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Apr 5, 2007 11:27 AM

Moving to Portland: recommendations

Hello all,

I am planning on moving to Portland for graduate school and currently looking for an apartment to stay in. I was wondering if there are any neighborhoods outside of downtown Portland that have a relatively large number of restaurants within walking distance.

Downtown seems to have a good concentration of eateries but unfortunately the rent is a little steep. Lots of places to eat within walking distance -- but rent will take up a big chunk of my budget and I will be without eating money. What a dilemma.

Please help!


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  1. Definitely. And you'll do much better for good value eating outside of downtown and NW.

    Alberta St between 15th and 33rd would probably be my first choice if I wanted several good food options, still be relatively close to downtown, and have a chance of getting a decent priced place to live.

    Hawthorne from 7th all the way to 50th has lots of places to eat, many of which are great (though there are some very popular crap-holes as well).

    The area around 28th and Burnside has plenty of options.

    There's the area around 26th and Clinton. There's Division between about 34th and 11th. There's N Mississippi. There's N Killingsworth. There's Belmont from 39th to about 20th. There's Sellwood. There's Westmoreland. There's Woodstock. There's Fremont east of 33rd.

    If it was me, I might find a place close to the Max either far east or far west and enjoy the Asian and Hispanic eating options and cheap apartments. But then, I live in the 'burbs and would rather save my money for food and fun.


    5 Replies
    1. re: extramsg

      If you also require a decent grocery store within walking distance that will limit your options a little more. There's a New Seasons at NE 33rd and Killingsworth that's near the Alberta area and another New Seasons in Sellwood. Wild Oats (which would be my third choice after New Seasons and Whole Foods) has a location at 28th and Burnside and another at NE 15th and Fremont. I haven't been to the Zupans on Belmont for a long time, so I don't know if it's any good. There's Pastaworks on Hawthorne, but I don't consider that an everyday kind of grocery store (not on a graduate student budget, anyway).

      The only Whole Foods currently in Portland is in the Pearl district, which, although it's a good area for restaurants, isn't exactly affordable. There's another planned for the Hollywood district, but I wouldn't say that the area has a lot of great restaurants compared to the other neighborhoods mentioned. Besides, with the Whole Foods/Wild Oats merger, I don't know if they'll actually go through with this as planned.

      1. re: Nettie

        There is a Fred Meyer (Kroger) on Hawthorne and 39th, which for someone on a budget is probably a much better option than New Seasons. I think they have better quality produce than

        1. re: extramsg

          I didn't mention that Fred Meyer because my sister-in-law, who lives in the Hawthorne area, hates it. She thinks it's generally scuzzier than other Fred Meyer stores.

          1. re: Nettie

            I agree. It is. But it's still better than, eg, the Safeway at 20-something and Hawthorne. And it's a real full service grocery store. The Fred Meyer's in the burbs, though, are usually much nicer than the ones in town.

            1. re: extramsg

              Within town they vary a lot, too. The Fred Meyer at NE 28th and Weidler is also much nicer than the one in Hawthorne.

    2. Not a huge dilemma - go with Hawthorne, Belmont, Division, Alberta, Mississippi, or Multnomah Village and you'll be fine -- distance wise, price wise and foodwise...Welcome to Oregon!

      21 Replies
      1. re: AlbertaHound

        Well, maybe not Multnomah Village... ;-)

        1. re: extramsg

          Thanks to all for the recommendations and the welcome. Seeing fellow chowhounders on the boards really makes me look forward to Portland even more.

          What's the deal with Multnomah Village, msg? (insert confused emoticon)

          1. re: masked bandit

            Middle of nowhere and the restaurants there generally suck.

            1. re: extramsg

              I loved living in Mult. Village for six years. It's seven minutes to downtown yet has a quaint smalltown feel. I agree that the restaurants suck, but only two minutes from Seasons & Regions.

              1. re: Leonardo

                But from the post, I'm assuming they're not much of a driver, but will be relying on walking and public transit. Multnomah Village is poorly situated for that type of person.

                1. re: Leonardo

                  "I agree that the restaurants suck, but only two minutes from Seasons & Regions."

                  Which means, what, two minutes away from another restaurant that sucks?! ;o)

                  1. re: JillO

                    Multnomah Village is very close to Alba, one of the best reastaurants in Portland. Capitol Bistro is also very nice, if not particularly well-known.

                    While not in the same class, other servicable restaurants and eateries in that area include Three Square Grill, Koji on Barbur, and about three good Thai places. Right in Multnomah, Fat City is standard greasy spoon with lines for breakfast on weekends, and O'Connor's is a welcoming place for a drink and comfort food.

                    You could do better, perhaps, but you sure could do worse.

                    1. re: MichaelG

                      I live in Multnomah, it's not the greatest area for people without a car, but it's not totally horrible. You could do worse.

                      I think Thai Herb is good.

                      I like Seasons and Regions $6.95 lunch menu.

                      Baker and Spice is just up the street in Hillsdale i just got done eating some dessert from there.. soooo good!

                      John's Market has a great selection of beer and wine.

