At Luce, all is light. That starts with the small, bright room, which is artfully cluttered with imported olive oil and dry pasta in the manner of a very chic nonna's pantry. That continues with the Italian fare, which shows admirable restraint in all things. The second restaurant from Navarre's John Taboada succeeds with simplicity—every ingredient used is obvious on the plate, and all show an eye for detail. It's a place you don't need to think too hard about—a perfect meal for two might be spongy focaccia, olives, a large salad and a generous half-order of the tagliatelle with a ragu of beef and pork, all of which will set you back less than $40. Get two glasses of the house red, and you're still out the door for $65 with tip. (READ FULL LISTING HERE.)
When a menu says "homemade," it's usually a euphemism. At Han Oak, it's literal. The side-yard Korean spot behind the Ocean on Northeast Glisan Street is half open-kitchen restaurant, half modernist loft where chef Peter Cho and his family actually live. And so Han Oak's fridge is Cho's fridge. The toddler cheerily attacking the bubble machine on the patio is Cho's son, Elliott, whose scattered toys turn the yard into a romper room. And pay no attention to the room beyond the curtain: That's Cho's bedroom. (READ FULL LISTING HERE.)
200 NE 28th Ave., 503-887-9258, gueropdx.com. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday. $.
In a sunny room with pottery from Jalisco, much-loved former food cart Güero serves mammoth carnitas and pollo pibil tortas slathered with lime-chili mayo on telera bread. The menu is bolstered by new favorites like an egg-and-braised-beef breakfast desayuna torta.
There are two Davenports. One version of Kevin Gibson's East Burnside Street restaurant happens at the tables in the neutral-minimalist dining room, where older couples who remember the esteemed chef from Portland landmarks Zefiro, Castagna and Genoa hover over subtle, beautifully tender pork loin with lightly acidic cabbage and apples roasted just to the point of caramel. Steak is served to light char at its edge with aching red within, and comes with potatoes and green onions. Beautifully sourced ingredients are less spiced than lovingly evoked, and wine is often ordered by the bottle. Then there's the other Davenport, which you'll find at the bar. (READ FULL LISTING HERE.)
Mexico City-inspired rotisserie chicken spot Pollo Norte may have closed its original northerly location, but this one's better anyway. The slow-cooked chicken still drips onto the cabbage beneath, and that green salsa is still one of the freshest things in town. But now there are margaritas and a patio.
At the younger, better-behaved sibling of Prost, owner Dan Hart has built far more than a world-class German beer hall. It's home to excellent Riesling braised trout, Portland's finest spaetzle and light, subtle Maultaschen dumplings filled with leek fondue.
don't expect tweezer-plated micro sculpture from chef Ben Bettinger at New American steakhouse Laurelhurst Market: Expect execution with simple garnishes and saucing, like a classic bearnaise adorning cuts from the Snake River Farms in Idaho that grew America's answer to wagyu.
2333 NE Glisan St., 971-302-6002, thesudra.com. Lunch and dinner daily. $$.
Unlike most vegan restaurants, nothing on the Sudra's western-influenced Indian menu seems like a substitute. For the most variety and some seriously fresh chutney, order one of the plates. The fried chickpea "cutlets" are pillowy and the black lentil kofta balls have a nice crispy shell.
28 NE 28th Ave., 503-232-6652, tapalaya.com. Dinner nightly, brunch Saturday and Sunday. $$.
At bright-walled Tapalaya, chef Anh Luu mixes the food of Vietnam and New Orleans. Try anything fried, or the creamy Crawfish Étouffée over grits with an Abita Purple Haze. Brunch and happy hour are great times to visit.
Some insist that Dove Vivi's thick, lovely cornbread-crust pies are more casserole than pizza. To them we say: Who cares, and what's wrong with you? They're delicious and gooily cheesy, with topping combos like thyme, yellow onion and blue cheese. The two-tap beer selection is always somehow perfect.
Most famous for its huge fried chicken and waffles at brunch, Screen Door's Southern-ish home cooking also brings lines out the door at dinner with a sampler plate that lets you mix up wings, catfish and a pork chop.
10 NE 28th Ave., 503-232-3555, navarreportland.com. Dinner Monday-Friday, brunch and lunch weekends. $$$.
You can order à la carte, but the $32 tasting menu at chef James Melendez's pan-European bistro brings you 10 courses of ultra-seasonal small plates like French radishes with cultured butter, chicken livers in mustard crème fraîche sauce and cod confit. Enjoy them with a three-wine pairing with unusual glasses like a jammy sparkling red from the Loire.