Best Friend is the place to go for everyday vegan pick-me-ups. Start your morning with a specialty latte like the Carmela Soprano latte, made with coconut caramel, functional cordyceps mushrooms, and your choice of plant milk. Or stop by for a Margaux Mango smoothie, which amps up your typical mango smoothie with turmeric, black pepper, and bee pollen. Dishes like avocado salad rolls, vegan, raw-sugar tahini truffles, and Samoa-inspired cookies provide mood-boosting brunches.
2832 SE Gladstone St
Imagine the McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches of your dreams, gone imperceptibly vegan. You can’t go wrong with the namesake Chubby Bunny, which crams satisfyingly umami vegan bacon, sausage, cheese, arugula, and sriracha mayo into an english muffin, nor with an egg-topped burger on a sesame seed bun. And have we mentioned the Spam-esque sandwich with egg on a pretzel bun? Chubby Bunny’s newest addition to the menu: the Yo! Egg, a plant-based poached egg that replicates the pleasures of a soft egg yolk.
3423 SE Belmont St
Detroit-style pizza (square, sauce on top) is all the rage, and luckily vegans have a worthy destination tucked inside the Zipper food court. The crust is crisp around the edges and pillowy in the middle, and the plant-based cheese is perfectly oozy—just a slice or two will fill you up. Along with classic tomato sauce numbers, look for wacky combos, like the cheeseburger pizza that tastes like a deconstructed In-N-Out burger.
2701 NE Sandy Blvd
Step up to Buddy’s Steaks food cart and you’re greeted by a holographic Gritty sticker. This is a good sign that you’re about to get the real deal (Gritty is the Philadelphia Flyers mascot). Classic vegan cheesesteaks come with your choice of dairy-free Cheez Wiz or pepper jack, though the Cheez Wiz tastes a little coconutty for those who aren’t accustomed to vegan cheese. Variations like the pizza cheesesteak and buffalo chicken cheesesteak are also on offer, alongside hoagies and meatball subs. But Buddy’s star dish is the mozzarella sticks, with crisp, parsley-loaded breading, melty vegan cheese (though it lacks the stretch of the dairy version), and tangy marinara.
4255 SE Belmont St
Gnarly’s “Dang” burger holds the special distinction of being named one of the Top 5 Portland Burgers—all burgers—by fast-food-obsessed former Simpsons writer Bill Oakley. We have to agree. Gnarly’s nails the crispy-edged smashburger texture better than its meaty competitors. Vegan cheddar drapes over the burger like a lovely, gooey blanket, topped with Thousand Island dressing. It’s reminiscent of an In-N-Out burger, but without the sad, soggy cardboard fries—instead, the corkscrew-shaped ones here are crisp and perfectly golden.
930 SE Oak St
This is the vegan pizza that I find myself—a devout cheese-lover—craving on a regular basis. There’s a whole array of vegan cheeses here, from chevre to cream cheese to almond ricotta to gouda, and they all have the funk and creaminess of real cheese. There are over a dozen pizzas to choose from, and they all work, from the chipotle and tofu-slathered Chalupa Batman to the tomato, mushroom, and chevre Mount Boring.
7201 NE Glisan St
Japanese comfort food abounds here, with everything made from scratch. Onigiri is a menu staple, combining sprouted rice with off-the-wall misos, like Buddha’s hand-hominy and pistachio-yuzu. But my go-to is the udon, made in-house and wonderfully chewy and silky. Get it in a rich curry broth, or order it cold in the summer with dipping sauce. Bento plates are happy, carb-loaded affairs, combining onigiri, fried curried pumpkin korokke, and giant Tater Tots with creamy dill sauce.
720 SE Grand Ave
Mexico City pride abounds at Chilango, a newcomer to Alberta Street serving all-vegan dishes from the country’s capital. Quesadillas on hand-patted blue corn tortillas get stuffed with housemade almond queso, while tacos get topped with crispy jackfruit suadero, hibiscus mole negro, and pumpkin flower mole verde. Thick, crackly sopes topped with veggie chorizo and potato are the ultimate comfort food, as are the juicy, limey esquites in a cup. There’s beer on tap and cocktails like boozy horchata, too.
