Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Traveling Vegan: Portland, OR

Traveling Vegan: Portland, OR
Photo Credit: Ashley
Portland is one of the weirdest and most wonderful places I've been. Not to mention it is a vegan food mecca. There is so much amazing vegan food in Portland that you will have to visit numerous times to even get close to trying everything. Here are the vegan eats we were able to gobble up in Portland on our first visit!

4121 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland OR 97214

Next Level Burger truly lives up to it's name. They have taken vegan burgers and burgers in general to the next level! I was so excited to visit them on a recent trip to Portland for the Vegan Beer and Food Festival. My traveling companion and friend, Robin and I had a pact to split everything we wanted to eat, so we could try double the food. Thank goodness we kept that promise at Next Level! I really wanted to try a burger and one of their shakes, which I heard were to die for. Robin and I looked at the menu and decided to go for "The Animal", which had a lot of great toppings (we also added tater tots to our burger shhh...) and a Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup shake. 

I was starving but nothing prepared me for the burger that was brought to our table. "The Animal" was about as tall as the butter knife that was sticking out of the top to keep it upright. How was I supposed to eat this thing?! The plan of attack we settled on was to separate it into two burgers. One for me and one for Robin. After that, it was a little easier to consume. And consume it I did. This was one of the best burgers I have ever had, vegan or otherwise. That is saying a lot because I can be very funny about vegan burger patties that are meant to mimic beef. I usually prefer veggie or black bean patties when I am having a burger. This was close enough to the taste of beef where it was very reminiscent of a traditional burger but not close enough to gross me out. That is the sweet spot!

The peanut butter cup shake was to die for. With the wide straw that accompanied the shake, the little chunks of peanut butter cup went right up the straw. They weren't all left laying at the bottom of the glass. That's genius! 

Also, delicious tater tots were had by all. 

Next Level burger was the highlight of my most recent trip to Portland. I so want this place to come to the SF Bay Area! If you are in Portland, Next Level is a absolute must stop for some of the best vegan burgers on the planet. 


Double Juicy Sausage Patties Topped with Smokey Tempeh Bacon, Sautéed Onion, NL-Cheese, Special Sauce, and BBQ sauce

610 SW 12th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 841-5961

Petunia's is a really cute all vegan, all gluten free bakery that also serves a small breakfast and lunch/dinner menu. On my recent trip to Portland we started out the day here and then came back for dessert before bed.

For breakfast, my husband tried the poppy seed muffin which was great and sweet. Robin tried an everything bagel with vegan cream cheese. She didn't think they pulled off the gluten free bagel very well though. I had the Good Morning Oatmeal (trying to be healthy!) and I really liked it. It came topped with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and nuts with soy milk and brown sugar on the side. You could sweeten it to your liking which was nice.

We were so tired when we arrived back at Petunia's after a long day of vegan sightseeing that we decided to order our desserts to go, so we could go back to the hotel and relax.  Most of the desserts were picked over when we got there but we still had quite a few things to choose from. I chose to take a slice of the Turtle Cheesecake home with me. It was really decadent and sweet which was great to have after a walking around all day.

If you have something specific in mind that you want to try, make sure you get there early. I missed out on having the Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast by one person. As I said before, when we arrived later that evening to get dessert, most of the display case was picked over. Whether it's for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, Petunia's is not to be missed when visiting Portland. 




a.n.d. Cafe
5420 E Burnside St. 
Portland, OR 97215
(503) 233-4550

After a weekend of absoute gluttony, we decided to try and cram in more meal before heading to the airport. a.n.d. Cafe is a place that I've heard of for awhile but didn't make it to on my first trip to Portland.

It's a small but popular place so make sure you get there early, especially if you are trying to catch a flight! It's not a vegan place but many things can be made vegan. Just make that clear when you are ordering. I was really intrigued by the stuffed waffles. Even though I felt like I couldn't eat another bite, I had to give this a try before leaving Portland. I ordered the Feast Waffle and what a feast it was. The waffle alone was a huge meal but with the amazing gravy and tofu on top? Unbeatable. I usually like sweet waffles so this savory waffle was a nice treat. Be warned though, come hungry and prepare to leave bursting at the seams.

stuffed with sausage, hash browns topped with country gravy and herb tofu

1628 SW Jefferson St.
Portland, OR 97201
(971) 271-7656

Vtopia is known for it's amazing vegan cheeses. While they certainly are amazing, they also have a full food menu.

I stopped by and immediately wanted to try the Reuben, which we ordered with a salad. It was delicious. We had to also try the mac and cheese and Caesar salad. My husband really loved his Caesar salad and the mac and cheese was as good as you can expect from a restaurant that specializes in vegan cheese. Amazing. I love my mac and cheese with breadcrumbs, so you should for sure give it a try if you stop by Vtopia when in Portland.

