1801 N.E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., Richmond
Gado Gado’s kitschy colorfully patterned wallpaper, bright tiling, and vintage framed posters make it a fun respite from the neutrals and minimalism that reign in the Portland restaurant scene. And then there’s the food. Rich, satisfying umami rice noodles with curry, shellfish broth, and a whole blue crab. Grilled halibut with chili leaves. And gado gado, a traditional Indonesian salad topped with a spicy peanut sauce. Everything is an expression of founders Thomas and Mariah Pisha-Duffly’s personal connection to Southeast Asia—and it’s divine.
3725 S.E. Division St., Richmond
One of those perfect, unexpected stores that stocks all the things you suddenly must have. Owner and former Parson’s grad/fashion designer Kara Green has created a truly modern, community-based shop. Themed around natural living and self-care, you’ll find an eclectic mix of artisanal, handcrafted goods, from rosewater facial mists to adaptogenic supplements to niche magazines–most of which are sourced from small businesses. Green also offers workshops–tarot card readings and weaving lessons, to name a few–aimed at building community connections.
3226 S.E. Division St., Richmond
Andy Ricker’s Thai food is the stuff of legend at this point (with one outpost in Brooklyn and another in Downtown Manhattan), but it’s more than worth than seeking it out in Portland where the empire first began. The original location itself is notoriously dive-y, with multicolored twinkle lights on the ceiling and brightly patterned tablecloths covering the crowded tables. As ever, the papaya salad and the chicken wings are the must-orders, though you can’t go wrong with any of the traditional dishes here.
3377 S.E. Division St., Richmond
With its warmly-lit ambiance, intimate seating, and extensive list of regional Italian wine, amari, and grappa, Ava Gene’s makes an ideal date spot. The Roman trattoria-inspired menu offers plenty of options: gardini for starters and salads, primi for pastas, and sharing-sized secondi of steaks and old-school Italian dishes like braciole. Chef Joshua McFadden (formerly of Maine’s Four Season Farm and Franny’s in Brooklyn, where he’s said to have made the famous raw kale salad happen) is known to source his ingredients from a hand-picked selection of the Pacific Northwest’s best farm-to-table produce and meats, so expect some pleasant surprises depending on the season.
Salt & Straw
3345 S.E. Division St., Richmond
The small-batch ice cream business, which cousins Kim and Tyler Malek launched out of a single neighborhood ice cream parlor, has grown into a family of shops, including three in Portland (here in Richmond, and in Nob Hill and Alberta), plus a stall in Pine Street Market. The focus at S&S is on inventive flavors: salted caramel cupcake, pear & blue cheese, avocado & strawberry sherbet. On the flip side, their single-origin vanilla is some of the best we’ve ever had. For those who aren’t fortunate enough to live near a shop, the seasonal Pints Club, which sets you up with five unique pints every month and delivers them right to your door, is an excellent option.
4703 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Richmond
While it doesn’t garner nearly the lines of the more famous Salt & Straw, many locals argue that Portland's best ice cream is actually at Ruby Jewel. They have three locations (one in each major neighborhood, in Richmond, Downtown, and Boise) and while ice cream is as advertised, they’re really famous for their ice cream sandwiches, with flavors like lemon cookie with honey lavender, dark chocolate with fresh mint, and “The Chub,” their way-better take on a Chipwich.
¿Por Qué No?
4635 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Richmond
This taqueria is a local favorite for its elaborate menu of Mexican fare, especially their next-level tacos. Their corn tortillas are made fresh onsite and filled with sustainably-sourced, unconventional-yet-delicious ingredients, including calamari, chorizo, and barbacoa-braised beef brisket straight from nearby Cascade Farms. Quick counter service and picnic tables for outdoors dining (weather permitting) make this a great casual spot to people-watch. There's a second outpost in Boise.
3010 S.E. Division St., Richmond
Helmed by veteran chef Troy MacLarty (formerly of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse and Portland’s Ned Ludd), Bollywood Theater is a go-to for fragrantly spiced street-style food MacLarty discovered during his explorations in India—dishes like savory lamb samosas and rich, creamy curries. The original restaurant on Alberta in Northeast Portland, spacious and decked out with Indian imagery (including a projector for screening Bollywood films), has a fast-casual vibe: order at the counter, get a number, choose your seat. The location on Southeast Division, an even larger space with an open-concept kitchen, also features a retail market stocked with dry goods, fresh spices, rice, ghee, and more.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
4525 S.E. Division St., Richmond
It’s hard to imagine now that their coffee is in every cute coffee shop from San Francisco to Charleston, but there was a time when you could only get Stumptown in Portland. Their cheeky shops are still the best for local roasts, and Tasting Bar at their HQ makes a fun (and energizing) outing for coffee snobs. There are locations in every major neighborhood: Downtown, Sunnyside, Old Town Chinatown, and Richmond.
Brew Dr. Teahouse
3531 S.E. Division St., Richmond
There's a good chance you already know about Townshend's Tea from the shelves at your local Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage. Their flagship teahouse on Alberta Street (there's also an outpost on Mississippi) stocks every variety of their tea and an endless supply of their game-changing Brew Dr. Kombucha in a homey space that's ideal for seeking refuge from the rain and cranking out a few hours of work. All of the locations have a mix of couches, cozy chairs, and classic tables, with plenty of space to spread out for the afternoon.