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Aviary's silken tofu. 

Image: Karen Brooks

Instagram Aviary’s bejeweled silken tofu 

Leave it to Aviary’s modern-eclectic kitchen to make tofu beautiful enough to wear (and every bite delicious, textured, and surprising). Local Ota tofu sits at the base, crowned with pomegranate seeds, ultra-thin persimmon coins, sesame brittle, and left-field dabs of hot bean paste. 

Dare yourself to order Szechuan pork wontons at Duck House

A vat of crimson oil and vinegar bobbling with silky, slithery wonton wrappers. Each bite comes on with a smoky smolder and ends with a pop of porky-green onion goodness. Bonus: the chile oil’s heat level is calibrated to bring you near tears—a G&T or cheap beer will quench that fire.

Learn the ropes at Bete-Lukas

First-timers to Bete-Lukas, one of Portland’s best Ethiopian spots, are best served with a combo platter, which serves as a primer to the second-floor restaurant’s offerings. We’re especially fond of the Veggie Combo, with buttery lentils in berbere, garlicky yellow split peas, spicy, slow-cooked kale, curried cabbage and potatoes, and addictive, deeply spiced green beans. It’s all soaked up by a tangy, pocked sponge of injera.

Order dessert at Tanner Creek Tavern

This new Pearl District tavern has a solid lineup of business lunch fare, from lemony, toasty crumb-showered Caesar salads to great mussels and sausage in spicy broth (a throwback to owner David Machado’s Lauro Kitchen days). But save room for Guy King’s homey desserts: think oozy stone fruit cobbler topped with a caramelized cap of sugar cookie-like crumble and perfect housemade honey ice cream.

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Tanner Creek Tavern

$$$ New American 875 NW Everett St

Bete-Lukas

$ African 2504 SE 50th Ave.

On the second floor of a Southeast Portland apartment, you'll find some of the freshest Ethiopian cooking in the city, from lentil sambusa and fresh vegtable...

Editor’s Pick

Duck House

$ Chinese 1968 SW 5th Ave

Roasted, hung, and dried in traditional Beijing style, this PSU-area haunt serves sliced duck generously but unceremoniously on a platter arrayed with scalli...

Editor’s Pick

Aviary

$$ Asian 1733 NE Alberta St

At the always eclectic Aviary on NE Alberta Street in the Alberta Arts neighborhood, chef Sarah Pliner fuses Asian and western ingredients with style and whimsy.