5202 N Albina Ave., 503-201-7038, sweedeedee.com. 9 am-9 pm Wednesday-Saturday.
Sweedeedee’s cuisine has always been a little hard to define. The North Portland cafe’s menu is deeply seasonal and farm fresh. While not exclusively vegetarian, it’s certainly vegetable heavy. A sign of Sweedeedee’s style is obvious in its summer tomatoes, served in olive oil with padrón peppers, basil and salt. It’s an incredibly simple dish but somewhat jaw-dropping for its colorful beauty and bursting, herb flavors. When visiting Sweedeedee for dinner, visitors are best served with an assemblage of items. Perhaps the roast chicken, a vegetable dish, some Grano sourdough to sop up the olive oil and then a bottle of wine for the table.
2. Dirty Lettuce
At Shady Pines, 5240 NE 42nd Ave., 971-888-4158, dirtylettuce.square.site. Noon-8 pm Thursday-Sunday.
An all-vegan food cart hub in Portland seems like a no-brainer, and the popularity of Shady Pines confirms it: Even on late afternoons in the middle of the week, there’s usually a constant flow of people picking up hearty vegan meals. Arguably the pod’s biggest breakout success is Dirty Lettuce. The Mississippi transplant serves up seitan versions of down-home favorites like barbecue ribs and fried chicken with a rotating array of classic Southern sides.
3. Lottie & Zula’s
120-A NE Russell St., 503-333-6923, lottieandzulas.com. 9 am-5 pm Tuesday-Saturday.
Toro Bravo is gone, replaced by a punky sandwich window with New England roots. The heart of the Lottie & Zula’s breakfast menu are bolo levedos, or “Portuguese muffins”—something like a cross between an English muffin and a King’s Hawaiian roll, which makes the shop’s version of a McGriddle extra satisfying.
1250 NW 9th Ave., 971-275-2762, cooperativapdx.com. 7:30 am-9 pm Tuesday-Saturday.
Cooperativa has a lot of what you need in a beautiful, air-conditioned environment—it’s a grocery store, a coffee shop, an ice cream place, a sandwich shop, a bar, a restaurant and a pizzeria, infused with the vibe and flavors of Bologna, Florence, Rome and the Italian “slow food” movement. Coopertiva is closing for a short break from Sept. 5-Sept. 15, but they’ll be back on Sept. 16.
3601 SE Division St., instagram.com/chayopdx. Lunch 11:30 am-2 pm, dinner 4:30-8 pm dinner Thursday-Saturday, 11:30 am-6 pm Sunday.
When he dreamed of opening a loncheria in 2018, David Lizaola imagined serving classic Jaliscan lonches on lime- and beer-enriched birote. When he couldn’t find birote in Portland, he pivoted to ciabatta—and while it may not be traditional, it’s still damn good. In the Hot Oli, Lizaola gives his pork loin an adobado treatment by massaging the cuts with a blend of guajillo pepper, herbs, alliums, and warming spices. It’s a perfect sandwich.