Portlanders will endure all manner of indignities for great tacos, as is obvious from the line snaking down the block at ¿Por Qué No? and the number of people who brag about driving to Woodburn or Hillsboro to get their fix.
Taqueria Nueve succeeds largely by dispensing with all that. The new location of Portland's original bougie taqueria (est. 2000) not only has the best upscale Mexican food in the city, but manages to make it pleasant to procure said food thanks to its comfortable digs, the former Beaker & Flask space at Southeast Sandy Boulevard.
The original T9 was in business for roughly the same run as the Bush regime, closing after a downtown spinoff, D.F., failed. In 2013 it returned, bringing back its $4 tacos, including slightly crispy wild-boar carnitas, rich and fatty pan-fried brisket and spice-kissed grilled organic chicken. T9's super-smooth and lime-heavy guacamole is the best in town, and if the margs are maybe a scooch better at Xico, they're $2 cheaper and noticeably stronger here. Next to those tacos, you'll find a handful of entrées, including a chile relleno in ultra-fluffy batter and a grilled hanger steak in a robust pasilla sauce.
Taqueria Nueve, 727 SE Washington St., 503-954-1987, taquerianueve.com. 5-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 5-9 pm Sunday. $.
Pro tip: My favorite thing on the menu is actually a dessert, a tres leches cake. Ask for it extra soggy—they sometimes skimp on that third milk, perhaps because too many gringos don't get that it's supposed to be borderline puddingy.