You could plan a week’s worth of meals on Southeast Division Street, the city’s hottest dining corridor, and still not hit all of the must-try restaurants. But don’t let that stop you from trying. Get your three squares (and some snacks) here:
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.
For a breakfast out of the ordinary, this ‘hood has you covered. First up, Broder on nearby Clinton Street is a sunny little café offering light scrambles in cast-iron skillets, plus Scandinavian specialties such as æbleskivers — crispy golf ball-sized pancake puffs with lingonberry jam — and bords: house-smoked fish, salami and cheese medleys served with hearty walnut bread and seasonal fruit yogurt.
An iconic Portland landmark since the 1950s, Sckavone’s Restaurant is known for its classic American comfort food boasts a number of breakfast favorites, including smoked salmon benedicts, savory scrambles, corned beef hash and chicken and waffles.
Those who prefer to eat a little lighter in the morning should check out New Cascadia. This fully gluten-free bakery has a café menu that includes breakfast sandwiches, biscuits and bagels with lox and schmear.
At Little T American Baker, master bread maker Tim Healea has been churning out loaves for years, creating taste-bud-busting sensations like tuna salad on a seven-grain carrot roll, and the molasses cornmeal Anadama bread, which is good enough to eat plain.
Local favorite PDX Sliders is open for lunch as well. The burgers come in two sizes (slider and full-sized) and include everything from roasted Roma tomatoes to pecan-smoked pork. When on Division, consider the Division Philly, which comes with thin-sliced NY strip, grilled peppers and onions, white American cheese and aioli on ciabatta.
If you’re dining in a group that must accommodate a range of dietary needs, consider Mestizo. Sister restaurant to nearby veggie Thai spot Kati Portland, Mestizo offers entirely gluten-free fare served in a bright and airy space.. Dishes either contain seafood or are vegan (no meat!). Everything from fried fish tacos to coconut meat ceviches can be accompanied by unique mocktails or Latin-inspired cocteles.
Enjoy the Roman-inspired, Pacific Northwest-fueled cuisine of Ava Gene’s, which has garnered rave reviews from food critics and foodies alike. Each dish is sourced locally using in-season ingredients and flavors. Next door, the team behind Ava Gene’s has opened neighborhood pizzeria Cicoria, featuring party-cut pizza, draft root beer in frosted mugs and flat-screen TVs for watching Blazers games. Whether you dine indoors or out on the covered patio, be sure to save room for the desserts you lived for as a kid – banana splits, gelato sundaes and more.
Nuestra Cocina has been a neighborhood staple for years, thanks to nuanced Mexican cuisine such as authentic albóndigas (meatballs served in a hearty chipotle sauce) and spot-on margaritas. Upscale restaurant Xico (pronounced “chico”), challenges conventions with their sleek take on Mexican, through creative takes on regional preparations and with fresh flavors.
Don’t let the name deceive you, the Bollywood Theater is the perfect place to nibble on high-quality, authentic Indian street food. The restaurant lends itself to ordering a smattering of small plates to sample. Favorites include spicy potato dumplings in chickpea flour and flatbread rolls filled with cheese or meat, egg, pickled onion and green chutney.
In fairness, Italian food cart Artigiano is an excellent dinner choice in its own right, but its happy-hour small plates and dark chocolate torte with house-made caramel sauce are excellent reasons for a pit stop.
The pies at Lauretta Jean’s, with layer after layer of buttery, crispy crust, routinely lock customers in indecision over what slice to spring for. Rhubarb streusel? Chocolate cream? Apple? You can’t lose.
You’ll face the same dilemma at Salt & Straw, where favorite flavors like sea salt with caramel ribbon share the menu with rotating treats like birthday cake blackberry. The best strategy? Spring for an extra scoop.
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