1. Ex Novo

2326 N Flint Ave., 503-894-8251exnovobrew.com.

This bar serves thick lumachine elbow-shaped shells bathed in a creamy concoction of cheddar and chives. In late summer, it was tossed with cubes of griddled honey ham, which added a sweet, porky element to an already strongly executed dish, though in fall, you have the choice of bacon, fried chicken or green chiles.

2. Tabor Tavern

5325 E Burnside St., 503-208-3544tabortavern.com.

This East Burnside pub pushes a hefty serving of mac and cheese mixed with bunches of kale and delicious chorizo crumbles. It's very tasty—perfectly creamy—but if the kitchen gets a bit overzealous with the greens, it may feel as if you're in grade school and being forced to eat your broccoli.

3. The Richmond Bar

3203 SE Division St., 503-208-3075therichmondbar.com.

Richmond's iteration of the dish covers long, hollow noodles in melty white cheddar. It can be a challenge getting the pasta submerged in enough of that liquid gold, but even less cheesy bites remain strong thanks to some help from caramelized onions and hefty bread crumbs.

4. Pope House Bourbon Lounge

2075 NW Glisan St., 503-222-1056popehouselounge.com.

Pope House keeps its vision of mac pure: elbow noodles slathered in melted cheese topped with a layer of breadcrumbs, no hog bits and no greenery. The dish is soft and chewy, and it'll beat out other locations when you're simply looking to be drowned in a mixture of cheddar and blue.