Rob D. Brodman

Offbeat shopping and standout dining in Portland's leafy neighborhood

Bonnie Henderson,  – August 21, 2007

Pedestrians have the right of way along the quiet stretch in southeast Portland, where you’ll likely see more people passing on foot or on bike than zooming by in cars.

Browse offbeat shops or linger at a sunny sidewalk table at one of the many standout restaurants clustered on Clinton Street around S.E. 21st and S.E. 26th Avenues.

Here, new and used happily coexist, and the scents of the spice route share airspace with the familiar aromas of American comfort food – and, of course, the sweet smell of spring.



From I-5 and southwest Portland, take the Ross Island Bridge east onto S.E. Powell Blvd. and turn left on S.E. 21st Ave. to get to S.E. Clinton St.; businesses are clustered at 21st and at 26th Avenues.


Camamu Drop by the small studio for artisanal soaps in a heady range of fragrances, from bergamot mint to ylang-ylang. INFO: Closed Sun-Mon; 2021 S.E. Clinton St.; 503/901-7419.

Q Is For Choir Remember the record store in the film High Fidelity? Same vibe but in a smaller space – with CDs and tapes too. INFO: Closed Mon; 2510 S.E. Clinton St.; 503/235-9678.

Piccolina New toys, baby gear, and stylish secondhand clothes for wee ones. INFO: Closed Sun-Mon; 2700 S.E. 26th Ave.; 503/963-8548.



The Press Club A comfy, cleverly named spot, with French-press coffee, panini, crêpes, and a huge selection of magazines from the mainstream and alternative press. Plus 20 wines by the glass. INFO: $; closed Mon; 2621 S.E. Clinton St.; 503/233-5656.

Vindalho It’s all about the sauces at this Indian-inspired eatery; the chic interior complements the menu’s modern take on spice-route cuisine. INFO: $$; closed Sun-Mon; 2038 S.E. Clinton St.; 503/467-4550.

Savoy Tavern + Bistro From the fried Wisconsin cheese curds to the Waldorf salad and grilled steak, this is American food at its best. INFO: $$; 2500 S.E. Clinton St.; 503/808-9999.

SubRosa Elegantly simple dishes, from pine nut-studded meatballs to thin-crust pizza. INFO: $; closed Mon; 2601 S.E. Clinton St.; 503/233-1955.

NEARBYStill hungry? S.E. Division St., a busy arterial two blocks away, lacks Clinton St.’s intimacy but is becoming a bit of a restaurant row itself. Flavors from afar are reconfigured in Portland’s unself-conscious style: You’ll find paella and Portuguese flan at Lauro Mediterranean Kitchen ($$$; 3377 S.E. Division St.; 503/239-7000).

Nuestra Cocina ($$; closed Sun-Mon; 2135 S.E. Division; 503/232-2135) draws inspiration from central Mexico ― Yucatecan pork, shrimp sautéed with Oaxacan pasilla chiles, and a lengthy tequila list.

Pix Pâtisserie ( $; 3402 S.E. Division; 503/232-4407) is a small place with a big following for its to-die-for desserts and frosty Belgian beers.

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