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A bowl of beef noodle soup with herbs and sprouts from Jin Jin in Southeast Portland.
Hủ tiếu sate bò at Jin Jin Deli.
Brooke Jackson-Glidden/EPDX

Where to Drink and Dine in Historic Montavilla

The best restaurants and bars east of Mount Tabor

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Hủ tiếu sate bò at Jin Jin Deli.
| Brooke Jackson-Glidden/EPDX

Montavilla, a sprawling neighborhood nestled in the eastern shadow of Mount Tabor against 205, is an almost perfectly self-contained Portland oasis, complete with its own first-run movie theater. Locals frequent the neighborhood restaurants and bars, though several better-known gems draw Portlanders from other neighborhoods — the excellent Lebanese Ya Hala, the mixologists’ paradise Vintage Cocktail Lounge, the new-ish destination Lazy Susan, and countless others.

The bulk of bars and restaurants can be found on Stark Street between 76th and 82nd, but this is one neighborhood that connects organically with SE 82nd, aided by Montavilla Park on the east side of the busy arterial. Nearby favorite spots like Coquine aren’t technically in the neighborhood, but are within walking distance.

As usual, this map is organized geographically, not ranked.

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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Bui Natural Tofu

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A bedrock of Montavilla and the larger Portland Vietnamese food scene for nearly 25 years, Bui continues to set the standard for tofu of every texture and flavor — even meat tofu. Some customers grab their tofu for later, but Bui also offers the makings of a complete meal, with orange sticky rice, tofu salad rolls, and a mushroom-and-pork rice flour crepe. Electric green pandan cake highlights the simple but delicious dessert menu. Bui is grab and go with no dine-in seating available.

Rocket Empire Machine

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Rocket Empire Machine is another successful variation on the food hall brewpub. Almost due north from Mount Tabor, Rocket Empire Machine offers indoor and outdoor seating, with dynamic food options including a second location of the Mercado’s popular Tierra del Sol, the rare Portland combo of sushi and Burmese curries at Sea and River Sushi, and extraordinary Somali sambusas, spongy injera, and beef and lentil stews of Alleamin African Kitchen, all enhanced with owner Khadro Abdi house-made spicy sauces. The Pie Spot is open until 8 p.m. for post-dinner coffee and pie cravings.

A plate of chopped beef, lentil stew, and flat bread from Alleamin African Kitchen
A meal from Alleamin African Kitchen.
Nathan Williams/EPDX

East Glisan Pizza Lounge

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If it’s possible for a restaurant to be both punk-rock and family-friendly, then East Glisan Pizza is just that, with wood floors, stone walls, and a laid-back vibe. Smacking of old-school-Portland charm, the pizzeria offers pinball and cocktails along with its thin-crust and Detroit-style pizzas. East Glisan is also home to a number of weekly specials and a killer late-night happy hour, complete with lasagna pinwheels. It’s open for onsite dining and takeout.

Hanoi Kitchen

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A standout Vietnamese restaurant in a town full of them, Hanoi Kitchen is an under-sung, mellow spot with polished wood floors and a tile ceiling. Family-owned, the restaurant offers vermicelli noodle bowls, rice-crepe wraps, and a range of rich phos and other soups — including a terrific vegan pho and other vegan and vegetarian dishes. Entrees come with a couple handfuls of basil, shiso, cilantro, and other fresh herbs. Hanoi Kitchen’s recent reopening for dining in — after a long closure necessitated by the pandemic and vandalism — is a cause for celebration.

The Yard at Montavilla

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The Yard food pod houses half a dozen food carts and one beer-and-wine bar just a few blocks north of SE Stark. The morning is Puddletown’s time to shine, with lines forming for classic bagel sandwiches on bagels baked just blocks away. Taqueria El Torito and Gyro Kingdom are lunchtime stars, offering generously packed burritos and crisp falafels tinged with mint respectively. The evening belongs to Mira’s East African & Mediterranean Cuisine, with hearty stews and curries served alongside Somali sabaayad flatbread. Those seeking late-night sustenance will find terrific deals at Bai Yok Thai, the original cart at this location and expert Thai fried rice specialist.

