Angel Food & Fun
5135 NE 60th Ave., 287-7909.
Former Bluehour sous chef Manuel Lopez offers rich, surprising Yucatecan meats and stews. Get the smoky relleno negro ($10)—midnight-black from burnt chilies—or a cochinita pibil ($10) with phenomenally flavorful cuts of pork wrapped in banana leaves and roasted for hours.
¿Por Que No?
4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 954-3138; 3524 N Mississippi Ave., 467-4149; porquenotacos.com.
Nouveau-Portland comfort Mexican food grounded as much in margaritas ($6.50) as slow-braised barbacoa tacos and hefty meat salads. Why not, indeed.
Tienda Santa Cruz
8630 N Lombard St., 289-2005.
Past a marketplace filled with chicharones and piñatas, a counter in the tienda's spacious adobe-orange back room serves some of the best taqueria fare in Portland, from carne asada to chile relleno to a 17-ingredient torta Cubana that comes in at $5.35.
El Cubo de Cuba
3106 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 971-544-7801.
Faithful versions of Cuban standbys—pork, chicken, rice, beans, Cubano sandwiches—most from rich ingredients buoyed by a heavy spritz of citrus. The standout is the mojo pork with rice, black beans and your either fried plantains, yuca fries, sweet-potato fries or avocado salad.
1615 SE 12th Ave., 971-888-5281, teotepdx.com.
Teote is a meat temple mixing South American grilling traditions and Pacific Northwest sensibilities, from the El Diablo bowl—crisped pork belly in chili maple—to its Mas Comida meat slabs, in particular a thick habanero-soaked pork chop.
Mi Mero Mole
5026 SE Division St., 232-8226; 32 NW 5th Ave., 971-266-8575; mmmtacospdx.com.
The newish Chinatown location of Nick Zukin's guisado-centric taqueria is bigger and boozier than the first. The guisados—traditional stewy taco fillings—are basically the same, but the new menu of drinking snacks makes an impact, especially a killer basket of duritos.