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Best PDX food neighborhoods?

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This may seem like a silly question, but are there certain areas that are better than others for good food--supermarkets as well as restaurants?

My husband and I are considering a move to Portland from the NYC area, and not like that's the only deciding factor, but would like the opportunity to have some places to run out and pick something up without getting into a car. Or to walk to a restaurant if we don't feel like cooking.

We've been to Hawthorne, the Pearl, and NW 23rd area, but likely can't afford the last 2 in particular. Just wondering what your opinions are...

Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. One up-and-coming neighborhood area you might check into is in and around NE Alberta...Alberta St. has a number of good (and affordable) restaurants starting w/ the Tin Shed on one end..working your way east there is a new Thai place just opening (and that's in addition to Thai Noon, farther down the block), then Ciao Vito, Vita Cafe, Bellagio's Pizza...all with a half-a-dozen coffee places thrown in the mix. Oh yes, and I almost forgot to mention La Sirenita and La Bonita, the competing burrito joints. Killingsworth, just a couple of blocks up at around 30th or so, has Grolla and the newly minted Cup-and-Saucer cafe, a clone of the Hawthorne joint. This area is still relatively affordable house-wise, as well, particularly if you are willing to invest in a fixer upper.

    1. These recommendations are based on walkability to eating/groceries, access to transportation and overall charm. Broadly speaking, if the neighborhood has a New Seasons, Zupans, Pasta Works or some little organic grocery, it will probably have what you are looking for as these markets tend to be located amidst restaurants and locally owned shops.
      For good coffee and some great little local places, the Belmont district is a favorite.
      Also on that list, SE:
      Hawthorne/Mt. Tabor, and also the neighborhood around SE 21st and the People's Food Coop.
      If you like NE (Irvington) you can go a little farther east on Broadway and check out the Hollywood district.
      On the West side of the river you should check out Multnomah Village or Hillsdale and Vermont Hills.
      Good luck!

      1. If you can't afford NW 23rd, take a look at NE 28th & Burnside: Noble Rot, Esparza's, Navarre, Taqueria Neuve, Tabla, Staccato Gelato... Plus, in the unlikely event that you opt to not eat out, a Natures--I mean, Wild Oats. I think the restaurants might be a lot nicer than the housing in the area.

        Another place to look could be NE Fremont & 40th: Fife, Winterborne, Alameda Cafe, Alameda Brewpub, Cool Runnings, Beaumont Market... The houses in this area are very nice--lots of 1920s craftsman-style houses--but overall I'd say the restaurants are not as good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nettie

          There are a lot of really nice, modest houses in that area, some fairly sizeable. Think Brooklyn. And if it's swanky you want, and that NYC real estate money is eating a hole in your pocket, 28th and Burnside is really only a hop skip and jump from Laurelhurst, where you can easily spend $700K (the upper, though not top, end of PDX R/E prices). I think the 28th & Burnside to Glisan nabe is the best concentration of cool food around (except maybe the Pearl District -- but you're *leaving* NYC, after all).

        2. All good suggestions. Can I recommend a slightly different approach? Look where New Seasons has its stores and focus around those. (I think you'll find that all the *areas* have been recommended.) It's the best of the gourmet/organic markets and they put them in decent food areas. See link. If I wanted to be able to walk to a market where I could get most everything I need for my pantry, New Seasons would be my choice in town. You could also look to being near a Zupan's, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, or Market of Choice, but NS would be my first choice.

          (Here's a question, though, do any of these places -- NS, WO, WF, Z's -- sell toilet paper or cleaning products -- and when I say cleaning products, it's necessary you imagine Brad Pitt's stoner voice from True Romance.)

          Avoid the two in Beaverton/Hillsboro unless you want to live in the burbs. There is good food out that way, but it's not sidewalk country, as Jill might say.

          Link: http://www.newseasonsmarket.com/store...

          3 Replies
          1. re: Nick

            I agree with you on New Seasons. The Hillsboro NS location is at Orenco Station. Orenco is an attempt to make a city-type living experience out in the suburbs, so it actually is a place where you can walk to a few things (there's a Starbucks and a few restaurants there as well). It even has pretty good light rail access.

