Bonfire Lounge

2821 SE Stark, 232-3704

The Bonfire: a setting well-suited for down-on-your-luck romance. Blood-red walls and candles adorn this low-lit establishment, lending the slight impression of goth-iness--but without the depressing aftertaste. And though it is definitely more "lounge" than "restaurant," Bonfire offers a brief but extremely satisfying selection of foods on the cheap.

Vegetarians and meat-lovers walk hand in hand on this menu, which features the Portabella Mushroom Burger, a juicy marinated counterpart to the Bonfire Burger, which I've got to say (thanks largely to a nicely cooked patty and chipotle mayonnaise) is the best sandwich of its type in this burger-deprived town. The gyros (Portabella or Beef) are equally attractive, heaped with Tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, and feta. All the previous dishes come with fries (which act like they've never seen a dirty vat of oil before) and a Mesculine mix salad with an excellent sherry vinaigrette dressing. WSH

Sala

3200 SE Milwaukie Blvd, 235-6665

Right off of Powell across from the Aladdin, the atmosphere of Sala is sweet and classy without being too pretentious or crowded. Everything is muted in light, pastel coloring and tasteful, miniature chandeliers hang from the ceiling.

The menu offers the normal Italian Antipasti (Appetizers), Insalate (Salad), Contorni (Sides), Primi (Pasta), and Secondi (Entrée). While a lot of dishes include meats like duck, rabbit, chicken breast, and various seafoods, there are a number of meatless items, which don't feel like fancy mac and cheese. On the whole, the menu relies on traditional Italian cooking, yet still combines the local/Northwest ingredients in creative combinations, often involving items like morel, portabella, and chanterelle mushrooms, red peppers, huckleberries, spinach, and lots of salmon and shrimp. The dishes use flavors sparingly and are balanced, delicious, and elegant. KD

Eat It

Some Restaurants That Serve Nutritious and Tasty Food