Portland is for Vegans
If Virginia is for lovers, then I have to say, Portland is definitely for vegans.
Last year my husband, David, and I decided to start focusing on vacation destinations that offer a respectable vegan foodie footprint. Prior to going vegan, food was important, but, did not define our travel plans. Now, having been a plant-based vegan for almost 2 years, food is incredibly important to us and to our comfort on vacation. After all, who wants to see new places while eating hummus the entire time?
Known as one of the vegan capitals of the country, and named 4th in the top vegan-friendly cities in the WORLD, by Happy Cow., Portland is not just moving the bar on plant-based cuisine, they also take the cake when it comes to progressively trained chefs serving modern vegan twists on omnivore classics.
Originally, we had thought about other vegan-friendly places like NYC and Seattle, even Los Angeles, but Portland seemed to offer the perfect blend of culinary creativity I was craving and the much needed “nature-nurture” that my husband hoped for. I spent hours googling restaurant reviews, checking out vegan blogs and networking with vegan FB groups to find the best eateries we could.
Portland set the bar high.
And, after spending a week in Portland with a specific intent to eat our way through every vegan restaurant possible, I was SO impressed by the food found on our journey (but not the additional 10 lbs!), that I fear my husband and I may have become vegan vacation snobs.
I pulled together this awesome list of 11 versatile and reasonably priced dining options, perfect for any picky plant eater.
They are rated (1)👍 – (5)👍👍👍👍👍 according to our personal experience and are listed in the order in which we chowed down. 😋
The Blossoming Lotus
We stopped at the Blossoming Lotus as soon as we got into town. I had read so many great things about this eatery that I was super-psyched to check out what they had to offer. With a menu of mouthwatering descriptions and entrees that focus on seasonal, fresh and local food, I pretty much wanted to try just about everything.
Blossoming Lotus offers a sizable menu that would really please even the choosiest diner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and cocktails…they’ve got it all!
After narrowing down my choices, I finally settled on a taste bud tester of Mac and Cheese. I don’t know about you, but I have to try every vegan mac and cheese that I come across, so, this was a given. 🤷🏼
After that was devoured in about 3 seconds flat, I chose the Bibimbap Bowl
and David had one of the specials of the day, Pesto Pasta.
The Bibimbap is created with peanut soy curls, broccoli, mushrooms, brown rice, roasted garlic aioli slaw, pickled cucumbers, sesame seeds, sambal, and scallions. It was simply delicious!
The Pesto Pasta that my hubby had, screamed of fresh, organic ingredients with marinated cherry tomatoes, summer squash, green beans,
black olives, basil-pine nut pesto, and a cashew-hemp parmesan.
There were so many options in Portland that we didn’t make it back to Blossoming Lotus, although I would totally eat there again. The food quality was fabulous, prices reasonable, and I have heard the breakfasts are outta this world!
The next morning we went to
Another researched foodie destination, Harlow is a cozy and quaint, gluten-free, vegan/vegetarian restaurant. Like many places in Portland, you order at the counter and have the choice of a table or bar-top type seating looking out the front window. We always seem to choose the view!
I may or may not have salivated while staring at such inviting creations on the menu, and like usual, I told my hubby what he “may” want to order, based of course, on what I wanted to try! 🤫😀 TBH, we love to mix and match and share our plates…I mean, isn’t that what foodie life is all about?
Here’s what we had at Harlow.
The North Star Juice
A delicious starter juice of carrot, apple, and orange. Man did this pack a nutritional punch on the palette! So yummy! If you like your juices, elixirs, tonics, smoothies, and anything else you can consume via liquid, Harlow has just your thing!
I think this goes without saying.
D and I split these dishes. The Mercy Blues
and the Outlaw Scramble.
There was seriously nothing left on either of our plates, they were both THAT good!
Harlow offers a diverse and creative blend of veg, protein, carb and sauce combinations and really provides the vegan/vegetarian diner TONS of breakfast, lunch and dinner options. We would definitely go back to Harlow, especially to check out the dinner options.
Later that day, after another touristy tryst exploring Portland by foot and car, we had lunch at
925 NW Davis St. Portland, OR 97209 (we went here!)
With two locations, Prasad is the sister restaurant to Harlow and prides itself on conscious cuisine. Not just a favorite of tourists, Prasad is one of the hot vegan spots for locals, too. Everyone we spoke to about our food journey told us we must go to Prasad. So, we went to Prasad.
Another counter-to-table service set up, this restaurant offered a good combination of indoor and outdoor seating. Given the insanely beautiful weather Portland offered us while we were there, we sat outside.
