It's Worth Getting Sloppy For This Grilled Cheese Taco
Kerns & St. John's
The Sudra, named for the working class of the Hindu caste system, has perfected a vegan menu of Indian-inspired dishes like the Red Lentil Kofta Plate -- spicy, herbal, and filling. With an inviting, colorful bar (and a cocktail list that ain't no schlump), a large shared patio, and a killer happy hour with cheap drinks and $5 plates, The Sudra should be on everyone’s go-to list, vegan or not.
A ticketed prix-fixe restaurant, Farm Spirit is an experiment in high-end plant-based food. The menu changes often, relying on local seasonal ingredients. It's likely you'll be eating a vegetable you’ve never even heard of, despite the fact that it’s grown at a nearby farm. Like, what's a "filbert?" (Just a hazelnut.) Or "agastache?" (It's a flowering plant! That you eat!!) For vegetarians and vegans tired of the typical roasted red pepper and mushroom sandwiches, Farm Spirit is the place to discover something exciting and fresh.
If you’re a skeptic who thinks it’s impossible to be truly satisfied by a meat-free meal, we challenge you to a Harlow Bowl. A sister restaurant to Prasad, Harlow is a staple of the neo-hippie Hawthorne neighborhood, and the menu is entirely gluten-free. With a base of either brown rice or quinoa, the bowls are heaped with various greens, beans, roasted veggies, and your choice of sauce. Regulars might tell you the jalapeño cashew cheese sauce is the best -- and they’re not wrong -- but the avocado cilantro is addicting, too.
Sick of people freaking out over brunch abominations like bacon-wrapped trout with lardons? Perk up, because A.N.D Café serves brunch where you won't walk out smelling like a literal pig. The walnut meatloaf Benedict and the Full Nest -- hash browns, vegetables, and herb tofu -- are as comforting as any brunch plate you’ll find. But what’s brunch without booze, you ask? Don’t worry, bloodies, bubbles, and beer are all here.
Alberta & Division
Baked goods fanatics who thought they had to give up their indulgences because of a newfound gluten (or soy) (or dairy) (or whatever) sensitivity have a home here. Between savory daily quiches and desserts like the raw lemon bar and chocolate chia pudding, you might consider this bakery a kind of Eden, indeed, and you won’t ever want to leave.
Epif aims to reinvent the vibrant flavors of South America without meat, and very few animal products whatsoever. (Most of the menu is vegan.) The ceviche, in particular, surprisingly succeeds: mushrooms soaked in bright mango leche de tigre take on the texture of citrus-cured fish. As for cocktails, Epif brings us variations on the conventional Peruvian pisco sour with recipes from all over the Andes region, introducing most of us to the versatility of the lesser-known liquor.
Harvest's 100% plant-based menu is for those of us militant about keeping our food far, far away from animal derivatives hanging around the kitchen. All creams and butters on the menu are nut-based, and the chefs create flavorful and inventive dishes like akras (bean cake) floating in chickpea jus and the Harvest Hash Barbecue, an impressive tray of roasted vegetables with poblano cream and lemon-tahini.
What other city in the world can stake a claim to a vegan strip club? Soy stroganoff and a shot of your choice will be a good start to a night of the wildest leather-free strip show you’ll ever see. Enough said.
Sweet Hereafter is Bye and Bye's Southeast sister, and while you can tell they’re related, these siblings aren’t twins. Hereafter’s exceptional cocktail list and entrees like the Jamaican Bowl with jerk-marinated tofu and the blackened tempeh sandwich show a spicier side to the Lightning Bar Collective. The full menu can be enjoyed every night of the week until 10pm, while cocktails and snacks are served 'til 2am.
Hailing from Hawaii, Blossoming Lotus has been a trendsetter in the surge of vegan fare that's come out of the past decade. It consistently turns out good food that attracts non-vegans, too, like the Live Nachos, which use mostly raw ingredients, and the coconut curry. Want to impress your new health-conscious love interest? This is your date spot.
The only food cart on here, DC Vegetarian has mastered the art of taste bud deception. Seitan, soy curls, and cart-made vegan burger patties are hiding in plain sight among conventionally meat-heavy American classics like bacon cheeseburgers, Italian subs, cheesesteaks, and chicken salad sandwiches. But what’s really got us pining is the (not)egg & cheese breakfast sandwich. A tofu patty with avocado and tomato on ciabatta is a guilt-free dream.
Van Hanh is run by a Buddhist nun who doles out delicious vegetarian Vietnamese and Chinese food from a peach-colored craftsman home on Division. If that doesn’t pique your interest, you're a monster, plus you should know that the food speaks for itself. Well-spiced tofu is typically used as a mock-meat in many favorite dishes, such as Kung Pao and roasted pork belly. Any last temptations to revert back to a meaty lifestyle are quelled here.
1. The Sudra2333 NE Glisan St, Portland
2. Farm Spirit1414 SE Morrison St, Portland
3. Harlow3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
4. A N D Café5420 E Burnside St, Portland
5. Back to Eden Bakery2217 NE Alberta St, Portland
6. Epif Restaurant & Pisco Lounge404 NE 28th Ave, Portland
7. Harvest at The Bindery3101 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland
8. Casa Diablo2839 NW St Helens Rd, Portland
9. Sweet Hereafter3326 SE Belmont St, Portland
10. Blossoming Lotus1713 NE 15th Ave, Portland
11. D.C. Vegetarian430 SW 3rd Ave, Portland
12. Vạn Hạnh Vegetarian Restaurant8446 SE Division St, Portland
Named for the working class sector of the Hindu caste system, The Sudra specializes in big plates and salads that draw inspiration from the creators' own Indian roots. Unlike traditional Indian restaurants that place emphasis on sharing small bowls of curries and tandoori meats, at this dark and polished Kerns spot, you can get one big plate or bowl red lentil kofta, chickpea cutlets, faux-chicken tikka masala and the like, no sharing necessary. Same goes for the cocktail you choose form it's long list of specialties.
