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Sign reading “Lents, No. 11. Est. 1928” outside the Lents firehouse
Lents
Nathan Williams

Where to Eat and Drink in Lents

Discover the hidden gems in Southeast Portland’s Lents neighborhood, from crab boils to cannoli

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Lents
| Nathan Williams

Lents is the rare Portland neighborhood that manages to retain an unmistakable identity despite being bisected by a major freeway. Neither the roar of I-205 nor thermometer bursting record heat can suppress the iconoclastic spirit of this Southeast Portland hub — a neighborhood perhaps best epitomized by its scandal-prone baseball mascot. The used car lots and Taco Bells belie the fact that Lents has some of the best, most uncompromising dining experiences in Portland — from imaginative vegan sushi to soup enriched with pork blood, and from delicate Italian pastries to mountains of all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue.

Per usual, this map is unranked and sorted geographically.

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. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Best Baguette

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Parisians may be content to gnaw on a dry baguette on their walk home, but the rest of us can be thankful cooks in 1950s Saigon saw a bit more potential in the crisp, airy loaf. Best Baguette specializes in classic banh mi with pork and pickled vegetables, but the menu includes solid chicken and vegetarian options, as well. Visitors can expect fast service but utilitarian vibes when dining in; the drive-thru can back up at lunchtime or rush hour.

La Autentica

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Easy to miss driving on SE Holgate but impossible to forget, La Autentica specializes in exceptional Salvadoran cuisine from a cart enhanced by a robust covered seating area. House-made pupusas and fried plantains are particular favorites, but the menu includes a range of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. Drinks include sodas, fruit juices, lagers, and a spicy michelada.

A hand-painted sign for La Autentica covered in colored lights
La Autentica
Nathan Williams

Yuan Su Vegetarian

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A cavernous old building on SE Powell is the scene of some of the best vegan Chinese cuisine Portland has to offer. The objective at Yuan Su isn’t reinvention but expert imitation, delivering vegan renditions that inspire double-takes. Even non-vegans might find themselves fooled by the restaurant’s “pork,” thanks to its deceptively rich flavor and tender texture. The wine and beer list can generously be described as modest, but smoothies come in several flavors.

A plate of green beans cooked in oil
Green beans from Yuan Su
Nathan Williams

Located within the buzzy CORE food hall and outdoor pod, Mitate’s small-but-extraordinary menu proves that vegan sushi can be much more than cucumber rolls. Less can often be more with fresh fish, but Mitate doesn’t shy from packing rolls with half a dozen or more ingredients, each adding surprising flavors and texture — think: black bean-garlic-truffle purée or urfa chile flakes. CORE offers indoor and outdoor seating onsite, as well as parking.

An assortment of vegan rolls and nigiri from Mitate
Vegan sushi from Mitate
Nathan Williams

The Drip'n Crab

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Northeast Portland transplants The Drip’n Crab found a home just a bit further from the Pacific: SE 82nd, in the CORE food cart pod. The main attraction here is, of course, the crab, but when fresh catch market prices push the crab offerings out of “quick casual lunch” territory, the sausage, shrimp, or chicken pasta dishes do not scrimp on the same heavenly sauce that makes the iconic seafood boils so special.

The Takahashi Restaurant

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Portland has no shortage of sushi varieties, from Mitate’s vegan sushi to cured Edomae-style, but the Takahashi Restaurant occupies a singular niche as a remarkably homey Japanese diner. The menu features plenty of sushi, freshly sourced and tastefully prepared, along with a wealth of noodle, meat and tempura dishes — including one shrimp, avocado, and cream cheese concoction helpfully named Cholesterol. Few out-of-towners venture east of 205, so when dining in, expect to rub elbows with neighborhood regulars catching up with the friendly wait-staff and chefs.

K-Town Korean BBQ Restaurant

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For those seeking an interactive dining experience, few pleasures compete with joining a table of friends, throwing one sliver of marinated meat after another onto the grill, and watching the blue flame do its work. K-Town offers nearly 30 different proteins for Korean barbecue, ranging from short rib and brisket to octopus and eel. The atmosphere is typically raucous, especially later in the evening when the soju is flowing freely. “All you can eat” options require the whole table to participate — so choose your comrades carefully.

Lents Draft and Bottle

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Lents Draft and Bottle strikes that ideal balance for a bottle shop: smart and creatively-sourced to keep the serious beer nerds coming back, but with chill, unpretentious vibes for those who still don’t know the difference between a pilsner and a hefeweizen. Unlike some beer-first spots, the wines and ciders are far from afterthoughts. Hours can vary with games or other special events.

Zoiglhaus Brewing Company

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Zoiglhaus landed in Lents in 2015, kicking off a remarkable burst of development at the junction of SE Foster and 92nd. After establishing itself as a creative brewery and German-inspired restaurant, the Zoiglhaus team have kicked up their ambitions with The Zed: a food hall, pub, cocktail lounge, and event space, with music, comedy, and other attractions — plus the indispensable Lents Tool Library around back. Zoiglhaus may have in-house food competition, but safe bet it will remain the only option for Jagerschnitzel.

