Lunch should mean much more than ordering the same boring old sandwiches from the same vendor every week. Whether you want to try a new stylish restaurant, a different cuisine or hang out at a cool new food cart pod, here are the best places for lunch in Portland, Oregon (in no particular order, they’re all awesome)...
1. Pine Street Market – a bustling food hall with gourmet vendors with communal seating
Pine Street Market is a restaurant situated within the Old Town District.
Known as Portland’s first food hall, it’s located in the city’s historic Carriage & Baggage Building. 9 total restaurants grace the halls of the market with each one run by a top chef of the area.
One of the restaurants is called Pine Street Taproom, which sells many craft beers, Old Fashioneds stouts, sours, ciders, and Bloody Marys. Choose from the Multnomah Mule, Naked Bike Ride, Rose Garden, Voodoo Vodka, and more.
Address: 126 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
2. Pastini – a great lunch spot serving local Italian food with responsibly sourced ingredients
Pastini is the new name of the chain restaurant in Portland formerly called Pastini Pastara. It’s one of the largest companies owned and operated by women in the state of Oregon with 8 total chains, hence why it is one of the best lunch spots serving up pasta dishes in Portland.
One of their locations is stationed in Downtown Portland and offers popular pasta dishes such as fettuccine alfredo, mac ‘n cheese, spaghetti carbonara, baked cheese ravioli, and others. Enjoy with a salad with a pasta and salad combo or you can choose a soup.
Address: 911 SW Taylor St. Portland, OR 97205
3. Loving Hut – a vegan counter-serve chain with Asian-accented menus perfect for a quick and hearty lunch
Loving Hut is a vegan restaurant located in Downtown Portland. Their motto is “Best Food, Great Value”. While the motto is simplistic, it shows their belief in vegan food is healthier for the body while offering their dishes at an affordable price.
Most of their vegan selection is Asian-based with selections such as the golden roll, golden wontons, fuji udon noodle soup, mapo tofu, noble broccoli, seaweed ocean medley and so much more.
Dishes such as General Tso’s and their Hawaiian and ocean burgers are also made with vegan-friendly alternatives.
Address: 1239 SW Jefferson St, Portland, OR 97201
4. Hawthorne Asylum – a popular outdoor food court featuring food trucks, communal, tables and a cool fire pit
Hawthorne Asylum is an outdoor food cart pod within the Buckman District.
South is where you can eat Southern African food such as a po’boy on a bun from the Pearl Bakery and grits.
Peri Koshari serves up an Egyptian favorite, except it’s a vegan version called the Koshari bowl that features tomato-based sauce, lentils, chickpeas, rice, and onion.
There are 20 plus food carts at the Hawthorne Asylum to try, so you will have a new experience every time you visit their food trucks for lunch, which is the main reason that this is one of the best lunch spots in Portland.
Address: 1080 SE Madison St, Portland, OR 97214
5. Cheryl’s on 12th – a gourmet cafe and market offering creative New American cuisine which is a great spot for a sociable lunch
Downtown Portland’s Cheryl’s on 12th is a gourmet cafe offering New American eats and homemade sweet treats.
Their motto is “As good as it gets catering”, which shows they are not only a gourmet cafe but also a catering company.
When grabbing lunch from Cheryl’s, try out their hot sandwiches such as the blackened chicken sandwich for something original, yet tasty or the fig, goat cheese, and arugula sandwich for something deliciously different.
Burgers, benedicts, cold sandwiches, and even kids’ meal options are also on the lunch menu.
Address: 1135 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205
6. East Side Deli on Hawthorne – a counter-serve sandwich spot with faux-meat options for vegetarians and vegans as well as salads and hot dogs
East Side Deli on Hawthorne is located in the Richmond District.
Whether you love to eat meat or you are vegan and vegetarian, there are delicious deli options for everyone. Meat-free options are for vegans and vegetarians while the regular deli is for meat-eaters.
If you have the late-night munchies but you arrive at the deli during closing hours, you can purchase ready-made sandwiches and beverages from the Sando Vendo to get your late-night snack fix.
Address: 4626 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215
7. Mother’s Bistro & Bar – a country-chic cafe offering hearty comfort-food classics which is a great spot to meet someone for lunch
Another lunch option in Downtown Portland is Mother’s Bistro & Bar which serves up delicious comfort food including stews, braised dishes, dumplings, roasts, and more.
Open for 20 years, the bistro’s motto is “It’s all about the love”. They utilize local ingredients such as Carlton Farm’s pork and wild salmon from the Pacific Northwest. With these delicious local ingredients, they also make everything homemade.
Try the Irish “Nachos”, pierogi, fried calamari, or fried ricotta cheese ravioli for lunch. Sandwiches, bistro bowls, and signature macaroni and cheese are also featured for lunch.
