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Mar 3, 2010 02:09 PM

Best brunch, cupcakes and lunch spots in Portland?

Coming to Portland for the first time! I am looking for some great places for the items mentioned. Will be staying in downtown - will also have a car and can drive. Please give me your recommends! Any restaurants serving local ingredients too are appreciated!

Eat Well ~ Thanks!

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  1. Also looking for the best shrimp po' boy as well!!!!! HELP!

    2 Replies
    1. re: luna9

      I haven't tried them, but Bubba Bernie's, a food cart in the SE Hawthorne & 12th cart pod just across the river from Downtown, does Po'Boys.

      They're a late night cart, open 6 PM - 3 AM, Wednesday - Saturday.

      1. re: luna9

        For Shrimp Po'Boys, try Acadia on Fremont. They are huge! More than enough to share. Everything I've tried there is fantastic.

      2. Brunch - Screen Door is one of my favorites. Also Pine State Biscuits, although they're not really a sit down brunch kind of place. You need to get a biscuit sandwich anyways.

        Cupcakes - St. Cupcake, or Piece of Cake makes an awesome german chocolate cake cupcake.

        1. For cupcakes...the Sugar Cube Cart in the mississippi pod..they also have Garden State there..for delicious Italian and you can sit at Prost and have a beer with your order.
          if you are downtown, the variety of foodcarts are amazing...Tabor and Eurodish are my faves.
          Kenny and Zukes for deli
          Screen Door has lines around the block when they open!
          Bunk and Meat Cheese and Bread are my go to places...but they are not fancy.
          Podnah's for brunch...smoked trout hash...truly delicious. ( also not fancy)
          A new place that opened, Accanto, next to Genoa,on SE Belmont has a wonderful looking brunch menu, but I have not been there yet.

          Alma's and Shagun for chocolate( I know you didn't ask for that, but worth going to)

          Portland prides itself on local ingredients...If the Saturday Farmer's Market is happening, you can see the bounty that is Portland.

          check out and


          4 Replies
          1. re: cheeseisheaven

            Nice! Thanks so much for your thoughts! Portland seems to take their Food carts very seriously! I think it's really fascinating and am looking for to trying some of them. Thanks for the chocolate recommend as well - bonus!

            1. re: luna9

              Yes Alma & Sahagun are gems. Sugar Cube is the best choice for cupcakes that are far beyond St. Cupcake; also get her Triple Threat Cookie!

              Check out Pine State Biscuits for lunch.

              The Portland Farmer's Market opens for the season March 20, Saturday. Do not confuse this with the Portland Saturday Market, a hippie craft fair.

              Other favorite carts: India Chaat House and Give Pizza A Chance.

              What is your budget?

              I encourage you take three minutes and do a search on the Pacific NW board. Metro Portland board is only a few weeks old. You'll see many threads such as this with great ideas for visitors with the identical questions as yours. Then come back and ask questions. Have fun!

              1. re: Leonardo

                You know, I like St Cupcake, and when I need assorted cupcakes for a group I'll go there. But they taste like Ding Dongs next to the cupcakes from Sugar Cube--those are just on a whole other plane.

              2. re: luna9

                Off topic, but on topic with the twist of the convo toward carts - great website:

            2. I think it depends on your criteria for lunch. Do you want a view and to be entertained? Do you want just a quick bite that's good? Do you want something that is quintessentially Portland?

              Given you're a visitor, I think I'd recommend the latter. And really that does mean the food carts, because they are the "must do" for here. I'm not saying they're the absolute best food carts anywhere, but I am saying they are woven into the DNA of present day Portland so much that they must be experienced. Beware: there's many greasebomb ones as well as decent and great ones. Experiment, buy little things from as many as you can, etc....

              I'm almost never up early enough to get to breakfast or lunch in town, and besides I think we're more a coffee shop town than a brunch town.

              If pressed, I'd probably end up finding a blue collar diner for a breakfast. Fuller's has an Edward Hopper feel to it, and the Dockside on Front has lots of street cred. Note, these aren't going to be gourmet per se, they're going to be solid traditional breakfasts, but with authentic atmosphere.

              For a more gourmet approach? Pine State isn't bad -- has the right vibe -- but it's not really Carolina biscuit either. (My NC expert says they're a bit dry and a bit "too creative" to be authentic. They do have Cheerwine tho and that's a plus.) I'd probably find a good bakery/coffee shop combo and order enough variety to be filling. My favorites are St. Honore on Thurman or Ladybug in St. Johns. The former could be gotten to by streetcar easily, the latter is a good drive (about 5 miles). In downtown my standby when in doubt is the Pazzo bakery annex.

              I have heard good things about Bijou Cafe, but I have yet to sample them.

              1. Best bakeries by a longshot:
                Ken's Artisan Bakery for anything, Bakery Bar, Crema for the biscuits, Random Order (best pie!). I don't think St Honore is at all worth it.
                I do like Bijou downtown for brunch. Also Kenny & Zuke's, as mentioned by others.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Leonardo

                  We love St. Cupcake! Bijou Cafe does a very good Oyster Hash dish. I would not miss a meal at Le Pigeon while in Portland. This past summer we had a lovely brunch at Fenouil in the Pearl District. Enjoy! :)