A takeout plate of falafels, hummus, and pita bread from Gyro Kingdom in the Yard at Montavilla
Falafel and hummus from Gyro Kingdom.
Nathan Williams/EPDX

Zuckercreme

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This sweet cafe, bakery, pop-up space, and market is the ideal place to start a batch of weekend errands, with several Portland-based sauces, regular appearances from some of Portland’s coolest pop-up bakers, and great gifts made by Portland-based artists. It’s open Wednesdays through Sundays for in-store shopping.

Sebastiano's

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Ken’s Artisan veteran and Sicilian American chef Elise Gold opened this tiny Italian market, bakery, and cafe in 2020, and it has since become a destination for Italian baked goods and sandwiches. A small, rotating menu includes chewy muffulettas, focaccia sandwiches, Nonna-style pizzas, and simple-but-impeccably balanced salads. Sweets from the oven include olive oil cake, almond cookies, and biscotti. Those who stop in can also shop for pantry staples, like Sebastiano’s branded seasoning, marmalade, and other imported Sicilian specialties. Sebastiano’s is currently takeout only.

A crispy sandwich wrapped in checkered red paper from Sebastiano’s in Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood.
A focaccia sandwich from Sebastiano’s.
Nathan Williams/EPDX

Miyamoto

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Miyamoto may not boast the pedigree or accolades of some of Portland’s more celebrated — and centrally located — sushi restaurants, but it’s become a neighborhood favorite on the strength of its delicate rice, fresh and thoughtfully sourced fish, and confident simplicity of its presentation. Miyamoto’s chirashi bowl may just be the best value in town. The sake list is ample, and the next-door Roscoe’s tap and bottle list available. It’s open for onsite dining and takeout.

Ya Hala Lebanese Cuisine

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A stucco wall painted with faux windows adds an immersive charm to Ya Hala, one of the city’s best Lebanese restaurants. Most nights of the week, families and couples on dates fill its dining room, with tables covered in baba ghanoush, shawarma, lamb sausages, rice-stuffed grape leaves, and much more. Ya Hala is open for indoor dining with limited picnic bench seating outside on SE Stark.

Lazy Susan

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Inheriting the location of the beloved Country Cat, Lazy Susan brings a casual elegance to Montavilla brunch. Take a break from eggs and indulge in Lazy Susan’s oysters with hot sauce, chicory salad, or salmon lox plate — followed up with a house-made potato doughnut. For especially decadent mornings, spicy bloody Marys and Old Bay palomas are mixed with expertise. Those hesitant about indoor dining can dine on a covered patio by a wood fire, or take home a brunch box with the house favorites. Lazy Susan is also open for dinner seven days per week, with a creative, frequently changing menu.

Roscoe's

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A no-frills bar and restaurant, Roscoe’s offers a robust draft list and cheap drinks alongside Louisiana-style pub grub, like po’ boys, a selection of jambalaya, chicken and waffles, and gumbo. The vintage building, often filled with loyal regulars, feels like an old-school brewpub, with exposed brick, a wooden bar with leather stools, and comfortable wooden chairs throughout. Feeling something lighter? Just order sushi from the next door Miyamoto and someone will walk it over.

Bipartisan Cafe

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Portland may not have had a Republican mayor since 1980, but nostalgic bipartisan vibes live on in this busy, spacious, art-lined coffee shop and bakery. The main attraction at the Bipartisan Cafe is the pie, handmade fresh daily, offered by the slice or as a whole with vegan and gluten free options. For the savory seekers, there are also sandwiches, soups, salads, and other offerings at this community-focused café.

