A huge part of the reason you’re so excited to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? The excuse the holiday gives your family to check out some of Portland’s best Mexican cuisine. Whether you’ve got a hankering for crunchy tortilla chips, cheesy quesadillas or salty margaritas, head to one of the following eateries to get into the spirit of this festive cultural holiday.
Photo credit: Cheng-Tsung L. via Yelp
Got some adventurous little eaters in the family? At the perennial favorite Nuestra Cocina, the dining room will undoubtedly be humming—but it’s worth arriving early to enjoy the tender tacos de puerco and the flavorful sopes de chorizo. The cuisine is somehow refined and comforting at the same time, offering a little taste of Mexico for both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. And the atmosphere is so friendly, casual, and lively that you needn’t ever feel self-conscious about bringing the whole family.
2135 SE Division St.
¿Por Qué No?
Only in Portland would there be a restaurant creating authentic Mexican flavors with sustainable ingredients that support the local economy. That restaurant is ¿Por Qué No?, where the staff is always warm and welcoming, the food is fresh and flavorful, and the atmosphere is eclectic and engaging. Adults will love the gut-busting Bryan’s Bowl; the daily happy hour discounts on chips, tacos, and drinks (3-6 p.m.); and the margaritas made with a rotating selection of agua fresca. The niños, meanwhile, can choose from their very own simplified menu of tacos, quesadillas, and rice and bean bowls. And even if there’s a line out the door—as there often is—know that it moves quickly and that there is always a place to sit.
3524 N Mississippi Ave.
4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Photo credit: Yelp
Stella Taco is a delightfully bright and airy space, and one of the newest additions to the Alberta Arts District. The breakfast tacos—whether you opt for the shredded brisket, the house-made chorizo, or the vegetarian—are the name of the game here and (good news!) they’re served every day until 3 p.m. Other reasons to love Stella? It offers an affordable kids’ menu of quesadillas, rice and bean bowls, and both crunchy and soft tacos; a dining room stocked with crayons and drawing paper; and daily happy hour discounts on tacos, margaritas, and draft beer (3-6 p.m.).
2940 NE Alberta St.
Photo credit: Torta-landia Facebook page
What would Cinco de Mayo be without a margarita (or two)? At Torta-landia, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of a casual, child-friendly neighborhood restaurant (think picnic tables and an open garage door)—but one with an extensive selection of parent-friendly drinks. The guacamole and the griddled burritos are not to be missed, while the Mexican tortas are made with a wonderfully Portland twist—freshly-baked bread from the Pearl Bakery.
4144 SE 60th Ave.
Si Señor Mexican Restaurant
Where better to bring the entire family than a family-owned restaurant serving family recipes that date back to 1923? At Si Señor Mexican Restaurant, you’ll find an incredibly varied menu, where kids and parents can enjoy everything from fajitas to enchiladas to a wide variety of mix-and-match combination platters. But the food is only part of the attraction at Si Señor, where the friendly service, ample seating, generous happy hours, and live mariachi performances make for a worry-free and festive outing (call for the most up-to-date music schedule).
625 NW Saltzman Rd.
8220 SW Hall Blvd.
Photo credit: Joshua C. via Yelp
Trying to get your family to eat a little healthier? Grab a table at Verde Cocina, where every dish features fresh vegetables from local farms near Portland. On the Paleo diet? Not a problem. Vegetarian or vegan? Plenty of options. Gluten-free? Try the entire menu. You and your family will not only enjoy a delicious dinner—the kids will be entranced as they watch the chefs make fresh corn tortillas right before their eyes.
524 NW 14th Ave.
6446 SW Capitol Hwy.
5515 SW Canyon Ct.
Amelia’s Rustic Mexican Restaurant
Is there any better way to keep the kids’ attention while you wait for dinner than warm, homemade tortillas and fire-roasted salsa? At Amelia’s Rustic Mexican Restaurant, those complimentary snacks are only the beginning. The tacos de pescado are some of the best you’ll find north of Baja California; the tamales are tender and flavorful; and the many varieties of mole are rich and complex. Best of all? The daily lunch and dinner specials make these authentic Mexican dishes quite easy on the wallet.
105 NE 4th Ave.
2130 NE Griffin Oaks St.
So what’s your plan for Cinco De Mayo? Let us know in the comments below!
— Maura O’Brien