While the number of vegetarians in the United States has grown from 3 to 5 percent in the last five years, I still struggle with finding vegetarian restaurants in some cities. Most of the ones I do find aren’t really that good.

With this in mind, I love the fact that Seattle does a good job of feeding my veggie habit. I have to admit, however, that Portland, our weird, wacky neighbor to the south, has us beat. During my getaways to Portland, I always have trouble fitting in all the restaurants I want to try. Here are a few of my favorites.

Blossoming Lotus

The fact that we stopped by on a Sunday night may be the only reason we were able to get seated immediately at the popular Blossoming Lotus restaurant in Portland’s Lloyd District. Even for an “off” night, this quiet, somewhat upscale fusion restaurant was filled with diners.

It was difficult to know where to start with their tasty-sounding menu, but I couldn’t pass up the Baked Brie (it was vegan; the cheese actually was made of cashews). This was served with gingered fig jam and a puff pastry. Jon, my partner, and I then ordered two main courses and split them so we could share as many morsels as possible.

I had the curry and coconut tofu and he had empanadas. Both were served with large side dishes of salad, rice, beans, and veggies. There was so much food, we ended up taking some of it with us and eating it on the drive back to Seattle the following day.

Fried tofu and salad from BridgePort Brewery

 

Prasad

Brilliantly located in the same space as Yoga Pearl studio, Prasad does great business with the yogini crowd. After their workouts, the well-stretched order protein shakes and green smoothies to-go, while drop-in diners (like we) sit down for a meal. 

Prasad actually has become our Portland go-to spot for breakfast and protein shakes when we just want a pick-me-up. For me, there’s nothing like starting off the day with a Revival smoothie that includes apple-lemon-ginger juice, spinach, blueberries, and spirulina. 

Most menu items here are vegan and primarily gluten-free. A number of raw options available.

Voodoo Doughnuts

This Portland institution, its two locations in PDX (as well as one in Eugene, Oregon, and another in Denver), crafts some of the best doughnuts in the nation. (I maintain the very best are from Top Pot in Seattle.) So why am I listing them in a vegetarian food post? Aren’t all doughnuts vegetarian? Well, no.

Viewfinder Tip: Non-veg restaurants in Portland do a good job with vegetarian food. Don’t be surprised to find excellent tofu dishes being served at pubs.

What makes Voodoo different is that alongside their treats topped with Fruit Loops, bubble gum, and sprinkles, they make vegan doughnuts. So if you’re avoiding dairy, you can get your fix at Voodoo. 

Petunia’s Pies and Pastries

Though your teeth might start to ache just walking into Petunia’s, this small baked goods shop actually sells more than vegan sweets. Petunia’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus include oatmeal, tacos, beet salad, grilled sandwiches, and lasagna (to name a few items).

During one of our most recent visits, Petunia’s conveniently was close to our hotel, which meant a five-minute walk for something I never can resist: cinnamon rolls. Petunia’s take on this tradition was on the sweet side but still was delicious? Next time I’ll try the grilled veggies!

Where are your favorite vegetarian restaurants?