Over the years, Division Street has developed and changed with the rest of the city, but it still maintains a beloved sense of Northwest quirk and a dedication to local tradition while having become the epicenter of Portland's restaurant culture. While you may occasionally run into a Portlandia character or two along the way, the Division neighborhood is a great place to spend a summer's afternoon with a dizzying amount of options for food, drink and shopping.
Burrasca, 2032 SE Clinton St.
Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th Ave.
Longfellow's Books & Periodicals, 1401 SE Division St.
Nationale, 3360 SE Division St.
Clinton Street Theater
2522 SE Clinton St., 503-238-5588, cstpdx.com.
Despite changes to both the theater and neighborhood in the past 100 years, the century-old Clinton Street Theater remains a single-screen cinema that provides an intimate viewing experience. In addition to regular programming, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has screened every Saturday at midnight since 1978, with a list of venue-approved costumes, props and activities available on the theater's website—including the throwing of toast and the flinging of toilet paper. It's a long-standing tradition in Portland brought to you by one of the oldest operating cinemas in the nation.
2625 SE 21st Ave., 503-894-8349, abyssiniankitchen.com. Dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
A new arrival, Abyssinian Kitchen joins Portland's top tier of Ethiopian and Eritrean eateries. We enjoyed the asa dulet, a bright preparation of crumbled tilapia seasoned with serrano peppers and onions. For heartier appetites, order the awaze tibs—large cubes of tender beef in a spicy sauce built from berbere. $$-$$$.
The American Local
3003 SE Division St., 503-954-2687, theamericanlocal.com. Dinner Tuesday-Sunday.
The American Local is a mash-up of down-home 'Merican vittles and Japanese izakaya fare. The menu at this 2-year-old small-plates spot—skewers, a knockout flank steak and oysters—offers innovative combinations to pair with the house sake. $$-$$$.
3377 SE Division St., 971-229-0571, avagenes.com. Dinner nightly.
The menu at Ava Gene's is overwhelming. It's mostly in Italian, it features uncommon abbreviations and rare ingredients, and it changes almost daily. All the better reason to ask your server for suggestions—the staff is well-versed and eager, and everything is good. $$$-$$$$.
3010 SE Division St., 503-477-6699, bollywoodtheaterpdx.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
Stocking its own curry leaves, house ghee and fresh spices harvested directly from India's Kerala region, Bollywood Theater takes an amiable approach to a cuisine often blamed for weaponized seasonings. $.
2032 SE Clinton St., 503-236-7791, burrascapdx.com. Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
Burrasca, one of our five favorite restaurants of 2015, has no gimmick. Chef Paolo Calamai is a native Florentine, and this space is a true Tuscan restaurant of simple spice and humble presentation. Alongside the housemade tagliatelle in beef ragu, order the good, Italian table wine—$20 bottles of Il Bastardo that Calamai knows from home. $$-$$$.
Ford Food & Drink
2505 SE 11th Ave., No. 101, 503-236-3023, fordfoodanddrink.com. Breakfast-dinner daily.
A cafe that serves cocktails and offers a delightfully simple menu complete with vegan options, Ford is a great place to meet with friends or get some work done. The Pagan Jug Band performs at 8:30 pm Tuesdays, playing folk music that perfectly suits the venue. $.
Kim Jong Grillin
Southeast Division Street and 46th Avenue, 503-929-0522, kimjonggrillin.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
Han Ly Hwang's revelation in Korean barbecue sits in a lonely cart locale across from the Woodsman Tavern. The stand serves shaved bulgogi and galbi short ribs in gargantuan mounds, worthy of a filling dinner and breakfast the next day. $.
Little T American Baker
2600 SE Division St., 503-238-3458, littletbaker.com. Breakfast-late lunch daily.
Owned by renowned baker Tim Healea, Little T's flagship bakery offers novel takes on traditional breads and pastries, baked with ingredients sourced from local vendors and growers. In addition to a consistent and affordable menu, Little T offers a weekly rotation of $5 specialty loaves. $.
