Our Restaurant Guide picks the best restaurants in Portland every October. We hem and haw and fuss to recommend 100 restaurants we think best represent the city.
This is not that list.
Rather, these are five spots we're excited about right now. Maybe that's a taqueria we've loved forever, maybe that's a seafood spot with a special menu this week or a new burger joint we stumbled on Friday night. It's designed to answer that age-old question: Where should we go out to dinner tonight?
401 NE 28th Ave., 206-7983, stammtischpdx.com.
The currywurst at this above-ground Rathskeller will bring you back to the unsavory tourist sections of the Ku'damm in Berlin. Then, like now, you may have had too many Pilsners and Weisses.
720 SE Grand Ave., 235-0059, kachkapdx.com.
This new, Soviet-kitsch-bedecked Russian spot is vodka-drunk and fish-happy. But the best dish is beef-tongue stroganoff, which made our waiter think he'd been injected with a drug.
3. Albatross & Co.
225 14th St., Astoria, 741-3091.
Chef Eric "Pig Fight" Bechard's excellent new port-side bar in Astoria serves whiskey-and-whiskey cocktails alongside an Anchor burger ($9) whose entire construction—juicy patty, soft bun, cheddar sauce, caramelized and fried onions—melts in your mouth.
4. Smokehouse 21
413 NW 21st Ave., 971-373-8990, smokehouse21.com.
Smokehouse 21's Iowa Gold, Memphis-rubbed ribs are moist, smoky and rich, with just enough spice to open up the taste buds and bring out the meat flavor without being overpowering. And they are the best dang ribs in Portland.
5. Taqueria Nueve
727 SE Washington St., 954-1987, taquerianueve.com.
Not every rebooted Portland restaurant is as good as people remember it, but Taqueria Nueve is. The smoky carnitas tacos are some of the best in town—as are the thick, tangy margaritas.