Our 10 Favorite Counter Service Restaurants

Bollywood Theater

3010 SE Division St., 503-477-6699; 2039 NE Alberta St., 971-200-4711; bollywoodtheaterpdx.com.

The second jewel in the crown of Troy MacLarty's burgeoning Bollywood empire, the Division Street Bollywood colony offers a corner grocery, housemade ghee and a menu dotted with street-food faves borrowed from the subcontinent. Lamb samosas ($8.75) arrive crisped to a golden brown and perfectly paired with accompanying tomato-raisin and iridescent green chutneys. Swaddled in paratha flatbread, the kati roll ($10) best resembles an outsized burrito stuffed with pickled onions and velvety paneer or tangy beef. It's an amiable approach to a cuisine often blamed for weaponized seasonings, and while plates like Goan-style shrimp ($12.75) temper the chilies, there's heat enough for patrons to continually rejoin the milling queue for another round of Pimm's or Kingfisher. JAY HORTON.

Hat Yai

1605 NE Killingsworth St., 503-764-9701, hatyaipdx.com.

Hat Yai (Christine Dong)

North Killingsworth's Hat Yai serves up southern Thai food that's a different world from the what you fare you know: rich ground pork with searing spice, Malaysian-influenced pan-fried roti flatbread you might know only from Indian restaurants and rich, deep red curry that's like an effect as much as a flavor—like bass you feel more than hear. And then there's the fried chicken: battered in rice flour and coated in fresh peppercorns, deep coriander and fired shallots. The counter-service restaurant offers the finest Thai restaurant to open in Portland since the early years of Pok Pok. And most days we might head to Hat Yai first. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Related: Hat Yai Is Our 2016 Pop-In Spot of the Year

Wei Wei

7835 SE 13th Ave., 503-946-1732.

Wei Wei (Emily Joan Greene)

Housed in an inauspicious-looking strip mall next to a Sellwood convenience store, Wei Wei is a stylishly minimalist noodle house and bao shop. There are low-hanging lamps, mismatched wood walls and a huge chalkboard-wall menu offering lovely greens, nice $2.50-to-$3 bao and off-track items like a subtle whole-mackerel dish and skewers of mackerel-like saury. But get the beef noodle soup ($13), which joins thick cuts of meat with hand-pulled noodles in a deep-brown broth that is meatier, richer and more excessive than that in any pho or British meat pie. The soup is beef qua beef, beef sine qua non—an education in the language of beef. This, finally, is the promise of bone broth delivered: stock so dense the very marrow swirls within. It is a revelation. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.


8235 SE 13th Ave., 503-740-1325, tampdx.com.

(Emily Joan Greene) (Emily Joan Greene)

Tam is a cozy, '60s-decor, Hong Kong-style wonton spot from a brother-sister team, Either/Or cafe owner Ro Tam and the Slants bassist Simon Tam. Tam's menu is as tiny as the restaurant: three dumpling-and-noodle soups, and a side of greens ($5) topped with rich vegetarian oyster sauce. You'll want those greens every time, both for their flavor and to make sure you're full, which probably won't happen with one bowl of wonton soup. The house broth is a subtle chicken and flounder, while the dumplings themselves are wondrously starchy under lime-touched egg noodles, with fatty pork belly alongside shrimp in one version ($7), and an umami-packed pork-shiitake in another ($6), both soft love affairs with richness. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Poke Mon

1485 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-894-9743, pokemonpdx.com. 11 am-9 pm Tuesday-Sunday. $.

(Shaun Daley) (Shaun Daley)

Poke Mon may be one of the city's most on-trend spots, with its name, it's six flavors of La Croix in its case, and the dozens of mint-colored succulents decorated the Hawthorne Boulevard restaurants. But Chef Colin Yoshimoto, who grew up eating poke on Oahu, and has worked at some of the best sushi spots in the city, first at Nob Hill's now-closed Hiroshi and then alongside chef Ryan Roadhouse at high-end Japanese pop-up Nodoguro, wants to make people from Hawaii feel nostalgic. You can get meaty chunks of salmon and albacore, but also on the grapefruit, cucumber, red onion and avocado in Poke Mon's six signature bowls. The bowls are splattered with Japanese-inspired sauces, like the garlic ponzu sauce, a citrus shoyu infused with roasted garlic that stains both the pink salmon and grapefruit chunks in the garlic salmon poke with a deliciously salty flavor. Combined with the restaurant's selection of 20 sakes and the high-quality fish chunks, you feel like you're in a very good Japanese restaurant—but only spending about $10 a bowl. SOPHIA JUNE.