            Personally, I'd rather not live in the suburbs, even if it conveniently duplicates a city experience. But it could be an option if you want to be near New Seasons.

            1. re: Nettie

              Yeah, I've been out there. They've got a Swagat and other stuff, too. It's just a little too planned....

              1. re: Nick

                Thanks, all! Yeah, we don't want anything to seem too suburban or "master-planned." That's really not us.

          2. Thanks all for your suggestions! Was out there this weekend and really liked the area around Tacqueria Nueve (what area is that considered?). Also: Belmont, Buckman, Ladd's Addition, Sullivan's Gulch, Irvington, and Laurelhurst (but the latter two seen outside of our range). Also liked Mississippi as well - Gravy looked sweet. Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that job stuff comes through!

            1 Reply
            1. re: loofahgirl

              It's right on the edge of Laurelhurst. Don't know what it technically is. 28th is a pretty good eating street without anything too expensive: Pambiche, Renaissance, Staccato, Tabla, Nueve, Navarre, Esparza's, Noble Rot -- all within probably half a mile. You have a Wild Oats there, which although it's not as good as New Seasons is still decent. There are a couple coffee shops along there plus another little wine bar place, I think. Flower shop and gift shops, etc. Plus, Burnside each way has a few places. There's even a Starbucks -- surprise, surprise.

            2. Well, I can't say I'm surprised that you all would recommend the same old obvious choices for neighborhoods.

              But, let me just say...if you're looking for the "old" cool areas where people buy in the area to obtain a certain self-image, then stick to the basics: Hawthorne, Irvington/Alberta, NW 23rd, The Pearl, etc. You will get an over priced home, a set of self-deceived "valuable", "artsy" shops, snobby neighbors who think that if they all do the exact same things (alternative parenting, organic shopping, yoga, etc) that they are some how better human beings. Yada yada yada.

              OR, live a TRUE bohemian lifestyle in North Portland. Mississippi, St. Johns, University Park, Overlook, etc. We're unpretensious. Yes, we have Mexicans. Yes, we have other races - but, we don't try to hide it. We embrace diversity. We don't just SAY we do - we DO. We've got some kitschy stores, we've got some trash stores. But, all in all......we've got great home prices, wonderful parks and we're only 5-10 minutes to downtown Portland.

              Oh, and if it helps you people who swear by the location of trendy stores are located.....a New Seasons has announced a new store to be built in our area.


              27 Replies
              1. re: GarnetGirl

                Well, I bought a house in Vancouver to live cheap, but I wouldn't claim it's a hotbed of chow. Here's an honest question: is there any place in North Portland with a concentration of good food? I've looked without success.

                1. re: Nick

                  Beaterville and the Overlook make good breakfasts. Not fancy "cottage potatoes" places but hash browns off the Sysco truck. However, the cooks at both of these places know how to make an egg over medium. And some mornings, that's all I really want!

                  And the waitresses at both spots are very attractive in very different ways.

                  La Prima Dolci is pretty good. So, I'd say Denver/Killingsworth is the new hot spot!

                  1. re: becky

                    Yeah, if stuff was to build up around Di Prima, it'd nice. But there's really not much there. It's so sparse right now, it seems to me, in the N Portland neighborhoods. Is there anything else worth eating around Gravy on Mississippi, eg. (Not that Gravy is anything special, but it's a decent neighborhood spot.)

                    If we were really thinking food without borders, we might offer up east Sandy. I've seen the crime reports and it's as high as north Portland for non-violent crime. But if someone's favorite food was Asian, they'd be quite pleased over there: Cha Ba, Yen Ha, Sam Ho, Thien Hong, Thanh Thao, etc. And you'd have easy access to nudie bars, "lingerie" modeling, and hookers. The perfect neighborhood for a college guy. Beer, boobs, and budget food. You could look at Powell or 82nd the same way, probably, though their good food is pretty spread out.

