Your Vegan Travel Guide to Portland!
I’d never been to Portland before this month and honestly had no idea what to expect. Spoiler alert: it’s amazing!
It’s quirky, super hip and trendy and it’s hard not to fall in love with the place. Portland is full of cute cafes, boutique homeware shops, vintage thrift stores and you’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice with amazing vegan food and options. Almost every non-vegan restaurant and cafe has vegan options, and good vegan options too! Despite the gloomy weather, everyone is super cheery and friendly, and whilst I did notice that Portland isn’t a very diverse/multicultural town, everyone is super accepting of everyone and it’s just super refreshing!
In this guide, I’ve included a list of my favourite eats and some cool shops to visit (in no particular order!). Living in Sydney and having been deprived of vegan ramen (japanese noodles), majority of my eats are ramen spots - so my apologies go out to you if you’re not into ramen! I also highly recommend checking which days things are closed and planning your eating itinerary because I ended up missing out on a few places because I didn’t plan ahead *cries*. Ah well, it does just mean I will have to visit again soon - not mad about it, but just thought I should mention it. I’ve also included the eateries I really wanted to go to but missed out on under a bucket list heading!
1. MARUKIN ($-$$)
JAPANESE RAMEN ● vegan options ● MENU
I love that Marukin has an alternating menu with solid vegan options on both! Tues/Thurs/Sat have a Shoyu and Shoyu Red (spicy) clear vegetable broth on offer, and Sun/Mon/Wed/Fri has Shio Tonyu broth available, which is a creamier, soy-milk based broth. All the ramen here is absolutely delicious - I think along with Kayo’s, this was my favourite ramen spot. It’s at a great price point and you will not be disappointed.
Recommendations: All the vegan ramen here!
2. VOODOO DONUTS ($)
YEAST DONUTS ● vegan options ● MENU
Aaaah the famous Voodoo Donuts. Open 24/7, there is a daily queue for these bad boys. Are they worth the hype? Maybe not, so don’t be too sad if you miss out, but they’re definitely not bad. My favourite donut from here was the ‘McMinville Cream’: a maple iced donut filled with Bavarian cream. The pastry cream is silky smooth and actually impressive, and the maple icing is delicious. My Apple Fritter was perhaps a little over-fried and soaked up too much oil (not sure if I got a bad one), but I didn’t love it - but I did think it was better than the Doe Donuts fritter. Had a lot of apple chunks though, which is good. ‘Raspberry Romeo’ is their jam-ball donut and it also has a generous amount of jelly filling.
Reccomendations: McMinville Cream and Raspberry Romeo
3. AFURI ($$-$$$)
JAPANESE RAMEN + DUMPLINGS ● vegan options ● MENU
I think I love the physical restaurant more than the food here - don’t get me wrong, the food is good too, but the space is amazing. I went to the AFURI location on 7th Ave and it’s an large open area with an industrial vibe, an open kitchen situated right in the heart of the restaurant and warm lighting. It’s pretty. There are two very different vegan ramen options, a Truffle Miso and a Hazelnut Tan Tan ramen. It’s hard to say which is better, I think it depends on what you like. If you like full flavoured, salty, creamy rich things, go for the Tan Tan. The Truffle Miso is a light clear and delicious broth, so it really just depends on what you like! I personally prefer the Tan Tan. I can also definitely recommend the Nasu Skewers - delicious grilled eggplant skewers.
Recommendations: Hazelnut Tan Tan Ramen, Nasu Eggplant Skewers.
4. DOE DONUTS ($)
YEAST DONUTS ● 100% vegan ● MENU
Portland’s 100% vegan donut shop! Doe has a wonderful selection of gourmet donut flavours which change from day to day. It’s a little bit out of the way but I would say they’re definitely worth the trip!
Recommendations: Strawberry Milk Donut and French Toast.
5. BYE AND BYE ($-$$)
BAR + SOUTHERN SOUL FOOD ● 100% VEGAN ● MENU
How is it possible that a Bar has such good vegan food?! The portions are huge, hearty and surprisingly it’s all fairly healthy! Put Bye and Bye on your list! The Southwest Bowl will change your life! There are also so many cute shops along the same street and I would recommend checking out the Alberta Co-Op Grocery Store nearby too!
Recommendations: Southwest Bowl (nutritional yeast crusted tofu, chipotle ranch sauce, collard greens, beans and rice) and Samurai Bowl (nutritional yeast crusted tofu, carrot-cabbage slaw, spicy miso sesame sauce, rice, sesame seeds and add avocado!!).
6. BLUE STAR DONUTS ($)
CAKE DONUTS ● VEGAN OPTIONS ● MENU
Blue Star is AMAZING. I’m pretty sure all the cake donuts here are vegan! I don’t tend to like cake donuts, but the Orange Olive Oil Donut I had from Blue Star was better than all the yeasted donuts I had from everywhere else. It’s a must try. I mean, powdered Olive Oil? What donut-wizards even come up with this cray? Whoever it is, I’m thankful I experienced this magic.
Recommendations: Orange Olive Oil Donut, Blueberry and Cinnamon.
7. EB AND BEAN ($)
SOFT SERVE ● VEGAN OPTIONS ● MENU
I WILL FOREVER DREAM OF THIS PLACE. This is the best vegan soft-serve I’ve ever had and now Eb and Bean holds a special place in my heart. The flavours change monthly and there’s always a delicious selection to choose from and lots of vegan toppings. If available, I would recommend the Earl Grey flavour, but let’s be honest, they’re all amazing. I love the vegan waffle cone topping as well!
