Best place for breakfast before an early class:
It all depends on how early your class starts: Chit Chat Café opens at 7 a.m. and Broadway Coffee opens at 7:30 a.m. Both serve bagels, coffee, espresso and tea. CCC serves egg-based breakfasts and bubble tea as well, and BC serves crepes. The service at CCC is hit-or-miss and the quality is generally acceptable. BC, on the other hand, aims to impress.
Chit Chat Café
Southwest Sixth and Hall
Southwest Broadway, between College and Hall
Best place to find vegetarian fare:
It’s a bit of a walk from campus, but the streetcar can drop you off nearby: India Chaat House is a decade-old vegetarian food cart that serves delicious, cheap vegetarian and vegan Indian fare. Lunch specials are generously portioned and only $5, and the cart is open on Saturdays.
The original owners have divorced, and the wife opened her own cart—Bombay Chaat House—right next door. Open one hour earlier than ICH, serving the exact same menu and beating ICH’s prices by about twenty cents on every dish, BCH is vying for your business. Try them both and decide for yourself!
India and Bombay Chaat Houses
Southwest 12th and Yamhill
Best place to not find vegetarian fare:
Amidst the constant shuffle of food carts on Fourth Avenue sits the most conspicuously colored cart of them all, Crown Q. A Southeast 12th and Hawthorne Cartopia alumnus, Crown Q serves up some of the best BBQ in town. I know, I know, everyone says that about every BBQ place in town, but this place is the real deal, with a tenth the real estate any other place has. It seems to be closed a lot, but if you can catch it, accept nothing else.
Southwest Fourth and Hall
Best place to satisfy your sweet tooth:
Recently relocated to the South Park Blocks, Pudding On The Rice is one of the coolest, most original small businesses in Portland. It does serve tart frozen yogurt as well as sweet and savory crepes, but the rice pudding is where it’s at. The flavors range from Strawberry Fields Forever (fresh strawberries and cream) to Patience Grasshopper (Oreo cookies and mint), and every one of its inventive takes on rice pudding is a winner.
Pudding On The Rice
Southwest Park, between Market and Clay
Best place to eat for cheap:
For those who have not yet discovered the glory of bánh-mi (French-influenced Vietnamese sandwiches), give the Vietnamese Bánh-mi Sandwich Cart a shot. For only $3.50, you get an approximately eight-inch baguette sliced and filled with your choice of meat, pickled veggies, cilantro, mayonnaise and Sriracha and/or Thai chilies to taste. It’s not the best bánh-mi in town, but VBMSC serves the cheapest, tastiest sandwich in all of SW Portland and they serve it perfectly wrapped to eat while you walk to your next destination.
Vietnamese Bánh-mi Sandwich Cart
Southwest Fourth and Hall
Best place to order salad:
Although Pizzicato does serve giant, varied salads, theirs aren’t cheap. For a fresh and simple salad that doesn’t stretch your budget, go to Food For Thought. It’s student-run and service is generally friendly, plus FFT is committed to keeping prices low. Because it’s student-run, the inventory at FFT is a bit of a variable—it does run out of (sometimes important) things—but it’s best to maintain a sense of humor and enjoy what you have on your plate.
Food For Thought
Basement of Smith Memorial Student Union
Best place to get a burrito:
Olé Olé is a few blocks away, but it’s the only reliably-open place to grab a giant and well-made burrito. Options are typical, but there’s plenty of seating and the owner is one of the friendliest guys in Portland.
Southwest Jefferson, between 12th and 13th
Best place to keep you warm in the cold:
Portland Soup Company. This little house-looking cart provides rich soups that’ll combat any unwelcomed chill. Grab your umbrella and try the roasted tomato reggiano soup, which has impossibly crispy and garlic croutons inside.
Portland Soup Company
Southwest Fourth and College
Best place to grab a quick healthy meal:
Forgot your lunch but don’t want to indulge? Café Yumm offers rice/bean mixtures in every form. Each bowl is always topped with a fresh mound of various veggies that will leave you guilt-free. Try the original, which comes with brown rice, black beans, Yumm Sauce (kind of like a tahini), avocado, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream and salsa.
1806 SW 6th Avenue
Best place to grab a slice and a beer after a late class:
Open late most nights, Pacini serves up thick slices of cheesy pizza as well as a slice and beer combo for $5 that can’t be beat.
1717 Southwest Park Avenue
Most unassuming awesome place to eat:
When walking to the mammoth cart pod on Southwest Fourth near the engineering building, if you blink or sneeze, you’ll miss Boonrod. Inside a tiny trailer that is very obviously not meant for food service en masse, Boonrod boasts a pretty unappetizing name, but man oh man, if you miss this curry, you’ll be a fool. They serve a bunch of other stuff, but the curry is what’s what. Believe that.
Southwest Fourth and Hall