Aaron Lee

WHEN YOU'RE NOT into eating animals, brunch can mean waiting in line for 45 minutes only to face down a menu that includes six pork belly dishes and exactly three things you can eat. Luckily, Portland's vegan- and vegetarian-friendly brunch spots are filling the gap. For the meat-free among us, here's where to get your brunch fix. Take your meat-loving friends—it'll be an adventure for 'em!

A.N.D. Café
5420 E Burnside

Brunch is a risky proposition for vegetarians: Since we've deprived ourselves of bacon and sausage, the only things that make waking up at such an ungodly hour even worth it, we're usually left with lackluster options like... I don't know, gluten-free toast, while everybody else slathers themselves in foie gras pancakes or whatever. But that's not the case at the charming, vegetarian- and vegan-friendly A.N.D. Café, where low-key decor, cozy tables, and friendly service mark a welcome change from Portland's overhyped, line-plagued brunch joints. Breakfast is served all day, and while options range from waffles to granola to poached eggs, I went with the Super Vegano Burrito ($9.50), paying an extra buck to get fresh fruit—apple, cantaloupe, orange, banana—as a side, instead of chips or a salad. It's fantastic: a grilled tortilla, some excellent house-made vegan sausage, avocado, hashbrowns, cashew cream, chimichurri sauce, and even some vegan "eggs" that, unlike most vegan eggs, don't taste like you're biting into a garbage sponge. Throw in a few booze options, from a Morning Margarita ($7) to various breeds of both Bloody Mary and mimosa, and suffice it to say I wasn't disappointed. ERIK HENRIKSEN

Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 8 am-3 pm, Mon 9 am-3 pm, Wed-Fri 9 am-3 pm, cocktails, beer, and kombucha, $$

Back to Eden Bakery
2217 NE Alberta

This small, easygoing neighborhood café is known for its vegan and gluten-free pastries, and a muffin ($3.75), scone ($3.75), or amaranth bar ($3.50) makes for a light and easy way to start the day. For something more filling, there's biscuits and gravy ($6) with walnut sage sausage ($2). The mushroom gravy was deliciously rich and the biscuits nicely balanced between being firm on the outside and moist on the inside. The sausage, bursting with sage flavor, had a strange consistency and didn't really add much for the extra price. There are also hearty smoothies ($5.50), such as the Green Goodness (apple, kale, banana, and orange juice), which can be a meal in themselves. It gets busy, but lines generally move fast, and while seating is limited, there's space on NE Alberta and a picnic table out back. MJ SKEGG

Brunch hours: daily 8 am-10 pm, $

Blossoming Lotus
1713 NE 15th

If every Sunday were Mother's Day, most would be spent getting good ol' Mom liquored up at Blossoming Lotus. Located within stumbling distance of Lloyd Center, either the grapefruit mimosa ($7) or the beet Bloody Mary ($8) are sure to point your meal—and your day—in the right direction. The space is filled with light from the street-facing wall of windows, but even the darkest mornings are gently warmed by the wattage of the electric chandelier overhead. Everything from the kitchen is vegan, with an emphasis on gluten-free and raw options that provide a culinary counterbalance to the big-as-your-face cinnamon roll ($6). Jazzed-up brunch staples like biscuits and gravy ($10), French toast ($11), and various scrambles anchor the menu. But I know I'm making my mother the proudest when adventurously ordering the "bacon" and "brie" sandwich served on a ciabatta roll ($10), or the breakfast curry bowl ($11.50). RIAN NIELSEN

Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 9:30 am-3:30 pm, cocktails, $$$

3632 SE Hawthorne

Don't take it from the line of yoga-mat-toters streaming out the door—take it from a carnivore: Harlow serves straight-up amazing food. This mostly vegan, gluten-free café serves jalapeño cashew cheese instead of pepper jack. Kale is listed on the menu as often as pork belly appears on most others. In this non-satirical Harloworld, tempeh and quinoa are fungible counterparts to eggs and tots. The Outlaw Scramble (which can include eggs if you deign; $9.50) is a bountiful heap of chipotle black bean chili, dark greens, and wilted spinach topped with the aforementioned cashew matter along with a scoop of guac and a mound of brown rice (or quinoa) on the side. Collectively, the faintly smoky, tangy/savory concoction impresses across the spectrum of texture, flavor, and heartiness. And lest ye think there's no room for decadence, hidden among the spirulina and Echinacea juices and smoothies is the Stumblebee ($6.50), a hedonistic mélange of chocolate, peanut butter, and banana. Then again, cacao nibs are a superfood. Namaste. BRIAN YAEGER

