The Vita is just one of those places that's always there when you can't think of anywhere better to go. It's fine, decent prices and decent vegan options.
Cons: Crowded on weekends
The Vita is just one of those places that's always there when you can't think of anywhere better to go. It's fine, decent prices and decent vegan options.
Great food great atmosphere. Little surprised when I realized they weren't exclusively vegan. Both us and the kids have enjoyed every meal.
I came here with a friend and her family (meat-eaters), and everyone LOVED the food! I had a brunch special with their deliciously smokey tempeh bacon, and we all shared a corn cake, which is basically a pancake made of corn (and is amazing). Overall, great food and options for everyone.
It's also located in an artsy part of town if you want to walk around before or after.
Vita deserves 5 stars (HC only lets you rate max of 4?). Excellent variety of vegan dishes along side vegetarian and meat eater options. One of my favorite vegan burgers anywhere. Excellent breakfast, and perfect dinner spot with beer, wine and cocktails.
Every time I've been (which is many) the service has been outstanding. The servers are friendly and remember us repeat customers. If the place is busy (which it often is) you're going to wait a bit for your food...any good restaurant has that. If its a bit quieter your food may be on your table before your drinks!
Love this place!
I am amazed at the lack of fabulous reviews for Vita. and Happy Cow, it's kind of dumb only being able to give 4 stars to this place since it's not totally vegan....
We go there regularly - the servers are wonderful (never a bad experience,and always fun) and the food is so good - vegan diner food! Thoroughly recommend: the hot cakes, the Denver scramble, the biscuit, the chilli, the fishwish, the burger, the Caesar salad, the philly steak (seitan is best we've tasted..) I could go on and on. Yeah, I know it's not totally vegan but that makes it even better since you can go there with non vegan friends and family.
This is the only not 100% vegan restaurant that I am willing to eat there. I eat at Vita cafe for 13 years or so.
1. I like the breakfast and lunch menu
2. For dinner there are not much choices for vegan/GF.
3. It is about time to update the menu!!
4. Need to improve on coffee (ASAP) and hot drinks.
5. Service is below minimal average
If you are really strict Vegan check few times with the server and the kitchen if a dish is vegan and clean from animal products
Updated from previous review on Friday October 24, 2014
I went to lunch there today. The service was friendly and quick. We didn't have to wait long for the food either. We ordered a vegetarian Reuben sandwich, and a vegetarian BLT. The Reuben was excellent. The BLT was tasty, but there wasn't much to it. Both were good, but slightly spendy for what you get. Better than Papa G's though! They really should offer fries, chips or a salad with the sandwiches for what they are charging. But, the food was tasty.
First off, be careful! There's a 'Caffe Vita' a block down the road from here, and it appears to just sell coffee, so be sure not to wonder in there looking lost, confused, and wondering where the food is, because it's at 'Vita Cafe' instead.
Most things on the menu seemed to be veggie, and we both went for the vegan fish and chips to see how they compared to the ones we've had in Toronto. They compared well - in fact, it may well be the best vegan fish and chips I've had. Convincingly fishy in taste and texture, and well-battered.
My only marginal complain would be that the service felt a bit rushed, despite it not being particularly busy - we were handed the cheque before I'd even finished chewing. So be prepared for that possibility, but the food may be worth it if you're out this way.
We tend to go on Wednesday nights for their specials, but I've gone for brunch on the weekend and I find the service to be consistent.
I really like the staff here, they're always really nice and attentive.
Is good... sometimes! i like their vegan burger and the french toast, when is too crowned the meals are usually not very good.
While not the best vegan food I've ever had, Vita Cafe is still very good. They always have daily specials, which are always good. They have excellent vegan nachos, and the roasted vegetable lasagna is quite delicious. I have gotten cake for dessert a few different times, and it's not as good as it looks. Skip it and head down the street to a local bakery.
My vegan husband and I were both disappointed with our visit to this restaurant. The service was great, and the vegan selection is good, but the food was unimpressive. We both ordered a tempeh scramble, and it was just pieces of tempeh and pieces of onions and peppers. It needed more seasoning or something. It was good, but nothing special.
