1. Chennai Masala
2088 NE Stucki Ave., Hillsboro, 503-531-9500, chennaimasala.net. 11:30 am-2 pm and 5:30-9:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
Chennai Masala has been a South Indian standard for more than a decade. After the dining room was remodeled, it gained the feel of a midscale restaurant, shedding the cafeterialike vibe. South Indian food leans heavily vegetarian, so order accordingly. We suggest one of the dosas, a scrolled crispy crepe made with fermented lentil and rice flours. Good plain with just a side of aromatic sambar or filled with potatoes, chutney, egg, cheese, meat and more.
2. Eb & Bean
1425 NE Broadway, 503-281-6081; 3040 SE Division St., 971-242-8753; 645 NW 21st Ave., 503-889-0197; ebandbean.com. Noon-10 pm Sunday-Thursday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday.
Now that our corner of the country is sweltering, it’s time to find ways to stay cool. Fortunately, Eb & Bean just launched four new nondairy froyo flavors that should act as a temporary respite from the sweltering conditions: amarena cherry lemon, garden mint, vanilla coffee, and hibiscus mango—a collaboration with Smith Teamaker.
3. Desi Bites
16165 SW Regatta Lane, #300, Beaverton, 971-371-2176, desibitespdx.com. 11 am-2:30 pm and 4-9 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
Desi Bites is one of the Beaverton area’s newest South Asian markets with a full restaurant. Beware, however, the dining area is tiny (while the store is huge) and it fills up quickly. Plan for takeout, at least as a contingency. Don’t be afraid to try the fiery tomato and coconut-based Telangana curry, a specialty of Hyderabad. For a more mainstream repast, try the kati rolls or kebabs wrapped in paratha bread, which are messy but delicious.
1510 S Harbor Way, 503-295-6166, kingtidefishandshell.com/callao. 2-7 pm Wednesday-Sunday.
Now that it’s officially summer, you owe it to yourself to spend some time on the waterfront while snacking on light fare suited for hotter temperatures. Chef Alexander Diestra has made it a little easier to do just that with his new seasonal outdoor pop-up, Callao, which prepares traditional South American ingredients through a Japanese lens—think skewers, ceviche and a couple of dreamy desserts, like a coconut cookie sandwich and coffee jelly served with hazelnut whipped cream.
5. Beirut Bites
318 SE Grand Ave., 503-500-5885, beirutbitespdx.com. 11 am-8 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-9 pm Friday-Saturday.
In 2021, Nicholas—one of Portland’s oldest Lebanese-Mediterranean restaurants—moved from its flagship location on Southeast Grand Avenue to a new, roomier building on Southeast Madison Street. Now the original space has been rebranded by second-generation owner Hilda Dibe as Beirut Bites, a fast-casual concept that uses family recipes to encourage newbies and longtime Nicholas fans to engage with casual dishes rarely seen in Portland, the specialty being five varieties of street pizzas prepared in a 700-degree oven.