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An array of bright and colorful plates of curry, yellow and brown rice, and small bowls filled with yellow and brown spices rest on a communal dining table.
An array of dishes from Mirisata.
Mirisata

Where to Eat and Drink on Portland’s Restaurant-Packed Belmont Street

The Sunnyside neighborhood is home to an eclectic range of restaurants and bars, serving everything from Swedish meatball-filled lefse to vegan Sri Lankan fare

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An array of dishes from Mirisata.
| Mirisata

Although the Belmont neighborhood may be less referenced when discussing Portland-area hot spots, it may actually be one of the most accessible within Southeast Portland. Wedged between Burnside and Hawthorne, the stretch of Belmont Street between Southeast 20th Street and Cesar Chavez Boulevard is walking distance to these neighborhoods and plenty others. But Belmont has a string of restaurants, bars, and activities that make it a hub of its own — whether residents are bar-hopping up the street or bringing their dogs to Laurelhurst Park, the area has a homey, definitive culture, complete with food carts, vegan Sri Lankan fare, and more. Here are several of the dozens of businesses that make Belmont an area worth frequenting. This map primarily focuses on restaurants between 20th and 45th on Belmont, with a few destinations steps off the main drag. For more neighborhood dining guides, this page should help.

Note: Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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The Low Tide Lounge

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This recently renamed bar has kept the neighborhood satiated and entertained for more than a decade, with a patio almost always nearly full during summer months. The loosely nautical-themed space puts patrons at ease, with spacious booths and paintings of ships along the walls. Low Tide Lounge’s menu makes it a solid choice for casual bites, with simple-yet-meticulously prepared plates of quesadillas, empanadas, and stacked nachos. Pair these with equally approachable cocktails like flavored margaritas, sangrias, and beer-shot combos, and you’re set for a stellar happy hour experience.

Mirisata

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Mirisata is one of the few options for Sri Lankan fare in Portland, and almost certainly the only vegan one at that. Upon entering the homey, expansive patio, visitors will find various selections of aromatic stewed curries, coconut roti, and street food-style fried snacks — but with the restaurant’s own heavily seasoned additions of jackfruit, “chick’n,” and soy curls. The worker-owned restaurant also specializes in bright sambals that lend acidity and balance, along with a daily rotating menu intended for family-style consumption. 

Rukdiew Cafe

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The millennial pink color palate and cotton candy-topped cocktails of this new-ish Thai restaurant exude a playfulness that may indicate a lack of seriousness in the kitchen. This assumption is far from accurate. Rukdiew’s approach to Thai food is bright and precise, packed with fresh vegetables and layered with spice and aromatics. Rich boat noodles and chile-laden khao soi are smart choices on cold days, though curry aficionados will be pleased with Rukdiew’s take on green, red, and massaman curries. The soft shell crab pad Thai is another standout.

Bluto's

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This Greek-ish, fast casual spot breathes fresh air and light into its corner of Belmont. Aromas of savory smoke and seared meats fill the air inside and outside as patrons walk by the space, thanks to the wood-fired grill at the front. Team members grill souvlakis of spiced lamb and oregano chicken, accompanied by seasonal vegetables garnished with ingredients like preserved lemon, green tahini, and sunflower seeds. Diners have an array of options to choose from beyond the skewers, however, and will find it hard to choose between a loaded hummus bowl — topped with golden raisins and spiced beef — or savory sides like spanakopita hand pies and stewy braised beans. But they will likely vote yes on Bluto’s soft serve, which comes covered in a white chocolate tahini shell, or topped with honey and halva sesame paste candies.

