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Lush green, relatively mild temps, Mt. Hood gleaming in the distance make the perfect backdrop for this once sleepy boho town of Portland. One visit to PDX and you’ll see why so many around the world love this laid-back place. It’s diverse community of Pacific Northwesterners and transplants reflects on its restaurants. One bite, and you’ll see why so many flock here and never leave. And, I’m one of those.
Portland has unquestionably stolen a piece of my heart in an odd and humbling way. There is something about Rose City that feels right. Perhaps it is the simplistic way of life, and it’s low key, unpretentiousness. There are no flashy cars or designer duds like how it is back “home” in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, or that feeling of “keeping up.” There is that feeling of belonging. It feels like home, what home should feel like.
Before moving to Portland in 2016, in late Sping/early Summer of 2015, my husband Gregg and I spent three months, home-basing in Portland during our digital nomad, global adventure. It was love at first bite. I finally had found a place that got me. It got my food intolerances, and my need for fresh, local, sustainable food. No need to go hunting for special restaurants that only offer those dishes.
Portland is definitely a mecca for foodies, for both indulgent fare and healthy eating. It’s a place that you can easily find whatever it is that you are looking for. If there is one thing that I love about Portland, it’s the abundance of amazing local produce, healthy eating options and the amazing creativity behind many dishes, drinks, and places.
There is no denying that Portland is a major foodie city. And if you’re a vegetarian, vegan, intolerant diner, this is your place. You’ll find that nearly every Portland menu has something for everyone with a strong focus on local produce, a lot of creativity and flavor. This Portland guide on Where To Eat Well in PDX are places that I’m always recommending to visitors and are places that I frequent. (Some more than others!) These are my go-to health spots. And, if you’re looking for a more indulgent, YOLO kinda guide, don’t worry, I’ll have that coming up a bit later this month!
The Portland Guide: Where To Eat Well in PDX
Blossoming Lotus serves four types of food: vegan, vegetarian, raw, and delicious. This is definitely the place to get a solid vegan brunch. The menu is not extensive but offers up great dishes. ≫ What To Order: The Live Nachos, Vegan Benedict, and Lotus Wrap. www.blpdx.com
It only makes sense that there’s a place in Portland where you can buy ad sip on warm, nourishing broth. Broth Bar offers a delicious experience of wellness to everyone, a rotating selection of 3 different flavors of bone broth each day (grass-fed beef, grass-fed lamb, grass-fed bison, pastured chicken, pastured turkey, and pastured pork), along with a full range of nutrient dense add-ins such as chicken hearts, lamb tongue, soft boiled duck eggs, miso, fresh turmeric, and medicinal mushrooms. ≫ What To Order: The Chicken bone broth with grated ginger, kelp noodles, steamed duck egg, and tamari are a great combination. But, if you’re looking just to sip on a warm bone broth, any of their offerings will hit the spot. www.brothbarsft.com
Located in the heart of SE Portland, Canteen is a great spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They serve up organic juices, smoothies, vegan eats in a snug, simple venue with heated patio seating. ≫ What To Order: The Walnut Taco Salad is BOMB AF! The walnut taco salad has walnut crumbles, mixed greens, pico de gallo, avocado curry sauce, carrots, cashew nacho spread, sliced avocado, green onion. Order that and a kombucha on tap for a solid lunch. The Maca & Friends smoothie is ridiculously delicious! It’s a blend of banana, almond butter, dates, vanilla, almond milk, maca… Yum! www.canteenpdx.com
Açai bowls? Yes, please! Carioca Bowls is PDX’s original açaí bowl cafe serving healthy blends and savory kitchari. ≫ What To Order: The Carioca bowl with the coconut and blueberry toppings and gluten-free coconut almond granola, and the Purista smoothie with nut butter are damn delicious! www.cariocabowls.com
