Portland, OR

A Little Food Cart in the Mercado Offers Up the Best Burritos in Portland

Rose Bak


Photo by Fernando's Alegria restaurant

Portlanders love their burritos. There’s probably at least one burrito food cart in every cart pod in town, as well as in parking lots throughout the city. And of course, there are burritos of all varieties available in the city’s many Mexican restaurants.

It’s easy to see why burritos inspire such loyalty. They are fast, relatively healthy, totally customizable to your food preferences or special diets, and easy to eat on the go.

If you’re on a quest to find the best burrito in Portland, head on over to Fernando’s Alegria. You won’t be disappointed. This hidden gem consistently serves up the freshest and most flavorful burritos in town.

They are located in the Portland Mercado on the corner of SE 78th and Foster. If you are not familiar with the Portland Mercado, it is a small-business incubator and economic development initiative created by Hacienda CDC which opened in 2010. It seeks to support and develop minority-owned small businesses by offering training and technical assistance in entrepreneurship while becoming a hub for Latino culture in Portland.

The Portland Mercado includes space for sixteen businesses, an incubator kitchen, and, in non-COVID times, in-person dining and live entertainment feature music from Mexico and Latin America. A full spectrum of Latino cuisine is available at the Mercado including Mexican, Peruvian, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Cuban.

With their take on traditional Mexican cuisine, Fernando’s Alegria does one thing: burritos, and it does them well. They offer a “creative spin on classic burritos and wraps”.

Owner Fernando Rodriguez says,

“When you are creative, people try your food. Here you can invent something that no one has ever done and I assure you that people will try it.”

Rodriguez practices what he preaches, offering a variety of creative burrito options, each stuffed to bursting with fresh ingredients, perfectly prepared, and large enough to share.

The “Fernando’s Special Burrito” is a treat. It features perfectly seasoned bites of steak, grilled onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, rice, beans, sour cream, and cheese. You can also add some guacamole. The flavors blend well, making for a hearty and tasty burrito.


Photo by Fernando's Alegria restaurant

Carnivores can also enjoy the “Al Pastor Burrito”. This option has delicious pork carnitas, grilled pineapple, rice, beans, cilantro, sour cream, onion, and cheese. This take on the ubiquitous “al pastor” burrito tastes fresher than many other burritos in town. The cilantro is never slimy, and the pineapple is as flavorful as the pork carnitas.

The “Nyssa’s Vegetarian Burrito” is a flavorful mix of zucchini, squash, spinach, rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, and, of course, cheese. Another great vegetarian choice is the “Alegria Burrito” which combines grilled nopolitos, scrambled eggs, rice, beans, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream. Both burritos have perfectly prepared vegetables, neither too hard nor too mushy.

If there’s a vegan in your group, Fernando’s Alegria has you covered with three different vegan options. The best is the “Rip City Vegan Burrito”. You won’t miss the dairy as you enjoy this combination of grilled seasoned tofu, bell peppers, lettuce, rice, beans, guacamole, and grilled napolitos. The high water content of the vegetables can make this one a bit soggy, but eat it with a fork, it’s still delicious.


Photo by Fernando's Alegria restaurant

For those who are avoiding gluten, you can get any burrito or wrap “deconstructed” and served in a bowl.

In addition to a wide variety of burritos and wraps for adults, Fernando’s Alegria also offers some kid-size wraps with bean and cheese.

Fernando’s Alegria is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. As COVID restrictions ease, there is limited in-person dining. You can also get your burritos to go, or order from meal delivery services. Burritos run around $12 but can easily be for two meals.

Their service is fast and professional, and their meals are consistently delicious. Don’t miss getting Fernando’s Alegria on your eating out rotation.

#portland #oregan #mercado #burrito #vegan #vegetarian #glutenfree

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Rose Bak is a freelance writer who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and special needs dogs. She writes on a variety of topics including local news, homelessness, poverty, relationships, yoga, and aging. She is also a published author of romantic fiction. For more of Rose's work, visit her website at rosebakenterprises.com or follow her on social media @AuthorRoseBak.

Portland, OR

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