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I am a vegetarian and have recently discovered I cannot eat gluten. I am having a hard time finding restaurants that accommodate my dietary needs. Any suggestions?
Hey, Anon! I get it — finding a restaurant that can safely accommodate your dietary restrictions can be tough. I also notice a number of gluten-free restaurants in Portland don’t necessarily advertise themselves that way, which means you kind of have to know which places are Celiac friendly. To start, I’ll recommend that you check out our gluten-free restaurants map, but to help out with the vegetarian/gluten-free overlap, I thought I’d make suggestions for specific scenarios:
Breakfast: Breakfast-wise, you actually have a ton of options if you’re seeking a gluten-free pastry. Petunia’s downtown is entirely gluten-free and vegan, with things like pecan sticky buns or blueberry-lemon scones. If you’re still into dairy, Gluten Free Gem on Northeast Broadway offers things like doughnuts and blueberry-cream cheese coffee cake. If you’re more of an egg-centric breakfast/juice bar person, Harlow is 100 percent gluten-free and vegetarian, with everything from pesto scrambles to banana-oatmeal pancakes. And finally, I would thoroughly recommend Deepak Saxena’s Masala Lab for Indian American brunch — think: pakora waffles with green lentil dal and chutney, “saagshuka,” and spiced scrambled egg bowls with burrata.
Lunch: Another Deepak Saxena spot, the Desi PDX food cart offers a number of great vegetarian options, but for lunch, I’d go for the tandoori tempeh bowl with some carrot halwah for dessert. It’s within the Prost Marketplace pod, which has some nice outdoor seating, as well. If Mexican food is more your scene, Verde Cocina en la Perla has things like veggie-topped quesadillas or black bean tacos, plus a pretty tasty take on a chile relleno. Harlow also offers a pretty tasty lunch, if you’re into grain bowls.
Dinner: There are so many different contexts for dinner, so I’m going to give you some options. For a random weeknight dinner, the vegetarian thali at Desi or vegan enchiladas at Verde would do the trick, though I’d also say a visit to Ground Breaker Brewing would be fun — Salvi PDX handles the food, which means dinner can involve a beer and a pile of cheesy pupusas. For a date night, I love Zilla Sake on Alberta, which has some of the city’s best sushi; you can actually pretty easily avoid fish for dinner there, however, by starting with a pile of mushroom karaage and finishing with pickled apricot and daikon maki. And for special occasions, it’s worth it to go with the brand new James Beard Award winner for best new restaurant: Kann. It will likely be very hard to get a reservation at Gregory Gourdet’s lauded Haitian restaurant, but you’ll be rewarded with jerk cauliflower, plantain brioche buns, and chocolate mousse with hazelnut brittle. If you watch Instagram like a hawk, you’ll usually be able to spot when reservations drop. You can also pop downstairs to his cocktail bar, Sousol, which has a really great gluten-free menu of pan-Caribbean dishes. Good luck, and happy eating.