Portland’s long summer evenings just beg for opportunities to eat outside, and fortunately this city has a plethora of outstanding restaurants with alfresco dining. When you’ve got kids to feed, outdoor seating can be especially helpful. Read on for our favorite kid-friendly spots for great food in the fresh air.
Photo: Portland Mercado by Ed U. via Yelp
Let the kids play at Mt Scott Park and then walk a few blocks to the Mercado, a wildly popular, colorful food cart pod in the Foster-Powell neighborhood. Choose from an array of delicious meals from Latin America, pick a table under the wide awning strung with festive paper garlands, and enjoy live music and kids’ activities on certain summer evenings (July 20, for example, with the Festival Caribena). After dinner, head to the indoor market and let the kids pick out a fruit popsicle from the chest freezer, while you do a little shopping. Kaah Market sells everything from tortilla presses to fresh produce, and Kaah Carniceria offers a selection of fresh meat.
7238 SE Foster Rd.
photo: Tin Shed by Rachel B. via Yelp
Tin Shed Garden Café
It’s brunch-only these days for this treasured Portland farm-to-table restaurant, but what a brunch it is. The Scratch Biscuits Benedict are to die for, and what kid doesn’t love a thick slice of french toast covered in maple syrup? Check out the sampler plates if you just can’t choose. A back garden and heated patio make this a pleasant outdoor option year-round.
Brunch served daily, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
1438 NE Alberta St.
The founders of this brewery, situated on an impressive 2-acre property, are parents of young children themselves, and their family-friendly outdoor seating area proves it. Grab a burger, tacos, or falafel from the food carts and then choose from a selection of beer brewed onsite. In addition to the tasting room and greenhouse beer garden, there’s a large outdoor area with games and even a hop field. It’s off the beaten path and well worth the trip!
5211 NE 148th Avenue
photo: Por Que No? by Rick C. via Yelp
¿Por Qué No? Taqueria
When it comes to Mexican food, this Portland standby is a no-brainer. Crisp house-made chips with fresh salsa, a variety of delicious tacos, and the perfect margarita make this a mouth-watering choice for grown-ups. But the kids’ menu, casual atmosphere, and festive back patio at the Southeast location make it a winner for summer dining as a family.
Insider tip: The long lines say a lot about quality and popularity, and they move faster than you’d think. Bring some sidewalk chalk and let the kids draw while you wait.
4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
New Seasons’ Rooftop Patio
When your fridge is empty and the five o’clock hungries hit, why not cap off your grocery trip with dinner up on the roof? At the Woodstock location of Portland’s favorite natural foods store, you can fill a basket with selections from their hot food and deli department, including wok, ramen, and salad bars. Then take the elevator all the way to the top, where comfortable family-friendly outdoor seating awaits, with a view of the neighborhood. There’s a playhouse for the kids, and the Treehouse Bar serves wine, beer, and kombucha, with live music on select Friday nights.
4500 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard
photo: Rooftop Patio courtesy New Seasons Market via Yelp
Tap & Table on Ankeny
The Southeast location of this neighborhood pub has a great kids’ menu and a brand-new side patio for outdoor eating. It’s cheerful and cozy, albeit small, complimenting their impressive rotating tap list and well-developed menu. Kids can get comfy with a familiar plate of grilled cheese or chicken strips, while the growns can enjoy street tacos and burgers or dig into a seasonal, garden-fresh sharing plate.
Insider tip: Check the website for upcoming events and specials, like National French Fry Day (July 13) or National Chicken Wing Day (July 29), for a festive touch.
2724 Southeast Ankeny St.
Tamale Boy Dekum
The Northeast branch of this food-truck-turned-restaurant boasts a large back patio, well-priced kids’ menu, and delicious authentic food from Oaxaca and Northern Mexico. Go for brunch on the weekend and enjoy breakfast burritos and chilaquiles over a game of Candyland– families are welcome to bring games. But the tamales are where it’s really at, so be sure to stop by for an easy weekday dinner, too.
1764 NE Dekum St
photo: Caldera Public House by Pamela A. via Yelp
Caldera Public House
Head to Caldera’s tranquil back patio during happy hour for an affordable menu both kids and grown-ups will enjoy. Grab a pint or a glass of wine while your kids dig into a basket of tater tots or a hummus plate. The full menu includes a range of burgers and appetizing share plates, with a kids’ menu offering favorites like cheesy noodles and PB&J sliders. Located at the base of Mt. Tabor (it’s a sleeping volcano, and “caldera” means “crater”), this hidden gem is a great place to wrap up a hike or playground session at one of SE Portland’s most beautiful parks.
6031 SE Stark St.