2217 NE Alberta St
What can you do with wheat gluten? A whole lot, it turns out. Mississippi-born Alkebulan Moroski, who grew up in a restaurant-owning vegan family, treats seitan like science. He gives it a flaky texture and breads it in cornmeal to replicate catfish; ribs, meanwhile, are full of chew and char. Just as delectable are the side dishes, from macaroni and cheese to collard greens with vegan meat. Load up on sauces, vegan tartar to remoulade, and grab some nachitoches vegan meat pies for snacking.
4727 NE Fremont St
From complex curries to silky noodles, Norah’s pan-Asian, Thai-leaning dishes display extraordinary depth without any animal products. The whole head of cauliflower in spicy, coconutty curry knocks every sad cauliflower steak out of the water. Fettuccine alfredo pales in creaminess compared to the coconut mushroom linguine, complete with seasonal mushrooms that soak up the limey, chile-kissed sauce. You’ll also find some of the best pad thai in town here, balancing sweetness, saltiness, and acidity in a blend of chewy rice noodles and every vegan protein you could want, from Just Egg to seitan to fried tofu cubes. Don’t miss the impressive cocktail list, where even luscious egg white gets replicated with a convincing aquafaba foam.
3801 SE Belmont St
This walk-up window earned a major role in the Portland episode of Netflix’s Street Food USA for its playful vegan Vietnamese fare. Former hair stylist Thuy Pham got her start as a vegan chef during the pandemic, selling packages of traditional Vietnamese vegan pork belly. Now she’s got rotating steamed bao, banh mi, and whoopie pies in flavors as colorful as her ever-changing hair, like pandan and ube with rainbow sprinkles.
1414 SE Morrison St
One of the few Kenyan spots in town, this Sellwood cart charms with its small but well-executed menu. Fillings range from stewed “beef” and potato to collard greens to plantain curry. While you can order various combinations of these stews in sambusas, over rice, or with chapati, we recommend the stuffed mandazi—three pillowy pockets of fried bread, with a different filling in each one.
1122 SE Tacoma St
There’s vegan food the easy way—open up some Field Roast sausage, scramble up some Just Egg, load a sandwich with Tofurkey—and then there’s vegan food the nerdy, passionate, we've-been-cooking-all-month way. Aaron Adams’s Fermenter falls into the latter camp. At brunch, stop by for dishes like polenta, seared oyster mushrooms, and housemade vegan sausage, or flaky biscuits and gravy sided by a tofu scramble. At lunch and dinner, the Fermenter burger is a sure favorite—the smoked onion shio koji millet black lentil tempeh is a mouthful, garnished with miso sauce and house kraut alongside the usual condiments. Or go for the beet reuben with cashew chive cheese. Either way, we recommend pairing it with whatever house kombucha is on tap that day.
1403 SE Belmont St
The only Sri Lankan eatery in Portland is also one of the few worker-owned restaurants in town, making it easy to root for this restaurant. You can grab Sri Lankan street foods like kottu roti—chopped-up roti with toppings like vegan chicken or meatball curry—or fried rolls stuffed with Impossible beef and potato curry. But our go-to is the rice and curry plate, a single-person feast on a banana leaf that rings five curries around yellow rice, crisp papadam, and sambols for dabbing on each bite (we also dig the pol sambol, a spicy, shredded coconut condiment).
