The cornerstone of this guide is our annual list of the top 50 restaurants in Portland. This year, we opened the list to all eateries, including carts and weekly pop-ups.

Above all, we judge restaurants on the quality of their food. We grant extra points for uniqueness, rewarding those who make beautiful versions of rare cuisines over very good sushi spots, steakhouses and French bistros. We also consider the value of the meal. Are you happy, even grateful, for what you've received after paying the bill?

We appraise service based on how an eatery stacks up against others with comparable service models. A clubby prix-fixe dinner can be priestly and glacial, or it can be a warm and intimate privilege. A food cart can be fast and friendly, or a long wait in cold rain for a brusque shout announcing your meal. Based on the needs of our readers, when other things are equal we give preference to eateries that serve walk-ins, offer table service and have heat and flush toilets.

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.