Sherpa Kitchen

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Formerly operating next to inner Southeast’s sadly departed Base Camp Brewing, Sherpa Kitchen has found a new home in Lents’s new food hall, The Zed. The venue may have changed, but the momos have not. Visitors should skip the thukpa noodle dishes in favor of delicate steamed momos or nuanced dal bhat. Imbibers will find momos pair nicely with brews from Zoiglhaus or cocktails from the Zephyr Lounge, both conveniently housed within the food hall.

Six hot steamed momo dumplings
Momos from Sherpa Kitchen
Nathan Williams

Refuge Coffee House

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No Portland neighborhood is complete without a staple coffee house, brewing responsibly sourced beans and serving sweet and savory baked goods — including gluten-free options. Refuge’s big windows and bright décor make it a particularly enticing spot on a dark, rainy morning. The small tea selection is from Jasmine Pearl.

Bella's Italian Bakery

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When strolling down Woodstock, follow the hypnotic smell of baking bread to Bella’s Italian bakery. Fresh focaccia serves as the foundation for a half-dozen Italian sandwiches, and Bella’s dough anchors chewy pizzas. Visitors with a sweet tooth will find cannoli and a host of other sweet pastries. Bella’s also stocks a selection of cheeses, vinegars, and olive oils to accompany any bread that actually makes it home. Beverages include espresso drinks and wine by the bottle or can.

Mike’s Original Sub Factory

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Nestled between a dry cleaner and a convenience store on SE Foster, the unassuming Mike’s Original Sub Factory eschews frills and focuses on affordable meals, crisp baked rolls, and harmony among its fresh ingredients. The Italian deli meat sandwiches are the main attraction, but the menu also features a turkey, cream cheese, and cranberry sub, as well as an assortment of teriyaki bento boxes. Beverages are limited to soda, water, and lemonade.

A footlong sub sandwich with deli meats, onions, greens, and peppers
Mike’s Original Sub Factory
Nathan Williams

Bún Bò Huế Restaurant

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The more celebrated establishments tend to be found north of Powell, but SE 82nd is strewn with absolute gems well south, towards the land of big box stores in Clackamas. Amid pipe shops and auto repair garages, Bún Bò Huế Restaurant specializes, naturally, in bún bò huế, that intoxicatingly rich, lightly spicy soup bolstered with pork blood. Beverages include Vietnamese coffee, avocado smoothies, or the tricolor chè ba màu sweet bean drink.

Two hot bowls of Bún Bò Huế  next to a bowl of shiso, Thai basil, and other herbs
Bún Bò Huế
Bún Bò Huế Restaurant

Best Baguette

Parisians may be content to gnaw on a dry baguette on their walk home, but the rest of us can be thankful cooks in 1950s Saigon saw a bit more potential in the crisp, airy loaf. Best Baguette specializes in classic banh mi with pork and pickled vegetables, but the menu includes solid chicken and vegetarian options, as well. Visitors can expect fast service but utilitarian vibes when dining in; the drive-thru can back up at lunchtime or rush hour.

La Autentica

A hand-painted sign for La Autentica covered in colored lights
La Autentica
Nathan Williams

Easy to miss driving on SE Holgate but impossible to forget, La Autentica specializes in exceptional Salvadoran cuisine from a cart enhanced by a robust covered seating area. House-made pupusas and fried plantains are particular favorites, but the menu includes a range of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. Drinks include sodas, fruit juices, lagers, and a spicy michelada.

A hand-painted sign for La Autentica covered in colored lights
La Autentica
Nathan Williams

Yuan Su Vegetarian

A plate of green beans cooked in oil
Green beans from Yuan Su
Nathan Williams

A cavernous old building on SE Powell is the scene of some of the best vegan Chinese cuisine Portland has to offer. The objective at Yuan Su isn’t reinvention but expert imitation, delivering vegan renditions that inspire double-takes. Even non-vegans might find themselves fooled by the restaurant’s “pork,” thanks to its deceptively rich flavor and tender texture. The wine and beer list can generously be described as modest, but smoothies come in several flavors.

A plate of green beans cooked in oil
Green beans from Yuan Su
Nathan Williams

Mitate

An assortment of vegan rolls and nigiri from Mitate
Vegan sushi from Mitate
Nathan Williams

Located within the buzzy CORE food hall and outdoor pod, Mitate’s small-but-extraordinary menu proves that vegan sushi can be much more than cucumber rolls. Less can often be more with fresh fish, but Mitate doesn’t shy from packing rolls with half a dozen or more ingredients, each adding surprising flavors and texture — think: black bean-garlic-truffle purée or urfa chile flakes. CORE offers indoor and outdoor seating onsite, as well as parking.

An assortment of vegan rolls and nigiri from Mitate
Vegan sushi from Mitate
Nathan Williams

The Drip'n Crab

Northeast Portland transplants The Drip’n Crab found a home just a bit further from the Pacific: SE 82nd, in the CORE food cart pod. The main attraction here is, of course, the crab, but when fresh catch market prices push the crab offerings out of “quick casual lunch” territory, the sausage, shrimp, or chicken pasta dishes do not scrimp on the same heavenly sauce that makes the iconic seafood boils so special.

