When you hear the words “vegan mecca” there are a few places that immediately come to mind. For some people, they think Los Angeles with its wide array of celebrities embracing the vegan lifestyle and opening restaurants such as Trejo’s Tacos or Moby’s Little Pine restaurant. Others think of the fine dining of New York City with high-class establishments offering 9-course meals like Dirt Candy. But for all of the glitz and glam of those cities, the best place in the United States to get a wide variety of mind-blowing vegan food is in Portland, Oregon. Without further ado, here is the ultimate vegan guide to Portland.
Off The Griddle
Stop what you are doing right now, cancel your plans on Sunday, and get to Off The Griddle for brunch. Seriously, they have the BEST vegan biscuits and gravy in the entire country. The biscuits are homemade and are the perfect combination of flakiness and flavor topped with a succulent gravy that doesn’t rely heavily on mushrooms. The kicker? They pair it with freshly steamed kale that makes you feel like you’re not housing a ton of heavy food. Want more than that? Check out the “full mess”, which has hashbrowns, tofu scramble, spinach, tomatoes, a biscuit, all smothered in their decadent hollandaise sauce. Feeling super hungry? Get the Super Vegano burrito and add a side of hollandaise sauce!
Whether you are looking for brunch or dinner, Blossoming Lotus is one of the places you should put on your vegan tour of Portland. Their dinner has a wide variety of options such as the Tandoori Cauliflower, Thai Wrap and Bibimbap, while their brunch menu has the traditional breakfast items you would expect like Biscuits and Gravy and Tofu Rancheros. Looking for smaller snacks or a drink? Check out their happy hour!
Homegrown Smoker started out as a food truck before moving into their sticks and bricks location in the St. Johns area. With BBQ staples such as ribs, mac and cheese, collard greens, and cheesy grits, this is more than just “another vegan BBQ joint.” It’s a BBQ joint first that also happens to be vegan. Grab a combo plate that you can load up with multiple proteins and sides so that you can sample some of their best options. Hint: its the seitan ribs and buffalo wings!
If you’re looking for something that’s on the healthier side but doesn’t come at the expense of flavor, look no further than Native Bowl. Every meal is made to order, from scratch, so you can be sure that you’re getting nothing but the freshest ingredients and a meal that will blow your tastebuds away. They try and use local ingredients wherever they can and that includes their tofu, soy milk, and soy curls. They have a wide array of flavors from BBQ, buffalo, Asian inspired garlic tofu, or their middle eastern inspired Hollywood bowl.
Departure is one of those experiences where you’ll want to make a reservation and try and get a table by the windows. Overlooking the city while dining on some incredible pan-Asian cuisine is something to behold. They have their own vegan specific menu which includes some fantastic dishes like the Bibimbap, unique sushi rolls, and Kimchi fried rice. Make sure to order a fancy cocktail to complete your nice night out on the town.
It’s very easy to get vegan food at an Asian restaurant, but few do it with such debonair as Jade Rabbit. With elevated dishes like shumai dumplings topped with vegan roe and traditional dishes such as Cheung Fun, you are presented with many bites that are sure to please your palette. While every dish is absolutely delicious, the plating is where Ichiza Kitchen really shines. Everything is beautifully plated which really sets the tone for the flavors you will experience. Put this on your “don’t miss” list!
El Nutri Taco
El Nutri Taco has that feeling of equal parts fast food restaurant and hole in the wall Mexican restaurant, but don’t let that dissuade you, it has some of the best vegan Mexican food options around. With vegan cheese, sour cream, and a plethora of vegan meats to choose from, you aren’t locked into a simple bean and rice burrito as your only option. Check out the wet burrito if you’re extremely hungry or Gaby’s enchiladas if you’re looking for a dish that’s crammed full of flavor.
Ethiopian cuisine is one of those types of foods that, until you have tried it, you really do not know what you are missing out on. Portland has its fair share of Ethiopian restaurants, but the place that you need to go to on your epic vegan pilgrimage to Portland is Enat Kitchen. Boasting 7 different vegan options, you don’t have to decide on any particular one and instead, can order the veggie combo. This dish comes with enough injera to sample all of the delicious flavors from the spicy miser key wot to the palette-pleasing shiro. Be sure to bring a friend because this dish will easily fill up two or more people!