                    I'd say that Fourth Plain in Vancouver is better than N Portland for food, if you like Mexican and Asian (like me). You have a de Leon outpost, La Michoacana, Poncho's al Pastor, Taqueria Colima, plus a couple tiendas, lesser taquerias, taco trucks, and Mexican restaurants. Plus, you have Thai Little Home, a good Vietnamese/SE Asian grocer, another Vietnamese and Thai restaurant or two, and a couple other Asian grocers all within a mile of each other. It ain't pretty, but it's probably cheap. Then you could throw in Hillsboro and other west-of-the-hills nabes.

                    Or my neighborhood in Vancouver, where I'm pretty close to an Arawan and three other decent Thai restaurants, Roots, which isn't far behind Lauro and Fife, Patrick's for pretty good Hawaiian, Lindo Mexico for the best standard Mexican-American I've found in PDX, and some other places. Of course, there's also Red Robin and Ruby Tuesday, but we avert our eyes. We do have the only frozen custard in town, too, and I'm walking distance from a Wild Oats. (Do I walk? No. I drive to my gym a quarter mile away and my wife drives to get the mail.)

                    But I don't consider those real food destinations. The real food neighborhoods in PDX are Nob Hill, Pearl, Downtown, Sellwood/Westmoreland, Laurelhurst (28th), and Alameda, it seems to me.

                    I don't know if I would even call neighborhoods like Alberta, Clinton, Woodstock, Johns Landing, Irvington, etc, good food neighborhoods. A lot of the food is mediocre.

                    I'm torn on Hawthorne and Belmont. I almost never eat around Hawthorne unless my wife is really hungry and is going to kill me unless I give in to an overpriced breakfast. The saving grace is Pastaworks. But the recent additions of Cold Stone and Noodlin' sure aren't promising. Belmont is a weird mix. If it had a good neighborhood continental-influenced place, like a Lauro or Fife, it'd be well on it's way. Or if Hoda's didn't suck and La Calaca was closer to Nueve in quality.

                    I think the most promising up-and-coming is Division. There are a lot of spots aching to be improved around there and Lauro, Pix, and New Seasons provide nice anchors. And I often go out of my way for Nuestra Cocina. There's also a strong sense of community.

                    It's fun thinking and talking about Portland's neighborhoods and the strength of their food, though. Makes me want to explore more. And though I may act like it, my word's certainly not the last on it.

                    1. re: Nick

                      The right question to answer to get to the bottom of this, I think, is- "If you DIDN'T live in the nabe, would you travel to it to eat/grocery shop?"

                      I agree with you Nick, DiPrima Dolci is worth going out of your way for up there...but there's nothing else there. I've not been up to Gravy...mostly because everyone I know (and whose opinion I respect) says it's not worth it. I've only had one person who I like and respect tell me they like Happy Hula Hands, everyone else I know says not to bother. The Mississippi Pizza Pub, nice if you live there I suppose, but certainly not worth the trip. Also in that general direction is Mint/820 and I won't make that trip again for overpriced and mediocre food and drinks that used to be good but are now mass produced so that the sugared rims are permanently bonded to the glasses.

                      NoPo is trying but they all seem to be near misses geared to appeal to the hipster crowd up there (which doesn't really seem Bohemian to me, really). The places on SE Division OTOH, have seen several direct hits with Pix, Lauro, Nuestra Cocina, the New Seasons, also People's Co-op, etc.

                      I share your concern about Hawthorne. I wish more independent places of quality were moving in instead of chains. Surabaya was a loss to higher end dining on Hawthorne (and it was a bit further up). Never been to Bread and Ink or Three Doors Down, myself, though. I think the draw on Hawthorne isn't focused on food, but rather on the other shops there...Pastaworks being the worthy exception.

                      The point is, I rarely think of going to NoPo for food and drink because I don't live there and I don't see anything worth the trip. I think that many would agree.

                      And Dude, I love ya, but Hoda's doesn't suck. I've never had an awful meal there and I've had several meals there over the last 3 years. Though it's never quite as good as Nicolas' and of course doesn't even come freakin' close to Karam, sucking is still a ways off in the distance IMO. Save the distinction for places that truly serve inedible food over and over again.

