Portland Food Guide

Portland vegan food brunch

I have always loved city guides, especially food guides. Don’t ask me why, but I kind of nerd out on them.  Whenever I travel somewhere I scour the internet for insider tips on where to go and what to eat and build massive notepad lists and Yelp collections. I’ve always wanted to create guides that are more health and wellness focused so what better way to start than with a food guide for my current hometown Portland.

I’ve lived in the Portland area since I moved down from Seattle in 2015.  Whenever I move to a new city, I thrust myself into it.  I spend many weekends exploring neighborhoods, trying new restaurants, and popping in and out of local shops. I like to think that I know the city well.  I subscribe to Portland Monthly to stay on top of all the latest and greatest food industry gossip, but Portland is such a city of entrepreneurs that new cafes and coffee shops are popping up almost daily.  There are SO many (that is not an exaggeration, it’s true!) good places in Portland, however I do have a few  favorite and “must visit”, if you will, places to eat, drink and be merry at in the city.   

If you know me or follow me, then you know that I eat dairy-free, mostly gluten-free, mostly refined-sugar free and only eat sustainably sourced and raised animal products…occasionally. Many of the places below follow that same philosophy, taking a more farm-to-table approach and/or are more health and wellness minded.  Portland in general is very accommodating to dietary needs, however the places below are one’s that I have visited, experienced first hand and can tell you that they are delicious for vegan, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.

Juice + Smoothies

Greenleaf  – Best wheatgrass in town and have a ton of juices and smoothies in addition to breakfast and lunch options on the go like oatmeal and smoothie bowls and quinoa bowls.

Portland Juice Company – I used to get a 6 pack of juice delivered to my office from these guys every week. They don’t have as big of a footprint as Greenleaf, but they do sell their juices at the PSU Farmer’s Market, at Fireband Sports, and at the juicery in southwest.

Coffee + Matcha

Heart Coffee – Coffee shop and roaster.  I’m a sucker for a latte with their house-made almond-walnut milk.

Barista – They don’t have my any non-dairy milks that I love, but their coffee is delicious. They also made a hot cold-brew cider type drink in the winter that is absolutely delicious.

Upper Left Roasters – Three words: homemade macadamia milk. They have one location in SE that is coffee shop + cafe. Their food menu looks delicious, but I haven’t tried anything yet. To be continued.

Proud Mary – Good coffee, good people, good food, pretty much nothing to complain about. They always feature several roasts that you can get served a variety of ways. They also have a robust tea offering that is served traditionally (tea leaves and all) and comes with a second steep.

Prince Coffee – I’ve only been to the Kenton location once, but I already love it. They serve Heart and Proud Mary and have Oatly as a non-dairy milk alternative. If you’re a full-dairy, full-gluten eater, I hear the stroopwaffles are amazing.

When it comes to matcha, I like my matcha lattes unsweetened and made with a good non-dairy milk.  I actively seek out places that serve Mizuba Matcha (for more info, check out my Instagram post on it) and make their own nut milk or serve a good alternative. Some of my favorites are: The Arrow Coffeehouse & Bakery, KURE, Prasad, and Harlow.

Brunch + Lunch

Joule Craft Nutrition – New to the Portland food scene, but increasingly popular. They use organic seasonal ingredients and their menu is gluten, soy, corn, dairy and sugar free, primarily plant-based with meat and egg options.  I love their skillets when I’m craving something savory and the waffle is never a bad idea.  Make sure to get one of their lattes with the housemate almond milk.

Proud Mary – Australian born, they’re technically known for their coffee, but have a stellar food menu. Despite an ever changing menu I still always get the Caulitown. It’s just SO yummy and warming. So far I think they have the best avocado toast in town (they stock New Cascadia gluten-free bread). You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

KURE Juice Bar – I first fell in love with Kure via their matcha and golden milk lattes with their homemade almond milk. Completely vegan, gluten-free cafe with smoothies, juices, and a variety of breakfast, smoothie and lunch bowls. I love their red-pepper, carrot soup in the winter.

Prasad – I think this is the first vegan cafe I went to in Portland and knew that I would like this city. If you go for breakfast, get the pumpkin waffle, any other time, always go for the chili bowl. If you go to the SE location, my go to is the Urban Bowl with garlic tahini sauce and a side of jackfruit.

