Getting a jump on what could be the next Pearl District (add a touch of Johns Landing and a waft of marina air), this corporate–created tapas restaurant is ever-so-slowly becoming the only place to schmooze near our shiny new tram. In the space formerly occupied by Rivers (and a slew of other regrettably short-lived joints), this newish restaurant has tossed its olive-shaped stools to make way for a new philosophy of “relaxed sophistication.” Translated, that means a massive waterfront eatery and lounge slathered in black-and-white wallpaper, bathed in candlelight and spewing DJ-ed dance hits. Although tapas are traditionally Spanish, the dishes created by former Bluehour chef Drew Lockett (what’s a good chef like him doing in a place like this?) are entirely Italian—both in cuisine (spinach gnocchi covered in tomato-basil fondue, veal scaloppine in marsala) and portion size (the two Milanese pork filets are more for family-style sharing than sampling or nibbling). While the 44 dishes on the dueling red-vs.-white wine-pairing menus are overwhelming, the equally long, nearly all-Italian list of wine by the glass is refreshing—think Tuscan Syrah and organic Prosecco.
Signature Dish: Seared flat-iron steak with a tomato-horseradish vinaigrette.
Standouts: The panoramic view of the Willamette, just footsteps from the patio, is reason enough to pop in for a glass of pinot bianco.
Regrets: The burgundy velvet couches and Audrey Hepburn portraits are über-mod—for a coffee shop in a ’90s sitcom, anyway.