                      Belmont offers places such as La Calaca, Wild Abandon, Khun Pic, Blue Monk, a Stumptown, Pied Cow, Genoa (yeah, further down, I know) and the Zupan's (yeah, and Hoda's and also It's a Beautiful Pizza which a lot of folks seem to like). Not all winners all the time, I know, but enough to call it a good food nabe, I think. Enough to keep one (though possibly not Nick) coming back if you didn't live there, don't you think? (Especially if you like the music at Blue Monk (the food is decent approaching very good on some things), which also has a great beer list - which would appeal to neither of us personally, I know...) Heck, I love the nickel arcade at the Avalon on Belmont at 35th and I'm not ashamed to admit it! ;o)

                      Alberta is on the cusp. Ciao Vito is a great addition and La Sirenita and the other popular taqueria up there are places some folks travel to. There's also a New Seasons nearby and also a co-op. Their Last Thursday events have also helped bring folks into the nabe. Still good real estate bargains to be had, especially if you're willing to do a little work.

                      Yeah, it is fun to think about the PDX nabes this way.

                      1. re: Jill-O

                        This is great (and helpful)! Keep it coming! :)

                        1. re: loofahgirl

                          Hey Loofahgirl,

                          I'm from NYC (Bensonhurst, Brooklyn for the 1st 20 years of my life, then Rego Park, Queens until 3 years ago - with about 5 yrs in Chicago in the early 90s) and have been here for 3 years. I bought a house that I am now selling due to divorce so I have a bit of info about real estate stuff, too. (And my close contact with my realtor will enable me to ask questions for you, if you want.) I can also talk to you in terms of what nabes have vibes similar to places in NYC...and that might be useful to you.

                          I'm more than willing to chat via e-mail with you directly (and where we can address pc and not so pc concerns privately) about moving here...but I'm not posting my e-mail addy here. If you go to the www.portlandfood.org site and register, you can send me a private message (I'm Jill-O there, too) and then I'll be happy to give you my direct e-mail address. Some of the nasty e-mails Nick has been getting recently has convinced me never to post my e-mail here again, sorry.

                          The best advice about moving here though, is don't move here without a job...make the job the reason you ultimately make the move.

                          1. re: Jill-O

                            Thanks, Jill, I'll do that - been meaning to join that group regardless. :)

                            In other questions, would you say that New Seasons is the best of the markets? And Fred Meyer is your general Safeway-type of place?

                            1. re: loofahgirl

                              I do think New Seasons is the best of the markets around here. They have great local produce, much of which is organic. If I can't get to a farmer's market, it's the next best place I can find stuff I want easily. They are better stocked and carry more things than Wild Oats, their big competitor here (which was started by the folks who run New Seasons, they sold it off and started New Seasons).

                              They aren't as huge as Whole Foods (there is one near Powell's in the Pearl, with parking underneath), but their prices tend to be better on most items than either Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) or Zupan's (I've never been) another expensive but local chain. Like these other two, though, they also carry some more mainstream products. New Seasons also has a really nice prepared foods counter, cheese counter (with knowlegeable folks to help!), a good meat/butcher counter (with really helpful folks), a nice wine section (yup, here you can buy it in the supermarket) also with knowledgeable folks, etc.

                              I go to Winco (also known as Cub Foods in other parts of the US, like Chicago), a warehouse-like food place but with regular-sized products (NOT like Costco!), about every other month to stock up on paper goods, cleaning products, bottled water, and things that you would buy in any supermarket (peanut butter, canned items, etc.). They are so much cheaper on most of these products that it is worth it to do this.

                              I really dislike shopping at Safeway. Their prices really aren't much cheaper than New Seasons on most things, anyway. And there's also Albertson's out here - a chain known for great sales/loss leaders (to get you in) but lousy overall prices. I don't live anywhere near one and have never been in one.

                              Fred Meyer is most like a SuperK-mart - the ones with full supermarkets in them. They have home, automotive, camping, clothing, etc. stuff up the wazoo as well as a supermarket. I don't do my food shopping there (don't do much shopping there at all, really...I'm a Target kind of gal, I guess ;o), but know lots of folks that do. They are carrying a lot more natural food type stuff now too...they have to to compete.

                              In addition to shopping at New Seasons and making a run every couple of months or so to Winco, I also go to Trader Joe's about every 4-6 weeks. There are just certain things there that I like, that can't be found elsewhere...but I could live without it if I had to and just stick to New Seasons and Winco.