Eat Well PDX
Eat Well is a new colorful food cart at Tidbit in SE. The menu is pretty simple, and you walk through 4 choices to add to a base of brown rice or pick from their signature bowls. Everything is fresh, lightly seasoned, and will make you feel great after eating it! Plus the owner is very friendly and helpful and they also serve ‘booch on tap! What To Order: I usually build my own bowl. But, the Green Machine Bowl with chicken with the green sauce is amazing, and the avocado and black beans balance the kale and rice great. Eat Well PDX on Yelp
Looking for a healthy and tasty brunch or lunch? Look no further, ’cause Fern Kitchen has it all. Farm fresh eggs, local and organic produce, meats, dairy. Plenty of gluten free options too! They also serve up bulletproof coffee and collagen shakes on the menu. ≫ What To Order: Assorted street-tacos on Tuesday’s, are a must. Vegetarian Mushroom Hash and Slow Roasted Pork Plate with crispy polenta cakes, braised greens, and salsa verde are two favorites. Bulletproof Coffee with added collagen and the Wonder Woman smoothie made with hemp protein, cinnamon, banana, almond butter, and almond milk are my go-to drinks.www.fernkitchen.com
After pigging out in Portland, you’ll want to start a cleanse! Garden Bar is great for fast, healthy, convenient salads at 6 different locations around town. Pick from the menu of signature salads or build your own. They also recently added a grain bowl and two sizes to pick from. ≫ What To Order: I love building my own with the Shallot Lime dressing, but if I’m picking from the signature salads, The Bliss Detox and Yucatan are my personal favorites.www.gardenbarpdx.com
Kill two birds with one stone, healthy eating, and food carts.. Garden Monster’s menu has plenty of info indicating what’s vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, dairy free, or sugar-free options. ≫ What To Order: Build your own or order a signature salad. The Hercules and King of Clubs are amazing! www.gardenmonsters.net
Serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Harlow’s menu has plenty to keep you coming back. There are the expected salads and brown rice/quinoa bowls, but there are also stir-fries, pastas, enchiladas, wraps, and many more unique offerings to round out the list. The special of the day, moreover, is almost always worth ordering. Last time I was there it was a plate-sized burrito that eclipsed anything you could get from Chipotle in both heft and taste. ≫ What To Order: Everything! The Betty Bowl with garlic tahini sauce and the Mercy Blues with cashew hollandaise are two must-orders. www.harlowpdx.com
Multiple locations | smoothies, bowls, smoothie bowls I’m not going to lie, on any given week, you’re bound to find me here. At least at their Downtown location. Kure has multiple locations around town, each with its own unique vibe and personality. ≫ What To Order: Aside from one of everything on the menu, Kure’s The Extra Mile smoothie, The Zen Master bowl, and Blue Cashew Milk are my go-to’s And, if you’re looking for something a bit warmer, the Anytime Nog is going to hit the spot. It’s a delicious blend of almond milk, cashew, lucuma, maple syrup, vanilla bean, nutmeg, sea salt that will have you reminiscing of the holidays. www.kurejuicebar.com
This cart has some of the most inventive and delicious combinations. They serve the bowls layered, so as you eat them it’s like a constant change in flavor and texture. The prices are very reasonable and the portions are enormous! The owners are very nice and food comes up quickly. And, did I mention that Native Bowl is 100% vegan? ≫ What To Order: My favorite is the Broadway Bowl, which is tofu and veggies smothered in a sesame ginger peanut sauce. www.thenativebowl.com
Poa Cafe is another favorite. It’s a great spot for nutritional smoothies and wholesome food. They are closed on Monday’s. ≫ What To Order: The Almond Cocao Smoothie and the Sweet Potato Bowl with added avocado are my go-to’s here. www.poacafe.com
My second-favorite poke spot in Portland, and my go-to if I’m on the east side. They have a large selection of options, with pre-determined selections and a build-your-own option. Everything tastes quite fresh and the portion sizes are decent. ≫ www.pokemonpdx.com
