Where to Live Now

Neighborhood Guide: Lents

Asian mega-malls, parks galore, and Italian pastries

By Ainslee Dicken Published in the Spring 2021 issue of Portland Monthly

Cannoli filling at Bella's Italian Bakery 

This eclectic hood in outer Southeast Portland is home to strip malls, Asian superstores, and quiet community gardens alike. Eastport Plaza is the reigning consumer mecca, but the neighborhood hosts a variety of shopping, dining, and recreational options. SE Foster Avenue cuts right through the middle, a constantly busy hub that slimmed down its lanes for bike accessibility and pedestrian friendliness.

Among the many new construction projects in the area, the hub corner of Foster and 92nd is home to a Planet Fitness. Before your workout, you can get your caffeine fix at Refuge Coffee, a small husband-and-wife-owned café. Afterward, hop over to the ever-popular Ding Tea to stand in a line of teenagers waiting impatiently for their boba. Lents is the proud home to a glut of Asian food—go from Japan, courtesy of Takahashi, a highly rated sushi restaurant off Holgate, to China via HK Café, a sprawling, gaudily decorated restaurant offering an abundance of small dishes, and wind up in Korea at the belly-filling K-Town Korean BBQ, which doles out all-you-can-eat options seven days a week.

Lents also offers tastes of Europe: Try Bella’s Italian Bakery on SE Woodstock Boulevard with a crisp décor and large selection of pastries, or head to the cavernous Zoiglhaus Brewing Company for German-inflected casual fare.

The hood’s many green spaces include Glenwood Park and Lents Park (home to many sports fields—the Portland Pickles play baseball here at Walker Stadium) on the west side of Interstate 205 and Ed Benedict Park on the east, where there’s a serene garden designed for people with Alzheimer’s and other memory issues, as well as a raucous skateboard park. Don’t miss Beggars Tick Wildlife Refuge running parallel to SE 111th Avenue.

On family night or date night, test your bowling prowess at KingPins Family Entertainment Center off 92nd, which offers weekday happy hour and weekend Cosmic Bowling. Become a fish family at Rising Sun Koi or build yourself an at-home salon with products from Four Seasons Beauty Supply. Cooks can while away happy hours prowling the aisles at the grocery in Fubonn Shopping Center (just north of Lents proper) or SF Supermarket, both along SE 82nd.