Yuki

1337 NE Broadway, 281-6804

All of the Nigiri at Yuki is served in plump, beautiful pieces, the texture is soft and delicate, and not a trace of chewiness is detectable. The Sake (Salmon) is a one of their best; the fish is a deep, reddish pink, and so fresh that it sits almost perkily on its bed of rice, which is also cooked with expertise to a consistency of delicate stickiness. The Yellowtail, too, is light, soft, plump, and divinely mild. Yuki is a good place for hardcore Nigiri lovers to take friends who don't like raw fish, as there are lots of cooked, noodle-based dishes, which are not great, but will surely suffice. Moreover, since places like Saburro's and Murata are all the way across town and usually have six-mile lines out the door, it's a great Eastside spot. KD

La Casita

436 E Burnside, 234-8893

For vegetarians, there's not much selection on the menu at La Casita, but what you can eat--spicy red enchiladas with a juicy lump of white goat cheese, or an enormous vegetable burrito stuffed with Spanish rice, beans, broccoli, mushrooms, cheese, and slathered in red salsa--is flavorful, fresh, and $5-8. Carnivores have more choices, and La Casita is so authentic you can get even get beef tongue burritos or the reportedly excellent huevos con chorizo. My dining companion eats at La Casita about six times a week. Usually, he eats two green chicken tacos, which he categorizes as "the perfect small meal," with fresh cilantro and perfectly grilled chicken. JS

Flying Elephants

812 SW Park, 546-3166

At Elephants' patrons pick up sandwiches, salads, pastries, and drinks (21 different kinds of water!) and order hot food (including soup!) at a back counter. If I were, hypothetically, to eat the same sandwich every day no matter what, it would be the Northern Italian, a happy marriage of ripe Roma tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, seasoned with olive oil and salt and pepper, on a handmade ficelle baguette ($5.25). Be warned: THIS IS NOT DATE FOOD. The baguette is extra-chewy and raccoon-like movements are required for consumption. But it is worth it. The tomatoes and basil burst with flavor and the mozzarella tastes salty, firm, and fresh. CC