Traveling to Portland, Maine? It’s time to eat all the vegan food!
I went on a road trip from Toronto to Portland, Maine in the spring to attend WITS (Women in Travel Summit). It’s about a 10 hour drive from home, so I made a few stops along the way, including Albany, New York; Dutchess County, New York; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Hudson, New York on the way back. As much as I was excited to visit all of the places and attend the conference, I was thrilled at the possibility of sampling all the vegan food in Portland Maine. And to follow that up, excited to write this vegan Portland Maine restaurant guide for you, too!
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Portland, Maine isn’t exactly known for its vegan food. Known primarily for lobster, seafood, and all sorts of other sea creatures that I’d never put into my mouth, I wondered at first what the heck I was going to eat when I got there. However, Portland Maine was named the Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetit magazine. The city celebrates all sorts of cuisines and restaurants from a variety of culinary backgrounds. While there aren’t actually any strictly vegan restaurants, there are some vegetarian restaurants in Portland Maine. And there are tons of vegan options at many establishments around the city. So, where to eat in Portland Maine? I’m going to show you exactly where to find all of the best options with this vegan Portland Maine food blog post.
Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro
The Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro is an Asian inspired culinary experience in healthy, vegetarian dining. Chef and owner, Dan Sriprasert, aims to combine compassion and indulgence for this mindful dining experience. It was my favorite spot to dine throughout this vegan Portland Maine guide, so be sure to check it out when you’re in the city.
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Starting with influences from Thailand, Green Elephant offers flavors reminiscent of voyages to Japan, China, Malaysia and India. They also support local businesses as much as possible, including local beer, tea, sodas, and locally roasted coffee.
It was really difficult to decide what to order because everything seemed amazing. I wanted to choose some menu items that were unique and I couldn’t necessarily find anywhere else. To start, I ordered the Crispy Wontons (stuffed with soy cheese and spinach, served with chili sauce). They were tasty little fried morsels that paired perfectly with the sauce. For my main course, I chose the Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Breaded Soy Filet (stir fried broccoli, Chinese broccoli, carrots and Thai bird chili in a brown sauce). The dish was moderately spicy (in a good way!) and the soy filet was super crispy.
If you’re looking for where to eat in Portland Maine, don’t miss dining at the Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro. Vegetarian, vegan, or omnivore, I’m convinced that you’ll love dining here. I’m still dreaming about my meal here!
Baristas and Bites
Baristas and Bites is a breakfast and lunch joint in Portland with several vegan options on the menu. They believe in offering fresh food from local farmers at a fair price point with excellent service to match. I had some great conversations with the staff there about their vegan offerings and they were more than happy to help. Please note that Baristas and Bites has a cashless system, accepting debit and credit.
All of the vegan and gluten-free options are clearly marked on the menu. There are also monthly specials, as well as lots of desserts and baked goods. Many of the desserts also happen to be vegan! Some of their vegan sandwiches include: chickpea salad sandwich, TLT (tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato), BBQ tempeh, vegan tuna salad wrap, kale Caesar wrap, and more.
They also sell many salads and bowls. I ordered a Thai noodle salad bowl, which included a rainbow of veggies, fresh herbs, rice noodles, and greens with peanut sauce. It was light and yummy, perfect for a quick lunch on the go. Baristas and Bites might not be an entirely vegan pr vegetarian spot, but they deserve a spot in this vegan Portland Maine guide for their commitment to offering so many vegan options.
You’d expect that a restaurant called Silly’s might be a little off the wall. Open for over 30 years, this place is magical and crazy all in one. The decor is colorful, vibrant, and wild with kitschy artwork covering every square inch of the walls. Dining at Silly’s is an experience for the overall look of the establishment and the yummy food itself.
Silly’s is very friendly to those with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets. The vegan items are all marked with a little “v” (vegetarian is a big “V”). They have a regular menu and a weekend brunch menu. I visited on a weekday and was met with some very difficult decisions. Everything sounded so good that I really couldn’t decide what to order.