I had the Utopian Dream Pasta
…and my hubby had the Chipotle Chili Bowl.
Another reason why we were really starting to love Portland, Prasad certainly satisfied the vegan foodie in me and the prices were fairly reasonable based on the quality and quantity of food.
The Utopian Dream Pasta was just that…a dreamy delicious pasta made with shredded green papaya, carrots, and kale, with accouterments like scallions and slivered almonds, mint and cilantro tossed in a savory almond butter Pad Thai sauce.
David’s Chipotle Chili Bowl had his favorite, black bean chili over quinoa and included steamed greens, scallions, avocado, cilantro, and a most delicious jalapeno cashew cheeze. It was also topped with spicy green chili sauce that made each bite end with “I want more.”
If you are looking for a satisfying meal in a welcoming, low-key, laid back atmosphere, head on over to Prasad and settle in for some undeniably delicious fare.
We were batting 1000! ⚾🙌🏼
After Prasad, we were fueled up and ready to check out some more of the sites around Portland and when night came I knew exactly what kind of cuisine I wanted.
For dinner, we stood in line and waited for a table at
Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen
If you are anything like me, then you are always craving a big bowl of noodles. I don’t know what it is, but, morning, noon or night I can always eat some form or fashion of noodles. When my foodie research uncovered that Luc Lac offered a vegan Pho bowl, drop the mic, I was sold.
Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen is clearly another favorite with locals because the place was packed the entire time we were there. The wait for a table was about 45 minutes long, but, we were able to snag two seats at the bar in just under 10 min. Score!
This restaurant is not just for vegans, and vegans be warned, they have mostly omnivore entrees, but, they do offer a nice selection of vegan Vietnamese fare…and, like I said, the Pho was calling.
We started with the Vegetarian Crispy Rolls
…and then, because I love this sandwich almost as much as Pho, we had the Lemongrass Tofu Bahn Mi
Even though we were already getting stuffed, David had the Tofu Salad Vermicelli Bowl as his entree (of course we shared),
And, I ended with the Tofu & Veggies Pho…Mmmm.
We were utterly satiated.
And…you would think, after that food frenzy, we would head back to the hotel and fall into a food coma, but, the night was young. We were in PORTLAND and we had a ton of exploring to do.
So, at about 10:00 pm, after trekking all over town and playing video games at Ground Kontrol Arcade, I had a craving for something sweet. I had seen people carrying these bright pink pastry boxes around since arriving in Portland.
Curious and on a mission, we discovered that divine little package of goodness came from the famous…
22 SW 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR, 97204 (we went here)
1501 NE Davis Street, Portland, OR, 97232 (we went here, too! 🤭)
This little gem of a donut joint offered a sizable selection of, you know, VEGAN DONUTS and…wait for it…they’re open 24/7! Talk about foodie heaven.
Have YOU heard about this place, Voodoo Donuts? Apparently, they are all over the U.S. map. Where have I been, that these donuts have not been in my life? Until now.
As we approached the location in downtown on 3rd Ave,
I noticed there was quite a long line out the door and around the building.
Feeling no fear, but rather growling stomachs, we jumped in line and waited our turn. It went so quickly and was SO worth it.
And, BTW, those donuts do not need any description…they were as delicious as they look! We were on a roll!
Not failing to find awesome vegan breakfast joints, the next morning, on our way to Mt. Hood, we drove over to the quaint and comfortable
Sweet Pea Baking Co.
Sweet Pea is a well-known vegan bakery in Portland with tons of specialty cakes and dessert options for any and every occasion. (Funny enough, we didn’t get any dessert, so my rating is on the food alone.).
From a dining perspective, it’s a casual, counter-service restaurant that offers a good selection of vegan fare. Everything is fresh and they try to keep it as organic and local as possible.
D devoured his tofu scramble before I had a chance to take a pic but, here is my breakfast sammie with tempeh bacon, tofu scramble and cashew cheeze on a ciabatta. The one downside to our meals, the scramble, which was part of both our dishes, had a LOT of turmeric, which is not always a good thing.
In comparing the cost for taste and what you actually get (value), Sweet Pea rated lower on our list for breakfast. The food was OK, but, did not rise to the flavor profiles delivered by other spots we hit.
Having cured my initial craving for creative, delicious, innovative vegan cuisine I suddenly had a desire for good old fashioned pizza. In doing my research, I kept coming back to a chain restaurant called:
There are actually 5 Sizzle Pie locations in Portland, so, take your pick. The one listed above is where we wound up. Knowing they had specific vegan pizza options, I was super-excited to dine here.
