Our Restaurant Guide picks the best restaurants in Portland every October. We hem and haw and fuss to recommend 50 restaurants we think best represent the city.

This is not that list.

Rather, these are five spots we're excited about right now. Maybe that's a taqueria we've loved forever, maybe that's a seafood spot with a special menu this week or a new burger joint we stumbled on Friday night. It's designed to answer that age-old question: Where should we go out to dinner tonight?

1. The Woodsman Tavern

4537 SE Division St., 971-373-8264, woodsmantavern.com. $$-$$$.

Under former Imperial chef Doug Adams, the Woodsman has entered a new golden age. Order the fried chicken, or the trout, or the pimento dip, or the oysters, or… honestly, you can't go wrong.

2. Sammich

2137 E Burnside St., 503-477-4393, sammichashland.com. $.

Melissa McMillan is better known in Portland for pastrami. But in cold weather, that's not the play: Instead, order the beefy, cheesy, jus-dipped, Chi-style Timbo. It's a beefy depth-charge of Windy City comfort that warms from within.

3. Stoopid Burger

Stoopid Burger (Thomas Teal)
Stoopid Burger (Thomas Teal)

2329 NE Glisan St., 503-477-5779, pdxstoopidburger.com. $-$$.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the new Stoopid Burger brick-and-mortar is now the best damn burger spot in Kerns, instead of being the best damn burger cart in North Portland.

4. Departure

525 SW Morrison St., 503-802-5370, departureportland.com. $$$.

If you're out late downtown, check in for a cocktail and one of the insanely good desserts. Departure's caramel apple custard cake might be one of our favorite new sweet treats we've tried this year. Sooo much apple. So much.

5. Bark City BBQ

1331 N Killingsworth St., 971-227-9707, barkcitybbq.com. $$.

There's some seriously good new 'cue in town: Split a pit master platter for some seriously good pulled pork and ribs, plus a banana pudding milkshake studded with Nilla wafer and garnished with a crème brûlée banana.