I choose a menu item that seemed like the best of two worlds: Vegan Strikes Mac. It’s half a plate of vegan mac n cheese and half a plate of Buffalo fried tofu. The two dishes go quite well together, perhaps not so surprisingly. This takes comfort food entirely to the next level. Can I also mention that the portions are huge? I could only eat about half of this plate, and I took the rest with me (which I devoured later in the evening). Silly’s is absolutely a restaurant worthy of any vegan Portland Maine listing, and I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to dine there.
Simply Vegan by Silly’s [Closed]
There was a vegan restaurant in Portland, but sadly it closed up shop. In the off chance that it might open back up, I’ll include it on this list. Silly’s Kitchen is affiliated with a vegan restaurant down the street called Simply Vegan by Silly’s. There are all sorts of vegan salads, sandwiches, breakfast offerings, pasta, and so much more. You can even get giant slices of vegan cake there! I went early in the day and ordered some very tasty blueberry fresh toast, drenched in maple syrup. Yum!
I really hope that Simply Vegan by Silly’s opens back up because that was the only entirely vegan restaurant in Portland. It would have been the only vegan Portland Maine restaurant on this list, strictly speaking. If you’re looking for similar meals, head to Silly’s down the street.
With all of the yummy selections I’ve provided so far, and you still looking for where to eat in Portland Maine? Here’s another great establishment for you. LFK is another eclectic restaurant and bar in Portland, Maine. It’s not a strictly vegan or vegetarian eatery, but you’ll find loads of vegan food. To accompany the food, they offer craft beer, signature cocktails, spirits and wine. You’ll also discover lots of interesting art, bursts of color, and interesting design features all over the restaurant.
LFK has a rotating menu that changes with the seasons. If you’re not sure if an item is vegan, just ask the staff. LFK has vegan cheese and can do vegan pizzas, burgers, nachos, and more. I ordered the LFK Veggie Burger with vegan cheese on top (also comes with greens, tomato, onion and dill tahini), and served with a side of pickles and a bag of chips. LFK is a great addition to this vegan Portland Maine guide for those seeking next level pub grub.
Mi Sen is a noodle bar in downtown Portland, Maine with several vegan and vegetarian friendly meals on the menu. The noodles are made from scratch, and you’ll find lots of delicious Thai noodle and soup dishes here. Simply ask the staff if you’re unsure as to which items are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Many of the items can be made “vegetarian upon request” or “gluten-free upon request”. Just ask for the dish to be prepared vegan. The restaurant staff are very familiar with what vegan means, so you won’t have any issues.
I ordered the Drunken Noodles made vegan, which meant leaving out the egg and adding tofu. You’ll receive a tasty dish of stir-fried flat noodles, broccoli, bell peppers, basil leaves, and carrots in a spicy sauce. Delish!
Looking for vegan pizza in Portland Maine? Head directly to Otto! It’s a pizzeria with options for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans. I’m so happy to include a pizza place in my vegan Portland Maine guide as I don’t think that I can live without pizza in my life.
You can make your own pizza with vegetable toppings and vegan cheese. I recommend you try one of their vegan pizzas either from the vegetarian menu or the spicy menu. I ordered the Buffalo cauliflower, Scallion and Blue Cheese pizza, substituting the vegan cheese for the blue cheese. It was amazing! I loved the spicy cauliflower and the green onions, and it matched the vegan cheese perfectly. Otto was a great dining choice for myself and a few of my travel blogging buddies as there was something that appealed to everyone.
The Thirsty Pig
Who knew you could get vegan food in Portland Maine at a spot called The Thirsty Pig? Normally, I’d never imagine going to an establishment with a name like that. But, believe it or not, there are vegan options here and I highly recommend checking them out. It’s my choice for where to eat in Portland Maine if you’re looking to indulge in hot dogs and beer on an amazing patio.