The dining room at Bipartisan Cafe, packed with people on a pre-pandemic morning.
The interior of Bipartisan Cafe.
Bipartisan Cafe [Official]

The Observatory

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The Observatory, a handsome mid-2000s vintage restaurant and bar, has become an anchor for Montavilla, and happily manages to keep its Northwest cuisine feeling as vital as ever. Seafood leads the appetizer offerings — citrus-chile shrimp ceviche is a summer highlight — while the entree focus is burgers, made with everything from elk and lamb to quinoa and mushroom. Affordable cocktails are a major draw, and those primarily looking to imbibe can skip the main restaurant and settle into the cozy Over and Out next door, with a smaller food menu coming from the same kitchen. The Observatory is open for indoor dining and drinking, with limited outdoor seating on SE Stark.

Vintage Cocktail Lounge

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Living up to its name, Vintage Cocktail Lounge sports a 1930s aesthetic, with dark red walls, leather booths, and a glowing bar, as well as a vintage menu. Find all manner of classic cocktails made with aplomb, creative new concoctions, and wines by the glass at this dimly lit, romantic lounge. Offer the name of your favorite spirit to the bartender, and you’ll get three smart recommendations in return. The drinking snack specialties here are boutique hot dogs, with both meat and vegan options. Outdoor and indoor seating are available.

Beer Bunker

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A laid-back taproom and bottle shop, Beer Bunker carries one of the best draft lists east of Mount Tabor. The stark, industrial space provides entertainment in the form of darts and pinball, and a large pavement patio out back is strewn with red picnic tables for sunny day drinking. The bar opens in the mid-afternoon and quickly fills up with regulars looking for a cool pint. Sip indoors or on the patio.

Hungry Heart Bakery

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Hungry Heart began life as a bakery food cart before getting a brick and mortar right off of Stark in Montavilla. Today, the cute, modern cafe offers its signature line of cupcakes alongside pastries both sweet and savory, sandwiches, granola, and Stumptown coffee. Diners can grab a dozen cupcakes to go, or sit in one of the few little tables inside or out. Hungry Heart is currently only open for takeout or patio dining and closes at 2pm.

Jin Jin Deli

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This ring of businesses off 82nd is home to a number of exceptional restaurants — Vietnamese noodle shop Teo, Chinese barbecue spot Yang Kee, peel-and-eat seafood locale My Brother’s Crawfish. But the most underrated spot in the complex has to be Jin Jin Deli, which serves a blend of Chinese and Vietnamese fare. The restaurant’s hủ tiếu sate bò, a nutty beef noodle soup laden with herbs and sprouts, is a particular standout; the thinly shaved beef is also available over rice.

Tèo Bun Bo Hue

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Decision fatigue is thwarted at Teo Bun Bo Hue, which serves just three options: steaming bowls of chicken pho in a light broth, hearty beef pho, or the spicy-sour broth with assorted pork parts that gives Tèo its name. Great pho is only as good as its broth, and Tèo’s manages to incorporate bold flavors while remaining rich and subtle. Each dish is served with a plate of bean sprouts and fresh herbs big enough to be its own meal. It’s open for indoor dining and takeout.

Mixteca Mexican Restaurant

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While often lauded for its wide range of Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, the wealth of choices along SE 82nd for lovers of Mexican food is almost dizzying — from full-on restaurants to food carts new and old. The Oaxacan Mixteca just north of Division stands out from the pack with complex moles and thick blue corn tortillas. A full bar offers creative cocktails along with bottled and draft beer; horchata and other fun non-alcoholic options are available for non-imbibers. Dine inside or outside on an ample patio with large fire pits.

Pure Spice | Chinese Restaurant

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At the very edge of Montavilla, housed in a mini strip-mall, longstanding Chinese restaurant Pure Spice is removed from the bulk of dim sum spots along 82nd Avenue, and quietly provides some of the better dim sum in town, without the crowds at H.K. Cafe or Ocean City. Grab dumplings and peking duck bao, or come in for dinner for some of the clay pot dishes and congee. It’s open for onsite dining, takeout, and delivery.