Savory marinated tempeh topped with unpasteurized sauerkraut, housemade Russian dressing and smothered in our housemade melty cheese on rye bread.

Our special housemate mac 'n' cheese sauce is topped with breadcrumbs, bacon bits, housemade cheddar, and green onions

Romaine lettuce topped with grated housemade cheddar, bacon, croutons, and housemade parmesan.

Vita Cafe 
3023 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 335-8233

We went to Vita Cafe for brunch on our first morning in Portland. It was pretty empty when we got there and after the fact we were told that it isn't one of the best places to get vegan food in Portland. Now while it mainly serves vegan and vegetarian fare, Vita Cafe's philosophy is sort of cloudy. On their web site they say they serve vegetarian and vegan food out of environmental concerns but they do serve some "sustainable meats." They seem to have the words "vegetarian" and "vegan" all over their website and hide the word "meat" in a few places. The food we had there was very good and I'm not against eating at non-vegan restaurants because I think it's important to encourage all restaurants to serve vegan options but the message Vita Cafe is putting out there seemed to be contradictory to me. With SO many other vegan options in the city I don't think we'll be heading back to Vita anytime soon.

choice of tofu, organic tempeh or two free range eggs with veggies and chili, wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and topped with vegan cheese sauce, salsa, vegan sour cream and guacamole. choice of potatoes or brown rice

The Grilled Cheese Grill
1027 NE Alberta St.
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 206-8959

The Grilled Cheese Grill is the epitome of what makes Portland cool. At two of their locations you can sit in buses and eat your food (One school bus and one double decker bus). We ate at the location with the school bus and it was refitted with cool art and spacious booths with picnic tables outside. It's not very obvious from their website but they do have vegan options. Just ask when you arrive and they will be able to help you pick something that they can make vegan. We got traditional grilled cheese with tomato soup, which is one of my favorite food combinations. The experience and atmosphere alone is a reason to check out The Grilled Cheese Grill but the favorites from your childhood made vegan is what will keep you coming back.

Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ (Food Truck)
4237 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217

Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ does not mess around. They are a vegan food powerhouse and they intend to keep it that way. With huge portions and a very Portland location this food truck is a must stop for vegans coming to Portland. They are located in a marketplace packed with food trucks. The only bad thing about Homegrown Smoker is that your stomach can only hold so much of their amazing food in one sitting. I would suggest going with several people that way you can share and taste as much of there menu as possible. Come back often.

Smoked Soy Curls on a grilled bun with Maple-Bourbon
BBQ sauce and Chipotle slaw.

Corn Fritters with Remoulade sauce

Thinly sliced smoked maple-ginger seitan hyam with Chao and Daiya cheese, No-cheese sauce, tomato, and our Mellow Yellow mango-habanero mustard served on grilled sourdough 1125 SE Division Street
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 754-5993

Portobello is one of the nicer vegan restaurants in Portland. Reservations are required so make sure you give them a call before you decide to drop in. The decor is pretty traditional but it makes a great place to bring everyone in the family, vegan or not. Oh, and the food is amazing. I've been to Portobello twice now and here are the delights I was able to enjoy!

Sweet Pea Bakery
1205 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 477-5916

Sweet Pea Bakery is part of the vegan mini mall (yes, the ALL VEGAN MINI MALL) which of course should be your first stop in Portland. Sweet Pea Bakery is so cute inside and I wish I could have spent an afternoon there just hanging out and trying ALL of their amazing food. Alas, I only had room in my tummy for the below treat.


3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(971) 255-0138

Having brunch at Harlow was an interesting experience. Harlow is not a vegan restaurant but has numerous vegan options. The restaurant is trendy and it's in a really cute part of Portland. Ordering and seating was difficult. It wasn't clear where or how to order. Most of the seating is communal so it's difficult to find a seat that will give you any privacy. The food however was pretty good. Again, the competition for the best vegan food in Portland is high so some places are less amazing than others. Still amazing but a bit less.

Two oatmeal, spiced apple and banana walnut pancakes topped with vanilla toasted walnuts & coconut, salted maple cashew cream and cinnamon

Notable Mentions:

Food Fight (Vegan Grocery)
1217 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 233-3910

Herbivore Clothing
1211 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 281-8638

Voodoo Doughnuts (Original location)
22 SW 3rd Avenue
Portland Oregon, U.S.A.


  1. Oh I love Portland! It's so awesome =) So pretty. And so. much. vegan. food!!!! I feel like I ate at a ton of places when we went there last year, but I never even tried some of the places you mentioned. I'll have to go back!

    1. I love it too. If we ever move out of California, I feel like I could live in Portland. I feel like you need five trips to Portland just to try all of the vegan food. It's sooooo good.

  2. Two more great spots: Departures in the Nines Hotel, and Mississippi Pizza (the best gf/vegan crust!)

    1. Yay! Thank you again for all the great spots! :)


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