When I traveled to Portland, the weather was not cooperating at all. It was rainy, overcast, and a little bit cold for most of my stay. But, on one glorious Saturday afternoon, the skies opened up. It was sunny and warm on this beautiful spring day. I was so happy to dine outdoors, and The Thirsty Pig has a wonderful patio behind the restaurant.
On the menu, the vegan and veg-curious folks can enjoy the vegan chili, the hummus, and the Vegan Bratwurst (homemade vegan link made with vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast, topped with caramelized onions and house spicy brown mustard). The cole slaw is also vegan. Add this spot to your vegan Portland Maine dining list, stat!
Maine Squeeze Juice Cafe
The Maine Squeeze Juice Cafe has a couple of locations in Portland, Maine, as well as one in Kittery. I loved the Maine Squeeze so much, I ordered a smoothie in Kittery and an acai bowl in Portland. Their acai bowls are hearty and delicious, with a big dollop of peanut butter on top and freshly sliced banana. Definitely visit the Maine Squeeze if you’re looking for a refreshing and healthy serving of fruit. It’s one of the best vegan restaurants in Portland Maine, especially if you’re looking for something quick and healthy on the go.
The Holy Donut
Seeking a sweet indulgence? The Holy Donut is an institution in Portland, Maine. It’s almost as though you never visited Portland if you didn’t try a donut from The Holy Donut. These aren’t your average donuts: they’re made from potatoes! And even if you follow a special diet, the Holy Donut has got you covered: they make lots of vegan donuts and gluten-free donuts.
When I visited, there were several varieties of vegan doughnuts, including cinnamon sugar, triple berry, fresh lemon, toasted coconut, and vanilla. The vegan donuts are all marked with a “V” on the top shelf. Why not try…all of them? The Holy Donut is my top choice for dessert in this vegan Portland Maine dining guide.
I got a little bit obsessed with eating gelato in Italy, and Gorgeous Gelato is the best gelato that I’ve had outside of Italy. They always have a couple of vegan flavors that are clearly marked. There’s also Vegan Gelato Fridays at Gorgeous Gelato! I’m so sad that I missed out on the event as I was quite busy at the conference on Friday, but I went straight to Gorgeous Gelato the next day for a scoop.
I love how committed Gorgeous Gelato is to providing vegan options every day, and even hosting a special vegan event each week. You must go there when you travel to Portland, Maine for a taste of Italy in the USA.
Grocery Options: Whole Foods & Trader Joe’s
Portland has a Whole Foods Market and a Trader Joe’s, and both are not too far away from one another. I went to both grocery stores for some breakfast foods and vegan snacks to nibble on in my hotel room. Whole Foods has a fabulous buffet with lots of vegan meals, while Trader Joe’s has some grab n’ go prepared meals that are vegan.
Map of Restaurants in Portland Maine
Here is a map where you’ll find all of the vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly restaurants in Portland, Maine. This can help you find all of the vegan Portland Maine establishments as you wander around the city.
Where to Stay in Portland Maine
My top choice if you’re looking for where to stay in Portland Maine is the La Quinta by Wyndham Portland. It’s not too far from downtown Portland, and it’s both an affordable and comfortable place to stay. The La Quinta hotel includes free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a very roomy suite. I also loved having the option of free parking as I had my car with me. It’s an ideal place to stay if you have a car or a rental car as many hotels in downtown Portland have expensive parking fees. Be sure to book your stay at La Quinta by Wyndham and read more reviews by fellow travellers. I thoroughly enjoyed my five nights there, and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again in the future.
I really hope that you get the chance to travel to Portland, Maine to sample all of the yummy eats that I’ve outlined in this vegan Portland Maine guide. On your travels around Maine, you should also check out the Maine Beaches region, just south of Portland. I’ve outlined all the awesome things to do in Southern Maine to help you with your travel plans.
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