I continue my quest to try all the breakfast places in Portland, especially those that serve pancakes. :-)
I'd been to Zells previously midweek alone but wanted to take my husband there as he is more critical than I am about breakfast places.
I have to say, so far, Zell's is the best of the neighborhood breakfast places I've been to, with Milos a close second. The nice thing about Zells is that they serve breakfast all day everyday (but then they close around 2 p.m.) In some ways, I hate to share this tip because it was already packed, with about a 30-minute wait.
They have great pancakes, (sorry Atkins folks) with a tiny amount of cornmeal and a wonderful sweet flavor, plus they serve real maple syrup and are not skimpy with it.
The husband had corn beef hash with fried eggs, which had a wonderful blend of beef strips, peppers, onions and potatoes. Very flavorful.
I had the eggs benedict. This is not something I normally like or order but I saw it while waiting and it looked yummy. It was absolutely wonderful, the bearnaise sauce was perfect, the poached eggs were light and perfectly cooked, and the fresh canadian ham/bacon was sliced thick. My husband doesn't usually like eggs benedict but he kept stealing bites of mine and saying "yum!"
Also, their omelets looked lovely and their coffee is quite good. The only weak point of the meal was the potatoes, and those were good, just not great. My husband liked them, however.
Over the holidays I took guests to Bijou Cafe and The Original Pancake House (Barbur Blvd.) The Apple Pancake and corned beef hash/potato pancakes at the Original Pancake House were favorites. Bijou was interesting but the quality has been inconsistent both times I've been there. Plus Bijou's pancakes, while flavorful and healthy, are kind of mushy inside. And their sausage needs seasoning. And with Stumptown right next door, why is their coffee so average???
Anyway, if I have the choice I'll cross the river and go to Zells. FYI, Zells is on SE Morrison around 13th or 14th Ave.