1. Hapa PDX Ramen and Whiskey
3848 SE Gladstone St., 503-376-9246, hapapdx.us.
Lots of food carts make the leap to brick-and-mortar. But rarely is the effect quite so sexy as it is at Hapa. The soup here is a blend of two beloved cuisines: In the "G-Special" ramen, you'll recognize elements of a Hawaiian plate lunch and a Tokyo ramen. But this is very much an izakaya, and drinks are as much the attraction as the soup: The ginger ale-sake highball is worth traveling across town for.
2. Campana at Grand Army Tavern
901 NE Oneonta St., 503-841-6195, campanapdx.com.
A meal at the 5-month-old "trattoria within a tavern" feels like falling through a wormhole and landing in a classic New York red-sauce joint. Campana makes the ordering easy by offering a three-course road map—salad, pasta and a dessert—for $37. And while it may sound too ambitious for your stomach, you really should spring for at least one of the sides. If nothing else, the rugged, spongy campagnolo bread will help you wipe your dish clean of any remaining sauce.
Read the full review: Could Campana Be Portland's Next Pop-Up-To-Permanence Success Story? Sure Tastes Like It.
4546 SE Division St., malkapdx.com.
An extension of Jessie Aron's fanciful Carte Blanche cart, situated in a converted house, Malka faced a long series of delays, but it has finally arrived, serving fried chicken in a tomato-jalapeno sauce, ota tofu in soy and sambal, and delicious Thai slushies.
4. Mama Bird
2145 NW Raleigh St., 503-384-2064, mamabirdpdx.com.
"Comfort food" means different things to different people, but few are likely to disagree on Mama Bird. At this new Etsy-chic Slabtown counter-service spot, a crackling fire provides ambience and heat, with one side devoted to pineapple-brined birds, and fresh vegetables and potatoes on the other. The brine gives the birds all the flavor they need to stand up on their own, but each of the six sauces on offer transforms the chicken from above average to downright addictive.
Read the full review: Mama Bird's Chicken Splits the Difference Between Comfort Food and Health Food.
5. Sari Ramyun
2713 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-841-5149.
Typically, the phrase "ramyun" refers in Korea to instant noodles, the peninsular answer to Top Ramen. But chef Tommy Shin's new stall in the Zipper food court specializes in a chicken noodle soup—well, technically chicken and beef broth, with melt-in-your-mouth brisket slices floating on top. This is a heretical opinion, given the proximity of Basilisk, but Sari makes the best chicken in the Zipper.