crispy kati rolls at Bollywood Theater
Addictively crispy kati rolls at Bollywood Theater

Kati Rolls at Bollywood Theater ($7)

Much like the faux-shanty décor, with its vibrant knickknacks and back-wall films, Bollywood’s kati rolls cackle with flavor. Tender chunks of chicken, beef, or house-made paneer cheese pop with the spice of mint-cilantro chutney and homemade sauce, the crunch of cabbage, and the tang of yogurt, all rolled in grilled flatbread with just enough crispiness to transport you to a roadside diner in Calcutta.  


 

Pupusas sizzling at Pupuseria Factory
Pupusas sizzling at Pupuseria Factory

Pupusas at Pupuseria Factory ($3–4)

A menu with Salvadoran, Mexican, Guatemalan, and Honduran food could keep you guessing—and probably happy. But whatever you order, make sure El Salvador’s signature tortillas, stuffed and fried into a compressed, quesadilla-like disk of glory, make the cut. The basic option with diced loroco flowers and cheese is street food at its simple best, while the guanaca’s addition of pork and beans will satisfy the most ardent pig-lover.  

Empanadas at Las Primas ($3.50)

This relatively new Peruvian place deserves to be packed for its massive sandwiches, salty-good fries, and sprightly salads. But the empanadas ... madre de Dios. The basic folded pocket of Peruvian corn and cheese, lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar, could become the memory-sparking vessel of future nostalgia—and the ultimate bar snack.  

Crêpes at Suzette ($5–8)

Almost everything at Suzette is homemade: Nutella, ice cream, and, of course, batter, which owner Jehnee Rains refined as a pastry chef at Chez Panisse (the secret ingredient: beer). While the sweet crêpes are delicious, the savory options are meals unto themselves. Try the Goat Fig Pig, with marsala-soaked figs swimming in goat cheese and prosciutto. Sub gruyère for goat cheese in the mushroom crêpe to submerge into a meal so decadent, it’s like crêpe fondue.  

Pasties at Saraveza ($8.50–9)

The beloved beer hall with Wisconsin roots has perfected the pasty—that beloved blue-collar way of wrapping carbohydrates around meat and potatoes. When you crack a golden crust to discover house-cured Painted Hills corned beef or a vegetarian rendition featuring rutabaga, regional pride blossoms: these are Portland pasties. And they are awesome.  

Ravioli at Justa Pasta ($6.50–12.95)

Other places come and go. Justa Pasta just keeps on going, with pretty much the same menu, loyal following, and reliable kitchen staff as 10 years ago. The deftly house-made ravioli are a gem of this consistency: always available in a vegetarian three-cheese version or with a vegetable- or meat-based filling (recently a treat of lamb, feta, and spinach), always accessorized with a superb sauce.