1. Little Bird

215 SW 6th Ave., 503-688-5952, littlebirdbistro.com.

It's the end of an era in Portland dining: Little Bird, Gabriel Rucker's downtown bistro, is closing for good on Oct. 27. It'll be mourned for several reasons, but none more so than the double-brie burger—thick and juicy yet sturdy, and available for an absurd $7 during happy hour, it's a true local classic. Get it while you still can.

(Abby Gordon)
(Abby Gordon)

2. Berlu

605 SE Belmont St., berlupdx.com.

Chef Vince Nguyen elevates fine dining to the astral plane: delicious, mysterious, stylish without pretension, invariably thoughtful and focused. Each presentation is a work of visual artistry, bursting with bright, sometimes psychedelic colors. But it's not just the food that makes this one of Portland's best new restaurants. A meal here is a fully formed experience, where everything from the music to the David Bowie-themed restroom plays a part.

Chicken adobo. (Henry Cromett)
Chicken adobo. (Henry Cromett)

3. Magna

2525 SE Clinton St., 503-395-8542, magnapdx.com.

It's past time for a food city like Portland to have its own great Filipino restaurant, and with Carlo Lamagna's Magna, we've got one. To a first-gen Filipino who grew up eating this food at every meal, Lamagna's dishes are both intimately familiar and achingly cool. In his hands, even the humble tortang talong—a simple fried eggplant omelet—is coddled with as much care as an Escoffier-style omelet, served with a spray of quick-pickled watermelon radishes, onions and fresh tomatoes.

(Henry Cromett)
(Henry Cromett)

4. Fermenter

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.

The $9 taco special at Impala might be the westside’s best deal. IMAGE: Andrea Johnson.
The $9 taco special at Impala might be the westside’s best deal. IMAGE: Andrea Johnson.

5. Impala

1900 NW 27th Ave., 971-288-9651.

The beach vibes are strong at Impala. The tequila-heavy cocktails are named after professional skaters, the menu is Mexi-Cali drive-in fare, the décor is all potted ferns and pastel paint. But what matters most is the taco special: two crunchy, Old El Paso-style crisp tortilla and ground beef babies overflowing with shredded cheese, served with crinkle-cut fries and a Rainier for $9. It's the best dinner deal on the westside.