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THE BEST VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN EATS IN PORTLAND

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Tiffany La Forge

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The list of amazing plant-based eats in Portland is a long one. Which should come as no surprise seeing as Portland has been recognized as one of the best cities in the world to be a vegan. We have second-to-none restaurants, a vegan mini-mall, an annual veggie-centric festival… and we even have the nation’s first vegan strip club. (Yeah, that’s real.)

So, yes, you certainly can find a vegan or vegetarian restaurant in every neighborhood. But we’ve singled out the must-go spots, from Portland’s first vegan cheese shop to the best in plant-based fine dining.

“Fresh Conscious Cuisine.” Yes, please. Unwind at this Southeast Hawthorne cozy cafe, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily. But what this gluten-free and vegetarian haven is most famous for is their bowls. Try the Chipotle Chili or the ever-popular Betty Bowl, constructed with beans, greens, roasted veggies, za’atar, apple-cabbage kimchi, and quinoa. And don’t get us started on their sauces. From Jalapeño Cashew Cheese to Avocado Cilantro, they are all nothing short of amazing. A must-order is their Hawthorne Mac, a creamy, gooey mac-and-cheese that you won’t believe is gluten-free and vegan. Get it made-to-order with Daiya cheese, almond parmesan, quinoa pasta, kale, hazelnut milk, garlic, and house spices. Wow.

Northeast’s Blossoming Lotus makes being a Stumptown vegan easy. The eatery takes up shop in the Lloyd District, providing a nice refuge from the slew of chain restaurants nearby. From brunch to happy hour to dinner, you’ll find plenty of delicious organic, vegan, raw, and gluten-free-friendly eats. Besides bowls, salads, and pasta, there’s live nachos, raw chorizo tacos, and loaded cheeseburgers. And their full bakery is something special on its own. Cakes, raw cheesecakes, brownies, and pie — you know where to find us.

100% plant-based and gluten-free. And did we mention delicious? These vegan sweets and eats are something we can definitely stand. Catering to several allergies and sensitivities (soy, gluten, sugar, dairy), SE Woodstock and NE Alberta’s Back to Eden Bakery whips up cruelty-free fare that everyone can enjoy. Come for their daily quiches, cashew tarts, and chili with cornbread and stay for their raw lemon bars, chocolate chia pudding, and seasonal pies. But the real winner? The house-made soft-serve ice cream, which can be added to dozens of sundaes, specialty shakes, root beer or kombucha floats.

At this SE Belmont St. restaurant, the drink menu is as long as the vegan menu, and we’re just fine with that. Choose among their vegan bowls, featuring marinated jerk tofu, nutritional yeast-breaded tofu, or—our favorite—spicy Thai tofu (we hope you like tofu). Their buffalo sub with marinated soy curls and miso-chive cheese is another solid go-to and can also be served as a bowl, sans bun. Wash it all down with a signature cocktail (or two).

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The Sudra

Restaurant

Perfect for a casual night out, The Sudra serves up some seriously delicious, Indian-inspired vegan plates that will make your taste buds dance. Come for happy hour and stay for dinner. This vegan spot (with locations in North and Northeast Portland) serves an assortment of veggie-packed bowls over basmati rice and a number of traditional plates. We suggest the Jack Fruit Vindaloo Bowl with root vegetables and kale in a tahini dressing. And don’t forget the warm, house-made bread.

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There’s more to Farm Spirit than food. It’s an experience, so you’ll have to make reservations. Grab your “tickets” on their website, and take note — dinner is only offered four nights a week (Wednesday-Saturday). When you arrive, settle in at the counter-style bar and watch the chefs work their magic right in front of you. Oh, and prepare for a 12-course menu sourced from local farms and purveyors and featuring the best of the best when it comes to seasonal produce. They also offer an optional wine pairing and non-alcoholic pairing with your choice of house-made kombucha, juices, and fermented soda. Like we said, it’s an experience.

It isn’t easy to find good vegan grub at a bar — well, unless you live in Portland. Capitol Bar in Northeast is Lightning Bar Collective’s seventh bar to open in the Rose City, and their entirely vegan menu might be a bigger draw than the cocktails. With savory eats like Beer Cheese Soup, Brussels Sprouts Grilled Cheese, and a classic, cashew-cheese mac, it’s hard to believe this place is actually vegan. But hey, we’re not complaining.

A perfect escape from the Northwest rain, this tiki bar in North Portland boasts an all-vegan menu with a lot to savor. We recommend the ever-popular jackfruit flautas with a cashew-cream drizzle or the grilled volcano roll flavored with wasabi mayo and a sweet soy glaze. Smaller bites include the cauliflower wings cooked in a coconut buffalo sauce and served with a side of creamy ranch. The best part? A percentage of sales benefit a different local charity each month. So go ahead — stuff your face.

