If you’ve always dreamed of drinking from Willy Wonka’s chocolate river like Augustus Gloop, we might have found the next best thing. Forget the instant powdered mixes and get cozy at one of these Portland spots doing hot chocolate right. Read on for 8 spots serving the wintry drink that we crave.
photo: Jim & Patty’s by Anna Doogan
Jim & Patty’s
If you miss Portland’s beloved Coffee People, you’ll be happy to find Jim & Patty’s, owned by Coffee People founders Jim and Patty Roberts, and now with three locations. Try a Mexican hot chocolate, a flavored steamer or a caramel fudge mocha at the Fremont location, and head straight for the cozy corner in the back. Aside from comfy chairs, the back corner is located near the two restrooms, and has shelves stocked with books, games and toys to keep your little ones entertained. Devour the scratch-made sour cream coffee cake or one of the melty breakfast sandwiches. After your crew has happily wiped the crumbs and whipped cream from their faces, walk a few blocks down to Pinball Outreach Project for an afternoon of free family pinball.
4951 NE Fremont St.
2246 NW Lovejoy Ave.
4130 SW 117th Ave.
Mon.–Sat. 6 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sun. 7 a.m.–5 p.m.
photo: Cacao by Kim T. via Yelp
The next time you and your tots are stocking up on new books at Powell’s, consider cruising a few blocks up to Cacao for a serious chocolate fix. For those who love variety, the flight of drinkable chocolate has three tempting flavors: Rivoli dark, cinnamon, and spicy dark. More of a traditionalist? The large cup of hot dark chocolate will hit the spot. Cacao’s inviting space has wide wooden tables that can fit your entire chocolate-loving play date. If you still have some last-minute holiday shopping to do, browse the shelves of mouthwatering caramels, toffee, truffles and chocolate bars. Need something extra special? They even carry cacao perfume and chocolate saffron body oil by Atelier.
414 SW 13th Ave.
Mon.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.
If you’re driving down Burnside and spot a charming red building with an enormous black bull perched on the roof, grab the nearest parking spot, because you’ve found Pix Patisserie. In their new Burnside location, Pix continues to delight with creamy drinking chocolate, elegant French desserts, an impressive collection of bubbly and now, an in-house Tapas bar, Bon Vivant.
Indulge in a mug of the drinking chocolate, or go for a regular hot chocolate paired with a caramel almond truffle or a raspberry macaron. Try a Macaronut (yes, it’s a macaron inside of a donut and fried), or try to choose from the glittering assortment of colorful gourmet gum drops.
If you’re just popping in for a quick stop, there are a few tall tables with high stools near the counter. Perfect for a few minutes of warming up with hot chocolate before heading back outside. Want to stay longer? Grab a full menu and wait to be seated inside the dining area.
2225 E. Burnside St.
Wed.–Fri. 4 p.m.-midnight
Sat. & Sun. 2 p.m.-midnight
Closed Mon. & Tues.
Cup & Bar
When Trailhead Coffee Roasters combines with Ranger Chocolate Company, the delicious result is the modern and airy space that is Cup & Bar. Located in the old Stark Vacuum building on MLK, the spacious café serves hot chocolate and vanilla, cinnamon sugar toast and an amazingly silky drinking chocolate that you’ll dream about. If you’re in the mood for something less sweet, try the avocado toast with ricotta and lemon salt while you gaze at the coffee roasting area in the back. Want to see the chocolate-making process? Sign up for the hour-long tour and tasting. (For ages 8 and up.)
118 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Daily, 7 a.m.–7 p.m.
Pip’s Original Donuts
Nothing pairs better with cocoa and coffee than a sweet, pillowy donut, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. The donuts are perfectly kid-sized, so you can happily let your tots indulge in these tiny treats. Kids will love watching the donuts being fried to order and the trying the fun toppings like raw honey sea salt, blackberry lavender and maple bacon. The hot cocoa is steamed with your choice of hemp, cow, almond or soy milk, and the Kid’s Cocoa is just the right size for little hands.
4759 NE Fremont St.
Daily, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
photo: Sherry S. via Yelp
Sara Hart’s magical chocolate confections have been making Portlanders swoon since Alma’s first storefront opened in Northeast in 2006. This sweet little shop delivers big flavors with unique handcrafted chocolates (Thai peanut butter cup, anyone?) and a dazzling menu of specialty hot drinks. Try the Classic Drinking Chocolate with cream and milk, or a Tea-Infused Hot Chocolate with jasmine or chai. For the younger set, the Kiddie Cocoa is a sweeter milk-chocolate treat.
Seating is minimal at the Northeast location, but grab your goodies to go and head around the corner to catch a flick at Laurelhurst Theater. This year, Alma opened a second location in Southeast, housed in the Weatherly Creamery Building. The Café at Alma Kitchen is a larger space with a commercial kitchen that allows visitors to see the chocolate-making in action while they indulge.
140 NE 28th Ave.
Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Sun. noon- 5 p.m.
1323 SE 7th Ave.
Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closed Sat. & Sun.
This brightly-colored Cuban restaurant is known for its flavorful food and vibrant atmosphere, but insiders know that Pambiche’s special house made hot chocolate is also worth a try. Steamed to perfection and topped with fresh whipped cream and mint leaves, this warm drink is just right for an afternoon stop to relax. Mealtimes can get crowded at this popular eatery, so swing by for happy hour instead. Pair your hot chocolate with some dulce de leche butter cookies, or peruse the happy hour menu and sample the empanadas and fried plantains. You won’t be disappointed.
2811 NE Glisan St.
Mon. – Thurs. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Fri. 11 a.m. – midnight
Sat. 9 a.m. – midnight
Sun. 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
photo: Eden, Janine and Jim via flickr
This cute spot on Belmont serves delicate sweet and savory crepes and grilled sandwiches, as well as expertly made hot drinks. The velvety hot chocolate is topped with house-made toasted marshmallows and pairs perfectly with the selection of adorable kids’ crepes. (We love the butter, sugar and lemon!) Adults can sip a lavender lemonade or Kir Royale while feasting on Goat Fig Pig (a buckwheat crepe stuffed with goat cheese, marsala-soaked figs and prosciutto). If you have room for even more decadence, try a sweet scoop of the cinnamon or wildflower honey ice cream. One corner of the café has toys and games to entertain little ones as they wait for their tasty treats.
3342 SE Belmont St.
Mon. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Wed.- Fri. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sat. 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Where’s your favorite place for hot cocoa? Tell us in the comments below!