1. 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.
2. 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.
3. The Star
1309 NW Hoyt St., 503-300-7827, thestarportland.com.
Portland might be overdosing on 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?
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.
3808 N Williams Ave., Suite 127, 971-295-1645, eemportland.com.
The clubhouse leader for Restaurant of the Year just introduced a new lunch menu, featuring fried chicken with an optional crispy-fried egg, a variant of its late-night cheeseburger, and thai shrimp in a jasmine rice porridge it calls "grits." We're sure it'll live up to the dinner menu, but if you haven't tried that yet, well, why the hell not? 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.