                              Then there are some awesome specialty markets like Pastaworks on Hawthorne, but it isn't really a place to do all of your shopping. And there are a few food co-ops about town, but I haven't found one I liked enough to join and shop there. In season there are also a lot of CSA groups (Community Sustained Agriculture?) here - where you buy a share of the harvest from local farmers and get a box of produce each week from the bounty. I'm single, though, so it's too much for me to deal with every week (especially since I eat out so much!) - otherwise I might consider it (but honestly, I LOVE going to the farmers' market...and ours here makes the Union Square Farmers' Market in Manhattan look like the picked over produce section at your local Gristede's...no joke).

                              Keep the questions coming here or via e-mail! ;o)

                              1. re: Jill-O

                                I find that Fred Meyer's (a PNW original bought by Kroger) has the best produce and meats and fish of the supermarkets. But it's still just a supermarket. Winco has the worst quality (besides Super Walmart which has really sad, sad stuff), but easily the best prices. And they have good selections of Asian and Mexican stuff for a supermarket. What I wouldn't give for an outpost of the Fiesta chain from Texas. Aisles of international groceries. The biggest problem with me for Winco is that they don't accept credit or debit. Cash or check only. Allegedly, some of their stores accept tarjetas de credito, but I haven't seen it yet, so I'm suspicious. They do have the machines, but those are used for food stamps. Also, no express lanes and people there often buy multiple carts of food.

                                I drove Killingsworth today, btw. There's Sal's and Mio Sushi where it meets Greely, but besides Di Prima, not much else. There are some nice spots open for Lease, though, so who knows.

                                1. re: Nick

                                  Some Wincos do take debit cards. The one on Cedar Hills Blvd does. Don't ask me why some do and some don't, that has always seemed strange to me.


                                  1. re: Kristi

                                    Location, location, location??


                                    I go to the one on 122nd and NE whoknowswhere...and they don't...neither does the one on 82nd going S toward Clackamas...the next closest one to me.

                                    I don't buy anything that isn't packaged at Winco (except for occasionally hitting the bulk aisle) and I am very picky about what produce I buy there. I never buy meat or stuff like that there. I just don't think that I need to pay New Season's prices for a jar of Adams Peanut Butter or the odd box of Ronzoni pasta I buy when I make stuffed shells (ditto the Contadina tomato paste) or, especially, any more than 65 cents for a gallon of good tasting spring water.

                                    It's a fill-in to save money kind of place to shop for me. It's great for what I use it for and it allows me to shop at New Season's and Farmers' Markets (and eat out way too much) the rest of the time. I easily save $30-50 every couple of months by doing this, it works for me. I drink a lot of bottled water and I save huge amounts on that alone. (Can't get into the filter pitchers and I like my water very cold.)

                                    I don't really find it a problem to use cash, but then I use cash often, even though I also use my debit card.

                                    1. re: Jill-O

                                      Great info, thanks. Jill, I registered for PortlandFood.org and still didn't get a confirmation email. Can you just email me at loofahgirl@hotmail.com?

                                      On topic, is the Farmer's Market closed for the winter?

                                      1. re: loofahgirl

                                        I think this weekend is the last one for the year unless they do some special ones.

                                        1. re: Nick

                                          I posted it up top in it's own thread...too important to get lost in this one, ya know?

                                          Saturday is the last official one, then there's gonna be a Solstice Market on December 11th...then that's it...

                                          Eugene's Holiday Market starts this weekend, BTW.

                                          1. re: Jill-O

                                            Hillsdale has a lovely farmer's market that runs all winter. Even when we had our big ice and snowstorm. But it only happens 1/month.


