4:30-10:30 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 am-11:30 pm Friday; 9:30 am-11:30 pm Saturday, 9:30 am-10:30 pm Sunday. Reservations for parties of six or more. $$ Moderate.
[FRENCH AND SPANISH SMALL PLATES] One of Portland’s most celebrated tapas joints, Navarre is a small, austere storefront lined by high shelves of Mason jars filled with preserved and pickled onions and peppers and other savory condiments. With its tiny open kitchen, Navarre can seem like your own cozy digs when it’s late in the evening and the night is full of hooting owls; if you go at 5:30 pm, it can feel a little forlorn. Rather than laboring over the two lengthy lists of regular items and seasonal specials, subdivided into small or large plates, we rolled the dice and requested the chef’s choice—10 items to share for $28 each (you can spell out your dietary restrictions beforehand). The best of our haul, which was delivered in three leisurely waves: radishes with cold French butter; moist, sage-flecked halibut; and a tender potato gratin. Less successful were the bland, dryish crab cakes and the underseasoned lentil salad. I’m still scratching my head over a pairing of snap peas and glazed apricots that did nothing for either ingredient. Our lamb chop with olives was bracingly gamy, though not the easiest item to share. But it all harmonized amiably with a crisp Penedes rosé and a Norwegian IPA. ANGIE JABINE.
Ideal meal: Order a couple of pâtés and a vegetable gratin or braised greens, plus anything Navarre does with albacore tuna. Finish with a slab of decidedly un-Catalonian red velvet cake.
Best deal: With everything available as a small plate and many wines by the glass or quarter- or half-bottle, you can scrimp or splurge at will.