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Cherry Belle and English Breakfast radishes with uni butter are a simple yet luscious starter. (Photo courtesy of B&T Oyster Bar.)

For some time now, Portland, Oregon, has been one of America’s most popular destinations when it comes to eating and drinking really, really well. And this year in particular has seen an especially cool crop of noteworthy new bars and restaurants. So whether you’re headed there soon to attend Feast Portland, one of the country’s hottest food festivals,which takes place September 17-20, or just to check out the City of Roses in general, be sure to have this list of ten hot new spots handy.

B&T Oyster Bar  
Don’t be fooled by the name. There is more than just pristine West Coast oysters — which are a steal during the weekday happy hours — to the third incarnation of this space (first named Wafu, then Block+Tackle), led by chef Trent Pierce. The menu is brief but well edited, and comprised of a dozen small, seafood-driven plates. The dan dan noodles, a mound of fiery seafood ragu topped with a clutch of house-made egg noodles, are pleasantly fiery and buzzy thanks to Sichuan peppercorns. Cool things off with the delicate king crab hand rolls, filled with sweet crab meat, vermicelli and tangy mayo. Even deceptively simple-sounding plates like the radishes and butter surprise with their pretty, punchy colors and luscious, uni-infused butter. 3113 S.E. Division St.; 503-236-0205;

After spending almost 25 years in the cheese industry, Steve Jones, owner of Cheese Bar and Cheese Annex in the Commons Brewery, set out to find another way to make his trade even more approachable and fun: “Lots of people stand in front of 250 cheeses at my shop but don’t know where to start,” he says. His cleverly named, cozy nook devoted to cheese — expect to see 30 to 40 of Jones’s favorites in rotation — makes it a breeze to learn and discover new favorites (like the grassy and buttery Chiriboga Blue from Germany) by listing each one by type, origin and flavor profile. Going à la carte is all well and good, but the real fun is ordering the “omakase.” Simply indicate how much you’d like to spend, and let the cheesemonger behind the counter take care of the rest. 1126 S.W. Alder St; 503-719-6889;

Coquine's Chef Katy Millard makes vegetables shine. (Photo courtesy of Jannie Huang.)
Coquine’s chef, Katy Millard, makes vegetables, like this raw and roasted carrot dish, shine. (Photo credit: Jannie Huang.)

Tucked away on a charming residential corner bordering Mt. Tabor, Coquine is the culmination of a celebrated pop-up and successful fundraising efforts by husband-and-wife team Katy Millard and Ksandek Podbielski. Given its serene surroundings, coupled with the gentle pricing, Coquine feels like a hidden gem (for now anyway, until word spreads). Millard’s cooking is rooted in French techniques, but it’s also influenced by global cuisine. In her porchetta sandwich, the rich meat and cracklings are balanced by refreshing lemon, mint and basil. The confit duck wings are quickly fried, then bathed in a bracing lemon and Calabrian chili sauce. And don’t forget to save room for the addictive chocolate chip cookies, studded with artisanal chocolate, sea salt and smoked almonds. 6839 S.E. Belmont St; 503-384-2483;

The ham-centric spot is handsomely accented with a copper-topped bar, leather banquettes, and custom tile work. (Photo credit: Dina Avila)
This ham-centric spot is accented with a copper-topped bar, leather banquettes and custom tile work. (Photo: Dina Avila.)

It’s all about living high on the hog at the latest venture from one of Portland’s most beloved chefs, Cathy Whims of Nostrana, and cocktail guru Ryan Magarian. Located in the Pearl, the handsome ham-centric spot, smartly accented with a copper-topped bar, leather banquettes, and custom tile work, is terrific for a casual drink and snack. Pair one of Magarian’s creative sherry-laced cocktails (the Kojo and Daydream are especially spirited) with lip-smacking slivers of Spanish or American ham — the 36-month-aged Acorn Tamsworth from Iowa is sourced from “happy hogs gorged on acorns” — or a classic baguette sandwich made with La Quercia ham and fresh butter. 232 N.W. 12th Ave.; 503-241-4009;

