Our Restaurant Guide picks the best restaurants in Portland every October. We hem and haw and fuss to recommend 50 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. Clay's Smokehouse
Clay's Smokehouse has come back revitalized. Along with great saucy ribs and crazily good dessert, it's serving the platonic ideal of smoked chicken wings: tender and smoky, with a great tangy sauce.
2. Taqueria La Mestiza
8525 NE Fremont St., 503-572-8595. $.
Angel Food and Fun lost its chef, but the Yucatan-born new ownership at Taqueria La Mestiza is making achingly good poc chuc panuchos and cochinita pibil out of this tiny Fremont Street taqueria—alongside relleno negro soup with sausage-wrapped egg.
3. The Woodsman Tavern
Under former Imperial chef Doug Adams, the Woodsman has entered a new golden age. Order the fried chicken, or the trout, or the pimento dip or the oysters, or… honestly, you can't go wrong.
4. Kingsland Kitchen
Kingsland Kitchen makes a fine full English breakfast till 3 pm—with killer bap sandwiches in the morning and a great spicy fried chicken for lunch.
Melissa "Pastrami Zombie" McMillan is better known in Portland for her Montreal-style cured brisket. But in cold weather, order Windy City comfort in the form of a beefy, cheesy, jus-dipped, Chi-style Timbo.