                        2. re: Jill-O

                          On Hoda's: Who makes *worse* Lebanese in Portland, though? It's not to the level of decent, I wouldn't say. The last time my wife and I went there, we even threw away our leftovers, which we had more of than normal because it wasn't very good. I *hate* throwing away food. I can generally use most leftovers to make some sort of meal the next day that I'll freeze for my wife's lunches. I'd rather go to one of Portland's Greek restaurants! ;-)

                          You know what I need to do is take WW's top 100 and map them and post the maps. Then we could really see the concentration of quality restaurants. I have a mortgage broker client that has comparables software. It'd be interesting to take some of the neighborhoods and run market values on similar houses in each of the neighborhood and rank the neighborhoods according to the ratio of $/sq foot vs #/top restaurants. You know Nob Hill, Pearl, and Downtown would be out. But it'd be interesting to see what NE or SE neighborhood would come out best.

                          Most of my friends who have bought relatively cheap in SE have tried to find fixer-uppers near Belmont. I don't know how many of those exist anymore, though.

                          1. re: Nick

                            Wow, I've never had that bad an experience with Hoda's, Nick. Of course it's never my first choice, nor even my second...and I'm sure that trying Ya Hala would move it even further down the list! ;o) Still, I've just never had a meal that bad there and I have been there a few times.

                            Those houses off of Belmont, especially on Yamhill, one st. south, are seriously beautiful old houses. There are still some buys in and among them (maybe not as many on Yamhill itself), but they are serious fixer-uppers and fewer and further between these days. There are deals to be had there and even still around Division and Hawthorne - you have to be willing to put in lots of work and $$, and perhaps live just a bit further away from the best spots, and bide your time while you look for the right one.

                            And, there are still nice apts. to rent in those reas as well as in my own nabe of Buckman. Sometimes, if you're not sure what/where you want, a nice 2 BR under $1,000/month is a nice place to park yourself while you figure it out...

                            But this is a great time of year to look for houses as everyone wants to sell before the holidays...myself included.

                            1. re: Jill-O

                              Not only Ya Hala, but Al Amir and Abou Karim, too. Maybe not that place over on Hawthorne and about 13th. That place was pretty weak. It'd be close between Hoda's and Cedar's (are they still open?).

                              1. re: Nick

                                Vine Leaves or some such crap?

                                BLECHHHHH!!! That place sucks.

                                Although a friend really likes their lamb shank stew...not a fan, myself...

                            2. re: Nick


                              Is this GIS software? I ask only because most state and local agencies offer free GIS info on the metro area that may prove helpful to you in making such a map. I would check with Metro first as they have a great cartography group there and are very helpful and they could steer you in the right direction for the type of info you are seeking.

                              Whoa straying far away from food - the monitors will surely get me now!

                              I heard a little rumor that Lisa Schroeder is opening a bakery in the space between Mamma Mia's and Mother's.

                              1. re: Justine


                                Ms. Schroeder is opening a bakery?? Any particular kind of bakery?

                                Might there be a kosher deli in back? ;o)

                                Please come back and post any more info when you have it!

                                1. re: Jill-O

                                  I'm not sure kosher deli was mentioned in the conversation with Lisa - but bakery was definitely discussed - I was not a party to this conversation so I emphasize that this is just rumor at this stage.

                                  Another rumor - Cathy Whims formerly of Genoa maybe opening an authentic Italian pizzeria in SE. Jim probably knows more about this than I do.

                                  1. re: Justine

                                    These rumors are making me hungry. There better be real NY style bagels. With Scholls moving to SE, I won't long for great pizza long in PDX. I would love to see a true Chicago pizza place open, though -- deep dish, stuffed, and cracker thin. Mmmm.

                                    I noticed the space on Hawthorne where Pizza Schmizza was is for lease.

                                    1. re: Nick

                                      Because Hot Lips moved in a few blocks west and kicked their a$$es, I'll bet. And now Hot Lips may suffer the same fate on Hawthorne with Brian moving to SE.

                                      I know Whims was looking at the spot across from Crush - a new upscale-looking shopping center where Sue-Bee's used to be - on SE Morrison betw. 14th and 15th. No word on whether she signed, though... I say welcome to my nabe, who else is comin'?!

                                      Chicago's deep dish and stuffed would be a great addition to the pizza scene. For the other, dude, take a cracker, add cheese and sauce and nuke it...fer crissakes...

                                      With the possibility of Brian and his Scholls Public House crew making pizza in SE, Genoa opening a pizza spot a few blocks away from me isn't as exciting as it would have been to hear a week ago! ;o) But hey, my end of Buckman needs it, not enough places to eat in walking distance! Maybe they'll have a nice salad? heh.