Cricket Cafe

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Brunch enthusiasts seeking hearty classics like omelets and hashes will flock to Cricket Cafe, a sister restaurant to Jam on Hawthorne. Cricket doesn’t skimp out on servings — breakfast burritos arrive stuffed with breakfast meats alongside a hefty pile of roasted potatoes. Sizzling personal skillets come bearing roasted vegetables and eggs, while sweeter options like the buttermilk pancakes and honey cinnamon French toast get a dose of cardamom maple butter on the side. Cricket Cafe isn’t trying trail blaze; instead, it aims to satisfy that post-hangover, post-farmers market itch for a comforting and calorie-dense weekend brunch. And if the food hasn’t met that expectation yet, then perhaps a menu featuring several vegan Bloody Marys will do just that.

Taquería Los Puñales

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Taquería los Puñales made a splash when it landed in the Belmont pool in 2020. On warm days, hoards of patrons fill the colorful outdoor patio to indulge in guisado-style tacos: smaller, doughier house-made tortillas topped with stewed meats like chicken tinga and lengua (tongue) in salsa verde. The tacos can either be ordered individually, as a “one-of-everything”-style sample platter in-house, or as a bowl topped with a choice of meat, plus add-ons like fried plantains, yucca, and pickled vegetables. The menu also boasts an array of fruity margaritas and Mexican lagers to match the street’s tendency to become a weekend bar-hopping paradise. Dine inside to enjoy its decked out dining room, featuring campy pop culture references and paintings by queer Mexican artists.

The Sweet Hereafter

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This cocktail bar has been a stalwart of the neighborhood for just over a decade; its hospitality group, Lightning Bar Collective, owns more Portland-area spots with similar vibes, like NoPo’s Victoria Bar and the Bye and Bye. Sweet Hereafter’s vegan fare attracts diners of all dietary preferences — after all, it’s pretty easy to get on board with a Hefeweizen mac n’ cheese garnished with panko crumbs and crispy onions, or a sub with Buffalo-marinated soy curls and miso-chive “cheese.” The cocktails are approachable, there’s plenty of options on tap, and no matter how packed the place gets on any given time of the day, somehow, there’s always a place to sit, whether it’s inside, on the front patio, or on the spacious heated back patio.

Batterfish

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Batterfish is an underdog in the sea of lunchtime options that grace this block of Belmont Street. Owner Jason Killalee has perhaps lived nine lives, a couple of which include former actor and Dublin expat, but he seems to have found his stride as a skilled artisan of fish and chips; Killalee slings seafood in seasoned batters like Jamaican jerk or lemon basil with extra thin, crisp, and house-cut potatoes that have even caught the attention of food personalities like Guy Fieri. Batterfish pays homage to the business that once occupied the same spot by also offering an array of fish tacos and burritos, along with equally thoughtful vegan takes on fish and chips and tacos.

Old Pal

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Every neighborhood deserves a sweet, mid-week date restaurant like Old Pal, with a pretty bar for solo dining, oysters on the half shell, and a stellar cocktail menu and by-the-glass list. The food menu here changes constantly, but most visits can include the restaurant’s airy Gruyere gougeres, a briny-tangy plate of house pickles, some seasonal preparation of gooey burrata, and the restaurant’s pillows of ricotta gnocchi. For dessert, the ice creams are made in house.

Hoda's Middle-Eastern Cuisine Lebanese Cuisine & Catering

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Hoda’s has inhabited its Belmont corner spot since 1999, preceding many of the businesses that have since set up shop on the same block. The Lebanese restaurant offers all the familiar comforts of the cuisine, but with an emphasis on local sourcing. Appetizers of filling, savory dips like muhammara, baba ganoush, and hummus arrive with sides of house-made pita bread. Its elegant-yet-cozy interior makes it adaptable to many situations, whether groups are sharing meze and kabobs or grabbing a quick bite of falafel and shawarma before a movie at the Avalon Theater.

Side Street

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Side Street is an unsuspecting watering hole just off the main drag of Belmont, whose front patio will almost always have at least one or two dogs lazing about with their owners. You wouldn’t think that this neighborhood bar serves 10 different piping hot personal pizzas made to order out of a countertop micro pizza oven. Or, that a Sicilian-style square pizza pop-up takes over the kitchen a couple times a week. It’s surprising touches like this that confirm the reliability of Side Street, which goes beyond the otherwise simple, affordable cocktails and tap list. There’s a pool table. There’s pinball machines. The bartenders’ names are written in chalk on the wall. If you’re getting a sense of what kind of place this is, rest assured you’re in great company.

