Let's Do Lunch

Portland Lunch Locator: Pick a Quadrant and Eat!

No matter if you’re working in your office downtown, stationed at your home desk, running errands in the 'burbs, or taking a leisurely weekend lunch in a new neighborhood, here are highlights in almost every quadrant.

By Katherine Chew Hamilton March 23, 2022 Published in the Spring 2022 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Karen Brooks


Bing Mi Move over, Francophiles. Jianbings, a.k.a. bings, are king: crêpes stuffed with scrambled egg, giant fried wonton crackers, pickled veggies, black bean paste, cilantro, and green onion, plus proteins like duck or Chinese sausage. Up your lunch game with double the crackers and warm red date soy milk. 1845 NW 23rd Pl, bingmipdx.com

Fuller’s Coffee Shop Belly up to a taste of 1950s Portland at this old-school lunch counter in the Pearl, where pancakes are served all day, the no-frills cheeseburger is one of the best in the city, and fried razor clams come cheap and hot. 136 NW Ninth Ave, fullerscoffeeshop.com


Image: Michael Novak


Stretch the Noodle This cart is one of the only spots in town tearing up thick, bouncy biang biang noodles by hand, serving them in the requisite chili oil along with mouth-puckering black vinegar. But don’t sleep on the handmade panfried dumplings, each loaded with a whole shrimp, crunchy tails poking out cheekily. 223 SW Washington St, stretch-the-noodle.com 

Fofo’s Special Foods “Come try the best food in Portland!” boasts friendly owner Fofo, who takes serious pride in her menu—and her home country of Palestine, with flags all over the cart. Hot manakeesh drips with fruity olive oil and za’atar; eat it immediately. Baba ghanoush is smoky and silky, and frozen mint lemonade is the perfect tart and zesty accompaniment. 270 SW Harvey Milk St, 503-914-8701

Lil’ Shalom Upgrade lunch with a lamb-beef patty, gooey cheddar, caramelized onions, and red s’hug inside a pita, plus crispy, flavor-bomb spiced fries. Or level up from everyday hummus with a plate that piles on tangy labneh, crisp falafel, and green salad leaves to creamy, lemony hummus, all wrapped in a fluffy pita. Add a sherry manhattan or pomegranate-infused cava to sip on the sidewalk patio. 1128 SW Alder St, lilshalompdx.com



Smokin Fire Fish When a lunchtime poke craving hits, come here for six different ways to chow down on raw fish, toppings including lava salt, roasted kukui nut, gochujang, and sweet onion. You can also stop by for spam musubi—comfort food in the palm of your hand—or plate lunches with rotating barbecue meats. 668 N Russell St, smokinfirefish.com

DesiPDX Cardamom chai chicken, Oregon lamb and kale, radicchio and delicata squash salad—nowhere else will you find these standout dishes than this Prost Marketplace gem, where owner Deepak Saxena serves up creative, seasonal Indian-inspired fare, with vegan and paleo-friendly options to boot. 4233 N Mississippi Ave, desipdx.com



Yoshi’s This ultimate treat-yourself food cart politely declines walk-up orders. You’ll have to call ahead starting at 10 a.m. for some of the city’s best sushi: seared sea scallop nigiri zhuzhed up with yuzu-orange marmalade, or the lime-green roll, a veggie concoction of ginger miso, sesame-crusted spinach, roasted pepper, avocado, and microgreens. 3530 SW Multnomah Blvd, yoshispdx.com

Image: Michael Novak

@La’s, A Hmong Food Cart La Vang-Herr draws regulars and newcomers alike for her signature lemongrass-chile pork sausages—add her husband’s pepper sauce if you dare—plus fried “Phat Wings” stuffed with bean thread noodles. Customize your spice level from none to a tear-inducing 10. 18631 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy, Aloha, lavangfoods.com



Image: Naomi Pomeroy


Ripe Cooperative Local legend Naomi Pomeroy adds a little gourmet to your day with the likes of oysters, kohlrabi-pomegranate salad, French onion soup, and bucatini carbonara. Take home a pint of rich frozen custard for dessert, or stick around for martinis on the patio from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 5425 NE 30th Ave, ripecooperative.com

Loncheria Los Mayas Portland’s peak panuchos live here, where handmade corn tortillas are plucked from the fryer, then stuffed with creamy mashed black beans and topped with spicy, slow-cooked cochinita pibil and tangy pickled onions. Devour them immediately at the cart’s covered picnic tables. 4212 NE Prescott St, 503-754-3059


Image: Michael Novak



Hà VL & Rose VL Plan your week around creamy chicken curry, hearty beef stew, or turmeric-laden mi quang at these sister restaurants, each featuring two Vietnamese noodle soups per day. Get there early—both restaurants tend to sell out by one o’clock. Hà VL, 2738 SE 82nd Ave Unit 102 & Rose VL, 6424 SE Powell Blvd, instagram.com/rosevlpdx

Feel Good Cauliflower rice, red quinoa, and greens get Top Chef treatment at cheftestant Gabriel Pascuzzi’s new grain-bowl-focused, mostly vegetarian café. Even the most dedicated home meal-preppers can’t match these bowls with bee pollen, charred lemon vinaigrette, or mint-basil pesto. 1120 SE Belmont St, feelgoodpdx.com