It’s easy being vegan in Portland — there is so much choice and a lot of it is amazing. The hard part is choosing what to try and what to skip. We got our best vegan foodie friend, who visits Portland several times a year, to pick her favourite Portland vegan food. If you’re hungry in Portland, start with her picks below.
This is a guest post by Kris Rothstein, a vegan food fanatic who travels the world sampling the best plant-based eats from all over.
What’s in our guide to vegan Portland?
2. Best Vegan Breakfast and Brunch
3. Best Vegan Sandwiches
4. Best Vegan Pizza
5. Best Vegan Desserts
6. Bonus: Best Cider in Portland
7. About the Author
Portland, Oregon just might be vegan paradise on Earth. Along with Los Angeles, it is my absolute top food tourism destination.
Even though it is a 6-hour drive, I head from Vancouver to Portland a few times a year, mostly because I cannot resist the siren call of the food, which is inventive, delicious and plentiful. While there I pack my car full of pizza, cakes and sandwiches to bring home!
It is no surprise that quirky Portland was an early haven for vegans — even 20 years ago the average coffee shop had vegan muffins for sale, menus were clearly marked, and the number of vegan restaurants per capita was unusually high.
But now… oh my gosh, NOW it is ridiculous how good the food is!
I especially love the vegan comfort food — vegan bbq, biscuits and gravy, soppy sandwiches — and the healthy options — bowls and smoothies galore!
During the last 7 years or so I have sampled SO MANY vegan meals in Portland.
This post includes only my top picks in a few categories, to make it easier for you to get straight to the most delicious Portland vegan food when you’re visiting the city.
So read on for your guide to…
Portland Vegan Eats & Treats
My Picks of the 3 Best Vegan Restaurants in Portland, Oregon
Vegan BBQ decadence
Decadent vegan overload! Homegrown Smoker is the first place I head when I cross Portland city limits and I order waaaay more food than is strictly necessary. They make and smoke all their own vegan meats and every dish is sloppy and saucy and unbeatable.
Eat sticky tempeh ribs, crispy corn fritters, sautéed greens (if you’re trying to be all healthy), seitan burgers piled high, and nori-crusted tofu fish.
This is vegan BBQ at its very best.
Don’t miss: The Slosomofo. This house specialty is a sandwich of slow smoked soy curls, pickles, bbq sauce, and coleslaw on a soft bun. If you don’t know about soy curls (which are amazing!), you will be an expert after your trip to Portland.
Amazing vegan food cart
This southeast neighbourhood vegan food cart might have perfected the art of preparing tempeh. There is also street corn, fish tacos and mac & cheese available. The menu at Supernova Vegan might be small but the owners are SO friendly, the cart is super cute and the food is to die for.
Don’t miss: Space Cowboy sandwich. A gooey bbq tempeh sandwich with citrus slaw and cheese on a grilled ciabatta bun. You will get bbq sauce all over yourself. Worth it!
Black Water Bar
Vegan restaurant & bar
Vegan bar, restaurant and punk venue. I was blown away by the food at Black Water after my first visit, and have returned many times. It’s unassuming but the food is all made in-house and it is legit great.
My fave: Bacon Bleu burger. Sink your teeth into this perfect vegan burger patty with pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, tempeh bacon, bleu ‘cheeze’ all on a delish sesame bun.
Best Vegan Breakfast and Brunch in Portland
Off the Griddle
Vegan breakfast paradise
If you want truly awesome food in a bright, colourful cafe, Off the Griddle is your perfect Portland breakfast restaurant.
Feast on sweet or savoury waffles (in flavours like pumpkin cheesecake), or sausage, hash brown gravy, brunch wraps and burritos, biscuits and gravy. If you’re like me you will appreciate the dishes that allow you to sample across the brunch spectrum. Savour the scrambles, biscuits, toasts, and sausages — all smothered in gravy.
This is one of the best breakfasts in the world. It’s a little farther southeast than much of the food action, but so worth the trip.
My fave: Blue Plate. The homemade breakfast sausage patties are perfectly herby (fennel seed takes them over the top), the hash browns are plentiful and tender, the tofu scramble is made from legendary local Ota Tofu, and the biscuit is just the right combination of fluffy and dense. There is no weak link in this breakfast.
