1. Top Burmese

833 NW 16th Ave., topburmese.com.

Given the profound popularity of the cuisine of its neighboring states, it's surprising that Burmese food has been a relative outlier up until now. Top Burmese aims to change that. The nan gyi thoke, or chicken noodle salad ($8.50), is the best value and boldest flavor on the menu.

(Thomas Teal)
(Thomas Teal)

2. Little Bean

1241 NW Johnson St., littlebean.com.

If the point is just to prove that chickpea ice cream can be done, Little Bean is a success. The ice cream—or bean cream or ice bean or whatever—has a texture so thick and creamy, it could almost be mistaken for gelato.

IMAGE: facebook.com/TekkaBarHandrollSushiLasVegas
IMAGE: facebook.com/TekkaBarHandrollSushiLasVegas

3. Tekka Bar

1237 SW Washington St., 971-346-3280, tekkabar.com.

Portland apparently has some kind of culinary exchange going on with Las Vegas. A year ago, we sent Lardo and Pok Pok to the desert, and now Sin City returns the favor by gifting us hand-rolled sushi from one of its top restaurateurs. Tekka Bar just opened downtown, slinging owner Takashi Segawa's much drooled-over lobster rolls and yellowtail sashimi, plus a well-curated selection of sake.

(Rocky Burnside)
(Rocky Burnside)

4. Farm Spirit

1403 SE Belmont St., farmspiritpdx.com.

Portland has no shortage of vegan junk food. But vegan fine dining is a rarity. Chef Aaron Adams' seasonal, constantly changing menu puts local produce to clever and surprising uses, like caramelized black garlic as a convincing chocolate ganache, or "ravioli" made with chard for noodles.

Matt’s BBQ Tacos. IMAGE: Reid Kille.
Matt’s BBQ Tacos. IMAGE: Reid Kille.

5. Matt’s BBQ Tacos

3207 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 503-956-7455.

The new venture from the pitmaster behind the city's best Texas barbecue 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.