FIVE FOR YOUR IDAHO IN-LAWSMeriwether’s:
The fresh air and delightful, unchallenging food will defuse any awkwardness.Pazzo:
The ultimate in old-school class. Sammy Davis would feel right at home.Roxy:
Yeah, they’ll disown you. But the looks on their faces will be worth it.Three Square Grill:
They make their own bread, pickles, smoked meat—it’s a small-town joint.Veritable Quandary:
If you want the essence of Portland, but shorn and shaven, this is the place.
FIVE STELLAR SANDWICHES
Blue Plate: Friday: chicken-fried steak sandwich. Saturday: Happy coronary!
Daily Cafe: Panini that could kick George Foreman’s ass.
Kenny & Zuke’s: All you need to know: They go through 800 pounds of house-cured pastrami a week.
Podnah’s Pit: Badass brisket. Comes helpfully wrapped in napkins made of bread.
Döner Kebab: Best. Sandwich (or German/Turkish spit-roasted turkey-cabbage-pita, anyway). Evaaar!!!
FIVE LOW-DESIGN DINING ROOMS
Beijing Hot Pot: Focus your attention on the bubbling broth, not the fluorescent lights.
Good Taste Noodle House: Think church basement, only porkier.
Bewon: It’s in an underground mall next to an athletic-shoe store.
Podnah’s Pit: Tan walls. Formica. Wooden benches. Chalkboard. You want frills? Go to Clay’s.
Tanuki: Think basement rec room, redecorated with Japanese knicknacks. No fuss, cheap food. Yum.
FIVE BEST LUNCHES
BluePlate: Is that a meatloaf sandwich and a hibiscus-star anise soda I see before me?
Ten 01: The three-course “Power Lunch”: The best $15 you’ll spend all week.
Chennai Masala: Indian buffet of the Gods!
Kenny & Zuke’s: Pastrami me—Stat!
Wong’s King Seafood: Dim sum, actually: The best you’ll find in the 503 (or the 971).
FIVE PERFECT PASTAS
A Cena: Housemade tortelloni with heavy mascarpone and sweet summer squash with tomato jam.
Caffe Mingo: You simply cannot beat the basic gnocchi alla Romana.
Good Taste Noodle House: The Super Bowl is everything the name implies.
Nostrana: “Keith’s” ricotta ravioli. Keith swears by it.
Tabla: The truffle-butter tajarin is the best noodle dish in the world. No question.
FIVE PEACEFUL PATIOS
Firehouse: Much of the greenery around you will end up on your plate sooner or later.
Belly Timber: Hawthorne Boulevard almost seems serene from the wraparound porch. Almost.
Screen Door: The fair-weather overflow zone is the nicest picnic spot on East Burnside Street.
Meriwether’s: Three! Three! Three patios in one!
Yakuza: This wild courtyard is as pleasant as can be—until the plants eat you.
FIVE KILLER COCKTAILS
Ten 01: The Cryptic Memo: rye whiskey, Ramazzotti amaro and Campari.
Belly Timber: The 1852 Stone Fence: Buffalo Trace bourbon, fresh apple cider and bitters.
Clyde Common: Whisky Ginger: Jim Beam, ginger juice, honey, and cinnamon tincture.
Mint/820: The Ruby: beet-infused vodka and lemon-lime juice.
Park Kitchen: House G&T: Aviation gin, Krogstad aquavit, spiced bitters, lemon and soda.
FIVE PRE-SHOW DINNERS
Carafe: Across the street from Keller Auditorium (croque monsieur, $8).
East India Company: Five blocks from Artists Rep (tandoori murgh, $16 and big enough for two).
Higgins Bar: Two blocks from the Schnitz (burger, $11.25).
Kenny & Zuke’s: Four blocks from Portland Center Stage (pastrami on rye, $7.25 before 6 pm).
Michael’s Italian Beef and Sausage: Two blocks from Doug Fir (chili dog, $4.80).
FIVE ENTERTAINING OPEN KITCHENS
Beast: Where else can you watch the servers dance to Cyndi Lauper?
D.O.C.: You have to walk through the kitchen to enter the restaurant, so you’d better be watching out.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza: Fire!
Lauro Kitchen: David Machado designed the blue-tiled line for maximum theatricality, and it works.
Sel Gris: The eye of Mondok will pin you under its deadly gaze—if you’re an appetizer, that is.
FIVE AMAZING VIEWS
Mark’s on the Channel: Look, honey! Kayakers!
Portland City Grill: Thirty floors up with a side of pan-Asian eats.
Rocket: You’ve never seen downtown Portland like this before.
Ten 01: The second-floor corner table is the best people-watching spot in the Pearl.
Lucier: Under the bridge downtown/ I spent my life away. Ay ay. Ay-ay.
FIVE CELEBRITY HANGOUTS
23Hoyt: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jennifer Aniston, John Legend, Kenny Mellman, Rufus Wainwright.
50 Plates: John Malkovich.
Bluehour: Ozzy Osborne, Huey Lewis, Al Gore.
Clyde Common: Michelle Williams, Todd Haynes, Gus van Sant, Lance Armstrong, Anthony Kiedis.
Marinepolis SushiLand: Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon.
FIVE VEGETARIAN ASYLUMS
Bijou Cafe: When you’ve got local mushrooms and leeks, who needs ham in an omelette?
The Farm Cafe: So charming it’ll turn you vegetarian on the spot.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza: Note to self: roasted vegetable platter = vorgasm.
Nutshell: Because it’s no longer vegan. Boo-yah!
Vindalho: With Indian seasoning this deft, meat is just garnish.
