5-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 5-10 pm Friday-Saturday. $$ Moderate.
[MEDITERRANEAN] Veteran Portland chef David Machado was looking mainly for a location near his own home when he opened Lauro in 2003, but Lauro's clean, open space, savvy Mediterranean menu and hardworking, professional servers brought some welcome urbanity to Southeast Portland dining, as did Dave "Guy du Vin" Holstrom's smart wine list. Coupled with ample, moderately priced portions, Machado's formula has created legions of repeat customers. The complimentary herb bread is invitingly yielding. One gets a clear sense the kitchen really tastes everything here; few if any indifferent ingredients make it to the table, from the butter lettuce salad with ripe avocado and tarragon vinaigrette to the moist, tender chicken breast stuffed with herbed goat cheese and served with braised spinach and tart quince sauce. A harissa aioli gives a boost to the local salmon with Moroccan citrus and frisée salad. Desserts, such as the dry chocolate midnight cake, are weak; consider saving your sweet tooth for Pix Pâtisserie across the street. ANGIE JABINE.
Ideal meal: In summer, start with the wonderful mixed melon salad with feta, pine nuts, pungent olives and just enough mint; proceed to the braised lamb shoulder with tomatoes, olives and polenta.
Best deal: During Lauro's "hour of happiness," well drinks are $5 and the Lauro burger with dry-aged jack cheese is $6.