2135 SE Division St., 503-232-2135, nuestracocina.com. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
Despite Division's newly diversified selection of restaurants, this standby for no-frills, authentic Mexican cuisine has maintained a loyal following. You feel like you're at a friend's place, listening to meat sizzle while the scent of fresh-baked corn tortillas wafts across the airy room. $$.
3707 SE Division St., 503-719-8686, pinologelato.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
Pinolo opened only last year, but immediately took over as the best gelato shop in town—and the others are not even close. Flavors include intense, deep dark chocolate, and hazelnut as though it was from the shell. Each sorbetto is like burying your face in fresh fruit. $.
3226 SE Division St., 503-232-1387, pokpokpdx.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
After a decade, Andy Ricker's experiment with northern Thai cooking continues to evolve and entice. $$-$$$.
Portobello Vegan Trattoria
1125 SE Division St., 503-754-5993, portobellopdx.com. Dinner Tuesday-Friday, brunch and dinner Saturday-Sunday.
"I never knew vegan food could be this good," said a carnivorous companion. Portobello is a traditional Italian trattoria, except the steak is a big, meaty mushroom, and the pizzas are topped with cashew cream. $$$.
3113 SE Division St., 503-232-1566, roepdx.rest. Dinner Wednesday-Saturday.
Dining at Trent Pierce's flagship seafood hall feels like a snorkeling trip guided by Kinfolk magazine; it is to fish houses what The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou was to pirate movies. But you know what? The Life Aquatic was a really good movie. $$$$.
Tidbit Food Farm and Garden
2880 SE Division St. Lunch and dinner daily.
This cluster of carts at 28th Place and Division is one of Portland's best. Dog Town's artisanal hot dogs, Slow Squeeze's cold pressed juice, Back to Eden's gluten and dairy-free treats, Paper Bag's woodfired pizza, and Scout's weird beers are among Tidbit's best offerings. $.
Wong's King Seafood Restaurant
8733 SE Division St., Suite 101, 503-788-8883, wongsking.com. Dim sum, lunch and dinner daily.
If you go to Wong's King for dim sum and don't completely cover every square inch of the table with plates and small, steaming metal dishes, you're not doing it right. Simply point and know that you will be rewarded with deliciousness. $$.
The Woodsman Tavern
4537 SE Division St., 971-373-8264, woodsmantavern.com. Lunch and dinner Monday-Friday, brunch and dinner Saturday-Sunday.
The Woodsman evokes a fairy-tale version of a woodland tavern, and that feeling extends to the menu: fresh oysters, warm and crunchy fritters, crispy fried chicken that melts off the bone. Go for oyster hour, when the ever-changing menu is unbelievably cheap. $$$.
3715 SE Division St., 503-548-6343, xicopdx.com. Dinner nightly.
Xico does things its own way. For example, the cooks mill their own masa with a small, 5-horsepower machine. It's romantic, sure—it's also why this brightly decorated restaurant sells $8 guacamole and a $24 chicken tamale plate. $$$-$$$$.
1235 SE Division St., 503-230-8340, doubledragonpdx.com. Lunch-late daily.
Despite being a restaurant, Double Dragon doubles as one of the few decent bars on Division. The unbridled masterpiece of the menu is the kimchi Kobe beef hot dog: a festooned drum-line parade of texture and flavor. It tastes like poise—a fat Russian circus bear pirouetting gracefully atop a balance beam. $.
2521 SE Clinton St., 503-235-0203. dotscafeportland.com. Lunch-late Monday-Friday, brunch-late Saturday-Sunday.
If aliens, Elvis and Marie Antoinette opened a cafe, it might look like Dots. It's a '50s-style diner with a killer bacon bleu cheeseburger. It's a dandy's lounge with potent lemon drops. It's a gutter-punk hang with no-nonsense bartenders. Come as you are. $.
2432 SE 11th Ave., 503-841-6734, funhouselounge.com. Closed Monday-Tuesday.
A carnival-themed bar complete with a lounge room covered in portraits of clowns, Funhouse is one of the last joints that seems truly dedicated to keeping Portland weird. The venue's main stage features regular standup comedy, improv, burlesque and theater—including drag renditions of The Golden Girls—and the drinks are strong enough to help you through the occasional rough performance.
