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Nov 10, 2004 01:53 PM

Best PDX food neighborhoods?

  • l

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.


          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.