1. PASTIFICIO D’ORO
8737 N Lombard St., doropdx.com. 5-8 pm Monday-Tuesday.
Pastificio d’Oro is a restaurant inside another restaurant in St. Johns. But its heart—and thus, your stomach—is in Bologna, the Northern Italian city known for its handmade pasta, meat ragù (aka “Bolognese”) and mortadella (which America turned into, yes, “bologna”). Chef Chase Dopson had never cooked this style of cuisine until he caught “the pasta bug” at the start of the pandemic. With just a single induction burner to boil water and Gracie’s Apizza’s wood-fired oven, Dopson generally builds his menu around just two pastas, most frequently a tagliatelle ragù and a filled pasta in the tortellini family. It’s very heavy food, but incredibly soul-soothing.
411 SE 81st Ave., 503-841-5905, sebastianospdx.com. 11 am-3 pm Wednesday-Saturday.
As we continue to ride the Omicron crest, Montavilla’s Sicilian deli, Sebastiano’s, has launched a take-and-bake dinner program to keep you cozy through winter. Specials rotate, but the extra-large, Catanese-style arancini are a must-have. Each order includes two goose egg-sized fried balls of rice mixed with Olympia Provisions mortadella, Tails & Trotters ham and mozzarella. Add a radicchio salad, a bottle of wine, and a slice of olive oil cake, and you’ve got yourself a nice little weeknight meal.
3. XINH XINH VIETNAMESE BISTRO
970 SE Morrison St., 971-229-1492, xinhxinhbistro.com. 11:30 am-8 pm Monday-Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; 11 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday.
Tucked inside a small strip of businesses on Southeast Morrison, Xinh Xinh is best known for its banh mi and soups. It makes some of the best vegetarian pho in town. Bowls overflow with fresh broccoli, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms and green onions. When packed to go, it’s like Christmas morning—so many presents to open!
4. UNICORN CREATIONZ
4765 NE Fremont St., 971-319-1134, nacheauxpdx.com. 4-8 pm Wednesday-Thursday, noon-8:30 pm Friday, 10 am-4 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Despite its name, Unicorn Creationz is more of a tricera-corn. The bar/restaurant is split into three concepts inside the former Alameda Brewhouse space: food cart favorite Nacheaux—whipping up breakfast, lunch and, if you make it there in time, weekend brunch—as well as a bakery/dessert shop called Karnival Kreations, and Bourbon St. Bar. The cart is the heart of this food hall, so get there early on a Saturday to ensure owner-chef Anthony Brown has a spicy chorizo burrito left for you.
5. SARI RAMYUN
2713 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-841-5149, sari.smartonlineorder.com. 11 am-8 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday, 11 am-8:30 pm Monday.
Typically, “ramyun” refers to instant noodles in Korea, the peninsular answer to Top Ramen. But chef Tommy Shin’s 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.