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The 38 Essential Portland Restaurants, Fall 2017

See the restaurants that define Portland dining

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It's time to update the Eater 38, the list of highly elite restaurants that define what it means to eat in Portland. The Eater 38 encompasses the entire city, spans myriad cuisines, and collectively satisfies all restaurant needs, whether diners want to drop serious cash or to magically transform a few bucks into a meal.

As happens every three months, the Eater 38 adds new stalwarts while other restaurants come off. This month, in a huge shakeup, chef and restaurateur Vitaly Paley's Imperial replaces his original restaurant, the iconic Paley's Place; where Paley's Place remains a bastion of Pacific Northwest dining, Imperial is pushing the boundaries of what a Portland restaurant can be.

Also joining the ranks are one of the leaders of the crowded Portland food cart scene, the nourishing Korean barbecue spot Kim Jong Grillin', and Portland's uncanny leader of fried dough, Pip's Original Doughnuts. Coming off are more upscale restaurants Ned Ludd and Nostrana.

The Eater 38 includes only one restaurant by any one owner, chef, or restaurant group. It highlights outstanding restaurants in a variety of dining genres. Finally, the Eater 38 works to feature restaurants across the city's many neighborhoods.

Don't see your favorite restaurant below? Rather than go into conniptions, let us know by lobbying for it over the tipline. Note, the points on this map guide are not ranked; rather, they're organized geographically. Looking for Portland's hottest new restaurants? Find them on the Eater PDX Heatmap.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Restaurant St Jack

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Bamboo Sushi NW

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Ken's Artisan Bakery

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[Photo: Ken's Artisan Bakery]

Mi Mero Mole

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[Photo: Mi Mero Mole]

MÅURICE

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

The open-format kitchen at Maurice

Imperial

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[Photo: Yelp]

Departure

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[Photo: Departure]

Higgins Restaurant & Bar

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[Photo: Yelp/Momo B.]

Olympia Provisions SE

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[Photo: Facebook/Olympia Provisions]

[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

HoldFast Dining

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Nong’s Khao Man Gai

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[Photo: Johnny Acurso]

A picture of Nong Poonsukwattana standing at the counter of her restaurant

Le Pigeon

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[Photo: Facebook/Le Pigeon]

[Photo: Mattie John Bamman/EPDX]

Farm Spirit

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Kim Jong Grillin'

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Among the crowded Portland food cart scene, Kim Jong Grillin' stands out for its soul-satisfying bibim boxes. Diners choose their preferred form of charred Korean barbecue, served with potato noodles, rice, kimchi, and a fried egg topper. It's a complete and, for first-timers, often revelatory meal for $12. And a not-so-secret hangover cure. Find the original location not far, at Southeast Division and 46th Avenue.

Lardo East

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[Photo: Facebook/Lardo]

Castagna

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[Photo: Facebook/Castagna]

Bollywood Theater SE

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Pok Pok

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[Photo: Facebook/Pok Pok]

Ava Gene's

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[Photo: Facebook/Ava Gene's]

Davenport

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Han Oak

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Wooden tables sit inside a robin’s egg blue building, which opens onto Han Oak’s courtyard Dina Avila/EPDX

Langbaan

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Laurelhurst Market

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[Photo: Facebook/Laurelhurst Market]

Apizza Scholls

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[Photo: Facebook/Apizza Scholls]

Rose VL Deli

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[Photo: Facebook/Rose VL]

Coquine

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At Coquine, you can either dress up or dress down: Either way, chef Katy Millard and general manager Ksandek Podbielski will provide something fitting the occasion, whether sweet corn and cheddar fritters or a roasted whole organic chicken to share. Millard's chocolate chip cookies are one of the iconic dishes of 2016, and the restaurant offers fast-casual breakfast and lunch, too. The Eater PDX 2015 Restaurant of the Year can be a hard reservation to get, but starting at 3 p.m., call ahead to get your name on the list and you'll receive a text when your table's ready.

Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar

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The Country Cat is all about American food, prepared by a chef, Adam Sappington, who understands and executes the nuances of old world cuisine. You might be ordering chicken and dumplings, but what you're getting is chicken and dumplings in a sauce so complicated and complex you'll swear you're in Paris. Also, the fried chicken here is out of control, and Sappington's the guy who made in-house butchery cool.

The winners of the 2017 James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, husband-and-wife team Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñonez Denton have lit up Portland's dining scene with their Argentine-inspired restaurant Ox, a spot where wood-grilled simplicity meets evil-genius concoctions like sweetbread "croutons" and house-made blood sausage. Though meat hitting the grill is the main focus (skirt steak and lamb chops are tops), both veggies and seafood represent well in homey dishes like hominy stew and braised octopus. It's best to get in line early, though dinner wait times can be nursed at the neighboring Whey Bar (now with raw bar).

Toro Bravo

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[Photo: Facebook/Toro Bravo]

Milk Glass Market

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[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

[Photo: Facebook/Aviary]

Podnah's Pit BBQ

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[Photo: Yelp]

[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

[Photo: Dina Avila/EPDX]

Pip's Original

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[Photo: Facebook/Pip's]