When it comes to vegan culture and cuisine, few cities in the world can rival Portland, Oregon.
The city features over fifty all-vegan restaurants and hundreds more offer vegan-friendly options or specialize in vegetarian cuisine. Plus, the city is known for being very inclusive, friendly, and non-judgmental when it comes to alternative lifestyles.
I vaguely remember visiting Portland as a teenager to see some family I had there, but that was before I went vegan. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit again; this time, I went by myself for a much-needed vacation!
I needed to come up with some new ideas for the blog and I decided there was no better place for a work retreat than the country’s top-rated vegan city.
I’ve always been a bit of a foodie (if you couldn’t tell already), and finding great restaurants is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. So, if you’re looking for the best vegan food in Portland, then you’ve come to the right place!
Is Portland Good For Vegans?
Although Portland isn’t the biggest city in the U.S., it’s consistently ranked as one of the best cities in the world for vegans! In 2016, PETA ranked Portland as the number-one vegan city in the U.S., and it has since remained on PETA’s top-ten list.
What makes Portland such a great city for vegans?
- There are over fifty vegan-only restaurants.
- There are hundreds of restaurants that offer vegan/vegetarian options.
- Vegan food is relatively affordable in Portland.
- There are lots of organic, vegan-friendly grocers in Portland.
- Vegan eateries and grocery stores are easily accessible and don’t require you to go far out of your way.
- A larger-than-average percentage of the population identifies as a vegan.
Whether you’re looking for vegan street food, vegan desserts, vegan fine dining, or unique vegan experiences, Portland has it all. Plus, the people are incredibly friendly and down-to-earth!
Are There Fancy Vegan Restaurants In Portland?
Don’t get me wrong, Portland has lots of cheap, affordable vegan eateries. However, if you’re looking for something a little bit fancier, then Portland has just as many vegan fine dining options as larger cities like New York and San Francisco
Where To Find The Best Vegan Food In Portland (2023)
Although I was only in Portland for five days, I made it my goal to try as many unique vegan eateries as I could during my short stay. I tried a couple of vegan fine dining options in Portland, a couple of vegan bakeries, and even some vegan street food!
Based on my most recent experience, the following spots have some of the best vegan food in Portland. Check it out!
1) Blossoming Lotus
- Website: www.blpdx.com
- Location: 1713 NE 15th Ave, Portland, OR 97212
- Favorite Dish: Yakisoba Noodles
Blossoming Lotus is one of the top-ranked restaurants in Portland. The main restaurant is located in the Irvington neighborhood and they also have a small cafe and juice bar located in “Slabtown.” I visited their main restaurant in Irvington, and was very impressed!
My waiter informed me that Blossoming Lotus actually originated in Kauai, Hawaii nearly twenty years ago. The original concept was to create a restaurant that used farm-fresh ingredients to make ethical, vegan food to show respect for nature. Pretty cool, right?
Blossoming Lotus sells a wide variety of food and doesn’t really have a specific cuisine. They offer vegan pasta, sandwiches, vegan mac and cheese, wraps, and protein bowls. Upon recommendation, I got the Yakisoba Noodles!
It’s an outstanding take on a traditional Japanese dish and is made using real Yakisoba-style noodles, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, soy curls, mushrooms, tamari sauce, pickled ginger, and scallions. It was incredibly flavorful and is one of the best-tasting vegan Japanese dishes I’ve ever had.
The staff was very friendly, the prices were decent, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere as well.
2) Dirty Lettuce
- Website: https://dirtylettuce.square.site/
- Location: 4727 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97213
- Favorite Dish: Seitan BBQ Ribs
Traditionally, Southern soul food is the complete opposite of vegan-friendly. It’s mostly fried chicken, butter, sugar, and other types of meat. Dirty Lettuce is the first all-vegan restaurant I’ve been to that specializes in vegan soul food!
They have creole fried “chicken,” BBQ “ribs,” fries, and more. The dishes are cooked in the Southern tradition, and most of them are barbecued, smoked, or deep-fried.
Most of the dishes lean towards the spicier side and are deliciously seasoned. So, if you like spicy fried food, then Dirty Lettuce should be the first place you visit.
Personally, I tried the Seitan BBQ Ribs, and they were delicious! They toss large pieces of seitan in their homemade vegan BBQ sauce and then grill them for a smoky, charred finish.
I also got the Creole Seasoned French Fries as an appetizer. I loved the spicy seasoning and the spicy, crispy fries!
- Website: https://www.epifpdx.com/
- Location: 404 NE 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97232
- Favorite Dish: Baked Empanada with Aji Verde Salsa
Epif is another all-vegan restaurant that specializes in South American cuisine. Their best-selling dish is their empanada, which can either be baked or fried.
Personally, I chose the Baked Empanadas and a side of Aji Verde green salsa made with green chilis, cilantro, lime, tofu, and olive oil. They also offer a tomato-based salsa and a yellow chili-based salsa as well.
The empanadas are made with a crispy dough and stuffed with soy crumble, mushrooms, vegan eggs, onion, and raisins. They came fresh out of the oven and were as savory as it gets!
The food isn’t the only good thing here. Epif has an amazing cocktail bar that specializes in Pisco drinks, the native spirit of Peru. It’s a type of strong wine that tastes similar to mezcal or tequila.
I got the traditional Pisco Sour, which is made with pisco, lemon, lime, and raw demerara sugar.
4) Rawdacious Desserts
- Website: https://www.rawdaciousdesserts.com/
- Location: 4520 NE 42nd Ave, Portland, OR 97218
- Favorite Dish: Key Lime Cheesecake
If you love cheesecake, then Rawdacious Desserts has some of the best-tasting vegan cheesecake that I’ve had outside of NYC! They specialize in vegan cheesecakes that are made using cashew cream cheese and other fresh, organic ingredients.
Everything is 100% made from scratch, and they constantly rotate their flavors, so there’s always something new to try.
When I went, I got a slice of their Key Lime Cheesecake. It was thick, ultra-creamy, had a delicious tangy lime flavor, and was topped with housemade vegan whipped cream.
One slice was all I needed to satisfy my craving, but they also offer entire cheesecakes if you need something special for a birthday or event.
5) Ben & Esther’s Vegan Jewish Deli
- Website: https://www.benandesthers.com/
- Location: 6912 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97213
- Favorite Dish: Reuben Sandwich
Growing up, my grandpa’s favorite sandwich was the Rueben. Unfortunately, they’re not exactly what you’d call vegan-friendly.
Ben & Esther’s Vegan Jewish Deli is the first all-vegan traditional Jewish deli I’ve ever been to (or heard of).
They offer vegan bagels, housemade vegan cream cheese, vegan bacon-and-egg sandwiches, and traditional favorites like Reubens, Club Sandwiches, Tuna Melts, and more.
The Rueben I tried was immaculate! I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between this vegan Reuben and the corned beef-filled Reuben that my grandpa used to order from his favorite New York deli.
They make their own homemade vegan “corned beef” and top the sandwich with vegan Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut (which is a great source of vegan probiotics).
If you’re interested in making your own sandwiches, they also sell vegan deli meat by the pound!
Conclusion – Where Is The Best Vegan Food In Portland?
If I had to choose one vegan eatery in Portland to visit, again and again, I’d choose Ben & Esther’s Vegan Jewish Deli! I love the concept of the place, the food is amazing, and I’ve never been anywhere that serves housemade vegan cream cheese as good as they have.
Ben & Esther’s has two locations in Portland and recently opened a third location in San Diego.
So, if you live in SoCal, be sure to visit their location there. Also, while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out my list of the best vegan restaurants in San Diego!