                                      Thanks for the info Justine, just keep it comin!

                    2. re: GarnetGirl

                      Not everyone who wants to live a life free from prentention wants to be a Bohemian, GarnetGirl. And not everyone in the neighborhoods you eschew is pretentious and a home owner.

                      Some of us realize that the world isn't all about extremes but that it is all about choices. I suppose that you made yours living a TRUE Bohemian life in N. Portland. Good for you. I'm not even sure what that means, but I'm betting it smells like patchouli. (I'm kidding here, no offense intended...I even own tie dyed clothing, myself!) ;o)

                      Loofahgirl is now trying to make a choice and her priorities might be different from yours. She specified good food and a good supermarket, preferably in walking distance. N. Portland currently doesn't have good supermarkets that I would want to shop at (and I even drive to shop at Winco every other month or so, lest you think I am pretentious) and the food at the hipster Bohemian joints (oh but they're not pretentious...yeah right) in N. Portland just doesn't seem to be worth going out of one's way for. I'm not commenting on anything else about it, but it is clearly not one of Portland's best nabes for food.

                      The title of the thread is "Best PDX food neighborhoods" and I'm sorry, N. Portland may be TRULY Bohemian (at least in your eyes), but it certainly isn't one of PDX's best food neighborhoods. It may be trying, but it isn't there yet, not by a long shot.

                      Folks are free to disagree with me, of course...and I'd love to hear from folks why you think N. Portland is one of PDX's best food nabes, if you do...'cuz I am not buyin' it.

                      1. re: Jill-O


                        I agree with all of your comments - my only addition to this conversation is that if you are looking for an up and coming neighborhood where housing prices are lower (for exactly the reason that there are NOT a lot of food options) - it may be good to take a look at North Portland. Division is a foodie place now but that is a relatively new development (last 3 years or so) and 3 years ago the Division area was a great place to get in on - because housing prices were lower and yet you could see an upward trend in the food situation.

                        If these folks have a commitment to living in Portland for a few years or more I wouldn't hesitate to suggest NoPo because I really see this neighborhood blooming in the next few years - light rail and other factors have made this an area to watch food wise.

                        I think it is fascinating to ponder where the next hot spot in PDX might be. Another area to watch is inner southeast between Burnside and Hawthorne and west of MLK. This is where many artists have migrated since the Pearl became what it is today - does anyone remember the Pearl 10 years ago? Noone would've suggested you buy condo space there at that time.

                        1. re: Justine

                          Interesting. It is good to know where the artists move. Although, they seem to have to leave whenever the neighborhoods start getting good.

                          I don't know if light rail will make North Portland better, though. The Burnside light rail out east has only increased the late night gang activity out there. It gives poor youth a way to get around and somewhere to congregate.

                    3. Something to keep in mind about the Sellwood area, especially if you're going to commute downtown or up to Pillhill by bus, the Sellwood bridge no longer allows buses to cross it, so a 1 bus ride trip gets turned into a 2 bus ride trip. We lived there for 2 years. I found the restaurants in the area on the whole, dreadful. I think the Clinton area had a lot more to offer in terms of urban living, I actually like some of the restaurants in the area, and the movie theater, nice bars and coffee shops that flank it. That stretch, combined with the stuff on Division (Genie's to Lauro, interesting stuff all along the 25 block area), and People's Food Co-op near-by make it a sweet area foodwise. The other nice thing is that it's a straight shot downtown, with many bus options.

                      The only thing we miss about Sellwood is the New Seasons, and there is a new one right here. There aren't really any bargains to be had now in terms of houses, which is why we're moving, but if we could afford it, I'd stay here or move to the area around 28th and Burnside.


                      6 Replies
                      1. re: trillium

                        I thought I would ask you Portland-hounders for an update on this thread about the best Portland food neighborhoods. My husband and I are relocating to Portland from Boston (the Mr. got a great job). We are big foodies and definitely want to buy a house (preferably a nice old Arts & Crafts bungalow) in a food-friendly neighborhood where dinner means a five minute walk to one of many locally run cafes/restaurants. Since everyone raves about New Seasons I have thought about landing close to one of their stores. So, my question for you all is this... in 2007 what are the best PDX neighborhoods for the food motivated? Has anything changed from this original posting in 2004?