Master Kong

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With a place on the coveted Eater 38, the ultra-low-key Master Kong can no longer be called a hidden gem, but its east-of-82nd location will likely keep it accessible for the foreseeable future. Tender handmade dumplings, noodle soups, and fried dough sticks are served quickly, generously, and with aplomb. Master Kong is currently open for takeout, dine-in, or delivery.

Five fluffy bao sit in a steamer basket at Master Kong in Southeast Portland.
Bao at Master Kong.
Nick Woo/EPDX

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Bui Natural Tofu

A bedrock of Montavilla and the larger Portland Vietnamese food scene for nearly 25 years, Bui continues to set the standard for tofu of every texture and flavor — even meat tofu. Some customers grab their tofu for later, but Bui also offers the makings of a complete meal, with orange sticky rice, tofu salad rolls, and a mushroom-and-pork rice flour crepe. Electric green pandan cake highlights the simple but delicious dessert menu. Bui is grab and go with no dine-in seating available.

Rocket Empire Machine

Rocket Empire Machine is another successful variation on the food hall brewpub. Almost due north from Mount Tabor, Rocket Empire Machine offers indoor and outdoor seating, with dynamic food options including a second location of the Mercado’s popular Tierra del Sol, the rare Portland combo of sushi and Burmese curries at Sea and River Sushi, and extraordinary Somali sambusas, spongy injera, and beef and lentil stews of Alleamin African Kitchen, all enhanced with owner Khadro Abdi house-made spicy sauces. The Pie Spot is open until 8 p.m. for post-dinner coffee and pie cravings.

A plate of chopped beef, lentil stew, and flat bread from Alleamin African Kitchen
A meal from Alleamin African Kitchen.
Nathan Williams/EPDX

East Glisan Pizza Lounge

If it’s possible for a restaurant to be both punk-rock and family-friendly, then East Glisan Pizza is just that, with wood floors, stone walls, and a laid-back vibe. Smacking of old-school-Portland charm, the pizzeria offers pinball and cocktails along with its thin-crust and Detroit-style pizzas. East Glisan is also home to a number of weekly specials and a killer late-night happy hour, complete with lasagna pinwheels. It’s open for onsite dining and takeout.

Hanoi Kitchen

A standout Vietnamese restaurant in a town full of them, Hanoi Kitchen is an under-sung, mellow spot with polished wood floors and a tile ceiling. Family-owned, the restaurant offers vermicelli noodle bowls, rice-crepe wraps, and a range of rich phos and other soups — including a terrific vegan pho and other vegan and vegetarian dishes. Entrees come with a couple handfuls of basil, shiso, cilantro, and other fresh herbs. Hanoi Kitchen’s recent reopening for dining in — after a long closure necessitated by the pandemic and vandalism — is a cause for celebration.

The Yard at Montavilla

The Yard food pod houses half a dozen food carts and one beer-and-wine bar just a few blocks north of SE Stark. The morning is Puddletown’s time to shine, with lines forming for classic bagel sandwiches on bagels baked just blocks away. Taqueria El Torito and Gyro Kingdom are lunchtime stars, offering generously packed burritos and crisp falafels tinged with mint respectively. The evening belongs to Mira’s East African & Mediterranean Cuisine, with hearty stews and curries served alongside Somali sabaayad flatbread. Those seeking late-night sustenance will find terrific deals at Bai Yok Thai, the original cart at this location and expert Thai fried rice specialist.

A takeout plate of falafels, hummus, and pita bread from Gyro Kingdom in the Yard at Montavilla
Falafel and hummus from Gyro Kingdom.
Nathan Williams/EPDX

Zuckercreme

This sweet cafe, bakery, pop-up space, and market is the ideal place to start a batch of weekend errands, with several Portland-based sauces, regular appearances from some of Portland’s coolest pop-up bakers, and great gifts made by Portland-based artists. It’s open Wednesdays through Sundays for in-store shopping.

