Portland, Oregon is known for its quirky, off-the-beaten-path attitude, living up to its motto “Keep Portland Weird” with gusto. This Pacific Northwest city is a haven of all things counterculture, from hosting the world’s largest naked bike ride to being one of the most queer-friendly destinations in the country. Because of the city’s liberal attitude and proximity to nature, many of its inhabitants feel strongly about climate change and sustainability.
With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Portland is one of the best cities in the country for veganism. Along with being full of quirks, Portland has a thriving food and coffee scene, making it a paradise for foodies. No matter the cuisine you’re craving, you can likely find a delicious vegan option for it in Portland.
Here’s our two cents on the best vegan restaurants in Portland!
Portland is chalk-full of delectable Thai restaurants, and KaTi is a local favorite whether you’re vegan or not. This Southeast-based restaurant keeps all the flavor while avoiding the fish sauce, shrimp paste and other non-vegan traditional Thai ingredients. The crispy rice appetizer, Nam Khao Tod, is a signature dish that is impossible to resist no matter how many times you go. You also can’t go wrong with the Pad Thai or Tom Kha. For a crispy tempeh dish with sweet and tangy tamarind sauce, try the Boss Special.
Harlow Cafe & Juice Bar
Harlow is the first restaurant that comes to mind when one thinks of vegan food in Portland. This cafe and juice bar serves locally-sourced, organic vegan food, from tempeh scrambles to oat milk smoothies. Try an elixir for a burst of vitamins and nutrients, or get a bowl for a filling meal. The Chipotle Chili bowl is complete with guacamole, chipotle black bean chili and house chimichurri, while the Hawthorne Mac is the epitome of vegan comfort food.
Cuisine: Vegan, fermented
It doesn’t get funkier than Fermenter, a restaurant specializing in fermented food in the Buckman neighborhood of Southeast Portland. This fully plant-based restaurant is all about local agriculture and fermentation, with a wide range of fermented foods on its menu. You’ll find tempeh patties smothered in cashew-cheese sauce, jojos with hazelnut ranch, and kefir spread. To take matters into your own hands, check out Fermenter Workshop next door for fermentation classes.
This Indian restaurant is a favorite among Portland foodies, beloved for its creative Indian dishes and craft cocktails. Although you won’t find traditional Indian dishes, chef Sanjay Chandrasekaran’s creations are not to be missed. From the Pakora Thali to the Soy Curl Tikka Masala Bowl, the menu is a mouthwatering mix of Indian and Southwestern flavors, all using plant-based ingredients.
Cuisine: Plant-based pizza and ice cream
New vegans often assume that their time with dairy-centric foods like pizza and ice cream is over, but restaurants like Virtuous Pie show that pizza and ice cream are for everyone. This restaurant’s mission is to provide food that’s delicious, healthy and good for the world, which they accomplish with their plant-based pizza and ice cream. With locations in Canada as well, Virtuous Pie provides happiness in the form of yummy eats, using artisanal nut-based cheese on its flavorful pizzas.
Obon Shokudo is the place to go for plant-based Japanese fare, with its warming stews and addicting appetizers. The Curry Udon is a favorite, featuring homemade noodles, house curry and fried tofu. As for appetizers, the Okonomiyaki is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of a cabbage and onion pancake with fried tofu. Obon Shokudo also has a wide variety of onigiri rice balls to choose from. If you like sake, make sure to wash your food down with a flight or two of sake.
Cuisine: Sri Lankan
Another tasty option in the Buckman neighborhood, Mirisata started out as a vegan pop-up, eventually getting a brick-and-mortar location and becoming a vegan mainstay of Belmont Street. This Sri Lankan restaurant is co-owned by its eight employees, and all of its success is borne out of cooperation. The vegetable curry dishes rotate by week, including options like Dahl, Tempered Beetroot and Garlic Curry. Try the Combo Plates for a mix of everything or have a Sri Lankan-Chinese dish, consisting of plant-based deviled “meat” over fried rice.
Vegan Junk Food
Cuisine: Vegan comfort food
Although vegan food is often pictured as consisting of salads and tempeh bowls, vegans can indulge in comfort food as much as our meat-loving counterparts. Vegan Junk Food makes this point loud and clear, serving all the cheesy, carby meals that we think of when we crave “junk food.” Set in a 50’s style diner, this restaurant serves pizza, cheesy nachos, chili cheese fries, and more, all with plant-based, ethically-sourced ingredients.
Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Portland
Although these restaurants aren’t strictly vegan, they’re beloved in the vegan community for their many delicious plant-based options. Here are some of the best vegan-friendly options in Portland!
Taqueria Los Gorditos
This vegan option is actually a food truck with five different locations throughout the city, making it even more accessible for vegans craving a taco or burrito. Taqueria Los Gorditos has explicitly vegan sections on its menu to help hungry vegans order with no confusion. It’s hard to go wrong with dishes like the Vegan Empanadas Rellenas or the Vegan Enchiladas. For a lighter option, the Vegan Nachos and Veggie Taco Salad are veggie-packed and delicious.
No visitor comes to Portland without checking out this famous doughnut shop, considered by many to be the best doughnutsin the city. Known for its innovative sweets like the Bacon Maple Bar and Memphis Mafia, Voodoo Doughnuts is the expression of Portland “keeping it weird.” Its elaborate sweet treats are as tasty as they are creative, whether you’re looking for a chocolatey treat or a fruity delight. Voodoo Doughnuts has over 50 doughnut options, 25 of which are fully vegan. Try the Old Dirty Bastard for a chocolate-peanut butter sweet, or get the classic Voodoo Doll for a doughnut shaped like a voodoo doll being staked with a pretzel.