Pambiche may be my favorite restaurant in Portland. It might not be the "fanciest", or "gourmet-est" restaurant but it IS the one I missed the most while I was away from Portland. Last night I finally made it back. At most restaurants, from visit to visit I try new things. At Pambiche, I always get the same thing, a maiz con pollo empanada. It's a crispy, flaky crescent filled with corn and chicken (duh). It's served with tostones (fried green plantains) with limes to squeeze on top and banana ketchup for dipping. It also comes with ensalada caribeña - the best version of slaw ever, cabbage, carrots, citrus, herbs, no mayo in sight. It is filling but best of all, it leaves room for sharing a dessert. Last night, Laura and I split the Alemán - coconut chocolate cake laced with saoco syrup and sandwiched with a caramel peanut filling. Glazed with Oaxacan chocolate ganache and topped off with typical Cuban peanut candy. Served with crema chantilly. All of the desserts are made in-house and all the ones I have tried are delicious.
Laura, a friend who fondly calls Pambiche "our place", does try different things and has loved them all. Last night she had the Camarones al Ajillo - jumbo gulf prawns in creole garlic sauce. Served with pan frito, and arroz blanco. She said it was delicious and judging by the bite I tried, she's right. I saw at least 5 other tables order this too.
This restaurant is small, no I mean SMALL! And they don't take reservations. But they have made the wait shorter by having outside tables. Thanks to overhead heaters, I have sat outside in December and been comfortable enough that I enjoyed the food. That probably says more about the food than my actual warmth. But should be a testament to you, this place is delicious.
It's on Glisan and NE 28th. It's a delight for the senses. Look for the bright turquoise, hot pink, purple, and yellow building with the neon Cuban flag. Listen for Cuban music. Feel the warmth from the heaters. Smell the delicious scents from your neighbor's table. Taste some of the best food you've ever eaten.