BEST OF 2013

An Edible Year: Our 2013 Restaurant Reviews

Twelve months of edible opinions from Portland Monthly's restaurant critic Karen Brooks and our hungry team of food writers.

December 19, 2013

At Ox, clam chowder’s make-over arrives with smoked marrow bone, jalapeños, and wicked decadence.

Image: Leah Nash

January: Ox  

We welcome the next generation of the steak house. Ox audaciously combines haute cuisine with a meaty menagerie of sizzling Argentine delights. Chops, rib eyes, and chorizo top the protein list, all kicked up a notch with chef Greg Denton’s weapon of culinary destruction: “black gold”, a flavor packed armament of juiced-up drippings.

February: The Ocean

The quirky brainchild of a few veteran Portland chefs and restaurant owners, this toothsome amalgamation of four microrestaurants packs a whole lot of punch into a tiny footprint. Uno Mas, Slowburger, Basa Basa (now closed), and 24th and Meatballs team up to serve a choose-your-own smörgåsbord of burgers, meatballs, spicy wings, beer-battered onion rings, and 21 takes on tacos in their array of lively (if tiny) dining rooms. 

March: Cheap Eats

Looking for a dining experience that will satisfy your taste buds without breaking the budget? Let us guide you through the best low-cost eateries you can find in Portland.

April: Ava Gene’s

This “love letter to Italian food” is Duane Sorenson’s newest knockout restaurant, Ava Gene’s. Featuring gorgeous Old World style with an indie Portland kick, Ava Gene’s will have you shouting bellissima! all the way home. 

May: The People’s Pig

Get exuberantly primitive with this food cart featuring a range of face-stuffing sandwiches, loaded with deliciously smoked wild boar soaked in a succulent citrus marmalade, vinegar drenched vegetables, sweet and spicy mustard, and decadent juices all packed into a homemade sourdough bun.

June: Kingdom of Roosevelt

Showcasing daring forays into culinary landscapes as-yet-unseen, Kingdom of Roosevelt flashed bright before closing in August. With such uncommon dishes as “fallow deer heart tartare with his marrow” and “rabbit blood pancakes”, every dish was an adventure.       

July: Castagna

Can you find Michelin-level food in Portland? Absolutely. Justin Woodward is the best Portland chef you’ve never heard of. At Castagna, he sends locally sourced food in wildly creative directions, to great success. 

Picnic’s John Dovydenas with right-hand gal Jen Cox

Image: Dina Avila

August: The Next Generation of Portland Food Carts

We highlight some of the most inventive and revolutionary food carts to hit the downtown pavement this year, from Picnic and the Cheese Plate to Tiffin Asha and Olé Latte.

September: Din Din

The spunky ouvre of chef Courtney Sproule draws from a host of Parisian classics, with a quirky Portland twist. Born amidst rooftop pop-up dinners, feasts in a church basement, and a wandering supper club, Din Din keeps it fun and fresh, and—most importantly—delicious.

Clockwise from top left: Wasabi pea soup with nasturtium leaves, bay scallops, peas, and buttermilk panna cotta; rib eye with tomatoes, mushrooms, and preserved currants; savory corn-bread madeleine beneath lardo, grated cheese, and honeycomb

Image: Leah Nash

October: Holdfast Dining

Holdfast Dining crams the grand affair of fine dining into a tiny space. With 10 stools, a rented kitchen, and a counter, chef Will Preisch makes high-end feasting personal and exciting—the new direction of Portland's pop-up cuisine.

November: 10 Best Restaurants of 2013

In our restaurant wrap-up issue, we chronicle the 10 best restaurants to grace our city’s discerning taste buds this year. From food carts to fine cuisine, there’s something for every peckish foodie.

December: Cooklandia

Bring the flavors of your favorite restaurant home with you with this collection of cookbooks from some of the finest chefs and food geniuses Portland has to offer. From Thai to French to bread, there’s a book in here for every aspiring chef.

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