The latest restaurant from Ketsuda Nan Chaison, owner of Division’s Mestizo, Norah tackles the larger Asian culinary canon with a boundlessly creative vegan lens. Any given meal may involve samosas paired with massaman curry, soy curl larb croquettes, or coconut mushroom linguine fragrant with Thai herbs. Cocktails incorporate tropical fruits like pineapple or guava, accompanied by local spirits from Aimsir or Straightaway.

Never Coffee

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Long walks to Mt. Tabor Park necessitate a visit to Never Coffee; the roaster’s playful branding, reliable baristas, and inviting interior attract passersby who may not have initially been in the mood for a coffee to begin with. It’s standard to see the line to entry backed up any time of the day without cause, whether it’s a casual Wednesday afternoon or a Sunday morning rush hour, as regulars patiently wait to grab inventive drinks with Never’s house-made syrups. Creations like the Rich Kid come with rose water, saffron, and cardamom, while the Midnight Oil gets flavored with fennel seed, star anise, and black licorice, offering subtly sweet and aromatic touches to milk drinks. 

Nil. Wine Bar

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Whether they prefer a robust Oregon pinot or a natural orange, wine nerds should certainly pay a visit to Nil, Ardor Natural Wines’ accompanying tasting room. Natural wine as a scene-y category can be a bit intimidating to consume and talk about; the staff at Nil, however, makes sure that’s not the case behind its bar, offering a tight-but-straightforward menu of four to six natty wines by the glass at a given time, written on a mirror with expo marker. Step inside the equally tight space and expect to make friends. The lowkey ambiance — characterized by plain white walls marked with deep blue or pink lighting — creates a moody-yet-easygoing atmosphere to chat with the team, and likely other folks who live within a 10-block radius of the space.

Viking Soul Food

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For more than a decade, this Scandinavian cart has stuffed delicate lefse with nutmeg-twinged meatballs, house-cured and smoked steelhead, and sweet-tart ligonberries, the ideal handheld lunch for a stroll through Laurelhurst Park. Megan Walhood and Jeremy Daniels offer a variety of fun picnic options and snacks beyond their lefse wraps, however, including purple-hued pickled eggs topped with salmon roe, or “troll snacks,” Jarlsberg and roasted garlic with the acidic pop of pickled shallots.

The Low Tide Lounge

This recently renamed bar has kept the neighborhood satiated and entertained for more than a decade, with a patio almost always nearly full during summer months. The loosely nautical-themed space puts patrons at ease, with spacious booths and paintings of ships along the walls. Low Tide Lounge’s menu makes it a solid choice for casual bites, with simple-yet-meticulously prepared plates of quesadillas, empanadas, and stacked nachos. Pair these with equally approachable cocktails like flavored margaritas, sangrias, and beer-shot combos, and you’re set for a stellar happy hour experience.

Mirisata

Mirisata is one of the few options for Sri Lankan fare in Portland, and almost certainly the only vegan one at that. Upon entering the homey, expansive patio, visitors will find various selections of aromatic stewed curries, coconut roti, and street food-style fried snacks — but with the restaurant’s own heavily seasoned additions of jackfruit, “chick’n,” and soy curls. The worker-owned restaurant also specializes in bright sambals that lend acidity and balance, along with a daily rotating menu intended for family-style consumption. 

Rukdiew Cafe

The millennial pink color palate and cotton candy-topped cocktails of this new-ish Thai restaurant exude a playfulness that may indicate a lack of seriousness in the kitchen. This assumption is far from accurate. Rukdiew’s approach to Thai food is bright and precise, packed with fresh vegetables and layered with spice and aromatics. Rich boat noodles and chile-laden khao soi are smart choices on cold days, though curry aficionados will be pleased with Rukdiew’s take on green, red, and massaman curries. The soft shell crab pad Thai is another standout.

