1401 SE Morrison St., 503-231-3609, delorespdx.com.
BJ Smith has made a career of solving problems no Portlanders knew they had. In the case of his latest venture, Smith gives extensive thought to what an upscale Polish restaurant would look and feel like in New Portland. The smoked kielbasa with Brussels sprout sauerkraut ($15) shows Smith has done his homework. If you've got a little old Polish lady in your life, this is guaranteed to put a smile on her face.
Read the full review: With Delores, Chef BJ Smith Puts a New World Spin on Classic Polish Cuisine.
3808 N Williams Ave., eemportland.com.
Is "super-restaurant" a term? If so, this Thai barbecue spot definitely qualifies, given who's involved: Matt's BBQ namesake Matt Vicedomini, Earl Ninsom of the permanently booked Langbaan, and Eric Nelson of cocktail pop-up Shipwreck. It just opened on North Williams, and based on its monthlong pop-up at Taqueria Nueve in January, you're looking at an early Restaurant of the Year contender.
813 SW Alder St., 503-222-1670, bullardpdx.com.
Top Chef made Doug Adams into a celebrity, but up until Bullard's December opening, his ability to conceive a credible menu and run a restaurant of his own awaited proof. Well, here it is. For an admirer of Texas barbecue, the most impressive offering is Bullard's beef rib, a Flinstonian affair that arrives with spoon-tender rib meat, no-bullshit "fresh flour tortillas," pickled jalapeños and mild roasted tomatillo-lime salsa.
4. Rosa Rosa
750 SW Alder St., 503-294-9700, rosarosapdx.com.
Located on the first floor of the Dossier Hotel, Vitaly Paley's Rosa Rosa joins the flurry of ambitious eateries that have coincided with Portland's recent hotel boom. Classic, New York-inspired Italian fare can be found in "the backroom," but the main room is where the more fun and dynamic items can be found, the most exciting being the Georgian chicken chkmeruli. Sample it during happy hour, which offers bite-sized renditions of Paley's greatest hits at crazy-low prices.
Read the full review: At Vitaly Paley's Rosa Rosa, the Italian Classics Are in Back, But the Party Is Up Front.
5. Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside St., 503-231-9663, dougfirlounge.com.
The Space Age log cabin known as Doug Fir is one of Portland's best music venues, but the food at the restaurant upstairs never really gets its due. That should change, though, with the recent installation of chef Ryan Gaul, formerly of Woodsman Tavern. The new menu is still coming together, but his unique takes on the house burger and chicken dinner, among other items, are available now.