Few places do one-pot meals better than Pambiche. The Northeast Portland favorite does the Cuban staple ajiaco some serious justice: a hot cauldron simmering with moist corn dumplings, slices of pork and beef so tender they fall apart in your mouth, tropical roots and a delicate topping of white rice. Pambiche’s dishes are simple but never slight, with saffron-infused rice and gooey black beans fighting for plate space over most entrees. You might have to wait for a table or fight your neighbor for elbow room, but a few bites can relieve any awkward moments that come from the close confines.
Order this: Hot pot of ajiaco.
Best deal: An awesome assortment of appetizers, including six types of empanada.
I’ll pass: The flan, which is disappointingly ordinary compared with everything else on the menu.