Editor's Note: Cocotte has closed.
How much do you know about quinine? Not much, eh? Well, grab a seat along the bar at Cocotte, and hope there's a woman in a pencil skirt who's on her third glass of pinot and in no hurry to get home to her kid. Because the bartender inside this homey French bistro is the kind of man who reads books about the history of tonic water, and explains with a wry wit how the gin and tonic bested malaria. Settle in with a little plate of blue cheese with fleshy figs and Marcona almonds.
Next avail yourself of the too-rare-here French delicacies of frog legs and snails. The escargot plate was named the very best thing this guide's co-editor ate all year in 2014. Frog legs are hard to find in Portland—they're just like paler, softer chicken wings.
The mains are elegant and simple. We had an ultra-moist pork chop over fluffy, buttery polenta soufflé and a flawless seared tuna with truffled white bean puree. There's a nice selection of wine, aperitifs and digestifs, but the cocktails are, it probably goes without saying, wonderful.
Pro tip: You can show up here for a drink and a snack—this is a spot that functions just as well as a classy tavern as a restaurant.
GO: 2930 NE Killingsworth St., 227-2669, cocottepdx.com. 5-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday. $$-$$$.