1. The Star
1309 NW Hoyt St., 503-300-7827, thestarportland.com.
Portland might be overdosing on high-quality pizza at the moment, but if the pie can hold its own, hey, what's one more? The Star started in San Francisco, and its new Pearl District location is the brand's first outside the Bay Area. While known for deep-dish, the must-get item here is the cracker-crisp pesto chicken. A hypnotic, basil-colored spiral drizzled around the pizza compels you to drop whatever else is occupying your mouth at that moment and dig in.
Read the full review: Can Bay Area Franchise the Star Stand out in Portland's Crowded Pizza Market?
1080 SE Madison St. (inside the Hawthorne Asylum cart pod)
It seems no proper cart pod is complete without a husband-and-wife duo cranking out delicious heaps of fried food. The po'boy offers a split of the cart's two main proteins—tender, flaky fried chicken and an impossibly rich and juicy heap of pulled pork—with the convenience of just one bun. Ask for an extra side of the tangy remoulade that graces the sandwich so you can dunk the hush puppies in it.
Read the full review: The 10 Best Menu Items at Hawthorne Asylum, Portland's Newest Food Cart Pod.
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 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.
4. Secret Pizza Society
7201 NE Glisan St., 503-946-1926, thegsmp.com.
At this small shop, the motto is "Vegan Pizzas That Don't Suck." But the best thing on the menu is the Pyro, a necronomic combo of pizza and gyro—essentially an entire pizza, folded in half and filled with toppings of your choice, alongside soy curls, greens and a tangy-sweet house sauce. It's the ultimate munchie for the vegan stoner.
5. Mama San Soul Shack
8037 N Lombard St., 503-719-4288, mamasansoulshack.com.
Kimchi and collard greens are the culinary mashup you didn't know you needed until now. Housed in a former auto body shop, Mama San Soul Shack explores the culinary compatibility of Southern home cooking and pan-Asian fare. Keep in mind, if you arrive too late in the afternoon—especially on a sunny day—don't be too shocked to discover its stock of more signature items depleted. Runs on the catfish and coleslaw basket as well as the pork shoulder banh mi will probably only escalate as the weather warms and more customers jonesing for exotic yet homey grub make good use of the outdoor seating.
Related: Where to Eat Cheap in North Portland.