When you’re traveling it isn’t always easy to find vegan food. You can only eat so many dry salads, bland blocks of tofu and plates of limp french fries before you’re begging for something — anything! — to break the monotony. That’s not a problem in Portland. I think it’s safe to say that Portland, Oregon is a great place to get delicious vegan food.
Happy Cow places Portland at #9 on their list of the top vegan-friendly cities in the world. With 34 completely vegan restaurants in Portland and hundreds more with vegan options on their menus, you could easily spend months in this town and never eat at the same place twice!
What’s even more impressive is the variety. We aren’t just talking tofu here. Portland has vegan pizza, vegan BBQ, even a vegan cheese shop (yes, that’s a thing!). Craving something sweet? There’s a vegan chocolate shop, three places for vegan donuts, and vegan ice cream in several locations. Is your mouth watering yet?
With only a weekend to visit, we weren’t able to eat at nearly as many places as we wanted to. But we were overjoyed by the food we had every single time. Here’s a sampling:
Back to Eden Restaurant & Bakery
The menu at this place is incredible. They’ve got mac & cheese, pizzas and brunch everyday from 8am to 3pm. Everything is vegan, gluten-free and, most importantly, tasty. The vegan bakery/dessert bar next door nearly made me cry with joy: cheesecake, pastries, ice cream, shakes, floats, sundaes, and banana splits. If you like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you cannot miss the Chocolate PB Crunch. Pure bliss!
Vita Café (not to be confused with Caffé Vita which is a block away!)
Just up the road from Back to Eden, this café specializes in vegan comfort food. All organic and mostly gluten-free, they also have vegetarian dishes (with eggs and cheese) in case your dining companion isn’t quite ready to forego all animal products. I kinda wanted to just stay put and eat every meal here for the next month. The food was that good. Plus, they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so it was totally within the realm of possibility. I was too full to try their dessert menu, but if it was as good as the meal we shared, it’s worth going back to Portland just to try!
Recently voted Restaurant of the Year by Veg News Magazine, this fast casual restaurant has three locations in Canada in addition to the Portland address. More than just creative pizza names (Stranger Wings, anyone?) they get inventive with the toppings as well: charred fennel, walnut & arugula pesto, “steak” curls, and roasted veggies. The vegan ice cream is made in-house and offered in scoops, flights, floats and sandwiches. You can also get a pint to go. FYI: the Pastry Party flavor (think cake batter) is definitely worth taking home!
If you’re a vegan with a wedding date, this is the place to go. When Sweetpea Bakery opened its doors way back in 2005, it was the first vegan bakery in the city. Located in the Portland vegan mini mall, Sweetpea makes cakes, cupcakes, cookies, bagels, pastries, donuts (on Saturdays) – just about anything your sweet tooth is craving. They also offer sandwiches, soups, salads, quiches and small plates so you can sort of justify all the sweets you’re going to be devouring!
Food Fight! Grocery
Two doors down from Sweetpea Bakery in the vegan strip mall, you’ll find Food Fight! grocery store. Unapologetically specializing in vegan junk food, this is the place to go for chips, candy, cheese, fake meat –– basically any pre-packaged junk food you’re craving, you’ll find the vegan version here. They also have soft serve “ice cream” and a few fresh fruits and veggies.
Not everything in this 24-hour coffee house is vegan, but it is vegan friendly and the plant based meals that they serve up are delicious. They have a good variety of nut milks as well as soy, and the menu includes freshly made juices, smoothies, wraps and breakfast all day. Known for their screaming fast internet as much as their tasty food, the Grind is a relaxed place to kick it any time of day.
Revered throughout the Pacific Northwest for their 45 recordings, t-shirts and other merchandise, not to mention their crazy array of doughnuts (maple bacon bars, the Homer, the Tex Ass and the Voodoo doll, to name a few), they also carry a large vegan selection. Expect to stand in line for this sugar fix, though. The Portland stores are open 24/7 and while I didn’t check at 2 a.m., every time I did drive by, there were people waiting for their chance to bring home their own pink boxes of indulgence. Also, be sure to have cash on hand. Voodoo Doughnuts won’t take debit or credit cards.
As wonderful as everything was, we already have a list of places to try next time we visit Portland: Doe Donuts, Black Water Bar, Harlow, Off the Griddle and Petunia’s Pies & Pastries top the list. Along with about ten others that look amazing…!
Good thing we know a nearby hike to burn off all this amazing food we ate 🙂
Have you tried any vegan restaurants in Portland? Tell me about it in the comments!
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