Related: Poke Mon Is Our 2016 Pop-In of the Year Runner-Up


5202 N Albina Ave., 503-946-8087, sweedeedee.com.

(Joe Riedl) (Joe Riedl)

Looking to make friends with some hip parents? Might we suggest Sweedeedee, the tweedeedee NoPo bakery and cafe. After ordering your toast, runny eggs and broccolini—and availing yourself of the customary serve-yourself coffee cubbie—you'll be free to fraternize with people in organic cotton baby slings. The baked goods are great (that $3.50 toast isn't as aggressively basic as it seems), and the house-smoked trout on rye plate is unmatched outside of Broder.



609 SE Ankeny St., Suite A, 503-894-9021; 126 SW 2nd Ave.; marukinramen.com.

Marukin Ramen (Emily Joan Greene)

Tokyo-based Marukin makes the finest pork broths in town. The miso broth is almost bottomless in its depth and excitingly light, just salty enough to pull out the complexity of its pork-chicken base and rich soy ferment. It is a roundness of flavor that causes separation anxiety between slurps. The tonkotsu shoyu is an echo chamber of pork, milky with marrow-laden fattiness. And that paitan shio—a fatty chicken broth that's like tonkotsu's younger cousin, spiked with salt burst—is a marvel of subtlety and light floral notes, singing with whatever the bird ate. In the '80s, we used to worry the Japanese were taking over America. Now, so help me, I pray they do. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

OP Wurst

133 SW Pine St., 971-386-2199, opwurst.com.

Pine Street Market (Henry Cromett)

Olympia Provisions serves what might be the world's best wieners. If you want the classic served up at their restaurant butcher shop—the one with, yes, ketchup—that's certainly available, and in many ways the classic dog is still the best showcase for those beautiful 'furters. But wild-style spirit is still rewarded, from cheese-whizzed Philly cheesesteak to bacon-wrapped BLT. Even the zany poutine dog and Elvis-inspired peanut butter, bacon and banana thing work. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.

Nong's Khao Man Gai

609 SE Ankeny St., Suite C, 503-740-2907, khaomangai.com.

(Emily Joan Greene) (Emily Joan Greene)

Nong Poonsukwattana knew Portland didn't need another typical Thai restaurant. That was obvious when she arrived on the heels of her now-ex-husband, who attended Portland State. After a year working at Pok Pok, she got an idea. She bought a food cart just ahead of full-blown cartmania and started to work on making the perfect chicken and rice. The eponymous dish at Nong's is still the main offering, seven years and several offshoots later. You need nothing else: tender chicken served on a bed of rice with soybean sauce and a little palate-cleansing soup. It's sticky, rich, beautiful and perfect, exploding with ginger and chili and garlic. It is, Poonsukwattana says, exactly what she would serve to her friends or family. MARTIN CIZMAR.


The 2016 Restaurant Guide

Welcome to the 2016 Restaurant Guide

Paiche Is Our 2016 Restaurant of the Year

The 50 Best Restaurants in Portland | How We Ranked Them

Hat Yai Is the 2016 Pop-In of the Year | Mae Is the 2016 Pop-Up of the Year

Poke Mon Is the 2016 Pop-In of the Year Runner-Up | JolieLaide Is the 2016 Pop-Up of the Year Runner-Up

Portland's 10 Best Pop-Ups and Supper Clubs | Our 10 Favorite Counter Service Restaurants

Soup Houses | Seafood Spots | Italian Spots | Best Pizza Pies | Southern Food | Best Steaks, Chops And Charcuterie |Mexican Places | Sushi Spots | Korean Food | Chinese Food | Mediterranean Restaurants | Where to Get Coffee Cocktails After Your Meal

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