Back to Eden Bakery Cafe
Vegan brunch done right
A welcome addition to the breakfast and brunch scene in Portland, Back to Eden serves biscuits and gravy, root veg hash, homemade sausage, granola, tofu scramble with broccoli, kale and leeks and more. It’s a bright airy space and, unlike many other spots, brunch is available every day. Hurrah!
My fave: The breakfast sandwich. Simple and perfect: vegan sausage, tofu egg and tomato jam served on a homemade biscuit. They get the biscuit just right.
No Bones Beach Club
Vegan tiki restaurant
Two words — Vegan. Tiki.
Yes, this is an all-vegan tiki-themed restaurant with amazing decor, drinks and food. Such ambiance.
Dinner at No Bones Beach Club includes items like vegan crab cakes, beet poke buffalo tempeh sandwich, pineapple and soy curl lettuce wraps and crazy loaded nachos.
But I love the brunch best.
You can get tropical french toast, huevos rancheros and an insane chili relleno.
My fave: The Big Kahuna Bagel sandwich. A toasted everything bagel, scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, spinach, cheese, grilled jalapeño, smoked pepper aioli and tomato served with hash browns on the side.
Best Vegan Sandwich in Portland
So many vegan sandwiches!
What started as a tiny sandwich cart is now a brick and mortar cafe. The main trouble at DC Vegetarian is deciding what to order — multiple breakfast sandwiches, bagels, steak and cheese, reuben, cajun po boy sub, grilled cheese? Everything looks good, sounds good and tastes even better, bursting with perfect savoury flavours.
These kinds of decisions are exhausting. But worth it. I can’t wait to try more of this menu.
My fave (so far): Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich. Tomato, spinach, roasted pepper aioli on a ciabatta bun.
Omnivore cantina with vegan menu & grill
I will let greater minds debate whether a burrito is a sandwich. It’s hand-held and wrapped in bread, so the definition works for me.
This Mexican cantina might not be exclusively vegan but Los Gorditos has a gigantic separate vegan menu and a separate vegan grill. Tons of tacos, tortas and burritos with options that go above and beyond rice and beans. Delicioso!
My fave: Vegan Trio Burrito. A flour tortilla stuffed with soycurls, soyrizo, tofu, beans, rice, red and green salsa, onion and cilantro. Huge and satisfying.
Falafel House PDX
Next-level falafel food cart
The chef a Falafel House PDX is a genius, making all the ingredients in-house, including the tender pita bread. This food cart in the St John’s neighborhood (minutes from Homegrown Smoker!) offers three incredible vegan sandwiches and delicious sides like tahini roasted cauliflower.
Explore the rest of the boho chic food pod as well, which features a beer porch with delicious drinks on tap, picnic tables with umbrellas for summer and a wood stove to toast you up in winter.
My fave: The Shawarma Sandwich. Richly spiced marinated soy curls in a pita with crunchy pickles, cabbage and tahini.
Best Vegan Pizza in Portland
Late-night all day vegan pizza extravaganza
This pizza is the bomb! Sizzle Pie makes my favourite pizza in the world.
Decadent, inventive, heavy metal pizza — their motto is Death to False Pizza. If you’re ordering a full-size pizza, there are so many vegan options you won’t be able to choose. For slices, usually a third of the options are vegan and two thirds vegetarian. Sizzle Pie has about a dozen locations but the two locations on Burnside have the most options.
Open super late! Also killer salads. So much yum. Just go.
My fave: New Maps out of Hell pizza. Creamy basil cashew sauce, crunchy soy curls, and a choice of three veggies.
Mostly vegetarian pizza cart with vegan options for every pizza
This is the sister restaurant to Falafel House and you’ll find it in the same awesome food pod.
The Pizza Creature pizza has crust wood-fired to perfection and great almond ricotta and tofu-cashew mozzarella. Small menu, big flavour. The hours are limited so check their website before you get your mouth ready for pizza.
My fave: The special Brussel sprout white pizza with red pepper and walnut. If this special isn’t on the menu then try the pesto!
Baby Blue Woodfired Pizza
Vegan pizza cart with imaginative combos
Once just a pop-up, now a full-time food cart, Baby Blue is a relative newcomer to the competitive Portland vegan pizza scene. Portland has so much amazing pizza that it is hard to choose just three places, but Baby Blue makes the list for its imaginative combos like roasted corn/ garlic/lime and peach/ricotta/jalapeno.
