Hidden Portland: Eat This Now

4 Under-the-Radar Portland Food Scores

Lobster rolls to Indian spices, don't sleep on these finds.

By Brian Barker, Fiona McCann, and Benjamin Tepler December 21, 2018 Published in the January 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Aviary's lobster roll

Hush-Hush Lobster

NE Alberta’s Asian-inspired Aviary also serves lobster rolls every Wednesday. Chef Sarah Pliner’s take stays true to the New England standard with a buttery, top-loading bun jammed with chilled North Atlantic lobster (above) for $20. Pliner missed the rolls she used to get at Manhattan spot Pearl Oyster Bar, so she decided to make some herself for a street fair—and then made them a regular thing. “Now I get to eat a lobster roll every week,” she says, “which is the real upside.” 1733 NE Alberta St —BT

Stealth Spice Shelf

Inside SE Division’s bustling Bollywood Theater restaurant, one of Portland’s best spice bazaars hides in plain sight. Scattered between film paraphernalia and Indian cookbooks are all the essentials to stock a Mumbai pantry (minus produce), fresh-made paneer to Maggi hot sauce. A table of spices for smelling gives less-familiar shoppers a flavor primer. 3010 SE Division St —BT

Secret Sushi

Pinball machines, reclusive booths, deep beer list, velvet paintings of Trail Blazers—Roscoe’s in Montavilla checks all the proper dive bar boxes. But thanks to a shared kitchen with neighboring sushi joint Miyamoto, there’re also literal boxes to check for fresh unagi rolls, house-cured mackerel, yellowtail, and Hawaiian-style poke, any of which pair quite well with Roscoe’s own roster of tots and catfish sliders. 8105 SE Stark St —BB

Get Brit

If you’re making a Mary Berry–approved banoffee pie and simply must have McVities digestive biscuits for the crust, or you get a Sunday-evening craving for Heinz baked beans on toast, Fred Meyer’s “European Foods” section is there for you. Along with Bavarian-style sauerkraut and tins of Chiquilín Mild Paprika from Spain, spot everything from HP Sauce to Britain’s famed Bird’s powdered custard. Aisle 14 at the St. Johns Fred Meyer, and other locations —FM

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