We've been here twice, the first time had amazing breakfast. This time we had lunch. Our sandwiches were pretty good, but the mac and cheese was really bad. It didn't really have much flavor at all. I would recomend coming here, just not for the mac :)
I have been eating at Vita Cafe for years. I love the many food options. The waitstaff has been on the no so good side in the past BUT lately I have found it to be very good! My fave food is the biscuits and almond gravy. It is the best vegan gravy in town!! I have taken non-vegans here and they have loved it. The menu offers a large variety of choices.They also have a soup of the day that is always vegan. Also the dessert is wonderful.
Being one a few vegans in a group a friends I seem to end up here so everyone can have something to eat . The food is terrible. The wait staff are soo cool they don't see m to have time to even be bothered by questions from paying customers( I felt like I was in a record store with the all the attitude that wait staff had).Vita? Not thanks!
I have declined offers to meet friends there several times in the past few years and I hope to never have to step foot inside this place again.
I love this place. It's really close to my house, and, because I'm a member at the Alberta Street Co-op, I also get 10% off every meal I eat. Sweet! My go-to meal there is the "chicken-fried steak" (aka tempeh), and it can be made gluten-free, as well. They have amazing cocktails and every dessert is vegan. It's also really great when you bring omnivore friends, because they have meals for them, too. I've always had great service and good food.
I almost always try the vegan nachos, burritos or tacos when I go to a new restaurant with those options. It's pretty hard to mess them up, and vegetarian nachos are often easily made vegan by simply omitting the cheese and sour cream. Vita Cafe's nachos are specifically vegan, and their vegan cheese sauce makes their nachos one of the ones I adore.
I've also had their vegan BLT with tempeh bacon and vegan mayo and it was very good. They have a large selection of vegan desserts, though I rarely have room for them! There are many vegan options on the menu I have yet to try.
Their outdoor seating is very nice. The staff is fairly harried most of the time; however, at one visit a waitress went out of the way to show me the dessert options.
The three and a half cow average that this place currently receives is just about right. It's good - not great. We went for a Sunday brunch and were impressed with the menu. It's full of all sorts of interesting selections. The food was quite good, though we've had much better French Toast. It was just average, with no additional toppings to make it sing out. The Florentine was also pretty average, though the home-made faux turkey was tops. Coffee needs work. Overall, a good, though not great experience.
Don't let the fact that this place serves meat scare you away as it nearly did me. This place and many of the great places within a few blocks are "Required" to visit while you're in Portland. I am vegan and I was only in Portland a few days and I hit it up twice and it was nothing short of great. Had the chicken friend steak and the fajitas and they were both unique and outstanding. Also we had friendly service, not over the top crazy friendly, this place gets busy, but what's not to like about hot tattoed vegan waitresses? The menu is almost entirley veg*n, my sister (a meat eater) had to search for meat options and it was a perfect place to go if you like me have to dine with a meat eater or vegans, how many places can you say that about? Even if you don't go to this restaurant, you have to visit this street, it is pretty close to veg*n heaven. I live in Seattle and I will be looking for excuses to go back down and even with how many veggie and vegan places there are in Portland, I am looking forward to going back to Vita Cafe. I know I can't rate a place that serves meat 5 cows and normally I wouldn't ever even think of doing it anyway, but this place, it would be tempting...
three words, people: spicy. tempeh. sticks.
goddamn they're SO good! i had lunch here 3 days in a row and the food was soooo good. recommendations: spicy tempeh sticks (after 4pm), chopped salad (after 4pm), seitan cheese steak sandwich, chicken fried "steak," corn cakes. the vegan blt is pretty good, too. they make their own vegan ranch dressing! yum. that's all. just yum.
We came here ready to eat!! We had a really great salad that had tamari sunny seeds on it. It was refreshing change of pace. We had a gumbo soup that was pretty good. I had the vegan Philly sub and my love had a club that had homemade "turkey". We both loved our own dishes. The fries were excellent. The cake was very good also. They had a large selection of cake, we tried the mint choc and a mocha choc. Both were on the sweeter side but still enjoyable.
We had really good service. They knew what they were doing, were very responsive, helpful, attentive, etc. It was slammed when we were there too and you wouldn't have known it by the service.
I would definitely go back when I was less hungry to eat a more reasonable portion. I ate way too much and hurt myself, which I put on myself more than the cafe. It is comfort food, which can be greasy at times, at least what I ordered was. And while they serve meat, it was only a few burgers on the side, not like every other item on the menu.
Also, it was VERY reasonably priced with good sized portions.
