Portland has become something of a tourist destination for vegans, and with good reason. There are any number of restaurants with completely plant-based menus, a vegan tattoo parlor, three vegan bakeries, and a vegan strip club. So even die-hard carnivores need to know at least a few spots where they can meet up with a vegan friend for lunch or bring a visiting relative.
Here are six places to eat where the food is great, whether you’re a vegan or not. They have menu items to make everyone happy and their plant-based choices are more than just an afterthought.
1. Sizzle Pie
Three Locations: 624 E Burnside St, 26 W Burnside St and 125 NE Schuyler St
Serving up some pretty killer eats at three locations in Portland, their menu is fairly extensive for a pizza joint. In addition to at least fifteen traditional pies, they have several salads and ten specialty vegan pizzas with names like ‘Spiral Tap’, ‘Vegan Angel of Doom’ and ‘Evil Never Dies’. They’ve always got at least one vegan pie available by the slice as well.
My favorite: ‘New Maps Out of Hell’ – a creamy basil cashew spread with seasoned soy curls and choice of three veggies
2. Pine St Market
Location: 126 SW 2nd Ave
This isn’t a restaurant – it’s Portland’s first food hall with nine different food establishments serving around the perimeter of a shared dining area. Housed in a historic building, this is a great option when you’ve got to satisfy a diverse group of diners. There’s plenty of variety here including Kim Jong Smokehouse – which brings a southern barbecue sensibility to Korean style street food, Pollo Bravo – a fast casual tapas bar, OP Wurst – whose menu is comprised mainly of hot dogs and sausages, Marukin Ramen, and Shalom Y’All Israeli street food. Rounding things out are Brass Bar Barista, healthy juices and smoothies from Kure, bakery items and pizza from Trifecta Annex, and soft serve sundaes from Salt & Straw’s WizBangBar. We like to bring out of town guests here when it’s raining a little too hard to visit the food carts.
My favorites: Vegan Shoyu Ramen from Marukin and Mejadara, a mix of rice, lentils and fried onion from Shalom Y’All
3. El Nutri Taco
Two Locations: 2124 NE Alberta St and 8438 SE Woodstock Blvd
It can be difficult to find vegan Mexican food, especially if you’re looking for anything resembling authentic flavor. That’s why El Nutri Taco’s straightforward menu is a dream. All of their menu items can be made with meat or a meat substitute like tofu, soy curls or tempeh. They also offer dairy-free cheese and sour cream options.
My favorite: Chipotle Tempeh Burrito
4. Boke Bowl
Two Locations: 1200 NW 18th Ave and 1028 SE Water Ave
After a successful pop-up in 2010, Boke Bowl opened up two locations and have been making their handmade Ramen noodle goodness ever since. Meat lovers can satisfy themselves with their Pork Bone or Shrimp dashi, but they always have at least one vegetable-based broth as well. In addition to their flavorful broths and house-noodles, they serve a selection of rice bowls and steam buns, including some fun variations like fried chicken, peanut butter and jelly, and curried squash with red cabbage. Bonus – on the weekend, the west side location offers Dim Sum with selections to please everyone.
My favorites: Caramelized Fennel Dashi Ramen and the Smoked Eggplant Steam Buns
5. Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen
Location: 835 SW 2nd Ave
This place’s popularity is well-earned. You’ll often find a line out the door, but don’t let this scare you off – I’ve never waited more than 20 minutes and it was always well worth it. This counter service restaurant is a modern take on traditional Vietnamese flavors. Their menu boasts most of the favorites you’d expect to see like phở, rice and noodle dishes, and bánh mì sandwiches along with a few curries and stir frys. This is a fun spot for lunch or dinner with some creative décor and a bit of a hipster vibe. They’ve got a full bar with a great cocktail menu and are open late night on Friday and Saturday.
My favorites: Tofu and Veggies Phở and the Lemongrass Tofu Bánh mì
6. Nicholas Restaurant
Three Locations: 3223 NE Broadway St, 318 SE Grand Ave and 323 N Main Ave (in Gresham)
This place is everything you’d expect of a Lebanese restaurant with a Portland sensibility using organic ingredients from local farms whenever possible. They’ve got authentic flavors and a cozy atmosphere and can be easy on the wallet as well since the portions are large enough to be shared. You’ll find all your favorite Mediterranean dishes here and they go the extra mile by clearly labeling which of their menu items are vegan or gluten-free, which makes it easy to order without having to ask the server a million questions.
My favorites: Vegan Mezza including hummus, tahini, falafel, tabouli, m’jadra and spiced garbanzo beans. Also, I swear my heart grows three sizes bigger when they bring out the giant complimentary pita and set it atop a wooden stand on my table.