Guide to Gluten-Free Eating in Portland
Written by Kylie Bressoud
As someone who was diagnosed with Celiac disease right before a big move to a new city, I was ecstatic to learn that Portland, Oregon is one of the most Celiac-friendly places to be. After living in the city for nearly 2 years, I had the pleasure to experience most of the amazing gluten-free food that Portland had to offer. Unfortunately, the pandemic has been difficult for a lot of gluten-free restaurants, and many closed in 2020 because of it. I want to acknowledge all of the amazing eateries that are still open and thriving in the gluten-free community. All of the restaurants mentioned are dedicated gluten-free. You can find a comprehensive list of the dedicated restaurants on findmeglutenfree.com, but here are a few of my top recommended places to check out for yourself.
Bakeries + Breakfast
If you are in the need of some gluten-free sweet treats, Portland has you covered!
Petunia’s Pies and Pastries Petunia’s is a gluten-free, vegan bakery that immediately won me over. Bring your gluten-eating friends and family for a slice of cake, and they would never guess that it is gluten-free! They serve breakfast, lunch (including yummy grilled cheese sandwiches), dessert, and drinks, making this a one-stop-shop. I can’t forget to mention their donuts (only sold on weekends) are amazing! No celebration is complete without a slice of Petunia’s cake, in my opinion. New Cascadia Traditional New Cascadia was one of the first places I truly enjoyed a slice of gluten-free pizza; to this day, I don’t think there has been a pizza that beats New Cascadia! They also sell pizza dough (equally delicious) so you can make a customized pizza at home. Delicious donuts, bagels, and breads—New Cascadia has all of your pastry needs covered. Kyra’s Bake Shop
Motivated by her own need for good-tasting gluten-free goodies, Kyra won Cupcake Wars (multiple times) with her amazing gluten-free recipes. Although many bakeries make a good gluten-free donut, Kyra’s might be my favorite. They offer great options for a quick breakfast or lunch on the go. Harlow Harlow is one of my go-to restaurants for breakfast. They recently opened a second location on NW 23rd, and both locations are 100% gluten-free and vegan. My favorite place to visit for nutritious, delicious food for any meal of the day. There is a reason Harlow is so well known in Portland, by gluten-free and gluten-eaters alike. Healthy food that tastes as good as it looks? Sign me up!
Lunch + Dinner
Portland has some of the greatest variety of gluten-free, from authentic Indian and Mexican food to vegan food trucks. This city has something to offer regardless of diet. There are quite a few new vegan eateries that I haven’t had the chance to try, but are on my to-try list next time I visit Portland. Fatsquatch PDX is a vegan food truck in NE serving up some deep-fried comfort food. Eatin’ Alive is in my old stomping grounds of North Portland, making healthy vegan bowls and drinks. You can find plant-based Mexican food at La Taquiza Vegana, with an artisanal approach to traditional Mexican flavors. Focused on environmental sustainability, Flourish Plant-Based Kitchen is an adorable food truck on a mission to bring plant-based comfort food to the city.
Pixie Retreat When living in Portland, my work was dangerously close to Pixie Retreat in downtown NW. Serving organic, plant-based fast food without gluten, soy, or refined sugar. When in need of a healthy pick-me-up, Pixie is at the top of my list! Their customizable bowl bar is delicious, and they have a wide variety of grab-and-go items (including my favorite kale salad). Don’t forget to grab a Donkey Bar… or two
Mestizo Mestizo knows how to impress. Entirely gluten-free and soy-free, this restaurant is a unique place for Latin cuisine. A beautifully designed eatery on Division, offering a large outdoor dining space, this is a favorite place to bring friends. Whether you are gluten-free or not, Mestizo has unique flavors that will impress you.
Verde Cocina The only gluten-free dining option at the Portland Farmers Market (highly recommended), Verde Cocina also serves Mexican food at two different cafes. Verde Cocina was born from the need to make healthy food accessible and delicious. Prioritizing local ingredients, Verde Cocina has something for every diet.
When I first moved to Portland, Butterfly Belly was the first restaurant I stumbled upon that I quickly became a regular customer. Gluten-free Asian food is hard to come by, and Butterfly Belly knows how to do it right! Delicious, Vietnamese dishes are served by the business owners, who also happen to be the kindest and most welcoming people. I ordered frequently enough that they memorized my order (which is Peanut Pad Thai if you were wondering). They also make some of the best Pho I have tried. At Butterfly Belly, they are conscious of dietary needs for vegans, offering a separate menu. A unique restaurant, full of personality and delicious food.
No gluten-free food guide would be complete without Berlu. Berlu is a restaurant doing something truly different. Portland is lucky to have Chef Vince Nguyen, and for us Celiacs, we are even luckier he decided to make Berlu 100% gluten-free and dairy-free. In 2019, I was able to have a fine dining experience for the first time -- the food was out of this world, and I tasted flavors I didn’t know existed thanks to Berlu! At the time, it felt like a hidden gem, but now Berlu is getting the attention it deserves. Since the pandemic began, the fine dining at Berlu has been replaced with Vietnamese baked goods and a night market that showcases Vietnamese street food. Although I have not yet experienced the new offerings, I know Berlu cannot disappoint.
In 2019, I was able to have a fine dining experience for the first time -- the food was out of this world, and I tasted flavors I didn’t know existed thanks to Berlu!
Drinks + Dessert
Although I am not personally a connoisseur of gluten-free alcohol, for some it is the main attraction! Portland does not disappoint when it comes to its gluten-free drink offerings.
A 100% gluten-free brewery and pub, Ground Breaker is the perfect place to discover your new favorite beer and enjoy a bite to eat while you’re at it.
Mutantis Brewery & Bottle Shop
Mutantis is on a mission to create the ultimate beer geek destination for gluten-free beer lovers. Diagnosed with celiac disease, the founder was on a mission to create better tasting gluten-free beer. Mutantis doesn’t just offer their own beers, but beer from all dedicated gluten-free breweries in Oregon. A beer-lover’s paradise!
Beer isn’t for everyone, but luckily enough Portland also has a cider house! Schilling is a super fun location with a beautiful patio. With 50 flavors of cider, you are sure to find your favorite with a tasting flight. Not to mention, they have some of the best brewery foods to snack on as you enjoy a cider.
Little Chickpea is eccentric, while also delicious. Offering plant-based ice cream (and more) made from chickpeas?! Trust me, it tastes much better than it sounds. Unique flavors like Blackberry Basil really won me over, and it was even better in a gluten-free waffle cone. Free from gluten, soy, dairy, and nuts, Little Chickpea is the perfect place to enjoy a scoop.
I have yet to try Kate’s ice cream, but the reviews are all raving about their plant-based desserts. 100% plant-based and gluten-free, Kate’s was made for everyone to enjoy.
I may be biased, but Portland is THE travel destination for all the gluten-free people out there. There is always delicious, gluten-free food just around the corner (not an exaggeration).