Chef-owner Ricardo Segura's first Portland tapas restaurant, the gone-but-not-forgotten Tapeo, was Willamette Week's Restaurant of the Year in 1997. Now, more than a decade later, his sprawling restaurant Patanegra, opened in 2005, features six nightly paellas (to be shared by two or more people), more than 40 small plates and an enormous Spanish wine list. The fish-stuffed piquillo peppers, morcilla sausage, grilled eggplant, rolled goat cheese, and other hot and cold tapas arrive on beautiful terra-cotta dishes from the Extremadura region of Spain—which Segura's family calls home. The paella—a medley of saffron-flavored rice often cooked with meats, vegetables and seafood—is the specialty at Patanegra, with options such as seafood paella in squid ink and the house paella with seafood, serrano ham, chorizo and chicken. Whether you partake or not, admire the enormous paelleras, the large two-handled shallow pans used to cook paella, that hang from the vertiginous ceiling above the partially exposed kitchen.
IDEAL MEAL: Bottle of Rioja, house paella, gazpacho blanco, salt cod beignets, stuffed baby squid, ham and cheese croquettes.