2420 SE Belmont St
What started as a bimonthly vegan pop-up serving three kinds of seitan tacos is now a buzzing restaurant on Killingsworth. There’s something for everyone, at all hours. The menu now is seemingly endless—California burritos, crisp cauliflower “fish” tacos on a fluffy hand-pressed Three Sisters Nixtamal tortilla, even breakfast quesadillas stuffed with scrambled tofu, potatoes, and peppers drizzled with house cashew crema. Cocktails, bright with mango and strawberry and chamoy, come with or without booze. La Casa de Mama, a vegan panaderia within Mis Tacones, hawks rainbow and chocolate conchas and thick, rich champurrado. There’s even a Barbie-pink freezer full of Ice Queen paletas. But what makes Mis Tacones even more lovable is its community focus: BIPOC trans folks always eat for free at Mis Tacones, ensuring the most marginalized in the queer community feel loved, supported, and empowered.
1670 NE Killingsworth St
For vegans lamenting the dim sum–shaped holes in their lives, look no further than Jade Rabbit, whose new space at Aimsir Distilling offers a classy art deco feel. True, you can only get dim sum at night rather than the typical morning hours (perhaps waking up at 4 .a.m to cook is not a Portland thing), but it’s well worth the wait. They nail the sweet, fluffy bread and red-edged faux meat filling of vegan cha siu bao, while they wrap silky rice noodles around rotating toppings like gingery, tender mock beef for the cheung fun. The chile oil wontons, fried beancurd dumplings, and adorable tapioca rabbits are sure crowd-pleasers, but we were less excited about the ma po tofu, whose flavors leaned a little toward spaghetti sauce. Sip a butterfly pea–infused gin cocktail with a rose-shaped ice cube from Aimsir, or order a pot of osmanthus tea for the table.
2117 NE Oregon St Suite 202
Aaron Adams of Fermenter recently opened a new sister restaurant right next door, this time focusing on a $75 vegan tasting menu reminiscent of dining at Farm Spirit. Adorned with chandeliers, bright wallpaper, album covers, and dog portraits, the food's backdrop is just as photogenic as the food itself. The months of work that go into these dishes are readily visible: a swipe of 18-month aged pepper paste, a crisp tuile atop asparagus, tiny seaweed caviar tarts, a cashew kefir salad dressing. And regardless of whether you drink alcohol, the cocktails are not to be missed—in fact, the zero-proof ones, many of them including housemade nonalcoholic apertifs, are the stars of the show.
1407 SE Belmont St
What could be more Portland than vegan doughnuts? Come for classics like the Doe (strawberry milk with sprinkles) or the Portland Fog (Earl Gray with vegan whip), with a cup of Heart coffee (it's even better when paired with doughnuts). Seasonal flavors rotate monthly, ushering in nearly a dozen new options at a time, like strawberry shortcake, ube cream puff, and savory potato pierogi. Stop by for scooped or soft-serve ice cream in a sundae or waffle cone, with flavors from maple coffee to chipped mint.
4110 NE Sandy Blvd
You’ll find Ice Queen paletas at restaurants and grocery stores around town—and even as far as Seattle and Olympia—but the brick-and-mortar offers a wider world of vegan frozen treats. Paletas run the gamut from hibiscus-mango to carrot-ginger to classics like fudge and strawberry. (We once even spotted a pickle paleta on the menu.) Get them dipped in a chocolate magic shell and encrusted with toppings like shredded coconut and De la Rosa mazapan or even crushed Smarties. The oat milk soft serve is one of the best vegan versions we’ve tried, and you can customize a sundae with all kinds of crunchy and sweet bits. Or make your own Thiccflurry, a successful take on the McDonald’s treat.
2012 SE 11th Ave
Satisfy your craving for all the sugary smells of your typical ice cream parlor without the eggs, dairy, or gluten (though nuts are on the menu). Yes, even the signature waffle cones here are vegan and gluten free; so are the brownies and cookies that you can order either a la carte or sandwiched with ice cream. Scoops here, all coconut-based, speak to kids and adults alike. Flavors to try include the Blue Moon (it tastes like Froot Loops), the Oreo and chocolate chip cookie-laden Cookie Monster, the signature marionberry crumble, and the fragrant rose water cardamom almond. Keep your eyes peeled for specials like the Choco Taco, which sells out within hours.
3713 N Mississippi Ave