Once a busy warehouse and manufacturing center, this neighborhood has transformed in recent years into the epicenter of Portland’s art and design scene. And cropping up alongside the studios and gallery spaces, a vibrant food scene is now pushing the limits of culinary arts.
Know Before You Go
To slow the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, effective Aug. 27, a statewide mask mandate is in place. Oregonians and visitors ages 5 and up are required to wear face coverings in all public indoor settings, as well as crowded outdoor public spaces where physical distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status. This rule does not apply to individuals actively eating or drinking in food establishments.
Additionally, some restaurants may require proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID test for entry. Please check with individual businesses on their policies and hours of operation before visiting, and continue to be patient, flexible and kind, especially if asked to mask up or share your vaccination status. These measures are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Perhaps the most nationally recognized name in the neighborhood, Le Pigeon, turns out French-based dishes with a local twist, like the Paris mushroom carpaccio starter and the entrée of smoked scallops with spaghetti and pig’s ear. Guests sit elbow-to-elbow at communal tables here, packing in for a crack at James Beard Award-winning chef Gabriel Rucker‘s ever-changing menu.
One of the neighborhood’s pioneering restaurants, clarklewis makes the most of its light-filled former-loading-dock location, turning out wood-fired delicacies like the oak-grilled rib-eye steak served with local chard, creamed corn and oyster mushrooms.
The beef tongue, borsch blintzes and other traditional Russian fare at Kachka are best enjoyed with house-infused vodkas in flavors like horseradish and chamomile.
Celebrate Latin American street food at colorful Teote, where buttery (and gluten-free) arepas adorn plates of pork belly and fried plantains. Out back, an enormous patio furnished with a fire pit and full bar beckons.
With its own creative take on ramen — think rich, meaty broths with fried chicken, oysters and fresh noodles — Boke Bowl has also earned a devoted following. But despite their meaty servings, vegetarians can get in on the action here too, with Korean fried tofu and eggplant — and everyone loves Boke’s daring miso-butterscotch twinkies for dessert.
Big on Flavor
Likewise, don’t let the incandescent “MEAT” sign inside Olympia Provisions fool you — while this high-end charcuterie vendor caters to carnivores, they’ve got plenty of greens to go around. While a great place to order a cocktail and sample everything from pancetta and chorizo to a thick-cut BLT, their house-marinated olives, pickled veggies and fried almonds are just as salty and delicious. And everyone will agree that their cheese boards offer rich cuts to die for.
Equally unforgettable, the Central Eastside’s food carts are some of the most popular in town. Cartopia, one of Portland’s longest-running pods, is open late into the night, with Potato Champion‘s poutine and Pyro Pizza‘s wood-fired pies attracting snackers until 3 a.m. Across the street, former cart Lardo has grown up into a full-fledged eatery, serving its pork-packed sandwiches and local craft brews to a constantly packed house.
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