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?
1. St. Jack (pictured)
1610 NW 23rd Ave, 360-1281, stjackpdx.com.
We’ve grown quite fond of the bouchon’s bar-side-only boudin noir pigs in a blanket, a bloodied-up answer to Coney dogs, and to its perfect frites. But we’re still left curious what would happen if we took advantage of the $18 foie gras option on a hamburger so rich it might as well already be foie gras.
2. BTU Brasserie
5846 NE Sandy Blvd., 971-407-3429, btupdx.com.
It needs a little more five-spice, but Portland’s first Chinese restaurant and brewery makes wonderful Szechuan noodle dishes and even better fried seitan.
720 SE Grand Ave., 235-0059, kachkapdx.com.
You get the idea with one dish, “herring under a fur coat,” a stratified butte of a salad with pretty pink beets over layers of vegetables leading down to a base of herring. It’s Russian coffee-table fare rendered jaw-gapingly tasty.
4. Kim Jong Grillin’
4606 SE Division St., 929-0522.
This cart is back in action, with a Vietnamese-Korean-American three-way of a Sabrett hot dog loaded with pickled mango sweetness and daikon kimchee spice on a toasted banh mi bun. And that’s the second-best item on the menu, behind the bibim box, which has options on kalbi short ribs, beef bulgogi, marinated pork or chicken.
5. Pizza Maria
3060 SE Division St., 971-303-7000, pizzamariapdx.com.
Division Street now has pizza on almost every block. Maria’s delightfully simple marinara pie is the best, with leopard-spotted crust, bright sauce, thin-sliced garlic and a sprinkle of oregano.
Previous Hot Plates:
September 10: 1. The Dime Store 2. Kim Jong Grillin’ 3. Old Salt 4. The Blue Goose 5. Pizza Maria
August 27: 1. Ración 2. Pizza Maria 3. Old Salt 4. The Blue Goose 5. Love Belizean
August 20: 1. Pizza Maria 2. Kachka 3. Taqueria Portland 4. The Blue Goose 5. Grant’s Philly Cheesesteaks
August 13: 1. Grant’s Philly Cheesesteaks 2. Pizza Maria 3. Taqueria Portland 4. Local Ocean 5. C’est Si Bon! Crepes + Vins
August 6: 1.Grant’s Philly Cheesesteaks 2. Local Ocean 3. Luce 4. Son of a Biscuit 5. C’est Si Bon! Crepes
July 30: 1. Kachka 2. Stammtisch 3. Luce 4. Firehouse 5. C'est Si Bon! Crepes + Vins
July 23: 1. Kachka 2. Stammtisch 3. Albatross & Co. 4. Bun Bo Hue 5. C'est Si Bon! Crepes + Vins
July 16: 1. Stammtisch 2. Kachka 3. Albatross & Co. 4. Smokehouse 21 5. Taqueria Nueve