Our goal in naming Portland's 50 best restaurants is to provide you with a genuinely useful list of great places to eat.

So we spend a lot of time and money exploring this city, finding the best places. We pay our own way, try to ignore the hype and don't announce our presence. It should go without saying, but we don't favor advertisers in any way.

When it's all said and done, we aim to provide a lens through which you can view our city's food scene as it develops. The restaurants we chose not only make excellent food, but reinforce our values and remind us of the things we love about this growing food mecca. Here, then, are nine things you should know about our rankings:

We write for our audience.

Our team of culture editors aims to serve a certain type of Portlander. It's a self-selecting group with a good sense of humor and a tolerance for occasional foul language.

We demand excellence.

In food, at least. We're always appreciative of excellence in service, atmosphere and drinks. But we'll excuse snippy servers if the food is good enough.

We like people who make things themselves.

Except their own bitters. That's just silly.

We privilege diversity.

We would like to see this city become a more worldly place, and that often starts with food. We make a special effort to recognize chefs and cuisines that expose Portland to a broader range of cultures.

We privilege uniqueness.

If you're doing something nobody else in the city is doing, please step forward. If you're doing something nobody else in the country is doing, please come right up to the front.

We privilege newness.

Not because we don't respect tradition and experience, but because we believe we can be most useful to our readers when we can tell them something they don't already know.

We like to drink.

We tend to prefer places with distinctive drink programs.

We don't mind loud music.

We know some of you do, which is why we tell you whether a place is loud so you don't have to write us later to complain.

We listen to what everyone else has to say.

We visited everywhere in this guide (and a lot of places not in this guide) in the months before publication. But we can't be everywhere all the time and we know that things change quickly. If you have suggestions or thoughts, please leave us a comment.

What Is a Restaurant?

This question is not as simple as it sounds! To be eligible for inclusion among our top 50 restaurants, it must offer…

At least four days of service per week. Otherwise, we consider it a supper club.

Servers.

Diners must be allowed to sit down at their table, ask for food and have it brought to them. Our favorite counter-service spots are included separately throughout the directory.

Heat and flush toilets.

Otherwise, we consider it a food cart. You'll find some of the best food carts sprinkled throughout our cuisine-specific features.

Walk-in seating.

If the Portland experience is defined by anything, it's not having, like, solid plans. We live in the moment—reservation-only spots are included in our supper-club feature.