FIVE FOR YOUR IDAHO IN-LAWS
The fresh air and delightful, unchallenging food will defuse any awkwardness.
The ultimate in old-school class. Sammy Davis would feel right at home.
Yeah, they'll disown you. But the looks on their faces will be worth it.
They make their own bread, pickles, smoked meat—it's a small-town joint.
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.