A-Z Listings by Cuisine Listings by Location Tea 24 things

Cheap Eats 2013: Portland's Best Places to Eat on the Cheap

A Note From the Editor...

Cheap Eats reminds us every year how lucky we are to live here. Not because Portland is so inherently wonderful—you can have that debate on the IFC website, if you need to—but because the food that’s cheap and plentiful and delicious in a city is often an accident of geography and circumstance. It’s a product of who moved here.

And here on the West Coast, we are not only blessed with a large number of northerly travelers from Mexico and South America, we’re also one of the first American stops after a transpacific trip from Korea, Thailand, Japan or Vietnam.

So it’s no surprise that almost a quarter of our 2013 Cheap Eats guide is devoted to Far East Asian food.

Vietnamese food, in particular—dense nests of vermicelli-like bun, beefy pho noodle soup, French-influenced banh mi sandwiches—is both wondrous and plentiful here. It’s more familiar to eastside residents than a ballpark hot dog, and it’s available at prices that should make diners feel almost ashamed of their good fortune.

In part because of Vietnamese food’s particular wealth and variety in Portland—with northern, central and southern Vietnamese all represented—no other style of cuisine gets more newsprint in this issue. It even edged out Mexican food and the almighty American sandwich. And while ramen and spaghetti are shameless social climbers, the bun thit noong and pho bo vien Vietnamese noodle bowls remain resolutely the food of the people.

A salute, then, to wet noodles. They’re more fun than you think.

All across the food spectrum, this year’s Cheap Eats offers reviews of our favorite 139 low-cost or lowbrow food spots in town. 20 of these are new to the city, and yet more are new to the guide. “Cheap,” for our purposes, means you’ll probably eat lunch for under $10, and dinner for under $15.

But we get even cheaper than that. Because that’s who we are. So we also recommend 24 things you can put in your mouth for $7 or less.

Not cheap enough? Fine. We invited tea guru Steven Smith to taste the teas served utterly for free (with meals) at five different Asian restaurants in our guide—and asked him to pick his favorite.

Still, this guide isn’t comprehensive, and can’t be. We might not know about your favorite cheap spot, we might have been snotty about it, or we might have pushed out an old standby to make room for places that some of you don’t know about yet.

But please! If you think we’re fools or scoundrels, send your recommendations or complaints to mkorfhage@wweek.com, and we’ll look at them for next year’s guide.

In the meantime, eat well.

Matthew Korfhage 


Matthew Korfhage

Art Director 
Brittany Moody

Emilee Booher, Ruth Brown, Kelly Clarke, Martin Cizmar, Liz Crain, Andrea Damewood, Rebecca Jacobson, Casey Jarman, Emily Jensen, Robert Ham, Matthew Korfhage, Mitch Lillie, Michael L. Lopez, Aaron Mesh, Brian Panganiban, Matthew Singer, Ben Waterhouse, Michael C. Zusman

Copy Chief 
Rob Fernas

Copy Editors
Matt Buckingham, Peggy Capps, Jessica Pedrosa

Cover Photo
Leah Nash

Cover Model
Ginger Craft

Cover Location
Lela’s Bistro

Amaren Colosi, Mike Grippi, Leah Nash

Photo Intern
V. Kapoor

Ad Designers
Kathleen Barnett, Dylan Serkin



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