If I had written this review a few months ago,I might have given it a higher rating. I've become less tolerant of Vita. The staff is rude. They don't greet or at times even acknowledge you other then necessary. It's really expensive compared to the small portions. The food seems to have gone down hill,and the last time I went there which was on Sunday..I think they half @ssed the meal as it didn't even taste the same as before. Also we ordered a seitan cheese steak sandwich to go and later when we went to eat it,it seemed like they had just put the leftover portion from my husbands fajita platter into bread and called it good! Even though when we had that sandwich b4 it had a different non-fajita flavor!
Comfort food, and thats all. If you're looking for healthy, then this probably isn't the place to go, but if you want "cheese steak" or "buffalo wraps" then this is the place for you.
I've only been once, and our food was good, my girlfriend got the Buffalo wrap, which was Excellent. I wish that I would have ordered that over the "cheese steak", which wasn't bad, it's just I'm not a big seitan fan. The prices were moderate, although I think our dishes should have come with more than just what they did (nothing else).
Now, this place was really busy. And when I mean busy, I mean, I haven't waited to eat since I've been vegan, which means I've never waited to eat vegan food, EVER. Our we gave us Chocolate "cheese" cake for free although I don't think it was meant to be free....
Biggest con, is they serve meat.. Why??? I have no clue. There's no such thing as Humane meat, so why give people that [censored]? thats just my biggest complaint.
I ate at Vita Cafe last Sunday. It was my last restaurant visit for that Portland trip, and boy did I go out with a bang!
I ordered the Mexican Corncakes, the Fishwich, and the Buffalo Tofu Wrap. Everything was delicious! They gave me a huge corncake for the money. It was very tasty and the salsa and guacamole were the perfect accompaniment. The Fishwich was the best faux-fish that I've ever had. The Buffalo Tofu Wrap was SO yum! I only ate one bite of it at the restaurant and saved the rest for later. Even several hours later it was still delicious! There are a few other items that I would like to try (SWEETS!), so I'm adding Vita Cafe to my "return to" list.
I didn't have a problem with the service, thank goodness, because I am BIG on customer service. My waitress was very nice and attentive. Also, I didn't smell any smoke, which is always a plus! I'd give it 5 heifers if I could. Maybe they'll go totally veg and we can... ;-)
I personally don't understand any of the negative reviews below. I have been going to Vita Cafe for the last several years and have never been disappointed by food or staff. The new location (just across the street from the old) is as comfortable as the delicious food that they serve up!
It doesn't matter whether I'm in the mood for some hearty seitan stew or a just want a light salad with carrot ginger dressing, Vita's got what I'm looking for.
I don't live in Portland, but this restaurant is possibly one of the reasons why I'll be moving here. It is SO good! My boyfriend and I come here every time we visit. I've had a variety of things, including the messy sammy (AWESOME!) for breakfast and the seitan cheese steak for dinner, and have been nothing but impressed with everything I've had. I've found the staff to be very attentive and friendly and the atmosphere to be lively. I will DEFINITELY be returning to Vita and encourage everyone to visit!
As one of the owners of the Vita, I wanted to address the review listed below. At the Vita we provide a menu with over 80% Vegan options. Last summer our vegan sausage distributer went kaput and we could not find a replacement. We chose to carry Mrning Star vegetarian sausage instead. The reviewer is 100% correct this is not a vegan sausage - all of our menus reflect this change and the servers (many of whom are vegan) are very aware of this too. We are TRUELY sorry for your experience and 100% respect your vegan life style choice. I would love to personally apologise to you for this frustrating experience.
Our commitment to Vegan eating is strong and true. We have so many vegan options here just some of the options available.. the choice of tofu or tempeh with each breakfast entree, to the sietan cheese steak sandwhich with a vegan cheese option, the Sweetpea vegan cheese cake, the vegan nachos or the vegan mac and cheese.. oh I almost forgot the super grain salad or the daily vegan soup and daily vegan special. Eight out of nine of our entrees are vegan and all of our starters are vegan. We serve only a wasabi spiced vegan bloody mary and vegan wines.
We work hard to provide a cafe with mostly Vegan choices and I hope that we can serve you soon.