Located inside Yoga Pearl, Prasad is a counter-serve veggie and gluten-free cafe inside serving rice bowls, smoothies, warm drinks and raw food. Prasad does have two locations, one in The Pearl and another on the East side. I’ve yet to visit the East side location, but have heard it’s a gorgeous spot! ≫ What To Order: The vanilla chia pudding made with cashew-walnut mylk, topped with dried fruit, nuts, seeds and sliced banana is delicious! The Utopian Dream Pasta of shredded green papaya, carrots, shredded kale, scallions and broccoli tossed in almond butter pad thai sauce, topped with sliced almonds, mint, cilantro and sesame seeds is a uniquely delicious meal you’ll be dreaming about. The Urban Bowl with Avocado Ranch is a personal fave, as is the Jackfruit Wrap. www.prasadpdx.com
Ahh! Quickfish Poke! This is hands down my favorite poke spot in Portland. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen these gorgeous poke bowls many times. Quickfish Poke is the new kid on the foodie block, and part of Bamboo Sushi family, so you know you’ll get extremely fresh, sushi grade fish. ≫ What To Order: The Hawaiian Bowl and Fire Bowl is where it’s at! www.quickfishpokebar.com
This Latin American street food spot offers up delicious gluten-free arepas. ≫ What To Order: Vegetarian Arepas Plate and the Teote Bowl that comes with your choice of meat, rice, black beans, fried plantains, queso fresco, verde sauce, plantain sauce, cabbage salad and cilantro. www.teotepdx.com
The Whole Bowl
Simplicity at its best! This is a great lunch spot that has 7 locations. (There is one even at the Airport.) Fast, filling, and feel-good food! I love this place and even though a bowl is over $7, it is packed to the brim with rice, beans, cheese, veggies, and that delicious sauce. I generally go to the one in The Pearl, since it’s blocks away from me, or the one on SE Hawthorne. ≫ What To Order: The menu is simple; two sizes, nine ingredients. Want it gluten free, vegan, etc? Just ask!
Another food truck with vegan/vegetarian options at your fingertips? Yes, babe! Depth of flavor that is achieved in each bite, is phenomenal. The freshness of their food is incomparable. Thrive offers up bowls, noodle dishes and salads and plenty to pick from and add-in to throw in. ≫ What To Order: Kashmir Bowl and Mexican Bowls; Winter Cobb Salad and the Vietnamese Sweet-Chile Lemongrass noodle dish with flat rice noodles are my favs here! www.thrivesauceandbowls.com
Verde Cocina en la Perla
Verde Cocina is a Mexican/Tex-mex fusion with a PNW twist. You’ll find plenty of great, fresh, local fare at their many locations. Keep in mind, this is a fusion spot, not authentic Mexican food. So, if you are looking for that authentic mole, don’t order it here. The Peral location (aka la Perla) is my go to spot. This place is vegan.vegetarian friendly, and the best part is that virtually everything is gluten-free. ≫ What To Order: The Salmon Ceviche, Black Bean Sweet Potato Salad, and Chile Relleno are delicious. Also, order the guacamole with the fresh tortillas!
Wolf & Bear
A vegetarian food cart located on Mississippi Ave in North Portland, SE and in Downtown that is serving up a Middle Eastern inspired menu that includes wraps, salads, and soups. ≫ What To Order: The Falafel Wrap; Sabich, an Iraqi-Jewish traditional breakfast of hummus, amba (mango pickle purée), sliced hard boiled egg, grilled eggplant, diced onion, cucumber & pickles, freshly cracked pepper, parsley and salad greens topped with tahini sauce & olive oil on a warm pita; Out To Lunch, which features labneh, a creamy cheese made from cultured yogurt, gorgonzola crumbles, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, falafel, salad greens, freshly cracked pepper drizzled with tahini sauce and olive oil on a warm pita. www.eatwolfandbears.com
Other Places I’ve Yet To Try But Have Heard Amazing Things About…
I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), offering guidance to high achievers in aligning their lifestyle with well-being through daily wellness and self-care routines, promoting balance and harmony. Join me at Wellness Bum for tips on living well, and consider subscribing to my newsletter or booking a coaching session.