A journey through some of the Northwest’s finest kitchens led chef John Gorham to land what would become Willamette Week’s 2007 Restaurant of the Year on a low-key side street in Northeast Portland. There, Gorham’s tapas eatery nails the spirit of Spanish gastronomy, taking the basic elements (garlic, paprika and cured ham) and marrying them with ingredients found closer to home. Thus, you’ll find classics like delicious salt cod fritters with a pillow of garlicky aioli and a classically Basque prawn-and-octopus fisherman’s stew alongside a pork-shoulder sandwich with housemade pickles or Gorham’s now legendary radicchio salad, bound by a tangy manchego vinaigrette and served with green-olive toast. The menu changes with the seasons, the wine list is smart and light on the wallet, and after early concerns, the paella has evolved to disprove the oft-repeated Spanish myth that good paella cannot be found outside of Valencia.
IDEAL MEAL: Cod croquettes, radicchio salad, fried anchovies, paella, olive-oil cake.