I moved to PDX from San Francisco several years ago, and have not been as excited about the food here as others seem to be. (I'm really picky!) and have been spoiled by the intensly flavored cheap ethnic food in the bay area. Here are some of the good places I have found here: Miso Hapi on NW 23rd, sometimes the food is uneven, but pretty good in general. the lunch specials of skewered meat with sauce on rice is both huge, cheap and tasty. A little known place at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts in SW hills called Hands On Cafe; completely home cooked food: mind-blowing soups, home made bread, great desserts and some pretty good entrees, all served on student made pottery. Cheap. I haven't been there for brunch and they are closed a lot, so call first. Thai Peacock downtown on Stark or Oak and 9th I think. Has thicker more strongly flavored sauces than most Thai places here. I am a Sushi freak and was really disappointed with Saburo's: huge pieces of not so fresh fish, often with gristle, a sign that the cut of fish is not of a good cut; should melt in your mouth like butter. A better place is Mio Sushi on NW Johnson & 23rd. They also have a really cool dish called Dynamite, which is baked fish, served with onions and mushroom and served on a shell with a rich and heavenly sauce. If you're ever in SF and want to go to the best cheap fresh sushi place, go to the Sushi Zone off Market Street under the freeway. I really miss Pasta Pomodoro in SF and Pasta Veloce is ok. Oh, there are some good Mexican food trailers on the corner of 4th and Stark, and the corner of 9th and Washington. I haven't liked the Koji Japanese restaurents here, they are like Japanese chains, and are merely ok, except for the one on SW Broadway and Washington, which I think is Kojo something else (name?) has pretty good donburi with Unagi, etc. I love Uwajimaya on Beaverton Hillsday Hwy, mostly for shopping and fresh fish, haven't eaten at the food court.
very good chinese place on SE Hawthorne called Fu Lin I think.
I haven't found a great breakfast spot; a lot of people write about Stepping Stone in NW, I was put off by the strong dirty mop smell, and food wasn't particulary good. Milo's is highly overrated, crowded and noisy and not much better than any old place. (bad potatoes, dried toast, mediocore eggs). There is a place in Lake Oswego called Blue Heron which has fantastic Hazelnut pancakes, worth the drive. The last time I was there they had terrible lettuce in the salads though, vs. the yummy mixed spring lettuce they used to have, so be forewarned. Oh, I am in love with Pizzacotta on NW 23rd, great pizza and salads.
PEETS RULES! Try the Viennese Blend if you can no longer drink the French roast...Oh and the bald tatooed guy at the Powells Bookstore Cafe on Hawthorne makes the best cappucino around. (if you can't get to Peets). One last thing: I didn't care for Papa Hayden's for desserts, but if you're a Tiramisu freak, try it at Cafe Mingo.