This is the only pizza place on this list which is exclusively vegan.
My fave: Baby Buffalo. Buffalo soy curls, blue cheez, ranch drizzle, mozzarella.
Best Vegan Desserts in Portland
Sweetpea Baking Co
Vegan bakery with huge selection
Your go-to spot for a humungous array of vegan baked goods, Sweetpea is a big cafe next door to Food Fight! vegan grocery. They use many organic ingredients, locally grown flour and seasonal, locally-sourced fruit.
If you want scrumptious vegan donuts, brownies and blondies and ridiculous cakes and pies, head to Sweatpea.
My fave: The Charlie Brown. Peanut butter bar with a chocolate layer on top.
Petunia’s Pies and Pastries
Vegan pies, cakes, and ice cream
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So many pies and cakes. So many!
Petunia’s is a charming little vegan and gluten-free bakery in downtown Portland which also serves truly decadent ice cream sundaes. You can also get vegan doughnuts, cookies, and bars. It’s all here.
My fave: The Babycakes mini cupcakes.
Back to Eden Dessert Shop
Vegan & gluten-free bakery
The Back to Eden bakery predates the cafe next door. This little shop is packed full of vegan, gluten-free treats, including cupcakes, donuts, brownies, whoopie pies and peanut butter bars. It’s a cute little space with a few tables. They also have a vegan dessert food cart on the other side of town.
My fave: The lemon pie.
Bonus: Best Cider in Portland, Oregon
Cider (sometimes called ‘hard cider’ in North America) has long been made out of special varieties of apples and pears in the west of England. I go there for a few weeks every summer and even help press the fruit and ferment the juice at a couple of different cideries!
North American cider took a hit during prohibition, when many orchards were removed, but it is now having a massive renaissance. Most of it fails to live up to my high standards, but Oregon and Washington have some excellent producers, so while in Portland I suggest you make some time to sample the best local ciders.
Especially since, unlike beer or wine, cider is almost always vegan.
Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider
This eccentric makes some of the best cider in North America. Reverend Nat’s has lots of single varieties, inventive blends, wacky experiments and ciders boiled or aged into spirits with flavours like ghost chili and mango. The classic Revival Cider is a well-balanced, fruit-forward, non-nonsense cider.
Fruit blends include everything from sour cherry to hopped lime and ginger kumquat. Seasonals like the Abbey Spice taste like sitting around the yule log. There are always lots of options at the inviting taproom where you can check out the steel vats full of cider-y perfection.
My fave: Tepache! It’s a fermented pineapple drink, served blended with beer, cider, or whatever you like. It’s also a Rev Nat specialty. Usually on tap in one of a zillion combinations.
Portland Cider House
A small but friendly tap room in the heart of the happening Hawthorne neighborhood, Portland Cider House is right near plenty of vegan eateries. I am in love with their tropical fruit blends — pineapple, passion fruit, or a sangria which combines a medley of fanciful flavours.
Lots of iconoclastic fruit blends but the cider is made in a true English style. A ton of taps and always interesting guest ciders available.
My fave: Pineapple Rosé
A truly gigantic tap room with 50 ciders on tap, Schilling Cider has an overwhelming selection. Schilling makes great traditional cider, both dry and medium, as well as delicious blends like pineapple passion fruit and rosé vacay (with rose petals).
Schilling also showcases dozens of (mostly local) ciders from other producers, and their sharp palate has introduced me to many new favourites. Tell them what you like and trust their recommendations.
My fave: Hibiscus Habenero
About the Author
When she is at home in Vancouver, BC, Kris Rothstein can be found cycling, hiking and snowshoeing over the local terrain. She volunteers at an urban farm to get her hands on the very freshest produce and is obsessed with summer fruit! When she’s on the road she can be found traversing the green Welsh hillsides, making traditional English cider and eating tasty sandwiches all the way up and down the west coast of North America.
We hope you’ll find this vegan Portland guide useful on your trip! Where are you planning on eating? What are your favourite vegan eats in Portland? If you discover something tasty or want to share your faves, email us!
♥ Happy transformational travels, Jane & Stephen
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This post was written by a guest author or staff writer for My Five Acres.