Sebastiano's

Ken’s Artisan veteran and Sicilian American chef Elise Gold opened this tiny Italian market, bakery, and cafe in 2020, and it has since become a destination for Italian baked goods and sandwiches. A small, rotating menu includes chewy muffulettas, focaccia sandwiches, Nonna-style pizzas, and simple-but-impeccably balanced salads. Sweets from the oven include olive oil cake, almond cookies, and biscotti. Those who stop in can also shop for pantry staples, like Sebastiano’s branded seasoning, marmalade, and other imported Sicilian specialties. Sebastiano’s is currently takeout only.

A crispy sandwich wrapped in checkered red paper from Sebastiano’s in Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood.
A focaccia sandwich from Sebastiano’s.
Nathan Williams/EPDX

Miyamoto

Miyamoto may not boast the pedigree or accolades of some of Portland’s more celebrated — and centrally located — sushi restaurants, but it’s become a neighborhood favorite on the strength of its delicate rice, fresh and thoughtfully sourced fish, and confident simplicity of its presentation. Miyamoto’s chirashi bowl may just be the best value in town. The sake list is ample, and the next-door Roscoe’s tap and bottle list available. It’s open for onsite dining and takeout.

Ya Hala Lebanese Cuisine

A stucco wall painted with faux windows adds an immersive charm to Ya Hala, one of the city’s best Lebanese restaurants. Most nights of the week, families and couples on dates fill its dining room, with tables covered in baba ghanoush, shawarma, lamb sausages, rice-stuffed grape leaves, and much more. Ya Hala is open for indoor dining with limited picnic bench seating outside on SE Stark.

Lazy Susan

Inheriting the location of the beloved Country Cat, Lazy Susan brings a casual elegance to Montavilla brunch. Take a break from eggs and indulge in Lazy Susan’s oysters with hot sauce, chicory salad, or salmon lox plate — followed up with a house-made potato doughnut. For especially decadent mornings, spicy bloody Marys and Old Bay palomas are mixed with expertise. Those hesitant about indoor dining can dine on a covered patio by a wood fire, or take home a brunch box with the house favorites. Lazy Susan is also open for dinner seven days per week, with a creative, frequently changing menu.

Roscoe's

A no-frills bar and restaurant, Roscoe’s offers a robust draft list and cheap drinks alongside Louisiana-style pub grub, like po’ boys, a selection of jambalaya, chicken and waffles, and gumbo. The vintage building, often filled with loyal regulars, feels like an old-school brewpub, with exposed brick, a wooden bar with leather stools, and comfortable wooden chairs throughout. Feeling something lighter? Just order sushi from the next door Miyamoto and someone will walk it over.

Bipartisan Cafe

Portland may not have had a Republican mayor since 1980, but nostalgic bipartisan vibes live on in this busy, spacious, art-lined coffee shop and bakery. The main attraction at the Bipartisan Cafe is the pie, handmade fresh daily, offered by the slice or as a whole with vegan and gluten free options. For the savory seekers, there are also sandwiches, soups, salads, and other offerings at this community-focused café.

The dining room at Bipartisan Cafe, packed with people on a pre-pandemic morning.
The interior of Bipartisan Cafe.
Bipartisan Cafe [Official]

The Observatory

The Observatory, a handsome mid-2000s vintage restaurant and bar, has become an anchor for Montavilla, and happily manages to keep its Northwest cuisine feeling as vital as ever. Seafood leads the appetizer offerings — citrus-chile shrimp ceviche is a summer highlight — while the entree focus is burgers, made with everything from elk and lamb to quinoa and mushroom. Affordable cocktails are a major draw, and those primarily looking to imbibe can skip the main restaurant and settle into the cozy Over and Out next door, with a smaller food menu coming from the same kitchen. The Observatory is open for indoor dining and drinking, with limited outdoor seating on SE Stark.

