1. Arden Wine Bar & Kitchen

(Walker Stockly)
(Walker Stockly)

The new restaurant and wine bar in the heart of the Pearl District is sleek, urbane and, at times, extraordinary—an avowedly wine-focused restaurant bringing wine-friendly cuisine to a city both literally and figuratively thirsty for it.

2. Bistro Agnes

527 SW 12th Ave., 503-222-0979, bistroagnes.com.

(Abby Gordon)
(Abby Gordon)

The new venture from the chefs behind Ox is at its best with rich, no-holds-barred French dishes. The cassoulet has enough duck confit, pork belly, toulouse sausage and white beans to work as an entree for two.

3. Canard

734 E Burnside St., 971-279-2356, canardpdx.com.

The third restaurant from superstar chef Gabe Rucker is now open, and it promises to be much more casual than either Le Pigeon or his downtown bistro, Little Bird.

4. Biwa

215 SE 9th Ave., 503-239-8830, biwarestaurant.com.

(Walker Stockly)
(Walker Stockly)

The venerable izakaya now offers counter service, and while the new format isn't entirely successful, the tonkatsu bento box is excellent.

5. Poison's Rainbow

344 NE 28th Ave., 503-946-8080, poisonsrainbow.com.

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)

By far the best thing about the new bar owned by Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock is Ranch Pizza. The bar is serving thick, sweet-sauced deep-dish "quarters" big enough to make a hearty meal for $4.50 to $6.50.