With a location downtown and in the Northeast side of the city, you can easily get to Dar Salam to enjoy Iraqi food at its finest. If you’re hungry, or you’re wanting to try a few different things by sharing with your friends, pick up the Falafel Mezza Platter which comes with hummus, baba ghanoush, and substitute the tzatziki for pickled mango. This goes perfect with an order of the dolmas or the falafel rice plate. They also have an assortment of stews that are all vegan!
Uchu Sushi and Fried Chicken
As a vegan, hearing the restaurant name “Uchu Sushi and Fried Chicken” is a bit of a turn-off, but their vegan food is worth a stop. With a wide array of different vegan sushi options, there’s something that everyone will enjoy! Make sure to try the spicy vegan mayo as a dip for your sushi rolls. On top of all of that, they have one of the best agedashi tofu options in the entire United States! They are definitely worth checking out! *Note, they do have a live fish tank.
Much more than just a pizza shop, Virtuous Pie offers delicacies such as cast-iron mac and cheese and ice cream. But the real reason to go there is to check out their daily pizza by the slice. Often times it will be something that you cannot order on the menu such as the Hot Pocket which contains vegan ham and cheese on top of their fire-baked crust. Check out other highly rated pizzas such as the Stranger Wings covered in buffalo cauliflower and blue cheese or the mac and cheesa, which is exactly what you want a mac and cheese pizza to be. Pair your pizza with the garlic knots- they’re delicious!
The reason to go to Via Chicago can be quickly summed up in 4 delectable words. Vegan. Deep. Dish. Pizza. That’s right, Via Chicago is one of the few places that you can find a vegan Chicago style deep dish pizza. Loaded with either Daiya cheese or a combination of Daiya and tofu ricotta and topped with a layer of pizza sauce this will satisfy anyone’s cravings. Combine that with one of their rotating craft beers and you’ve got yourself a fantastic meal.
With names like Spiral Tap, Buffalo 666, Vegan Angel of Doom, and The Ripper, it’s easy to see that there’s a metal theme at Sizzle Pie. Boasting a range of pizzas from buffalo jackfruit to jalapeño and pineapple to sausage and pepperoni, there is a little bit of something for everyone. Not ready to commit to a whole pie? You can pick up several of their options by the slice in their deli case or you can get a great combo with a slice of pizza and salad.
Almost everyone who goes vegan has their story of how cheese was the hardest thing to give up. With a place like Vtopia it becomes SO much easier! Their rotating selection of in-house made cheeses really stand apart from other vegan cheese options. Try the caramelized onion camembert or the smokey cheddar to really set your tastebuds alight. You can also order sandwiches that highlight the cheeses or try the mac and cheese that is sure to satisfy everyone.
If you’re not aware of Voodoo Doughnut, then you’re truly missing out on one of the most eclectic doughnut shops in the entire country. Known for their off-the-wall doughnuts such as their cap’n crunch and fruit loops, as well as a massive selection of vegan options. All of them are readily marked as vegan and you can’t go wrong with a Portland Cream or their namesake Voodoo Doll which is a doughnut filled with Raspberry cream, topped with chocolate and then stabbed with a pretzel stake. Beware that you may have to wait in a pretty long line, but they are absolutely worth it!
Vegan Strip Mall
Sweetpea Baking Co.
It’s not very often you come across a bakery that is 100% vegan, but Sweetpea Baking Co. fits that definition perfectly. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, but you can get some truly unique items that you can’t find anywhere else in the city. Stop by during breakfast to pick up a fully vegan quiche or during lunch for the interestingly named Turtle Power, which comes with Veggeroni, cashew cheese, pepperoncini, roasted red pepper, spinach, and ranch, all on toasted ciabatta.
