2930 N.E. Killingsworth St., Northeast
Dame is quaint and intimate. A meal here feels like having dinner at a friend’s (a friend who has an extensive natural wine collection). Jane Smith opened the restaurant several years ago with the intention of providing warm, impeccable service and food and wine that honor natural ingredients. Portland chef Patrick McKee (who’s also the chef at Estes) prepares comfort dishes, including an outstanding cacio e pepe. Enjoying a plate of the creamy, peppery pasta classic with a glass of red in Dame’s cozy, dark-blue dining room is the most comforting way to spend a rainy Portland night.
4636 N.E. 42nd Ave., Northeast
Mae should be high on the list for any trip to Portland. Southern chef Maya Lovelace turned her pop-up supper club into a permanent location in the city’s northeast. Tucked behind Lovelace’s popular restaurant Yonder (a gem of a spot that serves a modern twist on the South’s classic meat and three), Mae is the place to slow down and indulge in prix fixe seasonal feasts and natural wines. The interiors read like a dining room at an old estate, and the menu of zucchini and buttermilk soup and Appalachian lavender grits with pickled cherry chicken jus and roasted peppers had us wanting to book our return flight to Portland before we’d even left.