Portland is nothing if not weird, and in such a culinarily obsessed city, it only makes sense that our trademark weirdness would spill over into the food scene. As a result, we are bursting with quirky cafes, bars, and eateries tucked into unexpected places. From a motorcycle supply shop built around a coffee bar to a top taqueria hidden in the back of a piñata-filled mercado, you never know where you might stumble into your next caffeine fix or tasty bite. Have a hidden spot you’re willing to share? Let us know in the comments! Map points not ranked, but rather organized geographically.Read More
13 Hidden Spots to Eat and Drink in Portland
From cafes in laundromats to oyster bars in grocery stores
1. Tienda Santa Cruz
Officially a panaderia featuring house-baked sweet breads, Tienda Santa Cruz feels more like a mercado, thanks to the aisles of Mexican provisions and colorful piñatas throughout the shop. The real secret is the cafeteria-style taqueria in the back, where you’ll find some of Portland’s most heavenly tacos, burritos, tostadas, and more. Signs peppered throughout the space detail the restaurant’s strict limits on its zingy sauces, but be sure to try the pastor tacos with as much of the obsession-inducing red sauce as the rules allow.
2. Phil's Uptown Meat Market
You wouldn’t expect to find a great meal at a meat market, but that’s just what you get at Phil’s Uptown Meat Market. You don’t even need to step inside the doors: Monday through Saturday starting at 10 a.m., Phil’s bento cart serves juicy marinated beef, pork, chicken, vegetable, and seafood skewers over rice with a variety of sauces, right in front of the store. The single skewer bento box is one of the best lunch deals in town at just $6.
3. Java Hound Coffee Bar at Hip Hound
If you visit Hip Hound, a boutique pet supply store in NW Portland, you can’t miss the Java Hound coffee stand, which greets you as you enter. Not only can you order a full range of coffee, tea, and baked goods from Small Baking Company at this micro-coffeeshop, but each drink comes with a complimentary puppaccino: a shot of goats milk topped with freeze-dried treats for your pup. Hip Hound also features an incredibly friendly and knowledgable staff who have perfected the art of CBD-infused drinks.
4. Will Leather Goods
Although Will Leather Goods doesn’t have an exact cafe, this cozy, Eugene-based outpost on NW 23rd serves complimentary espresso drinks to sip while you shop; you can even head to the coziest secret back deck to sit and enjoy your drink. With the mellow music, great coffee, and comfy leather seating out back, this might just be the best-kept secret in NW Portland.
5. Root Whole Body
Opened in the summer of 2017, the second location of this spa and wellness center features a soothing, quiet tearoom for anyone receiving services and a bright cafe out front that’s open to the public. From the same team behind vegan favorite Blossoming Lotus, the Root Whole Body menu features an array of vegan-friendly bowls, smoothies, and small plates. Popular dishes like the Japanese breakfast bowl, with miso-mushroom dashi and sambal, attract many diners who have yet to set foot in the expansive wellness center.
The downtown outpost of Wildfang, the Portland-born women’s apparel company, has a fun little secret: Tucked inside the store is a blink-and-you-miss-it adorable little bar serving beer and wine. While they don’t serve food, the sales associates encourage shoppers to bring food from the nearby food carts to the bar to enjoy with their drinks.
7. Park Avenue Fine Wines
From the outside, Park Avenue Fine Wines appears to be your average wine shop, without many clues that one of the best pop-ups in Portland hides inside. Tuesday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., chef Karl Holl and his Spatzle and Speck team take over the kitchen, preparing outstanding dishes from ingredients that they grow, raise, harvest, butcher, and cure themselves. When you visit, don’t miss Holl’s show-stopping 1,000 layer lasagna.
8. Spin Laundry Lounge
The concept of a laundromat cafe makes such perfect sense, it’s a wonder that nobody thought of it before Spin Laundry Lounge founder and owner Morgan Gary. The large, eco-friendly laundromat features an attached cafe and bar with free wifi, tv projectors playing Blazers and Timbers games, and a loft featuring arcade games and pinball machines provided by Ground Kontrol Arcade. Note: A second Spin Laundry Lounge opened in March in Sullivan’s Gulch, but does not include a full-service cafe.
Catering to Oregon’s ever-growing cold-water surfing community, Cosube surf shop is as much about providing that community with a cozy place to hang as it is about slinging coffee, beer, and surf gear. Even for those of us who have never picked up a board, Cosube is a perfect sun-drenched (and dog-friendly) place to grab a coffee and a breakfast burrito, or a beer after work.
10. See See Motor Coffee Company
A true hidden gem and Portland original, See See provides all your motorcycle gear needs while serving up Stumptown coffee and tasty bites. With counter seating wrapping around a central coffee bar, a side room with a handful of tables, and some outdoor seating as well, you are almost always guaranteed a spot to settle in and people-watch. See See also features an intensely Instagram-friendly wall of vintage helmets and serpent mural.
11. Flying Fish Co. at Providore Fine Foods
Providore Fine Foods Market is a veritable garden of culinary delights, where the highest quality cheeses, wines, oils and vinegars, produce, and proteins are at your fingertips. Perhaps the most exciting and somewhat secret feature of Providore is the tiny oyster counter tucked in the back, where you can sidle up to the bar and slurp fresh oysters to your heart’s content. The Flying Fish Oyster Bar’s happy hour specials — 50 cents off oysters, $1 off beer and wine — are worth it from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
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12. Portland Fish Market
Deep in the belly of SE Portland, you’ll find one of Portland’s best fish markets, where you can pick up wild-caught fish, shellfish, and house-smoked seafood. This four-year-old, family-run fish shop is a neighborhood gem, in large part due to the fish and chips window hidden around back, with fried-to-order baskets of freshly caught cod, halibut, shrimp and more. The best deal? The two-piece cod lunch special for $7.99, daily until 2:30 p.m.
13. The Bean Sprout at Portland Nursery
Given the sprawling layout of Portland Nursery, you might miss the coffee cart if you don’t explore every last nook and cranny. Tucked into the back corner of the large greenhouse left of the nursery entrance surrounded by tropical plants, The Bean Sprout serves Jasmine Pearl Teas and coffee from Oblique Coffee Roasters, a family-run roaster down the street, along with Tuscan Bakery baked goods and Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches. The cart is open daily until 3 p.m., hours that will extend to 5 p.m. for the nursery’s popular apple festival this October.