From inventive interpretations on Mexican food to quirky feel-g00d eats, and a one-of-a-kind Korean eatery, Portland’s latest restaurants boast something for everyone. Read more and grab a seat.
Image Courtesy of Han Oak.
Joshua McFadden is the chef and now owner of this stellar trattoria with Roman inspired eats. The motto is “Locally Sourced. Aggressively Seasonal,” which means the best local produce and meats raised by Pacific Northwest farmers make their way into a menu of antipasti, giardini, hand-made (down to the house-milled flour) pasta, secondi, and contorni. To experience Ava Gene’s in all its glory, order family style, and succumb to the chef’s selection of delicious, Italian-esque plates for all to share. Book now at Ava Gene’s.
Chalino is inspired by Mexico, but not too entrenched in tradition. Chef Johnny Leach – a Momofuku empire vet – churns out creative ceviches and tostadas, proudly veering away from authentic Mexican cuisine. Tequila, mezcal, and a superb michelada can be thoroughly enjoyed on the seasonal patio. Pro tip: indulge in the off-menu fried chicken pibil– it’s sensational. Book now at Chalino.
Named for Korea’s traditional homes, this self-proclaimed “family restaurant” – operated out of chef Peter Cho’s home – specializes in prix-fixe dinners and casual dumpling and noodle meals served four nights a week. At $45, the four-course tasting menu offers innovative, American-influenced dishes using traditional Korean ingredients and flavors. Among the highlights are sweet-and-sour sweet potatoes with toasted sesame, hand-cut kalgooksu noodles in egg drop chicken broth, and koji-marinated, slow-roasted pork belly with rice cake, pickled daikon, and scallion salad. The minimalist, light-filled interior – accented by hip-hop jams – makes for a delightfully relaxed setting that’s hard to leave. Book now at Han Oak.
If you thought Jacqueline was the name of the owner, you thought wrong. It’s a nod to the Wes Anderson film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” and both the décor (“a romantic aesthetic with a nautical flair,” as the restaurant puts it) and the food (seafood) fit that mold. Enjoy oysters with house-made mignonettes, yellowtail crudo, charred octopus, and the like; and look out for Bill Murray– he’s there somewhere. Book now at Jacqueline.
This quirky restaurant is outfitted almost entirely in wood and decorated with pots and pans, hanging lights, and chandeliers. A wood-fired oven is the only source of heat in the kitchen, producing flavorful dishes that highlight seasonal ingredients procured from a variety of local suppliers. Specialties include Oregon sole and mushroom duxelle with potato, sunchokes, and gremolata, and Cattail Creek lamb with charred bruss, smoked onions, lime yogurt, greens, and spices. Book now at Ned Ludd.
Xico is not your standard Mexican restaurant. Chef Kelly Myers grinds the corn in-house, transforming it into just-perfect tortillas. Local ingredients shine in dishes like salad tacos and roast chicken for two. The bevy of mezcal-based cocktails – which are made with rare varieties – are best enjoyed on the back patio. Book now at XICO.
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