Bluto's

This Greek-ish, fast casual spot breathes fresh air and light into its corner of Belmont. Aromas of savory smoke and seared meats fill the air inside and outside as patrons walk by the space, thanks to the wood-fired grill at the front. Team members grill souvlakis of spiced lamb and oregano chicken, accompanied by seasonal vegetables garnished with ingredients like preserved lemon, green tahini, and sunflower seeds. Diners have an array of options to choose from beyond the skewers, however, and will find it hard to choose between a loaded hummus bowl — topped with golden raisins and spiced beef — or savory sides like spanakopita hand pies and stewy braised beans. But they will likely vote yes on Bluto’s soft serve, which comes covered in a white chocolate tahini shell, or topped with honey and halva sesame paste candies.

Cricket Cafe

Brunch enthusiasts seeking hearty classics like omelets and hashes will flock to Cricket Cafe, a sister restaurant to Jam on Hawthorne. Cricket doesn’t skimp out on servings — breakfast burritos arrive stuffed with breakfast meats alongside a hefty pile of roasted potatoes. Sizzling personal skillets come bearing roasted vegetables and eggs, while sweeter options like the buttermilk pancakes and honey cinnamon French toast get a dose of cardamom maple butter on the side. Cricket Cafe isn’t trying trail blaze; instead, it aims to satisfy that post-hangover, post-farmers market itch for a comforting and calorie-dense weekend brunch. And if the food hasn’t met that expectation yet, then perhaps a menu featuring several vegan Bloody Marys will do just that.

Taquería Los Puñales

Taquería los Puñales made a splash when it landed in the Belmont pool in 2020. On warm days, hoards of patrons fill the colorful outdoor patio to indulge in guisado-style tacos: smaller, doughier house-made tortillas topped with stewed meats like chicken tinga and lengua (tongue) in salsa verde. The tacos can either be ordered individually, as a “one-of-everything”-style sample platter in-house, or as a bowl topped with a choice of meat, plus add-ons like fried plantains, yucca, and pickled vegetables. The menu also boasts an array of fruity margaritas and Mexican lagers to match the street’s tendency to become a weekend bar-hopping paradise. Dine inside to enjoy its decked out dining room, featuring campy pop culture references and paintings by queer Mexican artists.

The Sweet Hereafter

This cocktail bar has been a stalwart of the neighborhood for just over a decade; its hospitality group, Lightning Bar Collective, owns more Portland-area spots with similar vibes, like NoPo’s Victoria Bar and the Bye and Bye. Sweet Hereafter’s vegan fare attracts diners of all dietary preferences — after all, it’s pretty easy to get on board with a Hefeweizen mac n’ cheese garnished with panko crumbs and crispy onions, or a sub with Buffalo-marinated soy curls and miso-chive “cheese.” The cocktails are approachable, there’s plenty of options on tap, and no matter how packed the place gets on any given time of the day, somehow, there’s always a place to sit, whether it’s inside, on the front patio, or on the spacious heated back patio.

Batterfish

Batterfish is an underdog in the sea of lunchtime options that grace this block of Belmont Street. Owner Jason Killalee has perhaps lived nine lives, a couple of which include former actor and Dublin expat, but he seems to have found his stride as a skilled artisan of fish and chips; Killalee slings seafood in seasoned batters like Jamaican jerk or lemon basil with extra thin, crisp, and house-cut potatoes that have even caught the attention of food personalities like Guy Fieri. Batterfish pays homage to the business that once occupied the same spot by also offering an array of fish tacos and burritos, along with equally thoughtful vegan takes on fish and chips and tacos.