With a wide variety of options such as chips, chocolates, cheeses, and THE BEST vegan bacon you can find, Food Fight is well worth a visit! While Portland has several great options around town to pick up vegan groceries, Food Fight will have some of the more specialty items. You can find a little bit of everything there, including off the wall items such as vegan haggis! Don’t leave without indulging in some delicious soft-serve ice cream. They also take in tips that they distribute to a “nonprofit of the month” which can range from animal rights to gun control to LGBTQ+ organizations.
While not food-related, Herbivore Clothing has all of your animal rights and vegan clothing needs on lockdown. Selling items such as vegan and cruelty-free clothing, books, bags, wallets, art, jewelry, body care, kitchenware, and more, you can find something for everyone. With slogans like “Eat Like You Give a Damn” and “Be Kind: Especially to Animals” you’re bound to turn some heads while wearing their clothing. They make great holiday and birthday gifts too!
When you think of all things vegan, you don’t necessarily think about tattoo shops. But did you know that everything from lotions, gloves, and tattoo inks can easily contain animal products? With Scapegoat Tattoo, you don’t have to worry about any of that. Everything that they use in the store is 100% animal product free and cruelty-free and the majority of their artists are also vegan. So you can get your new tattoo knowing that the entire process and mentality behind it is coming from a compassionate place. They have walk-in appointments as well so you can show up with small designs on a regular basis.
Bars & Adult Entertainment
Bye and Bye
Bye and Bye is the quintessential bar when you think about Portland. It feels like you’re surrounded by hipsters, but don’t take that in a negative way. Bye and Bye has a very warming and positive vibe to it and the food and drinks are some of the best in the city. Their BBQ Brussel Bowl is filled to the brim with BBQ tofu, Brussel sprouts, and brown rice, and their BBQ platter is piled high with BBQ tofu, black-eyed peas, and collard greens. Try their tempeh Reuben for a fantastic sandwich and the pretzel knots that come with savory cheese dipping sauce. They also have a namesake drink that is peach vodka, peach bourbon, lemon, cranberry juice, and soda, all in a mason jar, which is not to be missed out on.
The Sweet Hereafter
Created by the same people who opened the Bye and Bye, the menu at The Sweet Hereafter is different enough to warrant its own stop on your vegan tour of Portland. It has a more upscale cocktail vibe and the menu is stocked full of traditional pub fares like pretzels, burgers, and mac and cheese, but you can also get unexpected favorites like the Tofu Bahn Mi, and the Steve Martin, which is jerk marinated tofu topped with onion, coleslaw, pineapple, and miso mayo. It’s a great place to meet up with friends for Happy Hour!
Black Water Bar
If you’re a big fan of punk or metal music, then you absolutely have to stop by Black Water Bar. Known for having local shows and larger well-known bands play their stage, they also are entirely vegan! Where else can you get vegan pierogis while listening to some incredible music? Their wings are also fantastic as they are the giant drumsticks with the sugar cane stick in the middle and aren’t super spicy. Pull your spiked bracelets out of storage, grab your ripped jeans and Slayer t-shirt and head on down to Black Water!
The highlight at Capitol really comes down to three words. Private. Karaoke. Room. You can get all of their food and drinks delivered directly to your own private karaoke room where you and your friends can sing to your heart’s content without judgment! The menu has been crafted by the same duo who started Bye and Bye, Sweet Hereafter, Victoria, and Associated, so you KNOW it is delicious!!
Are you an old school gamer at heart? Then Ground Kontrol alone is worth the pilgrimage to Portland as it is a “barcade” packed full of classics such as Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more! The entire upper floor is filled wall to wall with pinball machines with themes such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Addams Family. Not only that, but after 5 PM, it’s a 21+ bar that serves staples such as grilled cheese, nachos, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Just make sure you specify vegan as they do have non-vegan items.
For a little bit of a different experience, you can go hit up Casa Diablo, which is the first vegan strip club in the world! Even if that is not your thing, you can still go and sit on the outside patio and order food without having to enter the premises. They’ve got your traditional pub fare including mac and cheese, nachos, and chips and salsa, but also have things like yakisoba and beefy stroganoff. Or you can just order their drunk bread which they claim is “Whatever bread we have toasted into garlic bread because you’re drunk & need cheap food.” Now you can actually say you went to the strip club for the “wings.”