                      1. re: amopdx

                        So here's a question: instead of defending Mult. Village, why aren't people recommending Hillsdale instead where all the decent restaurants are? ;-)

                        1. re: extramsg

                          Because John's Market, O'Connors, Fat City, and Thai Herbs are there, Alba and Capitol Bistro are a short stroll, the SW Community Center is closer to Multnomah than Hillsdale, and so is Gabriel Park.

                          Hillsdale's fine too, just different: Mcmenamins, Salvator Molly's, Three Square....

                          1. re: MichaelG

                            To respond to the OP's question, the Hawthorne/Belmont area would probably be best. It's cheaper to live in, attracts a lot of the college/grad student crowd, and has lots of good little restaurants, bars, coffee shops, etc. within walking distance. The area around NW 23rd attracts a similar crowd (and has similar features), but is a bit more expensive (but also had a better proximity to downtown/the pearl).

                            On a side note, I don't agree with the Mult. Village bashing - There is also Village Coffee in there... the gem of Mult. Village. =) And it is rather convenient as there are busses that run right through it.

                            1. re: clearskies0810

                              Hawthorne / Belmont is a good call because both are an easy shot to downtown (presuming you're at PSU?). But they are getting more and more expensive too.

                              Another option would be around 28th and Burnside - lots of great places to eat in the few blocks between Pambiche and Ken's Artisan Pizza.

                            2. re: MichaelG

                              >> Because John's Market, O'Connors, Fat City, and Thai Herbs

                              Well, one out of four ain't bad. ;-)

                              1. re: MichaelG


                                Nicely stated.

                                Also agree with "clearskies" about Village Coffee, it's fun to sit outside and people watch with your drink (on a nice day).

                                forgot to mention in my earlier post.. Otto and Anita's I personally enjoy their food and love the dill pickle soup (Chef Otto used to work at the Trianon).

                                There are pros and cons to every neighborhood.

                                MAsked Bandit, where are you going to grad school at.. that could help with some realistic suggestions

                                1. re: amopdx

                                  Oops, sorry for not having mentioned that earlier. I'm going to be at Lewis and Clark. I also should have mentioned that I do have a car...although that doesn't mean I would necesarily like to drive 10-15 minutes just for food.

                                  Realistically, I will be doing a lot of home cooking due to obvious budgetary reasons (thanks to all for the grocery stores suggestions). It's just nice to have places nearby during those times I feel like having something prepared by someone who knows what they're doing in the kitchen :P

                                  1. re: masked bandit

                                    Ahh, luckily there is a Market of Choice (kinda like local version of Whole Foods) ~5 mins frmo L&C. They have a decent deli section, in addition to groceries. Given that you will be going to L&C, Hillsdale & Multnomah Village really close by, as is the Macadam/John's Landing area. Neither are huge "foodie" destiantions, but most of the other neighborhoods mentioned here would be kind of a commute.

                                    Both have little shops and restaurants (and you should probably just check it out for yourself to see which would suit you better), but the Hillsdale/Multnomah Village area (they are really close to each other) has a better proximity to the suburbs of Portland where there is a decent mall and lots of good Asian food/grocieries and such. John's Landing/Macadam, on the other hand has a better proximity to downtown, as it is literally between L&C and downtown.

                                    Random non-food question - are you going to L&C Law School?

                                    1. re: clearskies0810

                                      Yes. I plan on taking a trip to Portland sometime in May to look for housing, so all these suggestions have really helped me narrow down the areas I will be focusing on. Hillsdale looks pretty good so far...

                                      1. re: masked bandit

                                        Ahhh, I had a feeling you might be... I'm actually a 1L myself (not at L&C though). Sometimes when I'm in Portland, I'll study at the L&C law library and run out to Market of Choice to get a quick & tastey bite. Also nearby, Papaccino's is a good place to get some coffee and kick back and study, just for future reference =)

                                        1. re: clearskies0810

                                          If you're at L&C, Hillsdale / Multnomah may be the place for you...

                                          1. re: clearskies0810

                                            Thanks for the tip! I really appreciate all the help here, as I'm obviously still finding my way around the Portland neighborhoods.

                      2. re: extramsg

                        Ok, months after this conversation's ended, I just had to weigh in... ;)
                        I live in Multnomah Village and am a huge fan of Thai Herb -- their mango and sweet rice has a saltiness that I wake up in the night craaaaaving, and my favorite entrees are the Glass Noodles Pad Thai, Mango Tango, and Panang Curry. I eat there or get take-out at least twice a week.

                        And John's Market looks like a dusty mini-mart on the outside, but if you go in you'll find so many kinds of beer (and wine), your head will start to spin before you even take a sip, just from looking at them all. They've got literally hundreds of beers: tons of American microbrews, plus imports from Europe (UK, Germany, Belgium, etc.) and Asian, Australian -- it's just mind-boggling. You could spend your whole summer trying a couple new ones every day and never get through them all. Best of all, they carry at least four kinds of gluten-free beer and six kinds of hard cider for wheat/gluten-intolerant celiac sprue sufferers like me!...Ok, spent my two cents. :)