FIVE SERIOUS SEAFOOD JOINTS
Alberta Street Oyster Bar: Kumamoto, Totten Inlet and Penn Cove are just the American oysters.
Hiroshi: Hiro Ikegaya has a network that brings him fish of breathtaking freshness and flavor.
Murata: Startlingly fresh, Alton Brown-approved sashimi.
Southpark: Big, simple cuts of grilled fish. What more do you want?
Puerto Marquez: Why cook your shrimp when there are limes around?
FIVE APHRODISIAC DINNERS
Alberta Street Oyster Bar & Grill: Look closely at an oyster. Do you feel lusty?
Beast: Owner Naomi Pomeroy’s infamous pig-hugging ad campaign is true food porn.
Carlyle: Meet me under the west end of the Fremont Bridge. Come alone.
Lovely Hula Hands: Nab a table upstairs and you will get laid.
Siam Society: Slippery noodles are pure sex.
FIVE PORTLAND STALWARTS
Bijou Cafe: We think this downtown favorite has been serving scrambles since the dawn of time.
Higgins: When Higgins opened in 1994, the farmers market was having trouble finding vendors.
Jake’s Famous Crawfish: You’ve got to respect a joint that’s been open since 1892.
Restaurant Murata: When Murata opened its doors in 1960, it blew Portlanders’ minds. It still does.
Ringside: Celebrating meaty nostalgia since 1944.
FIVE FARM-FRESH MENUS
50 Plates: Co-owner Ginger Rapport manages the Beaverton Farmers Market.
The Farm Cafe: Well, you know...it’s in the name.
Meriwether’s: The restaurant owns its own five-acre farm at the top of Skyline Drive.
Navarre: 47th Avenue Farm!
Lovely Hula Hands: Their CSA supplies many other fine restaurants, but the food tastes fresher here.
FIVE WONDERFUL WAITSTAFFS
Banh Cuon Tan Dinh: They’ll treat you like family and you’ll have leftovers for days.
Genoa: Ever wonder what it’s like to have a manservant? Now you know.
Higgins: The gold standard. Knowledgeable and friendly, but they’ll never try to give you a shoulder rub.
Lauro Kitchen: See Higgins, above, but they might touch you. And you’ll like it.
Paley’s Place: They do the crumb-scraping thing. We love that.
FIVE GROUP TABLES WORTH SHARING
Beast: Worship the pig with your fellow believers on Clarklewis’ original “weapons of ass destruction.”
Clyde Common: Choose your next course from your neighbors’ plate.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza: It makes the wait shorter. ’Nuff said.
Le Pigeon: If it was good enough for Jesus....
Simpatica Dining Hall: Overheard: “You have a biodynamic garden in your driveway? So do I!!!”
FIVE LINES WORTH THE WAIT
Le Pigeon: Sitting on the bench outside will just make the bacon fat taste better.
Whiskey Soda Lounge: The fish-sauce-wings wait is mitigated by the de facto bar at Matchbox Lounge.
Kenny & Zuke’s: Remember, pastrami-lovers—good things come to those who wait.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza: It will be 45-60 minutes, no question. But the pies makes you forget all about it.
Lovely Hula Hands: Repeat after me: Pink is a calming color. Pink is a calming color. Pink...
FIVE DRESS-UP DINNERS
Bluehour: Those 15-foot olive silk-and-metal drapes are fancier than any dress you own.
El Gaucho: You’re about to spend $58 on a 12-ounce filet mignon. Have some respect.
Higgins: Impeccable yet warm service makes you feel like a million bucks. Look like it, too.
Lucier: No, there’s not a dress code. But you do have to be rich to get in the door. We kid!
Morton’s: You’re not going to a restaurant. You’re going to the meat theater.
FIVE BIG-ASS BEER LISTS
Apizza Scholls: Were you planning to drink chablis with your pizza?
Nutshell: Is beer vegan? Are yeast animals? Deep thoughts, son.
Higgins: The only thing more awe-inspiring than the charcuterie is the bottle list.
Victory: A European vacation, complete with beverages and propaganda-printed drapes.
Green Dragon: The food’s only average, but the constantly changing tap list is the best in town.
FIVE FLAWLESS WINE LISTS
Kir: Everything’s coming up rosés.
Lucier: If they can find it, anyway. It takes time to look through 18,000 bottles.
Navarre: Can’t decide? Owner/chef John Taboada is liable to come out of the kitchen and choose for you.
Noble Rot: Chilean reds, Spanish Albariño, home-grown pinots—there’s a flight with your name on it.
Ten 01: Erica Landon and her hardbound wine list mean business, bitches!
FIVE BADASS BURGERS
Higgins: The original “broiled, freshly ground and spiced sirloin” is still one of the best.
Clyde Common: Something this juicy should be illegal.
Lauro Kitchen: A hefty patty with aioli, dry-aged Jack and a heap of frites.
Lovely Hula Hands: Feeling aggressive? This burger’s impaled on a steak knife. It’s killer.
YAKUZA: Kobe, chèvre, greens and a pile of chips. Requires two hands.
FIVE NEIGHBORHOOD JOINTS
Banh Cuon Tan Dinh: Do you need another excuse to go to Fubonn?
Cava: The only place you can eat lamb merguez and hanger steak in Foster-Powell.
Piazza Italia: Tennis ball-sized meat balls and UEFA soccer on the big screen.
Tabla: Y’know, these guys had a restaurant before Ten 01, and it’s still amazing.
Alba Osteria: Come on, it’s somebody’s neighborhood. Make the trek.