Out To Lunch

Thousands of folks enjoy their midday meals in the Pearl District’s cheery cafés and sophisticated bistros. Here’s a look at eight of the greats.

World Foods

The aisles of this veritable United Nations of culinaria overflow with tempting edibles. What you might not know about this family-owned market with a decidedly Mediterranean bent is that it offers exceptional Hawaiian-style ahi poke (shown above), plus baby octopus, seaweed salad, and other Pacific Rim delicacies. You can enjoy your feast in the attractive indoor seating area, or out front on the breezy sidewalk terrace. 830 NW Everett St, 503-802-0755, worldfoodsportland.com

Caffé Umbria

Known for brewing smooth, complex, Italian-style espresso drinks using blends of house-roasted premium beans from around the world, this stylish coffeehouse with ample seating also turns out tasty Italian food. You’ll find daily pastas tossed with seasonal vegetables or classic pesto, Bolognese, and other sauces, along with warm-pressed panini sandwiches, composed salads, pizzas, and daily soups. Save room for a dish of gelato or a macaron. 303 NW 12th Ave, 503-241-5300, caffeumbria.com

The Fields Bar & Grill

You may think of it as a place to watch Blazers and Mariners games while nursing a well-crafted cocktail, but this bustling glass-walled neighborhood hangout is also one of the Pearl’s best-kept secrets for tasty and affordable lunches. There’s a terrace, but you’ll also find plenty of seats inside facing the large-screen TV monitors—perfect when there’s a game on during lunch hour. 1139 NW 11th Ave, 503-841-6601, thefieldspdx.com


For an upscale repast—perhaps a business meeting or a festive birthday lunch—it’s hard to beat this stylish restaurant specializing in both traditional and modern “novoandean” cuisine. This is food as art: gorgeously plated, brightly flavored dishes, including a sweet but tangy ceviche of green mango and poached prawns in passionfruit sauce, and short ribs slow-cooked in a rich sauce of black beer and cilantro. Andina stands out for its wine list and nicely balanced specialty cocktails—try the Bachiche with pisco, Campari, sweet vermouth, and grapefruit juice. 1314 NW Glisan St, 503-228-9535, andinarestaurant.com

Brix Tavern

This lively go-to for daytime drinks and dining has a menu to please just about any taste. Thin-crust pizza topped with bacon and chanterelles, chicken potpie, a burger topped with barbecue pulled pork and a fried egg, and red quinoa salad with feta and vine-ripened tomatoes rank among the favorite lunch dishes, and there’s an extensive list of artisan drinks, craft beer, and Northwest wines, too. A slice of blackberry buttermilk pie with vanilla ice cream makes for a delightfully sweet ending. 1338 NW Hoyt St, 503-943-5995, brixtavern.com

Lovejoy Bakers

It’s never easy to concentrate on the blackboard menu of savory sandwiches and creative salads at this bread-centric café, when the decadent sweet treats so beg for your attention: marionberry cheesecake bars, chocolate cream pie, house-made Oreos. Do persevere, however—the pork-belly banh mi and grilled eggplant–mozzarella ciabatta with oil-cured tomatoes are superb, as is the refreshing roasted beet–grapefruit salad. On warm days, grab a seat in an Adirondack chair on the boardwalk out front. 939 NW 10th Ave, 503-208-3113, lovejoybakers.com

BridgePort BrewPub

This bi-level brewpub that helped spearhead Portland’s sterling craft-beer reputation serves the sort of soul-warming comfort food that can brighten an otherwise uninspired workday. Start with a piping-hot bowl of Kingpin Ale beef-and-pork chili, before graduating to the platter of ale-infused brats with cheesy spätzle, bacon-braised cabbage, and beer mustard. Enjoying a pint of Mosaic Hopped Cream Ale or Old Knuckle Head Oak-Aged Barley Wine will help improve your spirits, too. 1313 NW Marshall St, 503-241-3612, bridgeportbrew.com

Seres Restaurant & Xiao Chi Bar

Satisfy your cravings for contemporary Chinese fare at this light-filled spot with a mammoth menu. If possible, bring a few friends to share the generous portions. Standouts include Peking duck salad rolls, asparagus and crab soup, sesame beef, and crispy prawns with honeyed walnuts. We love that Seres uses locally grown produce and sources lamb, seafood, pork, chicken, turkey, and even tofu from providers dedicated to sustainability and that the restaurant donates to or partners with a number of local charities. 1105 NW Lovejoy St, 971-222-7327, seresrestaurant.com

Photos by Paul Wagtouicz; Andina photo by David L. Reamer