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The tharkari plate at Big Elephant's Kitchen

Image: Kelly Clarke

Big Elephant Kitchen's Tharkari Plates & Samosas 

This cheery little Fijian kitchen scores with long-simmered family recipes that make good use of India’s spice cabinet, with mountainous tharkari plates of mix-and-match stews and dals big enough to share and still tote leftovers home. Don't forget to add on tasty, oversize, super-chewy samosas packed with hunky curried peas and carrots. They are literally what a Hot Pocket ought to be. 

Mini “Babka” at Coquine

Yes, Coquine’s smoked almond chocolate chip cookies are the shit. But we’ve got a new pastry obsession: it’s a sort of miniaturized babka (that marvelous Eastern European chocolate bread), made with yeasty dough, baked with roasted apples, and folded into a tight, sugar-glazed bun.

Slappy Cakes Buttermilk + Chocolate DIY Pancakes

Embrace December’s chaos of holidays and houseguests as an opportunity to combine two things most humans enjoy: bad art and pancakes. Slappy Cakes servers arm families with squeeze bottles of house batters (vegan and gluten-free available) and myriad toppings, crank up the tabletop grills, and keep the spicy Bloody Marys coming for the elders. Pro tip: ante up for both buttermilk and chocolate batter for high-contrast pancake art. (You haven’t lived until you’ve nibbled the ears off a fresh griddled Totoro.) Are they the best tasting flapjacks in town? Nah. But damn it if they aren’t the most fun. 

Seafood Cavatelli at Bar Casa Vale

One of our 2017 Restaurants of the Year is still finding its feet after a chef changeover, but already we’ve got a new favorite: seafood fideos, made with chewy, sauce-grabbing cavatelli, steeped in a rich, deep tomato sauce with heaps of fresh Monterey Bay squid and savory clams, and a healthy dollop of garlicky aioli at the center.

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Bar Casa Vale

$$ Spanish 215 SE 9th Ave

BCV is Clyde Common restaurateur Nate Tilden’s take on an authentic sherry and tapas bar. Wood smoke permeates the menu, from crispy game hen in tangy mojo s...

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Slappy Cakes

$$ Breakfast / Brunch 4246 SE Belmont St

Fry your own pancakes on a tabletop grill? With kids? Sounds like a lawsuit in the making. Slappy Cakes, however, adds a smart dose of Portland cool to the D...

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Coquine

$$$ New American, Pacific Northwest 6839 SE Belmont Street

Coquine's talented young Katy Millard crafts thoughtful, everyday food and drink, day and night. Vegetables get top billing: a salad that digs into squash (w...

Big Elephant Kitchen

$ Indian 3940 N Williams ave

This cheery little Fijian kitchen scores with long-simmered family recipes that make good use of India’s spice cabinet, with mountainous tharkari plates of m...