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Apr 22, 2010 03:35 PM

Any ideas on can't miss spots in Portland - especially Street Food?

Heading to Portland next week for a friend's wedding and may have a little free time. I've heard there is a lot with a bunch of food carts together and wondered if it's a) worth the trip and b) are they any that stand out in particular?

Also, any other favorite places. Price not an object, but more up for casual than fancy. Also a sushi lover (Yoko's is a favorite in town) but interested to hear of any better options.

Thanks for the assist. Staying at the Nines Hotel but can get around fine although may not rent a car this trip.

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  1. I would not miss Le Pigeon, Park Kitchen in the Pearl District is another great option, both of these places are pretty casual. Enjoy Portland! :)

    Park Kitchen
    422 NW 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

    Le Pigeon
    738 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

    1. Actually, there's about ten or twelve lots (pods) with multiple food carts spread all over the city, and a more than a hundred individual carts scattered around as well. ;)

      See here for more -

      There are exceptions of course, but generally the food carts downtown are mainly focused on serving weekday lunch, while the carts and pods here on the east side are open evenings and weekends.

      You have four large cart pods all within walking distance of you at the Nines, one at SW 5th & Stark, one at SW 3rd & Stark, one centered around SW 10th & Alder, and another down near PSU, as well as a handful of others scattered around as well. Those are your best bets for a weekday lunch. If it's a weekend or late night, take a quick hop right across the river to SE 12th & Hawthorne and hit the cart pod there. Everything's good at that one, and they're open til 3 AM most nights.

      I'm not too familiar with most of the carts in North and NE, but I can recommend Addy's Sandwich Bar and Ziba's Pitas at SW 10th & Alder and the hot dog / sausage stand at SW 3rd & Stark downtown, and Yarp and Whiffie's Fried Pies at SE Hawthorne & 12th. Garden State down in Sellwood is a favorite, as well.

      7 Replies
      1. re: JayinPortland

        The pods in the NE, Mississippi has the Good egg for a breakfast sandwich, and Sugar Cube for dessert...Garden State also has a cart there, and the arancini are fab...Refeul North has a great selection of food, Arepas, pizza, BBQ, waffles...Killingsworth and Greeley. Alberta St has the Mono Malo tapas cart, arepas cart and smoothie station ( I'm not sure of the cross st) as well as Grillled cheese grill , El Nutri, BBQ...and more

        Also a standout cart is the Scottish fish and chips in the NW on Raleigh btw 21st and 22nd.

        Happy eating!

        1. re: JayinPortland

          Fried pies! I'm in. There's a place between Napa and Sonoma called the Fremont Diner which has fried pies (to wash down their pulled pork "whole hog" sandwich as they call it).

          Jay - any suggestions on a pod in a cool neighborhood to explore? Our Saturday afternoon is going to be pretty open so willing to travel a bit for some good eats and fun neighborhood.

          1. re: teejaymoore

            To narrow it down a little - most interested in Mexican, BBQ or a great Cuban Sandwich.....although the fish & chips place does sound good.

            1. re: teejaymoore

              For a Saturday afternoon, I'd suggest visiting either (or both!) the Cartopia food cart pod at SE 12th & Hawthorne, which is in SE Portland just across the river from downtown, or the Mississippi Marketplace ( pod, up in North Portland. The latter has a pub where you can take your food in and enjoy with a good beer. Both are easily accessible via transit, and both are in fun and interesting walkable neighborhoods. I prefer SE myself, but I live here so I'm biased. ;


              Can't go wrong with either one, though!

              1. re: JayinPortland

                Are the Cartopia carts open in the afternoon? I know that some of them don't open until 8PM, but maybe it's different on Saturdays.

                There's also a few pods on NE Alberta now, which is another fun neighborhood to explore on foot. There's one at NE 23rd and Alberta with some good options.

                1. re: Nettie

                  It's a recent thing, maybe as of like 6 weeks ago? Most carts there are open all day now, from lunchtime to late night. And El Brasero has been open from breakfast to late night for a while now. Always a good idea to check first, of course...

                  1. re: JayinPortland

                    Thanks, that's good to know! I've gotta stop by for breakfast at El Brasero sometime...

        2. The good old Portland Tip Sheet is currently being updated (will post new link when it is complete), but IACP was recently in town and these are some fine suggestions all in one place, with pics and links:

          2 Replies
          1. re: JillO

            JillO - GREAT RECOMMENDATION/LINK. Exactly what I was hoping for as the food carts are overwhelming and while the food carts portland website is cool, they're trying not to rate so difficult to decipher what's good/not good.

            Can you do BBQ and Pizza at one lunch? Hmmmm

            1. re: teejaymoore

     long as the BBQ wasn't on the pizza, probably... Sorry, I'm from Bklyn, NY originally, I think it's illegal there to put BBQ on your pizza. ;o)

              The Tip Sheet, which is being updated, is even better...stay tuned...(but don't hold your breath, it won't be that fast...)

              Btw, there's a lot more chat about stuff in Portland, by actual Portlanders, at

          2. Brunchbox. It has some really fun food. 'You can has Cheeseburger' is an experience not to be missed. Go hungry.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mmerino

              I haven't tried it, but I've heard the version at Grilled Cheese Grill is even better.

              The Grilled Cheese Grill
              1027 NE Alberta Ave, Portland, OR

            2. OK - we're back and let me say what a food town!! We ate at three carts: 1) Violetta (amazing burger, didn't love the truffle fries), 2) Tabor (great schnizelwich with the peppers and horseradish) and 3) Give Pizza a Try (really nice BBQ chicken pizza NY style).

              Also had a great dinner at Paley's Place. Probably the best steak tartare I have had outside of France. I think the plane probably had trouble lifting off to get us home we ate so much!

              Paley's Place
              1204 NW 21st Ave, Portland, OR 97209

              5 Replies
              1. re: teejaymoore

                and how could I forget Pine State Biscuits at the Farmers Market (the Reggie). It should be illegal a biscuit with fried chicken, bacon, sausage gravy and cheese!!

                Pine State Biscuits
                3640 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214

                1. re: teejaymoore

                  Great to hear! I used to eat lunch at Give Pizza a Chance regularly, but I haven't been there in a while since I don't find myself downtown for lunch often. I will tomorrow though, and I'm already planning on having a Schnitzelwich for lunch from Tabor.

                  I think I'm the only Portlander who's never had a Pine State Biscuit sandwich before. Probably time to remedy that soon, I don't live far at all from their Belmont location and I'll probably be over at the PSU farmers' market next Saturday...


                  1. re: JayinPortland

                    I've worked for the Portland Farmers' Market for 3 years, and I just had my FIRST PS biscuit a few weeks ago. The lines are daunting, and the market can be so bustling that standing in one spot for a half hour is impossible. They really are amazing, though I imagine the ones at the Belmont location are even better...

                    1. re: lemonbasilpdx

                      Yep, with less of a wait and more options.

                2. re: teejaymoore

                  Thanks for the report!
                  I love the Pine State with shiitake gravy.
                  I've never been to Give Pizza a Try, but usually am partial to Give Pizza a Chance (Get it? Give Peace a Chance?)!