1. Bhuna

704 NW 21st Ave., 971-865-2176, bhunarestaurant.com.

Bhuna is a boon to the Portland area's small but vital group of worthwhile Indian restaurants. The former pop-up's emphasis on Kashmiri specialities means adequate meaty choices, the pinnacle of which is rogan josh, which begins with chunks of tender lamb swirling around in a rambunctious, elaborately spiced sauce.

(Henry Cromett)
(Henry Cromett)

2. Rabbits Cafe

115 NE 6th Ave., 971-229-0357, rabbitscafepdx.com.

Sanjay Chandrasekaran is behind some of Portland's freshest and most flavorful vegan restaurants. At the newly opened second location of his breakfast-and-lunch spot, flavors and textures are heaped together with wild abandon. The Zia ($6, $9) is one of the most enthusiastic salads you'll ever eat—barbecue soy curls, green chiles, beans and corn, on top of crunchy, tahini-smothered kale.

(Justin Katigbak)
(Justin Katigbak)

3. XinhXinh

970 SE Madison St., 971-229-1492.

The menu here is a classic Vietnamese-American deli/soup-shop hybrid, with a range of banh mi, pho and vermicelli bowl offerings accompanied by varying broths and proteins. There are surprises, however—the Crunchy Salad is a pre-dressed bowl of cabbage in a wonderful fish sauce and honey vinaigrette. Crunchy, savory and sweet all at once, it's the best dish here.

(Christine Dong)
(Christine Dong)

4. Kalé

50 SW Pine St., Suite 102, 503-206-4114, kalepdx.com.

The Japanese-style curry and rice at Kalé tastes like you grew up eating it, even if you didn't. The dish morphs into something transcendent when covered in cheese, or "Doria" style, It somehow traps the depth of flavor, and simultaneously amplifies it while morphing the texture into something greater than the sum of its parts.

(Abby Gordon)
(Abby Gordon)

5. Master Kong

8435 SE Division St., 971-373-8248.

Canard was the talk of Portland food this year, and rightfully so, but Master Kong was the biggest surprise. It's the city's new Chinese food destination for a singular reason—sister-and-brother team Amy and Kang Zhu offer a concise menu of regional Chinese breakfast and lunch hits, including congee, juicy goubuli buns and roujiamo, aka Chinese burgers.