Vegan in the City: Portland, Oregon

vegan banana split in Portland

Vegan banana split at Back to Eden Bakery & Dessert Bar

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, Oregon. I think it’s safe to say that Portland loves vegans.

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:

Vegan desserts at Back to Eden dessert bar

Satisfying the sweet tooth at the Back to Eden dessert bar

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!

Pizza at Virtuous Pie in Portland.

Virtuous Pie
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 veges. 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 is definitely worth taking home!

Sweetpea Bakery
If you’re a vegan with a wedding date, this is the place to go. Sweetpea Bakery opened its doors way back in 2005, 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!

Vegan meal at Southeast Grind in Portland

A light lunch at Southeast Grind

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.

Southeast Grind
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.

Inside the downtown Portland Voodoo Doughnuts

Voodoo Doughnuts
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., evey 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…!

Have you tried any vegan restaurants in Portland? Tell me about it in the comments!

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  • Razena | 8 November 2017 at 10:20 am

    I’m not vegan but when I travel I tend to search out vegetarian and vegan options when halaal food is not easy to find. I love the variety of dishes that you were able to eat on your trip.

    • Sherrie 8 November 2017 at 12:48 pm

      We have run across several halaal places in our travels, but I know that can be hard to find too. Hope you can make use of this list if you’re ever in Portland!

  • Jacki L 8 November 2017 at 10:42 am

    I travel often and eat a vegetarian diet so I can so relate to your dilemma. Thanks for this great list, Portland sure seems like the perfect place to eat!

    • Sherrie 8 November 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Yep, Portland makes it easy for vegans and vegetarians!

  • odette 8 November 2017 at 10:52 am

    I had been a vegetarian previous during travels and know the struggles of finding some good food in a country! In India it was so easy, vegetable options everywhere. Thanks for this great list, I’ll sure know where to go when I’ll visit Portland now, it looks delicious!

    • Sherrie 8 November 2017 at 12:49 pm

      I’ve heard India is a great place for vegans. Haven’t made it there yet, though!

  • Candy 8 November 2017 at 11:06 am

    I’m not a vegetarian but it’s nice to have the option for my friends who are! I’ve heard of Voodoo Doughnuts and really want to go there someday 🙂

    • Sherrie 8 November 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Voodoo Doughnuts is an experience! The whole vibe of the place is awesome and their creative toppings just add to the mystique.

  • SecretMoona 8 November 2017 at 11:06 am

    I was actually salivating while reading this! Hahaha. Although I am not a vegan I wouldn’t mind stopping in one of these restaurants if I ever go to Portland!

    • Sherrie 8 November 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Oh good! Glad I was able to tempt your tastebuds 🙂

  • Lyne 8 November 2017 at 12:06 pm

    I’m not vegan myself but those all looks so yummy. The banana split looks heavenly even ! Also it’s nice to see that Portland has many vegan option. 🙂

    • Sherrie 8 November 2017 at 12:52 pm

      My daughter had never had a banana split so she was thrilled to find a vegan version 🙂

  • C-Ludik 8 November 2017 at 12:39 pm

    When you tell people you’re vegan, they often say “that must be so challenging to eat vegan!”. At home being vegan is as easy as eating any other kind of diet.. but the only part of a vegan diet that can be challenging is dining out. So thanks for sharing your list of restaurants in Portland 🙂

    • Sherrie 8 November 2017 at 12:43 pm

      You’re so right! When making food at home, it’s easy. But eating vegan when traveling is definitely more challenging in some places. Not Portland!

  • Dawnita 8 November 2017 at 1:50 pm

    I am not a vegan but I do understand the dilemma. I know a lot of Hindu people and the struggle is real when they head to other countries.

  • Lindsey Nicole 9 November 2017 at 12:46 am

    I love Portland! It is one of my favorite US city next to San Francisco. The city is so clean and they have one of the best selection of restaurants in the States. I am not a vegan myself but I would definitely be interested in checking out all of these places. Saved!

  • MeaghanC 9 November 2017 at 8:54 am

    I’m not a vegan myself, but I have friends who are and can relate to the struggle of trying to find vegan friendly food while travelling. Heard so many great things about Portland and all this delicious vegan friendly food is just another reason to visit!

  • Laura 11 November 2017 at 1:27 am

    This looks a great guide for vegan travellers – not sure I could miss out on local meat dishes when travelling though!


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