                        1. re: bakemeacake

                          If you want to be somewhat close to a New Seasons, I'd pick the one at NE 33rd and Killingsworth, and try to buy something weset of 33rd closer to Alberta street. If you go south of Alberta you'll have nicer houses (and a lot of A&C bungalows) but you'll have to pay beaucoup bucks for one of them. Go look at houses on www.rmls.com to get an idea of prices.

                          If you can live with a Wild Oats (although who knows what will happen to them now that Whole Foods has purchased them) instead of New Seasons the area around East Burnside and 28th maybe has a few more restaurants within walking distance (and since this thread started Ken's Artisan Pizza has opened). I'd agree that New Seasons is preferable to Wild Oats, though.

                          1. re: bakemeacake

                            I left Portland in 2002 and have been dreaming of coming back ever since. Portland has lots of great centrally locacted neighborhoods, and it's pretty easy to get around town by bike and car. So if I were you I'd be focused more on getting a house I loved in a neighborhood I liked and not worry so much about how many restaurants are within walking distance. That being said, if I could live anywhere it would be in "Sunnyside" which is just south of Belmont and full of bugalows.

                            1. re: bakemeacake

                              Northwest Portland/Nob Hill, Pearl District, Alberta Street, Clinton/Division, the up and coming inner SE Burnside area, and maybe the combo of Hawthorne/Belmont, though there is as much crap as good there.

                              Good luck on a lot "five minute walk" options, however. Portland isn't that urban except downtown, NW, and Pearl. With those conditions, you'll only have a few options, probably, in most neighborhoods. But a 5 minute bike ride would be more reasonable.

                              Welcome to PDX.


                              1. re: extramsg

                                I second the Clinton/Division area.

                              2. re: bakemeacake

                                Not given much attention in this thread is the "City Market NW" at NW 21st and Johnson, my favorite gourmet market. My caveat is that I'm pretty new in town (from New Orleans and SF) and still have a lot of 'splorin' to do, so this thread is a big help.

                                If you could afford to live close to this market you'd also be within a 5 minute walk of a Zupans and a Fred Meyer, as well as many good restaurants, a Kitchen Kaboodle (similar to Williams Sonoma), and a Trader Joe's.

                                Unfortunately, though, it seems you might be considered "pretentious" rather than "bohemian."

                            2. Hi Loofahgirl--I would second the recommendation for the Sandy Blvd area. The three neighborhoods surrounding it are Hollywood, Rose City, and the Fremont area. Rose City is the least expensive, but a little farther east of the city. There are fabulous asian restaurants up and down Sandy from about 50th-70th (Faves are Cha Ba Thai, Zhien Hong, Thien Hong, Be Van (Vietnamese sandwiches), and Mi-Wa). There's also a great cafe--Violet's--in Rose City and the Laurelwood Brewery has just built a new brew pub in the vicinity of 50th and Sandy. There are also great places along Fremont in the same general area (Jim and Patty's for coffee!!). My husband and I bought in Rose City 3 years ago and have been really pleasantly surprised--both by the cuisine and the trend in property values in that area. I would definately recommend east side over west side, as most people here have mentioned. Good luck!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: BellaFunk

                                Violets is So Good !!

                                ...and Tony Starlight is back in town (!!), and has opened up in the old Blackbird location... good food and GREAT entertainment!!


                              2. I completely endorse my old 'hood of Belmont. Zupan's (and even the quirky Walgreens) was great for my odd night-owl grocery shopping habits and the excellent Stumptown Coffee and staggering distance to the Horse Brass Pub really made me happy I lived there. Also, I have never had a bad meal at Hoda's!

                                1. that link is expired... update please, I'd like to see! 8)

                                  1. Isnt there a an area with a concentration of Russian food? Any suggestions?

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: soilchem

                                      Not really. There are several markets in SE, but most are a little spread out and there are no restaurants except one REAAAAALY far out in SE.