Sadly, the line was super long and even though we finally did get to order, it took forever to get our pizza. We actually had to go up to the counter twice because it seemed like they forgot us. And when we did finally get our pie,
…we were not at all impressed. Maybe if it was hot (it was lukewarm & I think they left it sitting there!), perhaps it would have been a bit better.
The garlic knots were good, and it was nice they offered several vegan dipping sauces that I have to admit were yummy. But, for the pie….meh. Thus my one 👍.
If you are looking for really good vegan pizza, I would ask one of the locals for their recommendations before spending your money at Sizzle Pie.
After our so-so lunch, we decided to hop in the car and go site seeing on the east side of the river, and that is when we came across
I had done a little research on Epif and knew it was a place that transformed classic South American meat-centric dishes into creative, delectable delights of pure vegan joy. And yes, yes they did!
At Epif, you’ll find nothing short of AH-MAZING food. In looking back at my notes, that was the exact word I used. They bring diners inventive and eye-catching food through small, medium and large tapas plates.
Again with the decision making…it was hard so we settled on
the Ceviche, made with Portobello and cremini mushroom, onion, red pepper and cilantro, all soaked in a delicious mango citrus marinade and served with their famous sweet potato chips.
And then we had
These fried pastries of pure bliss were stuffed with chives and cheese and sundried tomatoes, and, well, just goodness. We had several dipping sauces to choose from so we decided on the Aji Verde (green chili and cilantro) and the Pebre (tomato, onion and Anaheim pepper).
Finally, (yes, we still had room), we ordered the pièce de résistance…these…
…sinfully delicious, mashed potato rolls called Causa. Probably one of my favorite bites of the whole trip. This creative dish had me scratching my head, wondering…how did they do that?
All in all, Epif was a real winner and I highly recommend you stop here along your foodie travels. It will likely be my first meal when we go back.
Our final breakfast spot on our Portland journey was a place that took some finding, since, unbeknownst to us, it was inside a large office building.
111 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97204 (we went here)
Rabbits Cafe is a quick, counter service spot serving a meat-free menu of bowls and smoothies. We both ordered bowls. It seems we were so hungry this particular morning that I forget to snap a picture before we chowed down. So, here is our 1/2 eaten meals.
I had the Green Bowl w/ Kale and David ordered the Black Bean Bowl. Both were super huge and a great value for the money, but the food was, meh. D liked this place more than I did, and given all the great vegan spots in Portland, I am not sure I will come back here.
You would think we would be stuffed and tired of eating by now, but, we kept trekking to get through a couple more places that I had on my list. After all, this was a foodie vaca!
The final two places we hit were both vegan chain restaurants, with a growing footprint across the U.S. You made have heard of
Veggie Grill gives a new meaning to fast food, at least for vegans. I had not heard of this chain restaurant before going to Portland and now they seem to be popping up all over. Offering counter-service style with tons of options to choose from, once again, it was hard to decide.
Burgers, bowls, salads, tacos, burritos, sandwiches…you name it!
I landed on the Summer Celebration Salad (a seasonal item)…
…and we also had the Buffalo Wings.
D had the Beyond Burger, but, I didn’t snag a pic before he shoved it down his throat. All in all, Veggie Grill is a great, tasty option for vegans and non-vegans alike. The menu is extensive, the flavors on point and the cost is very reasonable.
Our final stop on our first vegan foodie adventure and the last dinner of our awesome vacation was at
With 38 locations across the globe (and growing), I was so surprised that I had never been to, or even heard of Loving Hut before now.
Along with many places on our expedition, Loving Hut offered exceptional food with creative flavor profiles and appetizing presentations. D especially liked the fact that the textures were on point and it did not seem like you were eating “vegan”.
I think we really went overboard with this place because we ordered all this.
Red Chili Wontons
General Tso’s Divine
And, finally, my entree, the Noble Broccoli.
The pictures pretty much say it all. The food was THAT good!. Now, I am dying to try the Loving Hut in Tampa, which is the closest to me.
Portland is definitely leading the way when it comes to representing the vegan food scene. Many of the restaurants we ate at are on the cutting-edge of plant-based flavor development and are setting high standards in texture and taste.
I can’t wait for the opportunity to make it back to Portland, to visit all the other great eateries that we missed and to revisit some of these favorites. I hope you found this list helpful when planning your trip to Portland and I encourage you to share your stories and experiences in the comments section below!
For now…happy traveling and happy eating!
Certified Plant-Based Chef and Holistic Nutritionist veganizing the planet one meal at a time. Bringing fans vegan food, brand, travel & lifestyle news while offering clients personalized vegan chef services in the Tampa Bay area. For the health of it! View all posts by Jennifer