pebbles cereal milk and a dose of Green Chartreuse.

Jacob & Sons

Don’t get too confused by the setup at this Northwest Portland Jewish deli; while dine-in is off the table for now, it’s still open for delivery and takeout orders of next-level pickles and cured meats. Owner Noah Jacob spent time at California deli Wise Sons before opening this catering-company-turned-restaurant, where he now serves super dilly matzo ball soups with the tiniest hint of ginger alongside a knockout Reuben with plenty of house kraut and pastrami. We mean it, though — don’t leave without a quart of pickles, especially half-sours when available.

Janken

Arriving just under the wire, this Pearl District pan-Asian spot could be one of the best restaurants to open in 2022. The space is stunning, all soft tones and low lighting with a sprawling cherry tree at the center of the dining room. Steak tartare arrives at the table looking flashy, petals of shaved black truffle showing off. The truffle flavor in the final dish is subtle, with a real elegance; onions marinated in paprika oil round out the dish, giving it a strong base note of allium. Short ribs, tucked in folded bao buns, are simultaneously juicy and silky, with a brightness provided by shiso. And the restaurant’s triumphant Peking duck, arriving at the table with steamer basket of chun bing, is all about its skin, potato-chip-crispness giving way to a ribbon of luscious rendered fat.

Matutina

Republica & Co. continues to grow all over town, and this cheery cafe and bakery delves into some cool new territory for the “Mexican-forward” restaurant group. A case full of crackly-frosted conchas and other pastries sits next to the counter, where westside locals order porchetta breakfast sandwiches and champurrado. The star on the menu so far: a savory porridge, rich with miso butter, topped with an orderly row of surprisingly sweet and juicy mushrooms. It’s finished with a drizzle of chile morita oil.

Fortune BBQ Noodle House

In the glass case of this tiny Montavilla storefront, glistening ducks hang from wire hooks alongside lengthy cuts of char siu and whole racks of spare ribs. The Chinese barbecue here is astoundingly succulent, lacquered in sticky-sweet glaze that traps in moisture. It’s available on a rice plate, by the pound, and resting on a pile of noodles in a bowl of soup. When opting for the soup, it’s imperative to add a few of the restaurant’s dumplings, stuffed with plump shrimp.

Kann

Gregory Gourdet’s long-anticipated Haitian restaurant has finally opened, and it has exceeded expectations. Diners walk under a row of pothos plants before sitting down at round white tables, drinking cocktails covered in edible flowers. The duck here is sticky with a cane syrup glaze, notes of pineapple and tamarind lingering among its hearty savory notes. But it’s the peanut creamed greens, earthy and slightly sweet with mounting heat, that are perhaps the hardest to forget. Reservations can be tough to nab, but they’re available online.

Menya Hokusei

This ramen shop, hidden underneath the Hawthorne Bridge, isn’t the most intricately adorned spot in town, but it doesn’t matter — Menya Hokusei is focused on its noodles, and it shows. The ramen noodles here are made in house with Oregon grains, flecks of bran adding bite. The broths are precise and restrained without losing depth, in particular the mushroom-y umami Hokusei shoyu, a beef-and-chicken stock topped with shaved truffles and a slab of buttery rib-eye. For something more traditional, the restaurant’s miso is a fan favorite, with house-made, medium-thick massaged noodles.

Lilia Comedor

At this spot from the team behind República, Pacific Northwestern cuisine is filtered through a Mexican American lens, translating into dishes like trout crudo nestled in a sweetly acidic Concord grape aguachile, or a chanterelle enchilada draped with silky guajillo adobo. Dishes here are highly seasonal, which means the hazelnut crumble perched atop a corn crème brûlée one week might be seen in a different dessert the next. Seats at the bustling chef’s counter are often open for walk-ins, giving diners the chance to see the heart of Juan Gomez’s domain — the restaurant is named after the former República sous chef’s late mother.

Street Disco

This Foster-Powell pop-up-turned-restaurant exudes a laid-back energy that is reflected in their food. Servers deliver glasses of Slovenian rosé and chilled red to tables as diners wait for meatballs studded with pine nuts or chicories dressed in a celeriac dressing. Dishes at Street Disco are creative without overloading plates with unnecessary ingredients, making for a breezy dining experience from the first plate of oysters to the grand finale braised lamb neck. Reservations are available online.

Rusa

Tracing the culinary through lines of Eastern Europe and Mexico is not easy. However, Sasanna Babashoff is intimately familiar with them: Her family, with roots in both Mexico and Russia, grew up eating borscht and tamales, and at her Sellwood food cart, she blends her culinary lineage for dishes like lamb Stroganoff tortas and, naturally, borscht tamales. The former is a captivatingly complicated blend of chile-laced meat, pickled onions, and subtly spiced Stroganoff, cohesive despite its intricacy. The borscht tamales are similarly detailed, topped with dill and cilantro and beets with a heavily seasoned masa. These dishes are hard to nail down, but they work impressively well.

Maisha PDX

Historically, trying to find Kenyan food in Portland has been almost impossible — that fact proved particularly frustrating for Tachibana Sheikh, who spent his childhood in Kenya before his family made its way to the United States. Now, he runs his own Kenyan cart in Sellwood’s Piknik Park pod, stuffing pockets of mandazi with a salty-sour yellow curry and scooping a collard greens dish known as sukuma wiki over ugali, a savory maize flour porridge. Some of the dishes on the menu borrow from Somalian culinary traditions, considering his family’s roots there; bariis, a richly spiced rice dish, arrives with bananas and a pile of savory beef suqaar, made with faux beef. The kicker: The whole cart is vegan.

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