721 NW 9th Ave., 541-900-5836, republicapdx.square.site. À la carte menu served 9 am-3 pm, chef’s tasting menu served 5-9 pm daily.
República has introduced Portland to another thread of Mexico’s complex gastronomic tapestry: the modernist-leaning tasting menu, which the Pearl District restaurant began serving in 2021. Packaging indigenous Mexican ingredients with sophisticated technique in a town known for its disdain of pretension was bold as hell. But they have been pulling it off with aplomb. And the idea of simultaneously serving each twosome one vegetarian-leaning tasting menu and one with a meatier bent is brilliant, especially for good eaters who share.
2. Piccone’s Corner
3434 NE Sandy Blvd., #400, 503-265-8263, picconescorner.com. 9 am-7 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am-5 pm Sunday.
This combination butcher shop-restaurant continues to fill a hole in the city’s dining scene that was left when Old Salt Marketplace closed. Now, Piccone’s Corner is serving all-day breakfast, setting our ham-loving hearts awhirl. The updated menu includes a substantial plate of two eggs, polenta cakes and bacon or sausage links, mushroom toast, and an obligatory grain bowl. But our eyes are set on the breakfast sandwich topped with your choice of house-cured pork from Wallow & Root farms.
3. Ecliptic Brewing
825 N Cook St., 503-265-8002, eclipticbrewing.com. Noon-8 pm Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, noon-10 pm Friday-Saturday.
Portland Dining Month, traditionally held in March, has been scrapped yet again due to COVID, but Ecliptic is pressing ahead anyway, serving its own limited-edition, three-course meal for a fixed price. Choose between two appetizers and entrees, which include the house soup or a Bibb lettuce blue cheese salad start; then move onto grilled flank steak, or a Yukon gold potato gnocchi. All dinners end with a cheesecake brownie crumble. Pub grub this ain’t, proving breweries can serve upscale fare alongside stellar pints.
4. Pacific Crust Pizza Company
400 SW Broadway, 503-719-5010, pacificcrustpizzaco.com. 11 am-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
The pies at this outdoors-themed pizzeria blur the line between New York and New Haven styles, which is a delightful hybrid for those who like to fold their slices as easily as a book yet appreciate a hefty rim for its chew and crunch. However, Pacific Crust’s greatest strength is its ability to allow each topping to have its moment. Nowhere is that better exhibited than in the Traverse, a crimson-and-gold disc of lightly smoked tomato sauce and corn kernels adorned with a tuft of peppery arugula.
5. Sunshine Noodles
2175 NW Raleigh St., Suite 105, sunshinenoodlespdx.com. 5-9 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-3 pm and 5-9 pm Friday-Sunday.
Diane Lam, the former chef de cuisine at Revelry, is back in full force with Sunshine Noodles, a relaunch of her pandemic pop-up that now has a brick-and-mortar home in Slabtown. Snag a seat at the countertop, where you can watch the kitchen team work the wok station, then dig into the catfish spring rolls. Though not a noodle dish, it’s the current standout. The fish is blackened, rolled into rice paper with herbs, vermicelli noodles, a slice of watermelon radish, and then topped with a citrusy nuoc cham sauce that’s a mixture of bitter, sweet, salt and funk.