Address: 121 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
8. Rabbits Cafe – a modern counter-service spot perfect for lunch with a meat-free menu of vegan bowls and smoothies
Rabbits Cafe is another great lunch spot in the Downtown Portland area. They have another lunch spot in the Killingsworth area of Portland, too.
Specializing in meat-free bowls, fresh salads, and fruity smoothies, Rabbits Cafe is a vegan establishment that started as the Sonny Bowl food cart before becoming the cafe it is today.
Choose from BBQ Bowl, Chickpea Bowl, Incredi-Bowl, Thumper Salad, and more. Try the smoothies such as Peanut Butter Banana, Chai Protein, Ginger Berry, Kale Mango, and Power Smoothie.
Address: 555 SW Oak St, Portland, OR 97204
9. Park the Carts – your one-stop destination for the best NW cuisine in Portland
Park the Carts is a food cart pod situated within the Piedmont District.
Their official website says that their motto is “The yummy starts here” and that they are the best for NW cuisine in Portland.
Home to KPUB Grill & Tap Room, Gourmet Brothers, Ja Das Soulful Eats, and other food carts, you can access American, Thai, Spanish, and so many more types of foods in one area.
KPUB Grill features Korean-inspired food fare, 12 beers on tap, and 2 ciders on tap.
Address: 7339 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97211
10. Vtopia All Vegan Restaurant & Cheese Shop – a relaxed sport specializing in cashew-based cheeses, vegan sandwiches and salads
Vtopia is located in the Goose Hollow Foothills District and is another vegan restaurant in our top lunch spots lineup.
This location is one of the best vegan lunch spots in Portland because they also have a “cheese shop” where they sell cashew-based cheeses for vegans to enjoy at home.
Fru Fru Terra is the new name for Vtopia as of recently with the new name meaning, “enjoy the fruits of the Earth”.
Try 1 of the 9 delicious vegan mac and cheese dishes or indulge in one of their sandwiches. If you want to take home vegan cheese, purchase them by the pound.
Address: 1628 SW Jefferson St, Portland, OR 97201
11. Pioneer Courthouse Square – offers five permanent food carts and a great place to sit and eat
Downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square is a food cart pod business and is otherwise known as Portland’s living room.
Besides food carts throughout the 40,000 square foot area, Pioneer Courthouse Square is also where most special events are hosted in the Downtown Portland District.
Food carts include Fried Egg I’m in Love, Amelia’s Mexican Food, The Block, and the Whole Bowl. The official website states that these food carts have the “very best of our city’s and our region’s bounty” when it comes to their food offerings.
Address: 701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97205
12. 5th Avenue Food Cart Pod – offers an eclectic combination of great eateries perfect for lunch in Portland
The 5th Avenue Food Cart Pod is located in Downtown Portland.
If you want Egyptian, Thai, or Mexican cuisines, you will be in the right place! It is considered one of the food cart pod favorites for grabbing lunch because of the many food options available.
Try Korean tacos at Korean Twist. They even offer Asian-fusion rice bowls featuring toppings like bulgogi beef and kimchi. Besides their food cart at 5th Avenue, they have two other locations throughout Portland.
Address: 324 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97204
13. The Cart Blocks – Downtown Portland’s newest food cart pod
The Cart Blocks is located in Portland’s Ankeny Square, which opened in 2021 when the Alder Street food cart pod closed a couple of years earlier.
Choose from food carts such as Tito’s Burritos, kBap, Villa Angel Taqueria, Anna Thai Basil, Kafta House, Shanghai’s Best, Hua Li House, Beijing House, and Fernando’s Algeria.
Besides enjoying the best of Portland’s local foods for lunch, you can think about booking a private event in their space or even opening up your food truck, since they are accepting applications for new ones.
Address: 770 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
14. Elephants Delicatessen – a perfect spot for a gourmet lunch
The Northwest District’s Elephant Delicatessen offers gourmet deli options that you can take to prepare lunches at home. Choose from delicious prepared foods and even pick up your wine from here.
They have been serving the Portland area since 1979 and always hand-make their foods. Grab delicious lunch options such as chicken enchilada, chicken pot pie, mac and cheese, teriyaki chicken, meatloaf, and tikka masala.
Also choose from salads, sandwiches, lunch boxes, and soaps. Some selections are vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, or gluten-free for people on special diets.
Address: 115 NW 22nd Ave, Portland, OR 97210
15. 3rd Avenue Food Cart Pod – a food cart park offering an array of global offerings
Stretch That Noodle is one of the food carts available at the 3rd Avenue Food Cart Pod. Other food offerings include Mediterranean, Egyptian, Mexican, Vietnamese, and Thai food fare.
Conveniently located nearby the Waterfront Park, you can eat your meal then go enjoy the park rides. You could also go to the picnic benches near the food cart pod if you are not going on water adventures after your lunch.
Address: SW 3rd Ave &, SW Harvey Milk St, Portland, OR 97204