5145 SE McLoughlin Blvd., 503-995-8448, getmacd.com.
At this build-your-own mac-and-cheese window, ordering is a linear process similar to Chipotle's. The three prefab options are excellent, and while the DIY ingredients are hit or miss, with some extended tinkering, it shouldn't take long to create a craveable customized dish.
813 SW Alder St., 503-222-1670, bullardpdx.com.
For admirers 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.
Read the full review: With Bullard, Transplanted Texan Doug Adams Finally Gets to Prove He's for Real.
3. 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.
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.
5. 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 the menu'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.