The Takahashi Restaurant

Portland has no shortage of sushi varieties, from Mitate’s vegan sushi to cured Edomae-style, but the Takahashi Restaurant occupies a singular niche as a remarkably homey Japanese diner. The menu features plenty of sushi, freshly sourced and tastefully prepared, along with a wealth of noodle, meat and tempura dishes — including one shrimp, avocado, and cream cheese concoction helpfully named Cholesterol. Few out-of-towners venture east of 205, so when dining in, expect to rub elbows with neighborhood regulars catching up with the friendly wait-staff and chefs.

K-Town Korean BBQ Restaurant

For those seeking an interactive dining experience, few pleasures compete with joining a table of friends, throwing one sliver of marinated meat after another onto the grill, and watching the blue flame do its work. K-Town offers nearly 30 different proteins for Korean barbecue, ranging from short rib and brisket to octopus and eel. The atmosphere is typically raucous, especially later in the evening when the soju is flowing freely. “All you can eat” options require the whole table to participate — so choose your comrades carefully.

Lents Draft and Bottle

Lents Draft and Bottle strikes that ideal balance for a bottle shop: smart and creatively-sourced to keep the serious beer nerds coming back, but with chill, unpretentious vibes for those who still don’t know the difference between a pilsner and a hefeweizen. Unlike some beer-first spots, the wines and ciders are far from afterthoughts. Hours can vary with games or other special events.

Zoiglhaus Brewing Company

Zoiglhaus landed in Lents in 2015, kicking off a remarkable burst of development at the junction of SE Foster and 92nd. After establishing itself as a creative brewery and German-inspired restaurant, the Zoiglhaus team have kicked up their ambitions with The Zed: a food hall, pub, cocktail lounge, and event space, with music, comedy, and other attractions — plus the indispensable Lents Tool Library around back. Zoiglhaus may have in-house food competition, but safe bet it will remain the only option for Jagerschnitzel.

Sherpa Kitchen

Six hot steamed momo dumplings
Momos from Sherpa Kitchen
Nathan Williams

Formerly operating next to inner Southeast’s sadly departed Base Camp Brewing, Sherpa Kitchen has found a new home in Lents’s new food hall, The Zed. The venue may have changed, but the momos have not. Visitors should skip the thukpa noodle dishes in favor of delicate steamed momos or nuanced dal bhat. Imbibers will find momos pair nicely with brews from Zoiglhaus or cocktails from the Zephyr Lounge, both conveniently housed within the food hall.

Six hot steamed momo dumplings
Momos from Sherpa Kitchen
Nathan Williams

Refuge Coffee House

No Portland neighborhood is complete without a staple coffee house, brewing responsibly sourced beans and serving sweet and savory baked goods — including gluten-free options. Refuge’s big windows and bright décor make it a particularly enticing spot on a dark, rainy morning. The small tea selection is from Jasmine Pearl.

Bella's Italian Bakery

When strolling down Woodstock, follow the hypnotic smell of baking bread to Bella’s Italian bakery. Fresh focaccia serves as the foundation for a half-dozen Italian sandwiches, and Bella’s dough anchors chewy pizzas. Visitors with a sweet tooth will find cannoli and a host of other sweet pastries. Bella’s also stocks a selection of cheeses, vinegars, and olive oils to accompany any bread that actually makes it home. Beverages include espresso drinks and wine by the bottle or can.

Mike’s Original Sub Factory

A footlong sub sandwich with deli meats, onions, greens, and peppers
Mike’s Original Sub Factory
Nathan Williams

Nestled between a dry cleaner and a convenience store on SE Foster, the unassuming Mike’s Original Sub Factory eschews frills and focuses on affordable meals, crisp baked rolls, and harmony among its fresh ingredients. The Italian deli meat sandwiches are the main attraction, but the menu also features a turkey, cream cheese, and cranberry sub, as well as an assortment of teriyaki bento boxes. Beverages are limited to soda, water, and lemonade.

A footlong sub sandwich with deli meats, onions, greens, and peppers
Mike’s Original Sub Factory
Nathan Williams

Bún Bò Huế Restaurant

Two hot bowls of Bún Bò Huế  next to a bowl of shiso, Thai basil, and other herbs
Bún Bò Huế
Bún Bò Huế Restaurant

The more celebrated establishments tend to be found north of Powell, but SE 82nd is strewn with absolute gems well south, towards the land of big box stores in Clackamas. Amid pipe shops and auto repair garages, Bún Bò Huế Restaurant specializes, naturally, in bún bò huế, that intoxicatingly rich, lightly spicy soup bolstered with pork blood. Beverages include Vietnamese coffee, avocado smoothies, or the tricolor chè ba màu sweet bean drink.

Two hot bowls of Bún Bò Huế  next to a bowl of shiso, Thai basil, and other herbs
Bún Bò Huế
Bún Bò Huế Restaurant

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