I’m always pleased when I can write up a review on a place we’ve been to a bunch of times, because then I feel like I’m probably not going to steer anybody wrong. I’m also usually pleased to find that (unless you want a burrito) Mexican food is usually pretty easy to go gluten-free. You can get around the burrito problem by getting one without the tortilla and and eating it like a rice and beans plate with chips. Finally, I’m especially happy to report that Por Que No Taqueria has gluten-free fried fish tacos! Not only do they have fried fish tacos, but the fish is the breaded kind. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
This is the pleasing view you’ll see when you enter Por Que No on Hawthorne. Everything in the restaurant seems to have been salvaged from somewhere and then artfully placed in a chaotic way that puts me in the mind of an island retreat.
This is the not-so-pleasing view you’ll see when you enter Por Que No on Hawthorne. To be fair, the line moves very quickly, and for some reason there always seems to be somewhere to sit, even though the restaurant seems full to the gills every time we visit. It is a very popular spot. At Por Que No, you order at the counter. They give you a number and then you sit. Within a reasonable amount of time your drink and food shows up.
I like their Horchata.
Their salad is very attractive, and includes a generous amount of avocado. We don’t feel like it’s their strong spot, however. While it’s good, it isn’t excellent. Sienna had a problem getting one without hot sauce and had to send hers back a second time.
Here’s a serving of three tacos. Two of these are carnitas and the third is their gluten-free fried fish taco. The carnitas tacos are mostly meat with a little veggies, onion, and some cilantro. I think they must make their own corn tortillas at Por Que No. The corn tortillas are really awesome there. The fish taco is sort of what I call “Baja Style,” which I first became acquainted with on a trip to San Diego. So there’s fried breaded fish, cabbage, and some kind of white sauce. On the Por Que No fish taco I had, there was also some pineapple. All the tacos were awesome, flavor-wise. Sadly there wasn’t much fish in the taco. My taco had a single piece the size of my thumb. Sienna’s was a little better, but we still felt like the taco to fish ratio was off the mark. We also feel like the tacos are a little expensive for what you get.
The person who helped us at the counter knew exactly what I was talking about when I asked if the tacos were gluten-free, and I ended up feeling like it would be a safe place to eat as long as you asked questions about what you are ordering. As with any place that serves things that have gluten in them, be careful and remember that there’s basically always a chance of cross-contamination. The nice thing about Mexican food, though, is that they don’t use a lot of wheat – except for the tortillas and desserts.
We’ve been to Por Que No a bunch of times and have also visited their other place on Mississippi. Although we have a few issues with the place, the food there is awesome, and it has a really good energy. Now you can add gluten-free fried fish tacos to your Portland eating experience!
We want to know: Have you eaten at the Por Que No? Do you feel like Mexican is generally pretty easy to modify for gluten-free eating? Have you had any of the other entrees at Por Que No? Let us know!
Gluten-Free Safety Rating: Gluten-Free Friendly But Ask Questions.
Times we have visited: 4+ (So we feel pretty good about our score.)
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Price compared to “regular”: Same
Por Que No Taqueria
3524 N Mississippi Ave Portland, OR 97227 / 503.467.4149
4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd Portland, OR 97255 / 503.954.3138