Brunch hours: Mon-Sat 8 am-2:30 pm, Sun 8 am-3 pm, gluten-free beer and cider, $$

Harvest at the Bindery
3101 NE Sandy

Less about deprivation of animal products than it is a love affair with edible plants, Harvest's brunch should be at the top of every leaf-eater's list of morning meals to try. The relatively new addition is inspired by agrarian lifestyles, and chef Sean Sigmon has a flair for dressing up simple plates with thoughtful details. Essentailly a Southern joint, brunch at Harvest revolves around dressed up, hearty carbs: grit cakes, hoecakes, country griddle French toast, and hashbrown casseroles. Not to be missed are the house biscuits in a savory mushroom gravy ($6) that almost killed me dead. MS

Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 9 am-3 pm, cocktails, beer, and wine, $$

Kathleen Marie

Nectar Café
1925 NE 42nd

Located in the Hollywood District, this coffee bar has a large selection of smoothies and juices, with a couple of local taps and wine to round out the beverage options. But most important to the serious bruncher is the bottomless mimosa ($10) available every Sunday. The café's orange walls jolt awake both your senses and hunger while the menu board aims to satiate both. Everything is prepared vegan (unless otherwise requested), and the hardest decision of your weekend might just be choosing between a tempeh scramble tossed in gravy ($9), a waffle wrapped around vegan sausage with maple cream cheese ($7), or the tofu banh mi ($8). RN

Brunch hours: daily 7:30 am-8 pm, Sat-Sun 8 am-8 pm, cocktails, beer, and wine, $

Portobello Vegan Trattoria
1125 SE Division

With expanded seating and a newly relaunched Sunday brunch service, Portland's vegan trattoria, Portobello, is a-changin'. But the top spot for a meat-free date night isn't looking all that great in the harsh morning light—so far. Classiness turns to confusion when the refinement of the regular menu gives way to brunchtime references to 'Merica (as in the 'Merican Waffle; $10) and McDonald's (the McLovin, a vegan homage to the McMuffin; $6). Sticking to the tried and true is wise when ordering, especially since the beet tartare ($9), star of dinner's antipasto selections, is just as delicious in the morning. The beet burger ($10) also shows up; now dressed in a cashew hollandaise sauce, it pairs equally well with a Bloody Mary ($8) or mimosa ($7; above and beyond the usual concoction of OJ and cheap champagne found elsewhere). Waffles and tofu omelets round out the menu, but fall short of the expectations that Portobello has earned over the years. RN

Brunch hours: Sun 9:30 am-2 pm, cocktails, $$

Proper Eats Café
8638 N Lombard

Though an iron deficiency waylaid my once-strong convictions about not eating meat, I'll always have a place in my ex-vegetarian heart for well-made vegan breakfast food. If that's your jam, St. Johns' Proper Eats Café delivers. Despite the vaguely judgy name, the snoot factor here is low: It's got a basic health food store vibe, because that's exactly what it is. The café in back is cozy and welcoming, with the laidback bustle you'd expect of a community center, plus plenty of seating, good coffee from St. Johns Coffee Roasters ($2), and friendly service. My vegan biscuits and gravy ($11) were delightful—tasty mushroom gravy over soft-centered biscuits on a generous, colorful pile of greens, potatoes, and veggies. Pro tip: The house hot sauce is SO GOOD, but you only need a little. If all vegetarian food were like this—and, you know, iron deficiencies weren't a thing—I might consider giving up meat again. MEGAN BURBANK

Brunch hours: daily 9 am-10 pm, $$

The Sudra
2333 NE Glisan

If you're looking for an Indian-inspired take on the flavor profiles of typical brunch fare, look no further than the Sudra. Located in the Ocean—a collection of micro-restaurants that share the same building at NE 24th and Glisan—the Sudra's brunch primarily features tofu scrambles stuffed in dosa, atop appam, or covered in cashew cream curry ($8-12). The inside dining space is rather shallow, so find a seat at the bar (the same one you very well may have been drinking at the night before), or at a picnic table outside. While there are a few sweet options on the brunch menu, the masala-spiced Bloody Mary ($8) pairs wonderfully with the savory scrambles, and is highly recommended for its twist on the classic liquid breakfast. RN

Brunch hours: Sat-Sun 9 am-1 pm, cocktails, beer, and wine, $$

Read more brunch articles:

Adventure Brunches
Bottoms Up at Sunup
Old-Timey Brunches
Vegan Brunches