The Hawthorne District in SE Portland is a classic Portland scene with a mix of cute local stores, including an oil and lotion shop where you can choose your own blend of scents, several gently used clothing places, gift shops and even The Bagdad Theater and Pub (mcmenamins.com/219-bagdad-theater-pub-home), a movie theater that can deliver gluten-free beer and a burger on a gluten-free bun to your balcony seat. If you want something other than a burger, you’re in luck. Hawthorne is one of the best places in town to find top-notch gluten-free food.
The food cart scene in Portland is remarkable. There are typically more than 500 carts at any given time in the city, with a number of exclusively gluten-free carts. A favorite is Cultured Caveman* (culturedcavemanpdx.com), featuring Paleo food that’s free of gluten, dairy and soy. All of the ingredients are ethically and locally sourced.
Harlow* (harlowpdx.com) is a low-key restaurant where you order your food at the counter and the staff brings it to you when it’s ready. Highlights at this gluten-free, vegetarian restaurant include oatmeal banana walnut pancakes and huevos rancheros, as well as fresh juice, smoothies, gluten-free beer and mixed drinks.
A neighborhood fixture, the Sapphire Hotel+ (thesapphirehotel.com) isn’t actually a hotel. It’s a romantic bar and restaurant. Originally, it was a turn-of-the-century, seedy hotel inhabited by sailors, travelers and ladies of the night. Warm and intimate, Sapphire Hotel has a cozy atmosphere, creative cocktails and tasty food, almost all of which can be made gluten-free.
A mainstay of the gluten-free scene in Portland, Hawthorne Fish House* (hawthornefishhouse.com) serves gluten-free fish and chips, breaded in brown rice flour and cooked in dedicated fryers. It also has several gluten-free beer options, with one gluten-free beer on tap.
A recent addition to the Hawthorne scene, Teote* (teotepdx.com) serves authentic arepas, homemade Venezuelan-style corn cakes stuffed with everything from brisket to pork shoulder. Teote does not use any gluten-containing products (although there is a cross-contact caution for the masa). A bar upstairs opens nightly at 5 pm and in summer, a large outdoor space features a dedicated gluten-free beer tap and gluten-free cider tap.
A short hop from Hawthorne is the Division Street area. This street is exploding with restaurants. Two favorites are Pok Pok+ (pokpokpdx.com), a popular Vietnamese street food restaurant—be prepared for a long wait—that identifies gluten-free food on its menu and Nuestra Cocina‡ (nuestra-cocina.com), a mid-range gourmet Mexican restaurant with many gluten-free and dairy-free options.