Vintage Cocktail Lounge

Living up to its name, Vintage Cocktail Lounge sports a 1930s aesthetic, with dark red walls, leather booths, and a glowing bar, as well as a vintage menu. Find all manner of classic cocktails made with aplomb, creative new concoctions, and wines by the glass at this dimly lit, romantic lounge. Offer the name of your favorite spirit to the bartender, and you’ll get three smart recommendations in return. The drinking snack specialties here are boutique hot dogs, with both meat and vegan options. Outdoor and indoor seating are available.

Beer Bunker

A laid-back taproom and bottle shop, Beer Bunker carries one of the best draft lists east of Mount Tabor. The stark, industrial space provides entertainment in the form of darts and pinball, and a large pavement patio out back is strewn with red picnic tables for sunny day drinking. The bar opens in the mid-afternoon and quickly fills up with regulars looking for a cool pint. Sip indoors or on the patio.

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Hungry Heart Bakery

Hungry Heart began life as a bakery food cart before getting a brick and mortar right off of Stark in Montavilla. Today, the cute, modern cafe offers its signature line of cupcakes alongside pastries both sweet and savory, sandwiches, granola, and Stumptown coffee. Diners can grab a dozen cupcakes to go, or sit in one of the few little tables inside or out. Hungry Heart is currently only open for takeout or patio dining and closes at 2pm.

Jin Jin Deli

This ring of businesses off 82nd is home to a number of exceptional restaurants — Vietnamese noodle shop Teo, Chinese barbecue spot Yang Kee, peel-and-eat seafood locale My Brother’s Crawfish. But the most underrated spot in the complex has to be Jin Jin Deli, which serves a blend of Chinese and Vietnamese fare. The restaurant’s hủ tiếu sate bò, a nutty beef noodle soup laden with herbs and sprouts, is a particular standout; the thinly shaved beef is also available over rice.

Tèo Bun Bo Hue

Decision fatigue is thwarted at Teo Bun Bo Hue, which serves just three options: steaming bowls of chicken pho in a light broth, hearty beef pho, or the spicy-sour broth with assorted pork parts that gives Tèo its name. Great pho is only as good as its broth, and Tèo’s manages to incorporate bold flavors while remaining rich and subtle. Each dish is served with a plate of bean sprouts and fresh herbs big enough to be its own meal. It’s open for indoor dining and takeout.

Mixteca Mexican Restaurant

While often lauded for its wide range of Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, the wealth of choices along SE 82nd for lovers of Mexican food is almost dizzying — from full-on restaurants to food carts new and old. The Oaxacan Mixteca just north of Division stands out from the pack with complex moles and thick blue corn tortillas. A full bar offers creative cocktails along with bottled and draft beer; horchata and other fun non-alcoholic options are available for non-imbibers. Dine inside or outside on an ample patio with large fire pits.

Pure Spice | Chinese Restaurant

At the very edge of Montavilla, housed in a mini strip-mall, longstanding Chinese restaurant Pure Spice is removed from the bulk of dim sum spots along 82nd Avenue, and quietly provides some of the better dim sum in town, without the crowds at H.K. Cafe or Ocean City. Grab dumplings and peking duck bao, or come in for dinner for some of the clay pot dishes and congee. It’s open for onsite dining, takeout, and delivery.

Master Kong

With a place on the coveted Eater 38, the ultra-low-key Master Kong can no longer be called a hidden gem, but its east-of-82nd location will likely keep it accessible for the foreseeable future. Tender handmade dumplings, noodle soups, and fried dough sticks are served quickly, generously, and with aplomb. Master Kong is currently open for takeout, dine-in, or delivery.

Five fluffy bao sit in a steamer basket at Master Kong in Southeast Portland.
Bao at Master Kong.
Nick Woo/EPDX

Related Maps