3113 SE Division St. (inside Block and Tackle), 232-1566, roepdx.rest.
[WHERE MY FISHES AT] When I first arrived in Portland, I asked the same thing everyone asks. Where's the great seafood? Well, no. Portland's a river town, people told me. Folks here eat pigs and cows. Sometimes chickens. Descended from lumberjacks and hazelnut farmers, we don't think much about the world's largest ocean, just 80 miles west. You want seafood? Well, they've got Mo's chowder on the coast—or go to Seattle. Least among the many reasons Roe is special: our 2013 Restaurant of the Year finally gives this town a signature seafood spot. Now, instead of telling my brother-in-law arriving from Virginia with dreams of cedar-plank salmon swimming through his head, to just order one of the many great whole roasted trout dishes around town, I'll tell him to make reservations at Roe. You have to reserve a table a few weeks in advance, I'll explain, and it's very spendy—but worth it. He'll ask me if it's sushi. Well, not exactly. There's lots of raw fish but there's no rice, soy sauce or little pink ginger slices. The menu changes every day. The best thing I had was pomfret ceviche in a broth of fish sauce, lime and chili. It had little purple calamari tentacles in the broth and a bright-green lime meringue thing on top. It was amazing, I'll say—it's how Portland does seafood.
Ideal meal: The tasting menu, which is $70.
Best deal: The Hoegaarden is only $1 more than the other beers and comes in a much, much larger glass.
Pro tip: They'll charge you $50 if you cancel a reservation at the last minute, so watch yourself.
5-10 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday. $$$$.