Our annual Best New Restaurants issue is a bit like a wine vintage: every year is different, defined by random forces, the quirks and flavor predilections of the moment, and, always, the notion of place. Last year, a wine bar craze hit Portland. Before that, the city’s anti-fine-dining mode was in force, rife with hidden, backroom tasting menu concepts. This year? Asian flavors, wild to traditional, ruled the day, animating our Restaurant of the Year, Rising Star, and Trend of the Year—a blossoming of underappreciated or underrepresented cuisines around the city. Meanwhile, a scotch destination set a new bar for eating while drinking, vegan fine dining got serious, Texas planted a meaty flag downtown, and two bakeries made our list. This was not a year for showy blockbusters, but a delicious vintage indeed.
PICTURED ABOVE: Gado Gado's Chinese-Indonesian fare is electrifying Portland's food scene