UPDATED NOV 11, 2019
No matter what you’re in the mood to eat, Portland has you covered. From vegan or vegetarian to gluten-free, keto, or flexitarian, you name it, and we know the best local spot for any meal of the day.
Vegans, we hope you're paying attention because this spot is one of the best animal-friendly eateries in the entire city. The vibe is very Hawthorne St., so you’ll indulge in a bit of the Portland weirdness right as you walk in. To be honest, we could not speak higher of Harlow, where we can leave with a stomach full of nachos and fruity cocktails and still feel healthy. They offer countless dairy-free products and substitute chicken with tofu or beans, and we promise that you will find something you like here. While our mouths water at their vegan Hawthorne Mac, we also suggest their Betty Bowl for something a bit lighter.
The Whole Bowl is like Cafe Yum, but 10x tastier. Each bowl is gluten-, nut-, and wheat-free — and served from a food cart that usually has a line of 10 or less. If you already have your favorite Portland cart, praises of this little shack by the New York Times or Portland Tribune might encourage you to change your routine. Small but mighty, this cart packs a serious punch. We prefer to “veganize” the bowl so that the sour cream doesn’t slow down our day and also opt for avocado rather than cheese. Their carts are scattered throughout Portland, but you should look for the Hawthorne and Vancouver locations, as they both stay open for dinner.
Near the waterfront and looking for a lunch spot? We suggest Little River Café, which overlooks the boating dock on the Willamette. Choose from a range of quinoa bowls, wraps, and sandwiches while people-watching the local hipster or Portland runner along the esplanade. The food is light and tasty, and the restaurant itself has a warm and friendly vibe that fills you with energy. We suggest their Southwest Bowl. And, just in case your sweet tooth is prevalent, their ice cream is known around the city for a reason.
Poke Mon on Hawthorne, unsurprisingly, offers poke bowls that pack nutrition and flavor. The decor is fun and casual, the fish is incredibly tender, and whatever they mix into the signature bowls just works. Gluten-free or vegetarian? They have something for you, too (including A+ tofu options). Any day of the week, we opt for the Hawaiian Ahi Poke bowl — the perfect blend of sweet and delicate. Willing to spend three dollars extra? Spend it on the Choi’s Kimchi!
This modern and warm restaurant in Irvington serves a vegetarian menu that, among many other things, makes a “cheeseburger” out of a walnut patty that will blow your mind. The squash tacos also have our number; tasty in all their gluten- and soy-freeness. Plus, they've got a great staff that can answer whatever questions you throw at them. Oh and did we mention they have an incredible brunch menu? Fitt Tip: Iced Coconut Chai. Just trust us.
We head over to Back to Eden when we’re wandering NE Alberta and want the best gluten-free vegan pizza our souls will ever taste. The bright colored, light-filled cafe is the perfect upbeat and healthy spot for your Sunday indulgence. And we choose this spot not only because it’s vegan and gluten-free, but because we can’t even taste the difference compared to the real deal ’za. Whether you’re ordering their salad, breadsticks, or a Brussels sprout pizza — your stomach is going to be as happy as your taste buds. And if you're not in the neighborhood, they also have a food cart on SE Woodstock Blvd.
Pixie Retreat is a restaurant that has a phrase claiming their food with make you “roar” (or raw’r, per their spelling). And, we're not gonna argue. Their menu is full of items that contain all-natural and organic ingredients, focusing on meals that don’t contain gluten or meat. Their location on NW is trendy and modern while their Laboratorie and Makery on SE 3rd features outdoor seating. But if you enjoy all this yum from the comforts of your couch, go takeout. And you might just do that on the regular because, well… their Bakn’ Cheez Burger Collard Wrap.
If you’re willing to take a hit in your bank account, what better reason to do this than for a phenomenal steak? Urban Farmer is sitting pretty damn chic, perched at the top of the Nines Hotel downtown (one of the best hotels in Portland). The menu consists of organic and locally-sourced beef that will provide you the iron-packed filet that’s missing the fat. After dinner, head to Departure (same hotel) for tasty cocktails and a view of the city at night.
Prepare for a colorful meal at Portland’s Prasad. Whether you order one of their savory grain bowls, a vegan burrito or a veg-packed green juice, you’re sure to leave having hit your veggie quota for the day. Fitt Tip: check out their location inside the Portland Rock Gym in Northeast Portland (their other location is in Northwest) for a quick climb and dine.
This good-for-you eatery's menu provides a serious list of options, making healthy dining both delicious and so, so simple. Whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, or a health-conscious carnivore, Laughing Planet (with locations all over Portland) has everything from simple salads and soups plant-based quesadillas, hearty grain bowls, and flavorful burritos. The best part? They don't skimp when it comes to portion sizes, so prepare to have leftovers.
Grain bowls are an all-too-familiar fixture on healthy menus, but we promise you’ll be happy once you try the options at Rabbits Cafe. With locations in downtown and Northeast Portland, this cute and quaint pit stop serves up an assortment of bowls big and small, flavored with items like nacho-ranch sauce, curried-walnut crumbles, barbecue soy curls, and tahini dressing. Our favorite? The Incredi-Bowl, with sesame-ginger broccoli and soy curls, which just so happens to pair perfectly with any one of their handful of fresh-made smoothies.
Sometimes a sit-down lunch just isn’t possible. On those days, we head to one of Kure Juice Bar’s six Portland locations, where an assortment of veggie-packed juices, shots, and smoothie bowls will keep us full for at least a few hours. You can't go wrong with the Bowl of the Gods, aptly named for its heavenly blend of acaí berries, bananas, strawberries, and peanut butter.
When dining here, you can rest assured that what you’re eating is the best possible quality. North Portland’s Cultured Caveman takes its food so seriously, in fact, that you can find a list of ingredients online for every menu item. We don’t doubt the quality, though. We trust our taste buds and give the pork carnitas tacos (with pork shoulder, coconut aminos, and jicama slaw) two big thumbs up. Still not convinced? We'll leave you with two words: appetizer flight.
When you stop by Tusk on E Burnside St. you're not only going to be noshing on all sort of healthy, locally-sourced eats, but you'll also be dining in style. This restaurant has epic design details that include everything from white walls and gold-colored fixtures to a huge picture of Keith Richards hanging above the bar. It all expertly accents their flavorful dishes in a way that few other places are able to pull off. And although their menu is seasonal, you can always count on perfectly-cooked vegetables to take center stage.
If you're planning on a trip to this Korean-American restaurant, it's best to make a reservation, but trust us, the extra leg work will be well worth the time and effort. Here, you'll find all sorts of health-conscious snacks, dumplings, and shareable plates that will make your taste buds run wild, plus a cocktail menu that dreams are made of (all options can be made as a mocktail, too!). And if you're feeling really adventurous, you and your crew can opt for family-style dining, in which case, you'll leave what you're eating up to the chef. Fitt Tip: if you're not keen on making a reservation, make sure you show up right when they open 5pm, or wait to swing by until at least 8:30pm.
**Updated May 2019.