Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard’s colorful residents work hard to keep the area reflecting their indie spirit. As a result, you won’t find many chain restaurants here, so plan on eating adventurously.
The best example of this is The Waffle Window, quite possibly Portland’s most playful dining spot. A literal hole in the wall, demarcated by a blue door, the popular snack spot doles out smiles in the form of waffles overflowing with bacon, cheddar and jalapeño — or dipped in peanut butter and chocolate.
Equally adored, ¿Por Qué No? usually has a line out its door, and for good reason. The street-style tacos pair perfectly with margaritas and boozy sangrias; the guacamole is made to order; and house-made sauces liven it all up. Served amid eye-catching art, or on its cozy patio rain or shine, their authentic Mexican fare is a great way to quickly fuel a local adventure.
Portland brunch stalwart
Jam on Hawthorne serves up breakfast staples seven days a week, inviting parents to dig into lemon ricotta pancakes and Grand Marnier French toast as kiddos delight in their own play area.
At the east end of Hawthorne, Apizza Scholls’ reputation for serving some of best pizza pretty much anywhere was confirmed by a visit from Anthony Bourdain himself. The restaurant’s round beauties feature toppings like cured pork shoulder and goat horn peppers. But arrive early and expect to work up an appetite in the usually long line.
A favorite destination for celebrations and special evenings for nearly two decades, classy Castagna treats diners to up to 20 dishes that merge French cooking with Northwest flair — think chanterelle, antelope heart, foie gras and goat butter. Castagna Café, next door, offers more casual (and affordable) fare.
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Local diners can order up a wealth of delicious taco variations, from meaty morsels to vegetarian creations made with mushrooms, cactus and scrambled egg.
As the demand for gluten-free options has grown, Portland’s forward-thinking foodies have set their tables for diners with dietary restrictions.
Harlow one of the few dedicated gluten-free restaurants in Portland, delivers veggie and gluten-free bowls and smoothies that are decadent, yet health-focused. Try the walnut pancakes and the Portland Fog, or the “rawsome” veggie burger and rich smoothies like the Retrospection, loaded with almond butter and cacao.
Start your morning with a nutritious snack at the flagship location of Portland’s premier juice bar, Kure, an unassuming tin shed that specializes in heavenly acai bowls, green juices and superfood smoothies.
Right in the middle of Hawthorne’s busiest stretch, 3 Doors Down Café, beloved for its lengthy happy hour, is another serious food destination, with ingredient-driven, Italian cuisine, like their house-made ricotta cavatelli and mussels and clams ladled with spicy plum-tomato sauce.
Wherever you are on Hawthorne, great coffee is likely within arms’ reach. The Fresh Pot, which adjoins Powell’s Books on Hawthorne, is a favorite place for enjoying an espresso alongside a paperback. Further east, Albina Press, pouring up rich mochas, cocoas and heavenly cappuccinos, also serves WiFi data to its laptop-toting customers.
A second outpost of Coava Coffee provides coffee-lovers with locally roasted single-origin coffee and espresso, plus single-origin mochas made with a custom blend of shaved and powdered Cocanu chocolate.
At this quintessentially hip coffeehouse, Upper Left Roasters you can wake up with a piping hot Ethiopian pour-over or creamy iced mocha at this which also offers a lengthy toast menu featuring toppings like macadamia nut butter and house-made ricotta.
Satisfy those midnight cravings at one of Portland’s most iconic food cart pods, Cartopia Food Cart Pod, where night owls devour bacon-honey-walnut crepes, Latin-style chicken, wood-fired pizzas and even vegan poutine.
Hawthorne Asylum hosts 21 carts in a food court sprawling half a city block in Southeast. From brunch to Ethipoian to Egyptian to BBQ, there is a something for everybody. Meet up with friends and sit at that communal, wooden tables in front of the fire pit.
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