1414 SE Morrison St., fermenterpdx.com.
The food at this vegan lunch spot is uniformly excellent—not just "good for vegan food," but good no matter what you choose to eat for the rest of your day. The counter offers a prix fixe three-course lunch for $23 that changes daily. On a recent visit, that included a cucumber, tomato and nasturtium cold dish layered over hazelnut nepetella yogurt, followed by a slice of the best tempeh in town, served over quinoa and corn. Put simply, Fermenter rules. And yes, it's vegan. No asterisk required.
Read the full review: With Fermenter, Chef Aaron Adams Changes the Game for Vegan Food in Portland—Again.
1615 NW 21st Ave., 971-229-1043, g-lovepdx.com.
It's a big month for herbivores. At this "reverse steakhouse" from well-traveled chef Garrett Benedict, the vegetables are the star attraction, while the meat is relegated to sideshow status. But given Benedict's pedigree—he's worked in the kitchens of Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning restaurants from San Francisco to Philadelphia—it's all likely to be good. Early entrees include a fish-free chirashi bowl, Tuscan ribollita soup and chefed-up avocado toast (natch), with crispy pork belly, hanger steak and seared Alaskan salmon offered as sides.
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.
2525 SE Clinton St., 503-395-8542, magnapdx.com.
Oh, it's on now. After multiple setbacks—including a full relocation, from Cully to Clinton—one of Portland's first major Filipino restaurants is finally open. Chef Carlo Lamagna has been teasing the public for months with an Instagram page full of tantalizing images of adobos and bibingka, but it's not just food porn—anyone who's attended his Twisted Filipino Dinner Series knows his stuff tastes as good as it looks.
914 NE Broadway, 503-208-2172, hak-restaurant.business.site.
For anyone easily overwhelmed by the options at other Korean spots, Hak's relatively thin menu is a blessing. In the case of appetizers, it's an easy move to just try one of everything, but make sure to include the fried dumplings and seaweed salad. As far as the Grilled Meat section goes, the heap of beef rib-eye bulgogi is the clear showstopper, with a gentle, warm spice trailing right behind a burst of juicy sweetness from the tender, lightly charred meat.