1. RukDiew Cafe
2534 SE Belmont St., 503-841-6123, rukdiew.com. 11:30 am-3 pm and 4:30–9 pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-3 pm and 4:30-9:30 pm Friday, noon-9:30 pm Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday.
The most sought-after Thai appetizer in Portland these days might just be chicken wings, since the fall of Pok Pok has many hoping to discover an adequate replacement. Look no further: RukDiew’s hot wings are not only heavenly, the dish is secretly two great snacks in one. Flats and drums are tossed in a light chile-garlic sauce and served on a bed of fried basil leaves and egg noodles.
2. 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. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
This summer, Portland has watched from afar while much of the nation has baked in punishing temperatures. Now that we’re baking, it’s time to start finding 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.
5. 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’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.