If you move fast and manage to snag tickets to a table at this sought-after Buckman restaurant, you'll be treated to an utterly insane amount (usually over 10 courses) of small fruit- and vegetable-centered dishes created by a team of culinary experts who could otherwise be artists with the way they dice and drizzle. Bringing in produce directly from nearby Groundwork Organics among many others, the menu is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime deal, but they keep an updated list of available ingredients online to keep you prepared.
Lined with vintage patterned wallpaper and lit by its floor-to-ceiling windows, dining at this Sunnyside spot feels like eating at friend's house -- if you and friend were dining in the Victorian Era. Opting to serve only vegetarian fare, Harlow specializes in the bowl: a rice or quinoa base combined with fresh greens, veggies, and one sauce from its long lineup. House-made zucchini pastas and other salad and wrap option will have you tossing out your old assumption that meatless food can't be fulfilling.
Vegetarians and vegans, meet you new go-to brunch spot. This offbeat North Tabor joint sports a menu of decadent waffles among other breakfast items like jackfruit-bacon quesadillas, walnut meatloaf benedict, and poutine hash in portions you only thought were possible in dreams. They press their own juices, but the mimosas are customizable with ginger and coconut and come at a price you just can't argue with.
Thankfully, the days when your vegetarian diet or gluten allergy prevented you from eating your favorite desserts are long gone. Back to Eden's cute Alberta spot slings vegetable-based cakes, and pastries and diary-free tower-sized ice cream cones. You could also drop by fora simple salad or wrap at lunch, but if it were up to us, we'd go straight for a rich chocolate chia pudding, rocky road fudge slice, or raw lemon bar.
Take a seat at Epif, a sun-filled spot housed inside a teal building with yellow trim, and you'll find an equally colorful menu that highlights the rich flavors of South America, and does so without using meat and or nearly any animal products whatsoever -- not an easy feat. It more than pulls it off (most dishes are vegan), particularly with the ceviche: mushrooms soaked in bright mango leche de tigre. When it comes to cocktails, you'll be introduced and treated to variations on the traditional Peruvian pisco sour with recipes from all over the Andes region.
You'll find a 100% plant-based selection of dishes at the bright, wood-laden Harvest -- right down to all the creams and butters on the menu, which are nut-based. The chefs here are creating flavorful and inventive dishes like akras (bean cake) in a chickpea jus and the Harvest Hash Barbecue, an impressive tray of roasted vegetables with poblano cream and lemon-tahini. There's a Southern twist to the menu, too, as the kitchen is headed up by Shawn Sigmon, former chef-owner of Dig, the sole vegan restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida.
Casa Diablo isn't your typical restaurant from the outside, or, for that matter, the inside. It's modeled after the vampire bar in From Dusk Til Dawn and features a solid vegan menu with must-tries like soy stroganoff. Not what you were expecting? There's another surprise: this spot is actually a strip club that has a bank full of those ever-popular $2 bills for tipping and dancers performing the wildest leather-free strip show you’ll ever see. That's right: this is a vegan strip club. Bless you, Portland.
The Southeast sister to Bye and Bye, Sweet Hereafter boasts a spacious outdoor patio, an exceptional cocktail list, and a solid selection of vegan entrees, like the Jamaican Bowl with jerk-marinated tofu and the blackened tempeh sandwich, which both show off the menu's spicier side. Hereafter is serving drinks and snacks until 2am, so feel free to stop in for some late-night eats (pretzel knots with house-made spicy beer mustard) and sip on a Secret Lover (gin, sage, Creme de Violette, and Orange Blossom Water).
A Hawaiian import, Blossoming Lotus has blazed a trail for vegan fare in Portland over the past decade, serving up local, organic cuisine from salads and mac n cheese to coconut curry and the fan-favorite Live Nachos, which use mostly raw ingredients. The weekend brunch is where it's at: we're talking a giant cinnamon roll, biscuits and gravy, a spinach and mushroom scramble, and a Beet Bloody Maria with beet-infused tequila. Even non-vegans will find themselves coming back for more.
This street cart serves up vegetarian and vegan cuisine masquerading as typically meat-heavy American favorites. They've got everything from Philly cheesesteaks to cheeseburgers and chicken salad sandwiches to Italian subs. Seitan, soy curls, and cart-made vegan burger patties put a tasty twist on these classic dishes. Even the traditional breakfast sandwich gets reinvented as the (not)egg & cheese: a tofu patty with avocado and tomato on ciabatta, a guilt-free dream.
Prepare to have your heart warmed and your appetite sated with Van Hanh: this cozy spot is run by a Buddhist nun, who serves up flavorful Vietnamese and Chinese vegetarian dishes out of a peach-colored home on Division. You'll find well-seasoned tofu as a tasty meat substitute in most of the dishes here, such as the fan-favorite Kung Pao and roasted pork belly. What did we tell you?