8. LOS GORDITOS ($)
MEXICAN ● VEGAN OPTIONS ● MENU
HOLY MOLY Los Gorditos is great value! No frills, no fancy service or decor, but the food will have you SHOOK. I didn’t realise you could get good food for such a good price anymore. They have a few locations and one is 100% vegan, but all of them have a vegan menu. I would recommend trying something different from your usual burritos or tacos, try the Gorditas! I was shocked when my plate of 3 gorditas also came with tomato rice, salad and refried beans. You have a choice of ‘meat’ here too! You can also pick from soyrizo (recommend it!), soycurls or tofu. Amazing!
9. BLOSSOMING LOTUS ($$-$$$)
ORGANIC VEGAN FUSION DISHES ● 100% VEGAN ● MENU
A great spot to go with friends for dinner! Maybe book a table because it gets busy - and for good reason. The service is great and the food is delicious! Also pop around the corner to Eb and Bean after for a sweet dessert fix!
10. UCHU ($)
GREAT VEGAN SUSHI ● VEGAN OPTIONS ● MENU
If you’re feeling like sushi, Uchu has a good selection of vegan sushi to pick from, and if you go on Monday-Wednesday, it’s happy hour all day and sushi rolls are uber cheap (I’m talking $5 a roll - so you can get crazy!).
Recommendations: Green Dragon Roll (tempura asparagus roll with avocado!), Nasuyaki Roll (tempura eggplant!) and the Veggie Tempura Roll (tempura sweet potato roll!)
11. KAYO’S RAMEN BAR ($$)
JAPANESE RAMEN + DUMPLINGS ● VEGAN OPTIONS ● MENU
You absolutely must get the Tan Tan Ramen when you’re here!! This is definitely one of the best vegan ramens available in Portland and you can choose your spice level.
Recommendations: Tan Tan Ramen (delicious noodles and tofu in a creamy sesame broth!)
12. BOKE BOWL ($-$$)
RAMEN + BAO + FRIED ‘CHICKEN’ ● VEGAN OPTIONS ● MENU
Casual dining spot with great ramen and other vegan specials! The Caramelised Fennel Ramen is legit and I got a Crispy Jackfruit Bao too! The sides are delicious and cheap and they also do fried chicken from 5pm-9pm, and for vegans they have a fried tofu and eggplant option! HOW CRAZY! Fried with garlic and soy vinegar sauce. Hit this place UP.
Recommendations: All and any of the vegan items!!!!
13. ICHIZA ($$-$$$)
PAN ASIAN + TEA + SAKE ● 100% VEGAN ● MENU
A intimate dining experience with very high quality food! I had the Kimchi Soup special and it was fabulously delicious. They have a good mix of asian dishes to pick from, including traditional Filipino dishes, Cantonese and Japanese dumplings and Noodle Soups! A favourite spot of many Portlandian locals, this place rocks!
Recommendations: Vegan Adobo (Filipino), Ichiza Noodle Soup and ask about the Specials!
DO + SHOP
POWELL’S CITY OF BOOKS
BOOKSTORE ● AREA: DOWNTOWN
The best bookshop you will ever visit. Levels and levels and levels of aaaaaall the books!!!! Lots of cute knick-knacks and gifts too! Open til late.
SACRED CIRCLE ECSTATIC DANCE
DANCE EVENT ● AREA: DOWNTOWN
Dance your cares away in a non-judgemental space! Move your body, feel the sweet sweet beats and work up a good sweat as you feed off everyone’s good energy here. This is a magical event that happens every Sunday at 11am - 12:30 at the Tiffany Centre in Portland and I highly recommend going! $12 ticket at the door.
CERAMIC + HOMEWARES STORE ● AREA: KENTON
A beautiful homewares/design shop that celebrates artists (ceramic artists in particular) and their work. There’s an eclectic collection of jewellery, homewares, ceramics, soaps and other apothecary items and even some antiques.
BETSY + IYA
JEWELLERY + CERAMICS + HOMEWARES ● AREA: NORTHWEST DISTRICT
A little expensive but I had a good time looking around here (they have some good ceramics) and going next door to Solabee Plants was fun!
MADE HERE PDX
LOCALLY MADE CRAFTS ● AREA: DOWNTOWN
Super close to Powell’s Books, Made Here PDX has a whole bunch of stuff including homewares, bags, ceramics, glasses, jams/preserves, chocolate, clothes, furniture, soaps and candles made by local businesses in Portland! Great for souvenirs that aren’t tacky.
SOLABEE PLANTS AND BOTANICALS
Plant shop ● AREA: NORTHWEST DISTRICT
Just a real beautiful plant shop.
PORTLAND ROCK GYM
CLIMBING GYM ● AREA: BUCKMAN
Great climbs, bouldering and 7 auto-belay routes! The staff are super friendly and I climbed here almost every day.
VEGAN MINI MALL
100% VEGAN MINI MALL ● AREA: PARKROSE HEIGHTS
4 vegan stores for the ultimate vegan shopping experience:
Sweatpea Baking Co. - vegan cafe serving delicious baked treats and sandwiches! See the menu here.
Food Fight! - 100% vegan grocer
Herbivore - vegan clothing store with shoes and other products too!
Scapegoat Tattoo - vegan tattoo parlour
Southern BBQ Soul Food!
OFF THE GRIDDLE
Epic waffles and breakfasts!
Epic vegan sandwiches.
PETUNIA’S PIES AND PASTRIES
Totally gluten-free bakery that will amaze you with it’s non-GF tasting wonders. You can also pick up some of their items at Whole Foods.