Old Pal

Every neighborhood deserves a sweet, mid-week date restaurant like Old Pal, with a pretty bar for solo dining, oysters on the half shell, and a stellar cocktail menu and by-the-glass list. The food menu here changes constantly, but most visits can include the restaurant’s airy Gruyere gougeres, a briny-tangy plate of house pickles, some seasonal preparation of gooey burrata, and the restaurant’s pillows of ricotta gnocchi. For dessert, the ice creams are made in house.

Hoda's Middle-Eastern Cuisine Lebanese Cuisine & Catering

Hoda’s has inhabited its Belmont corner spot since 1999, preceding many of the businesses that have since set up shop on the same block. The Lebanese restaurant offers all the familiar comforts of the cuisine, but with an emphasis on local sourcing. Appetizers of filling, savory dips like muhammara, baba ganoush, and hummus arrive with sides of house-made pita bread. Its elegant-yet-cozy interior makes it adaptable to many situations, whether groups are sharing meze and kabobs or grabbing a quick bite of falafel and shawarma before a movie at the Avalon Theater.

Side Street

Side Street is an unsuspecting watering hole just off the main drag of Belmont, whose front patio will almost always have at least one or two dogs lazing about with their owners. You wouldn’t think that this neighborhood bar serves 10 different piping hot personal pizzas made to order out of a countertop micro pizza oven. Or, that a Sicilian-style square pizza pop-up takes over the kitchen a couple times a week. It’s surprising touches like this that confirm the reliability of Side Street, which goes beyond the otherwise simple, affordable cocktails and tap list. There’s a pool table. There’s pinball machines. The bartenders’ names are written in chalk on the wall. If you’re getting a sense of what kind of place this is, rest assured you’re in great company.

Norah

The latest restaurant from Ketsuda Nan Chaison, owner of Division’s Mestizo, Norah tackles the larger Asian culinary canon with a boundlessly creative vegan lens. Any given meal may involve samosas paired with massaman curry, soy curl larb croquettes, or coconut mushroom linguine fragrant with Thai herbs. Cocktails incorporate tropical fruits like pineapple or guava, accompanied by local spirits from Aimsir or Straightaway.

Never Coffee

Long walks to Mt. Tabor Park necessitate a visit to Never Coffee; the roaster’s playful branding, reliable baristas, and inviting interior attract passersby who may not have initially been in the mood for a coffee to begin with. It’s standard to see the line to entry backed up any time of the day without cause, whether it’s a casual Wednesday afternoon or a Sunday morning rush hour, as regulars patiently wait to grab inventive drinks with Never’s house-made syrups. Creations like the Rich Kid come with rose water, saffron, and cardamom, while the Midnight Oil gets flavored with fennel seed, star anise, and black licorice, offering subtly sweet and aromatic touches to milk drinks. 

Nil. Wine Bar

Whether they prefer a robust Oregon pinot or a natural orange, wine nerds should certainly pay a visit to Nil, Ardor Natural Wines’ accompanying tasting room. Natural wine as a scene-y category can be a bit intimidating to consume and talk about; the staff at Nil, however, makes sure that’s not the case behind its bar, offering a tight-but-straightforward menu of four to six natty wines by the glass at a given time, written on a mirror with expo marker. Step inside the equally tight space and expect to make friends. The lowkey ambiance — characterized by plain white walls marked with deep blue or pink lighting — creates a moody-yet-easygoing atmosphere to chat with the team, and likely other folks who live within a 10-block radius of the space.

Viking Soul Food

For more than a decade, this Scandinavian cart has stuffed delicate lefse with nutmeg-twinged meatballs, house-cured and smoked steelhead, and sweet-tart ligonberries, the ideal handheld lunch for a stroll through Laurelhurst Park. Megan Walhood and Jeremy Daniels offer a variety of fun picnic options and snacks beyond their lefse wraps, however, including purple-hued pickled eggs topped with salmon roe, or “troll snacks,” Jarlsberg and roasted garlic with the acidic pop of pickled shallots.

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