Breakfast in Portland is practically an institution. Residents and visitors alike line up at cafés and restaurants all around town to start the day with warmth, comfort, and deliciousness. There are dozens and dozens of amazing breakfast spots in town, so don't be afraid to go off-list and try something new because it will probably be awesome. If you need a place to start, though, read on for some of Portland’s most classic and beloved breakfast joints.
Fair warning: Breakfast and brunch are extremely popular here. If you go at peak times, you’re most likely going to have to wait—so bring along some quality conversationalists and enjoy the experience.
Mother’s Bistro & Bar is one of the most classic breakfast spots in Portland: You cannot go wrong with a meal here. This warm and cozy restaurant features crystal chandeliers and earth tones, and because it's downtown, it's easy to get to. Of course, the food and cocktails are fantastic. It’s a fine date spot, but it's also an equally fine place to take the family out.
If you like your breakfast with a heaping side of history, then Besaw’s is the place for you. Aside from the fact that Besaw’s helped kick off Portland’s love affair with breakfast, this little restaurant has been serving up something delicious for nearly 120 years. Since 1903, it's taken turns as a beer parlor and gambling hall, soda fountain, and now, diner.
These days, Besaw’s is in a new location, but still serves up the same delicious food. Breakfast includes a few classic items, like Benedicts and waffles, as well as a few treats you won’t find just anywhere. If you've got an extra-sweet tooth, try the banana bread French toast or pancakes topped with cream cheese frosting, toffee sauce, and cinnamon-toasted walnuts.
If you want a breakfast that goes above and beyond the usual traditional favorites, this dual restaurant and catering company is here for you. Right in downtown Portland, Cheryl’s on 12th features floor-to-ceiling windows and a bright and airy space. Once you’re seated, expect complimentary beignets to start your day out right. The menu is pleasantly varied; go light with steel cut oats or granola, or opt for an omelet, scramble, or Benedict. If you want to go all out (and you should definitely go all out), get one of the restaurant’s specialties. The Portuguese Fried Rice is a popular item from this list and comes with enough to share. One of the best things about Cheryl’s? They serve breakfast until 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all day on Sunday.
The Screen Door aims to serve traditional Southern food with Northwest food values, which essentially means fresh, local produce in spades. Whether you come for breakfast during the week or brunch on the weekend, you can expect some really delicious choices. While you’ll spot traditional Southern favorites like hush puppies, shrimp and grits, and biscuits and gravy, you’ll also find more unique offerings like the Praline Bacon Waffle. Lines are long for weekend brunch, but you can generally come during the middle of the week and walk right in.
Pine State Biscuits started with three men from the South who longed for traditional and delicious buttermilk biscuits. The menu includes a few other Southern favorites like pot pie and cornmeal pancakes—but you came here for the biscuits and that’s just what you should order. How you order them is up to you. Choose from a biscuit sandwich, biscuits and gravy, or customize your own biscuit with a range of options. Top it all off with your side of choice, whether that be hushpuppies, greens, or fried green tomatoes.
With three locations in Portland and one in Hood River, Broder Café serves up a heavenly Scandinavian breakfast. Try one of the egg dishes, Pytt I Panna (Swedish Hash), or the Danish pancakes that come with house-made lemon curd and lingonberry jam. To wash it all down, try the Aquavit, which is a distilled beverage with a distinct herb flavor (think caraway, anise, fennel, and cardamom). Broder Café carries the largest collection of Aquavit on the West Coast, so whether you’re a fan or want to try something new, this is a good spot to do it. There’s even a nice selection of “Morning Spirits” that incorporate Aquavit into cocktails.
What’s not to love about waffles? Especially Liege waffles? Liege waffles are thick, square, and able to handle a hearty helping of savory and sweet toppings. The Waffle Window’s selection of toppings is ambitious, and range from fried chicken to ice cream. If you’re aiming for strictly breakfast fare, look to the Fruit and Granola Waffle, or go savory with the ham and cheese or bacon-topped waffles. There are three locations sprinkled throughout Portland for maximum waffle access.