Harlow – Sister restaurant to Prasad that is more of restaurant with a similar, but different, menu.  They offer brunch not the weekend and have the best huevos rancheros (I get them with eggs).

Besaws – Good spot if you have a lot of different eaters. Easy to find something for the vegan, health nut, omnivore and the person who wants a good old fashion breakfast. Last time I checked they served New Cascadia bread as their gluten-free break option.

Root Whole Body – I first went to their NW location to use their infrared sauna and discovered they had a great whole food, plant-based cafe. I’ve been coming back ever since. I also just found out that they now offer Holiday’s gluten-free bread.

Virtuous Pie – I’m usually not a fan of vegan pizza, but this place converted me. They make, almost, everything in house.  They have gluten-free options for everything, including their crust, that are just as good as the non-gluten free options.

Garden Bar – You can never have enough salad. Period. If you want a salad or grain bowl, then this is the place to go – they have endless options.

Por Que No – My favorite Mexican restaurant in Portland.  Then again, this was the first one I ate at, loved it, and haven’t ventured to any others since.

Tasty N’Sons + Tasty N’Alder – Big Portland favorite and another that will please everyone in a group.  Definitely more full-dairy and full-meat restaurant, I typically get their Shakshuka and Potatoes Bravas. Plan ahead, there’s always a line.

Quickfish – Bamboo’s sister poke spot. Just get the albacore, you can thank me later.

Pine Street Market – I have serious nostalgia for this place because it reminds me of Belvedere Square in Baltimore, Maryland. There’s something for everyone, even a Kure for the vegans in the group.

PSU Farmer’s Market – Saturday’s only, open year round and chock full of local food, coffee and produce vendors. Hello free samples…

Dinner

Tusk – Agressively seasonal, always delicious, and another must visit in Portland.  This place will leave you with a new found appreciation for vegetables.  A few tips: 1) always get the hummus, 2) if you are gluten-free, then get the gluten-free, 3) the skewers are not a meal, more of a snack so get a few, 4) they usually always have a barley dish on the menu, get it.

Jacqueline – Adorable French style bistro with amazing oysters and sustainable seafood. I love their scallop dish whenever they have it and it is dairy-free. They book up in advance, so it’s best to make a reservation.

Bamboo – My husband and my favorite sushi spot – the albacore tuna melts in your mouth. They were the first certified suitable sushi restaurant.  If you go on their website you can see where all of their first is sourced from and their environmental impact.

Farm Spirit – 100% vegan prix-fixed 12 course meal that is totally worth it. They use seasonal ingredients so their menu is always changing.

Mediterranean Exploration Company (MEC) + Shalom Y’All – MEC was the first restaurant that I went to in Portland. Their hummus is addicting.  Favorite dishes are the grilled octopus, the shrimp, and scallops (without the bread crumbs and buttered leeks). Shalom Y’All is MEC sister spot and has similar menu items.

Ava Genes – One of, if not, my favorite Italian restaurant in Portland.  Run by the same group as Tusk, so it’s no surprise that it’s a favorite of mine.   Their past is house made, milled and extruded and they can usually modify their pasta dishes to be dairy free. If I’m not in the mood for pasta, I will stick to the vegetable section of the menu which is just as good as the pasta.

Ken’s Artisan Pizza – In my opinion, the best pizza in town.

Blossoming Lotus – One of the older vegan restaurants in town, but always consistently delicious.  They change their menu seasonally, but they typically always have a roasted beet & apple salad that I highly recommend. They top is with their house-made chèvre.

Toro Bravo – Same restaurant group as MEC, Tasty N’Sons, Shalom Y’All and Tasty and Alder except they specialize in Spanish tapas. Definitely get the octopus, potatoes bravas and the scallops.

Ned Ludd – One of Portland’s many farm to table restaurants that  celebrates the PNW and it’s ingredients. Their menu is always changing with the season and they have a nice balance of vegan, vegetarian and meat options.