Harvest at the Bindery
Owner Jon Steuer has worn lots of hats. He was a child actor on Star Trek: The Next Generation and lead singer of the punk band Soda Pop Kids before opening a vegan restaurant dedicated to his way of eating. But instead of preparing dishes that are “mock,” “fake,” or intended to imitate meat or dairy-based foods, Steur and chef Shawn Sigmon prefer to coax the best from whole, plant-based ingredients to surprise even the most die-hard carnivores. The popular roasted-carrot dish, for example, takes a bundle of delicately charred vegetables and nestles them in pools of pimento cream and carrot-top pesto. Like much of the rest of the menu, it will leave you feeling satisfied, full, and healthy (as opposed to guilty and weighed down). 3101 N.E. Sandy Blvd.; 503-894-9172;

Under the Hawthorne Bridge and along the river, you’ll discover this second cozy restaurant by Gabe Rosen and Kina Voelz, who also own the acclaimed izakaya Biwa. While you can order savory snacks like gyoza and fried chicken (as you would at a traditional izakaya), the real star here is ramen. Each piping bowl of springy Sun Noodles and labor-intensive broth is carefully prepared one at a time and arrives with fresh garlic cloves and a press for extra flavor. And look out for the daily specials, which include the legendary Biwa burger and a “hambagu” steak. It’s not unlike the juicy and onion-flecked salisbury steak of your youth, but it’s paired with whipped potatoes and an umami-rich brown sauce. 1430 S.E. Water Ave; 503-238-6356;

P.R.E.A.M. Pizza
Another successful pop-up turned brick-and-mortar, P.R.E.A.M. is the brainchild of chef Nicholas Ford and bartender Brandon Gomez. True, the formula isn’t all that original or new — picture a slightly gritty decor, irreverent yet charming servers and blaring old-school hip hop — but it’s still a place you can’t help but fall for. Cocktails like the Root Beer Float made with root liquor, cream and root beer, and house-made sodas like the Orange Creamsicle will bring out your inner kid, as will the beautifully blistered pies, all fired in the wood-burning oven. Classicists will find the Margherita nearly faultless, and more adventuresome palates will flip for the Potato, dotted with bright purple spuds, pickled onions, béchamel and turnip greens. 2131 S.E. 11th Ave.; 503-231-2809;

Shift Drinks
It’s tough to imagine a cooler space in town to throw back drinks, or one with a catchier name. Located in a former bank building, this bar features soaring ceilings, concrete and glass, and a clean gray-and-white palette. It’s also one of those increasingly rare drinking establishments that manages to feel relaxed and polished at the same time. Linger over the extensive menu, which features cocktails developed by co-owner and bartender Alise Moffatt, and a wine list curated by co-owner and sommelier Anthony Garcia. Nothing’s free, as the cheeky name implies, but there’s plenty of refreshingly affordable picks, like a $7 glass of Grenache Blanc from Terra Alta, Spain, and a similarly priced Spanish Vermouth from Priorat that’s described as “drinking tobacco.” 1200 S.W. Morrison St.; 503-922-3933;

Smokehouse Tavern
After years of toiling in fine dining, chef B.J. Smith decided to make a living off of what he and many of his colleagues wanted to eat during their time off: barbecue. His first smoke-centric spot, Smokehouse 21, was such a hit that he decided to open this sister restaurant earlier this year. Sure, there’s competition-worthy brisket, ribs and pork, but don’t pass on Smith’s chef-driven and gently refined spins on tried-and-true Southern treats. Pig’s ears are flash-fried to a pleasantly shattering crisp and come with local hot sauce and honey. Deviled eggs go meaty by getting capped with a chunk of house-made hot link sausage. And greens are braised in a liquid of vinegar, brown butter and shallot, so they taste incredibly bright and vibrant. (I’m going to argue they’re the best greens in town.) 1401 S.E. Morrison St., #117; 503-279-4850;

White Owl Social Club
When nightlife impresarios Matt Relkin and Jason Radich of Brooklyn’s the Woods and Atlanta’s Mother were given the opportunity to take over this raucous, bustling nightspot from the previous owners, they went all in. The bones of the space might look familiar — there’s still a stage for live bands, cozy diner-esque indoor booths and a massive outdoor patio outfitted with a fire pit — but the food and drink menus have been revamped to delicious effect. Everything is priced at less than $10, and there is a little bit for everyone, but even more for vegans. Both the beet burger and BBQ-smothered jackfruit sandwiches are perfect for heartier appetites, while the blistered shishito peppers and black-eyed-pea hummus fit the bill if you’re feeling peckish. 1305 S.E. 8th Ave.; 503-236-9672;