4611 E Burnside St., 503-206-5916, wajanpdx.com.
"Selamat Makan," reads the sign in the flamboyantly decorated dining room at this Indonesian newcomer, a phrase that translates to "bon appétit." The truth of that statement is self-evident. For the uninitiated, an order of nasi campur or nasi uduk sampler plates is a must. Those ready for the advanced course have plenty of options; a starter of rujak serut should be mandatory. Raw fruits and vegetables are anointed with palm sugar syrup and ground peanuts for an all-compass-point ensemble of sweet, tart, soft and crunchy. It's one of the standout local dishes of the year.
2. 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?
3. Soro Soro Coffee & Dessert
2250 E Burnside St., Unit C, 503-265-8236.
Just about everything at this twee coffee shop and bakery seems devised by a precocious grade schooler with an eye for interior design, from the heart-shaped straws to the cactus in the windowsill topped with a tiny sun hat to the pastries, many of which come affixed with googly eyes. But the owners put just as much care into the preparation as the presentation—those anthropomorphized cakes aren't just Instagram fodder. The peanut butter crumble, in particular, is perfect, dusting slightly crunchy pebbles atop a pillow-soft foundation.
Read the full review: Soro Soro's Adorable Pastries Are More Than Just Eye Candy.
4. Gado Gado
1801 NE César E. Chávez Blvd., 503-206-8778, gadogadopdx.com.
The brick-and-mortar home of wildly popular pop-up Gado Gado makes a strong case that Indonesian food is Portland's next big cuisine. The radiant spices and displays of complementary textures remain dazzling—see the beef rendang, a simmering heap of coconut-braised beef paired with aromatic rice and a side of zesty sambal. It's a simple dish that's packed with flavor and damn-near perfect.
5. Pinolo Gelato
3707 SE Division St., 503-719-8686, pinologelato.com.
In Italy, gelato and its dairy-free cousin, sorbetto, are elevated to high culinary art. That's the firmament from which Southeast Portland's Pinolo Gelato and its affable proprietor, Sandro Paolini, sprang. It's the seasonal sorbettos, like never-too-sweet frozen versions of fresh-picked fruit, that leave every other local shop in the dust. Champagne mango, strawberry enhanced with elderflower, and lemon-basil were recent hits.
Related: It's Officially Frozen Confection Season in Portland. Here Are Eight Cooling Treats That Go Beyond the Obvious.