Meriwethers – Farm to table restaurant and farm that’s been around for ages. They source a lot of the ingredients on the menu from their farm up the road, but for anything that is not from the farm, they list where it’s sourced from on the back of the menu. Great for any type of eater. In the summer, ask to sit in the garden – it’s beautiful! {currently closed for renovations}

OX – I don’t eat a lot of meat, but this place is good. If you are a hard core vegan, probably best to avoid this place, otherwise it’s worth the splurge.

Navarre – This place fly’s under the radar in Portland food news, but it’s worth a visit for tapas and wine.  They work with a local CSA to get all of their ingredients and adjust the menu based on what’s delivered. Being that it’s tapas, it’s easy to navigate as a vegan or vegetarian.

Quiantrelle – This has always been one of those restaurants that I will take groups or family. Their menu is locally sourced and seasonal and usually has a lot of vegetable options. They’re also great at accommodating dietary restrictions, then again, so is the rest of Portland.

Q Restaurant + Bar – Farm to table, fine dining option that specializes in hyper-seasonal food, using locally sourced quality ingredients. I’ve never been to their brunch, but their dinner is fantastic. A little harder to navigate as a vegan, but doable, definitely easier to navigate if you’re just dairy or gluten-free.

Stella’s Kitchen – For all you paleo lovers, this is for you. It’s not technically a restaurant, but worth of a mention. They are a Whole30 Approved meal prep service location on Williams in NE Portland. They’ve been in business for 6 years, but recently opened their brick and mother a few years ago. I recently picked up a few meals for Chris and he loved them {and he loves not having to cook!}.

V.O.W. ice cream

Dessert

Petunia’s Pie’s and Pastries – Best vegan, gluten-free dessert in town. They aren’t refined sugar-free, but I’ll allow it – it’s SO good. All of the dessert at our wedding was from Petunia’s!

Back to Eden – 100% plant-based, vegan and gluten-free.  I haven’t been here in a while, but every time I’ve gone, their dessert has been delicious. Right up there with Petunia’s. They expanded their kitchen at their bakery cafe on Alberta and now offer, breakfast, lunch and dinner

Eb & Bean – Best soft serve in town. The flavors rotate monthly and their dairy free soft serve is to die for. I did discover some not so great ingredients in their Pumpkin Pie flavor, but they are still a great option for dairy-free and full-dairy eaters.

Kate’s Ice Cream – New plant-based ice cream {female owned might I add} company on the Portland food scene. She uses straight up ingredients and has the most delicious flavors. I made the mistake of leaving a pint in our freezer when my Mom house sat and she ate it all! They’re currently selling pints at Stella’s Kitchen and always have a pop-up going on or a collab going with a local restaurant or shop.

Drinks

Dame – Natural wine bar and restaurant with an awesome vibe and decor.

Bar Normand – Latest wine venture by Dana Frank (also behind Dame) with a huge offering of natural wine.

Cooper’s Hall – I might be biased because we had our wedding reception here, but I’ve loved CH ever since I first stepped foot in it. Full winery, with wine on tap might I add, and restaurant in the heart of downtown Portland.  Even though they are a winery, they have a great selection of mixed drinks and beer as well.

Navarre – They serve 50+ wines by the glass AND have good food.

The Short List: To Try

Water Avenue Coffee – we drink their coffee at home, but apparently the food is pretty good too.

Guilder – Initially coffee, but now a full blown cafe with lots of yummy vegetable forward looking dishes. They have a fantastic story too!

Dapper & Wise – Coffee and roaster. I pass by their Division St. location all the time and always mean to stop in.

Wholism – new plant-based restaurant in town

Happy Day Juice – full vegan and gluten-free cafe. All I know is that I saw waffles on the menu

Tiny Moreso – another plant-based restaurant that I have yet to try

Nimblefish – apparently the sushi is good

Nostrana – farm to table Italian

G-Love – they call themselves a “reverse steak house”. Translation: more vegetables.

TEOTE – Mexican, all their meats are locally sourced from naturally raised animals

Scotch Lodge – I’m not a scotch gal, but my husband is and this place looks legit.

Davenport – farm to table and locally sourced seafood

Les Caves: A Winery Bar – one of the first wine bars I discovered and have yet to try.

Oui! Wine Bar + Restaurant – new wine bar and restaurant

Arden Wine Bar + Kitchen – wine bar with lots of natural wines

XO

-S

October 30, 2019

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