Whether you’re a lifelong vegetarian or just feeling like you need a break from carnivorous eating, Portland, Oregon has some of the best meat-free dining options in the country. Not only are these restaurants a great place to grab some greens, many veggie establishments appeal to their diner’s social conscience by supporting organizations like animal shelters and Buddhist temples. Another bonus of meat-free dining? It’s cheap, with meals at our top four picks averaging under $10 per person. So go ahead, save some dough while saving the cows at one of Portland’s favorite vegetarian restaurants.
Ok, so it’s not technically a restaurant, (it’s actually a food truck that parks in the downtown core) but with rave reviews from foodies throughout the Pacific Northwest, we know this place is worth tracking down. Everything on the menu is vegetarian, and for hard-core herbivores, every sandwich can be made vegan, including the infamous Philly cheesesteak sammie. Gluten-free options are available for vegans who also avoid gluten (how crazy-specialized is that?) This food truck is only open on weekdays for lunch and closes early when they run out of food, so be sure to check D.C.’s Twitter feed (@DCVegetarian) for daily hours and specials.
We love authentic Chinese food, but to be honest, some of the offerings are a little scary. Seriously, chicken feet? For anxiety-free Asian dining, we head to the Vegetarian House in Portland’s historic China Town. Here everything is made with veggies and meatless plant proteins, sans MSG, food coloring and preservatives. The lunch buffet is a bargain, and diners shouldn’t be confused by menu items like Moo Shoo Beef and Kung Pao Chicken – — honest, there’s no meat in these, just some cleverly disguised soybean protein and wheat gluten.
Sweet Lemon Vegetarian Bistro
Don’t let the unlikely location in a suburban strip mall fool you – — this place serves up some seriously sophisticated vegan fare. All the menu items are free of meat, seafood, eggs and MSG, and when possible, organic ingredients are used. Guru Curry, Zen Yakisoba and Noble Noodles are some of the popular dishes, and we know you’ll want to save room for dessert – — the vegan mocha cake is our fave!
Van Hanh Vegetarian Restaurant
Featuring over 100 vegan and vegetarian dishes based on Vietnamese cuisine, this is the place to head when you really want to feel self-righteous about what you eat. Not only are all the offerings entirely meat-free, the place is owned and volunteer-operated by Buddhist nuns in support of their local temple. Earn some good Karma while noshing on cheap eats like lemon grass tofu sticks and the Buddha Bowl. It’s located in a sketchy part of town, so bring a friend to navigate both the language barriers and the locals. Open 10-9 every day except Tuesday (even Buddhist nuns need a day off.)