Rib bao buns from Mama Dút Foods

Portland has always been a hotspot for vegan food, but in the past year, our vegan options have exploded—and they’re better than ever. Far beyond tempeh and veggie burgers, you can now find vegan versions of Detroit-style pizza, fried catfish, porkless bao buns, Cuban sandwiches, signature sushi rolls, and spicy fried chicken sandwiches. Whether you’re a lifelong vegan or just looking for a meatless meal, check out these options.

Boxcar Pizza

This sister pizzeria to food cart Baby Blue Woodfired Pizza opened last year in the Zipper, with a selection of classic and not-so-classic pies made in the thick crust, square-shaped Detroit style that’s been popping up all over Portland recently. Our pick for a more unusual ’za is the cheeseburger pizza, which combines beefy crumbles, gooey mozzarella and cheddar, sliced pickles, cherry tomatoes, red onion slivers, and a zig-zag of burger sauce, all atop an airy dough with the requisite Detroit-style crispy cheese edges. It tastes just like In-N-Out in flatbread form. 2701 NE Sandy Blvd

Dirty Lettuce

Seitan is king at Dirty Lettuce, the vegan soul food spot from Mississippi-born Alkebulan Moroski that recently moved from a cart at the Shady Pines pod to a brick-and-mortar on NE Fremont. It’s the base for fluffy fried chicken, beautifully charred ribs, and cornmeal-breaded catfish that Moroski makes from scratch, each with distinct seasonings and textures, ready to be dipped into house-made sauces including comeback sauce, remoulade, and tartar. Accompany any of the above with gooey, bell pepper-laden mac and cheese, a dish of collard greens, or a piping hot Nachitoches meat pie. 4727 NE Fremont St

Mama Dút Foods

At this SE Morrison vegan Vietnamese spot, hair stylist-turned-chef Thuy Pham serves staples like jackfruit bao buns, chik’n fried oyster mushroom banh mi with housemade kimchi and sriracha aioli, and rice waffles topped with kimchi, spicy aioli, and tender jackfruit. For dessert, grab cheery baked goods like pandan cinnamon rolls and lychee whoopie pies. 1414 SE Morrison St

Miami Nice

This Culmination Brewing pop-up , which opened in summer 2021, exploded onto the scene not only as one of Portland’s top vegan restaurants (with all of its vegan proteins made in-house), but as one of its top Cuban restaurants, period. The OG Empanada is bursting with tomatoey, olivey soy picadillo inside a bubbly, crackly fried shell. The Cubanito combines housemade ham with a crispy texture reminiscent of fried Spam, jackfruit pulled pork, mustard, melty cheese, and crunchy pickles on buttery pressed bread. And the Miami Chop is a light yet flavor-packed salad with shredded iceberg, tomato, yellow rice, housemade grilled soy curls, and a spiderweb-like drizzle of creamy mustard-mayo-curry dressing that’ll make you want to lick the plate clean. 2117 NE Oregon St


Portland’s only Sri Lankan restaurant—and one of the city’s only cooperatively-owned restaurants—got its own brick-and-mortar space on SE Belmont last fall after moving from a weekends-only pop-up in NE. Now you can get vegan versions of Sri Lankan street foods five days a week, like kottu roti (pieces of flatbread stir-fried with Just Egg and your choice of curry), string hoppers (round patties of noodles) with dal and potato curry, and parippu vade (pigeon pea fritters). But the special curry plate is reserved for weekends only, a constantly changing selection of dal, curries, and sambols ringed around rice and papadam. 2420 SE Belmont St


This former pop-up moved into a cart at the CORE pod on 82nd, easily launching the whole pod to one of our favorites in the city. You can’t go wrong with any of the signature rolls, like the Meadow, in which artichoke hearts, cucumbers, and apples combine to create textures and flavors reminiscent of a California roll, or the spicy tuna-inspired Oasis, where roasted squash and shishito peppers mingle. The nigiri, on the other hand, makes individual ingredients sing, like avocado with truffle salt, whiskey barrel-aged pepper, and Arbequina olive oil. 3612 SE 82nd Ave


From farmers market stand to food hall, Obon now has its own brick-and-mortar space at the former Kachinka on SE Grand (though its weekly farmers market pop-ups continue). Stop by for combo plates with your choice of two onigiri (think buddha’s hand citron with blue hominy miso, or ginger pistachio miso), plus korokke (kabocha fritters), kakiage (veggie fritters), and giant tater tots. Other must-haves include handmade udon noodles, served zaru-style during the summer, or in curry udon or kenchinjiru (a miso-veggie stew) during colder months. 720 SE Grand Ave

Plant-Based Papi

Jewan Manuel’s Plant-Based Papi is a frequently sold-out vegan sensation, and right now he’s running two residencies at the same time—one out of Fortune in Old Town, and one out of Bit House Saloon on SE Grand. Look for the uber-trendy red birria tacos made vegan by substituting jackfruit for beef and cashew cheese for shredded cheese, jackfruit chicken nuggets with ranch dipping sauce, pesto linguine with mushroom scallops, and fast food-inspired dishes like a spicy fried chicken sandwich made with oyster mushrooms and an Impossible smash burger. 1412 SE Morrison St

Show Comments