3584 SE Division St., 503-703-9180, gestaltpdx.com.
The second location of San Francisco's German bike, brat and bier bar, Gestalt plays mostly heavy metal, and talk is mostly about biking, especially the mountainous type. The brats are $5 and great, and the beers include Spaten Optimator, Hacker-Pschorr weisse and Occidental Kölsch—with more on the way.
2500 SE Clinton St., 971-339-2822, lamoulepdx.com.
La Moule is a dim, drunky spot devoted to soccer-ball-sized bowls of mussels and frites. Tommy Klus' cocktails are about the same price as the Belgian import beers on tap—after showing up to dig deep into a bowl, you'll leave deep in the cups.
Southeast Wine Collective
2425 SE 35th Place, 503-208-2061, sewinecollective.com. Closed Tuesday.
Is it possible for the city's best-loved wine bar to be underrated? Tom Monroe and Kate Norris' wine collective has been an incubator for some of the best wines in town. The only problem you're likely to encounter is finding a seat.
Artifact: Creative Recycle
3630 SE Division St., 503-230-4831, artifactpdx.com.
Artifact offers vintage and gently used items ranging from clothing to furniture to accessories and trinkets. Artifact has a unique sense of fashion when it comes to its wares, making it the perfect shop for someone looking to enhance their wardrobe with old-school style.
Cloud 9 Comics
2621 SE Clinton St., 503-236-8113, cloudninecomics.com.
No neighborhood in Southeast Portland is complete without a comic shop. A Dalek sculpture sits in the storefront to guard the boxes full of old issues, and the guy behind the counter won't judge you if you don't know what a Dalek is.
Clinton Street Video
2501 SE Clinton St., 503-236-9030.
The video rental shop still lives. Sift through Clinton Street Video's vast collection to discover rare finds you won't see on Netflix, and would have to pay a fortune for on Amazon. Bring your kids and teach them about the ancient relic known as VHS.
3701 SE Division St., 503-477-8804, collagepdx.blogspot.com.
A great shopping destination for the adult hobbyist or the parent of a child who just loves to create, Collage is as if a Michaels and a Jo-Ann Fabric had a really hip kid together. Each visit will turn up some cool stuff you never thought existed.
3225 SE Division St., 503-236-8673, littleotsu.com.
Little Otsu's Portland flagship store is the type of cutesy shop you think of when you think of the Rose City—tiny notebooks and all. Here, you can find unique notebooks, journals and planners, alongside publishing materials from independent producers.
Longfellow's Books & Periodicals
1401 SE Division St., 503-239-5222, longfellowspdx.com.
The smell of old books hits you as soon as you walk into this maze of publications piled up to the ceiling. If you're looking for something specific, you'll want a different bookstore. But if you're looking to get lost in a labyrinth of out-of-print magazines and books you've never heard of, then all the literary adventures you've ever craved await you at Longfellow's.
3213 SE Division St., 503-688-1196, sheboptheshop.com.
Everyone deserves a female-friendly orgasm. She Bop wants you to reach that climax in whatever way suits you best. With an array of eco-friendly options and knowledgeable staff, She Bop is dedicated to a healthy and diverse exploration of sex-positivity.
3576 SE Division St., 503-477-7734.
There's very little about St. Salvage anywhere online, which makes finding fun merchandise among the store's wide array of used furniture feel all the more secretive and adventurous. The shop will even design a custom sign or marquee for you at a very reasonable price.
3360 SE Division St., 503-477-9786, nationale.us.
There are a million places to grab fancy bars of soap and paper products, but few such shops double as art galleries. Nationale displays visual works primarily by young Portland artists such as Emily Counts and Delaney Allen, who work on the (comparatively) inexpensive end of fine art. Nationale also carries a curated selection of very nice things for gallerygoers.
In multiple locations:
Adorn, 3366 SE Division St.
Cafe Broder, 2508 SE Clinton St.
Lompoc Hedge House, 3412 SE Division St.
Pine State Biscuits, 1100 SE Division St., Suite 100.
Tea Bar, 4330 SE Division St.
Townshend's Tea House, 3531 SE Division St.