We couldn’t make a list about vegetarian joints in town without including the Bye and Bye. (Or their sister restaurant, Sweet Hereafter.) This Northeast bar is great for many reasons. But here’s a few: late night hours (they are open until 2am daily), amazing cocktails, and vegan bar food at its finest. Happy hour happens every day from 4-7pm, where you can munch on cheap chips and hummus or edamame bowls with a glass of wine (or two). BBQ platters, grilled cheese, meatball subs, and Fritos-topped Chili Pie are some menu favorites. (Also, who knew Fritos were vegan?)

We’ll be honest. When we first saw this menu, we had to double-check that this place was, in fact, vegan. To our delight, they are (and much of the menu is gluten-free, too). This plant-based burger joint in Hawthorne takes responsible cooking and healthy dining to a new level (we’re talking compostable packaging, reclaimed wood dining tables, and deliciously healthy food). Choose among the house-made quinoa and veggie patties, the gluten-free patty (made with pea protein), or the savory meaty patty. Top it with smoky tempeh bacon, a slice of cheese, egg-free mayo, creamy guac, house-made ketchup, or sliced avocado. The options are endless.

If you like mac n’ cheese (who doesn’t), you’ll probably like this all-American spot on SE Foster, which boasts a heavenly “Mac Menu”. That’s right — we’re talking vegan mac ’n’ cheese with all the fixins. Opt for the classic mac topped with Ritz Cracker Bits or a savory mac n’ cheese plate featuring tempeh bacon, spinach, and bleu chz. If you’re looking for something with a bit of a kick, go for the fiesta mac packed with taco meat, peppers, onion, jalapeños, and sour cream. Share the macaroni (or not), then order one of their vegan burger patties, made from scratch and served with fries.

A vegan cheese shop. Need we say more? Okay, fine. We will. Paninis, gooey macaroni and cheese, fresh soups, wine, and cheese are what you’ll find at this all vegan restaurant and cheese shop on SW Jefferson. There are so many delicious option to choose from: aged white cheddar, cranberry brie, Mediterranean feta, smoked gouda). The best part? These dairy-free cultured cheeses are vegan, creamy, and made with all organic ingredients. Can’t choose just one? Don’t worry — you don’t have to. Choose-your-own cheese platters come with a variety of mouth-watering selections, including vegan deli meats, tapenade, pickled vegetables, mustard, and compote (all made in-house).

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The Whole Bowl

Restaurant

The Whole Bowl claims chowing down on one of their bowls is “like eating a hug”. We agree. It’s comforting, belly-warming, and pleasantly filling. This vegetarian outpost has seven locations all around town, which include a few food carts and brick-and-mortars. And although they only do one thing (bowls, obviously), they do it well. Order up a “Bambino” (12oz) or “Big” (16oz) filled with rice, Tillamook cheddar, sour cream, cilantro, beans, olives, salsa, and an addicting super-secret sauce. Your gluten-free bowl can also be “veganized” and even delivered to you via bicycle. How Portland is that?

Cheesy nachos. Creamy mac n’ cheese. Gravy-drenched biscuits. Yup — all vegan. Situated on Alberta Street in Northeast Portland, this casual, mostly-vegan cafe has vegan-ized many of your favorite guilty pleasures. Personally, we’d spring for the nachos smothered in a house-made cashew cheese sauce and topped with a tofu-based sour cream. But the vegan mac & cheese and the fluffy biscuits drenched in an almond-hemp milk gravy aren’t bad, either. Enjoy these classic comfort foods with a spicy bloody mary flavored with a special blend of spices.

This St Johns joint serves smoky vegan BBQ and comfort food that Portland herbivores go absolutely nuts for. Creamy MacNoCheese, golden-fried hush puppies, “rib” platters, and BBQ-bean-chili-cheese-fries are just a taste of what you’ll find at Homegrown. A must, though, is the SloSmoMoFo (did you just try to say that out loud?). This vegan version of a pulled pork sandwich features applewood-smoked soy curls, chipotle slaw, and plenty of BBQ sauce on a grilled bun. Prepare to get messy.

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Eb & Bean

Restaurant

While not strictly vegan, this is a go-to destination for Portland herbivores looking to get their fro-yo fix. With dairy-free almond and coconut bases, the frozen yoghurt at Eb & Bean has no artificial sweeteners, flavors, preservatives, corn syrup, or GMOs. So basically it’s guilt-free dessert — just what we like to hear! No matter what flavor you choose, the swirly towers of creamy goodness sprinkled with artisan toppings will leave you wanting more. Check them out at NE Broadway and SE Division St.

Despite what you may think, vegan food certainly doesn’t have to be plain and boring. And plant-based Israeli restaurant Aviv is the perfect example. Packed full of Middle Eastern flavors combined with Northwest harvest, a meal at Aviv is a party for your taste buds. Order up the shakshuka, shawarma fries, or jackfruit brisket and prepare for pure bliss.

 

**Updated by Carly Manning, September 2018

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