Restaurant Guide 2013: Mextiza

2103 N Killingsworth St., 289-3709,

[PAN-MEXICAN] Mexican restaurants can impress most Portland gringos simply by serving burritos that manage to stay inside the tortilla. Mextiza owner Oswaldo Bibiano sets a much higher bar. At Autentica, Bibiano sought to introduce the Pacific Northwest to the cuisine of his native state, Guerrero. With the establishment's younger Overlook neighborhood sister restaurant, the chef explores regional delicacies from across his home country. That includes a succulent, open-faced wild boar sandwich ($13) that piles grilled onions, avocado, pico de gallo and chunks of slow-cooked pork atop warm focaccia bread and the Cabrito ($18), an entree of shredded goat prepared in the style of northern Mexico. Don't skimp on the appetizers, either. The traditional Caesar salad ($9) from Tijuana might sound like no great shakes, but it has ruined the salad for many visitors. And the crema al nopal ($8), a rich, green-tinted cactus-based soup, was the runaway highlight of a recent visit. 

Ideal meal: Crema de nopal and that wild boar sandwich, aka the emparedado de javali.

Best deal: Happy-hour calamari ($5).

Pro Tip: Margaritas on the patio, man. Margaritas on the patio.

5 pm-close Wednesday-Sunday, brunch 10 am-2 pm Sunday, happy hour 5-6 pm Wednesday-Saturday and 9-10 pm Friday-Saturday. $-$$.


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