1. La Osita
1515-A SE 122nd Ave., 503-358-3364.
Located in the parking lot of Plaza 122, La Osita is a delightfully understated Mexican breakfast and coffee cart. Alongside a small selection of breakfast bowls is the brunch taco ($3.50), a small but mighty mix of Tillamook pepper jack, fried egg, colorful veggies and a long slab of applewood bacon that's a good 2 inches longer than the flour tortilla it's wrapped in.
The restaurant from the superstar trio behind Hat Yai, Matt's BBQ and the Shipwreck cocktail pop-up has finally arrived, and it somehow manages to exceed all expectations. The white curry with brisket burnt ends is a dish so rich and nuanced it's almost without precedent, while the chopped barbecue fried rice is another mashup that's bafflingly simple yet unbeatable in flavor.
The earnest young chefs behind this new sustainability-focused prix fixe spot have made "by-catch" and "invasive species" the center of their culinary universe—and it might be the most extraordinary seafood restaurant the city has seen in nearly a decade.
4. Matt’s BBQ Tacos
3207 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-956-7455.
Breakfast tacos are one of the few major food trends Portland has yet to successfully pilfer. Leave it to Matt Vicedomini to change that. The new venture from the pitmaster behind the city's best Texas barbecue and 2019 Restaurant of the Year contender Eem is almost comically perfunctory, but nothing much matters beyond the namesake chef's magical experiments in smoky-sweet protein. Our top pick is the brisket, which is packed with Vicedomini's trademark notes of brassy, woody flavors with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and just the perfect amount of char on the edges.
Read the full review: Two Food Carts Are Finally Making Portland Players in the Breakfast Taco Game
Superstar Southern chef Maya Lovelace's long-delayed permanent home for her exalted fried chicken pop-up Mae's is finally open. There are a lot of candidates for the best fried chicken in town, but Lovelace's buttermilk-brined, impossibly juicy birds are hard to argue against.