Not every meal has to be an $80 10-course tasting menu of salt-cured pigeon feathers and honeyed wasps. Nor does it have to be a $6, 2-pound burrito made infamous because an enterprising chef replaced the tortilla with chicharrones. Here are some of Portland's nicest bistro-style sit-down places, perfect for a midweek date where you won't struggle too hard to find a table (sorry, Coquine). We promise you won't leave out of pocket or feeling like you're going to die on the toilet.
The Brooklyn House Restaurant
3131 SE 12th Ave., 503-236-6761, brooklynhouserestaurant.com.
Dinner Wednesday-Saturday, brunch and dinner Sunday.
Once the Berlin Inn, Brooklyn House hasn't changed a ton of the aesthetic—but this is a hidden wonder of pan-Euro fare. The intensely farm-sourced goods range from seared alfredo to braised rabbit and pork confit. A little bit of everything. Just like Mama used to make. $$.
215 SE 9th Ave.
Whether you want to nibble on skewers and sashimi or say screw it and get the omakase, Biwa is the inner eastside's go-to for upscale Japanese fare on a midscale budget.
2032 SE Clinton St.
Paolo Camai's Florentine fare and imported bottles of Italian table wine will have you looking up flights on the way home.
Old Salt Marketplace
5027 NE 42nd Ave.
Ben Meyer's temple of whole-animal butchery and rustic, hearth-grilled classics was our second-favorite restaurant of 2014.
3951 N Mississippi Ave.
Run by a husband and wife, Radar is an intimate oasis in the otherwise bustling Mississippi bar district.
1403 SE Belmont St.
Roost serves classic American fare and very affordable drinks, set off with some boulder-sized desserts for those wishing to indulge.