4237 SW Corbett Ave., 503-403-6186, paichepdx.com. Breakfast and early lunch Monday-Friday. $.
Paiche was our 2016 Restaurant of the Year because of its stunning ceviches and potato plates from wild-eyed Peruvian surfer-chef Jose Luis de Cossio. When de Cossio had a crisis of conscience about culling from our overfished seas, Paiche transformed into a coffee shop with a menu hand-written on notebook paper featuring a tiny collection of vegan dishes, like tamales rich with corn and pepper spice, beautiful purple-potato causa and an eggplant cake like nothing else on Earth. It’s all outrageously good—de Cossio could butter toast and make art.
1910 Main St. A, Forest Grove, 503-430-0465, kamaainacfoh.com. Lunch and dinner daily. $$.
Pacific University brings a lot of Hawaiian students to the mainland, so it makes sense that Forest Grove now has Oregon’s best kalua pork, lau lau and mac salad. Kama’aina can turn out a stupefyingly good teriyaki chicken plate, but service is spotty and, occasionally, comically bad.
7783 SW Capitol Highway, 503-245-4573, tastebudpdx.com. Dinner nightly. $$.
Tastebud Pizza saved the restaurant desert of Multnomah Village with fine wood-fired pizzas topped with peaches and pancetta. There’s an hour wait on a Friday, but once you’re seated, you can sate yourself with warm marinated olives.
Taste of Sichuan
16261 NW Cornell Road, Beaverton, 503-629-7001, beaverton.tasteofsichuan.com. Lunch and dinner daily. $.
The menu has the heft of a family photo album, but all you need is the “Wild Side” section, with melt-your-face-off stews, jellyfish, pickled frog and irresistibly enigmatic soups like “The Great Fire Pot Debate” and “The Other Parts of a Pig.”
105 NE 4th Ave., Hillsboro, 503-615-0191, ameliasmexicanfood.com. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. $$.
The mustard yellow building in spiffed-up downtown Hillsboro offers Mexican family favorites and less-familiar fare like chamorro de cordero, a divine platter of tender lamb shank in chili-and-tomatillo sauce.
3975 SW 114th Ave., Beaverton, 503-641-3670. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday. $.
Hidden away above a ramshackle grocery store that looks like it may have once housed a bowling alley, Spring offers a steaming bowl of their sujebi and the cleanest-tasting sundubu jjigae soft-tofu stew broth we’ve encountered.
12275 SW Canyon Road, Beaverton, 503-641-1734. Lunch and dinner daily. $-$$$.
Once you over-order at this grill-topped hall of Korean BBQ it’s arts-and-crafts time, unfurling spare rib or pork belly with your tongs. Don’t sleep on haemul dolsot bibimbap, a Far-East paella with squid and shrimp in a screaming-hot stone bowl.
4130 SW 117th Ave, Beaverton, 503-350-1801. Lunch and dinner Monday-Sunday. $-$$.
Beaverton’s hidden Yuzu izakaya serves delightful small bites and a wonderful ramen tonkotsu broth devoted to excessive pork-sweet fatness, a butterball of pure comfort for which no other broth in town substitutes.
Beaverton Sub Station
12448 SW Broadway St., Beaverton, 503-641-7827, beavertonsubstation.com. Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, lunch Saturday. $.
The “sub” in the name is short for sublime. The only truly great classic deli sandwiches in the metro area comes from a downtown Beaverton strip mall. Coffee costs a quarter, rolls are baked fresh down the block and the subs are perfectly built from perfect things.