The Vita Cafe
In as much of a vegan/vegetarian friendly city Portland is, it is still rare to find a restaurant that truly understands what it is to be vegan. Since the launch of the Vita Cafe, I have been a frequent diner. As a vegan, their heavily vegetarian/vegan menu led me to believe that the owner and staff were conscious of my diet and convictions. Well, apparently this is not the case. I dined for breakfast yesterday morning with one of the items being their "vegan sausage". From a previous visit, I was under the impression that the cook staff was developing their own recipe, so I kindly asked the server only to have my heart broken. Can you imagine my horror when I learned they serve Morning Star sausage? I believe it is common knowledge among vegans that Morning Star does not make a vegan product. It is all egg based! This is the most irresponsible and deceitful action a restaurant, supposedly catering to vegans, can make. I am now left wondering what else on the menu isn't vegan despite its claim. Maybe they use bone filled refined sugar and egg in their vegan biscuits. Well, you won't be seeing me in the Vita Cafe any time soon. This is an outrage, and I encourage all vegans to follow suit and let the Vita Cafe know that their deceit and lack of compassion for our diet will not be tolerated.
I've been to Vita a number of times, and most recently about a week ago. I've been meaning to write a review since the first time I went there a few years ago, but I never got around to it. The food is awesome, the prices are decent, and the service...SUCKS. Seriously, the people are rude, lazy, and stand around chatting while they should be working. I went to lunch there one time and it took over 10 minutes for someone to just bring us water, and there was no one else in the damn restaurant.
I'm a Texan, born and bred. When I was a kid I was not a vegetarian. Not even close. I still miss some of those foods I ate as a youngster. I tell people the first things I'd eat if I was going to kill a cow would be Chicken Fried Steak. Well, I'm not going to kill a cow. I don't have to. My sister lives in Portland. Whenever I go to visit, I go to Vita and have their Vegan Chicken Fried Steak. This is the only place I've ever gone that has it. I need to figure out how to make it myself, but I never have. I have eaten several other dishes and they are all good, but if you're one of those vegans that sometimes misses Texan food, this is the meal for you.
By the way, the atmosphere is really interesting there too. The homemade booths are super-cool and the people are very friendly. They won't let me give 5 cows for this one, but I would if I could.
Aside from Red and Black Cafe this would be my fav place in Portland. They have a huge selection of vegan desserts their breakfast is awesome Vegan Biscuits and Gravy is a MUST $3 for a small! Whohoo! I really like this place an the servers were great. We hit it up twice despite all the options in Portland. They serve Beer, too! Its my girlfriends fav place in Portland.
I had the "chicken" fried tempeh w/ potatoes. It was good, but nothing phenomenal or to rave about. I did feel overwhelmed by the menu selection. Hella options, which makes me want to go back. I would recommend to others. I also ordered key lime cheezecake, and I've had about 5 different vegan cheezecakes in varying countries, and this is probably 2nd best.
"I've lived in this neighborhood for 8 years. I like the food at the Vita and used to go there a lot, but they have THE RUDEST staff in town. The management changed, and the service got WORSE. They fired the only nice waiters and removed my favorite art. The last time I went I waited 30 minutes for my food.
Count me out. I'll cook my own pancakes."
I came here with extremely high hopes for this place since herbivore magazine indicated that their chickn fried tempeh was one of the 10 best things in portland. The mashed potatoes were great, the salad was good, the breading on the tempeh was awesome but the actual tempeh itself was flavorless. It really needed some marinating to give it flavor. I would go back here again since I think I would like other items on the menu.
This restuarant would be a good place to go for a group of vegans, vegs and carnivores since they do serve some meat which is grass fed and as humane as possible. By serving mostly vegan food and writing about the environmental implications of meat on the back of the menu, they may encourage some meat eaters to consider the ramifications of eating meat and reduce or eliminate meat from their diet.
I made the unfortunate decision to visit the Vita- Cafe with my wife and daughter recently and what a dissapointment. To start with the french fries were burnt. The polenta dish my wife had was miniscual (portion wise) and dried out. My daughter had the vegetable lasagna and it was so disgusting it made her sick. The vegetables in the lasagna were huge and slimmy...she referred to the eggplant in the dish as "eel skin". I have been going to Vita for years and it was always at the status quo of most Portland vegetarian eateries...Crappy....who cares service....and marginal food. Unfortunatley, the food has gone from marginal to downright nasty.
I love this joint. Down home rib-stickin cookin you don't have to feel guilty about. Good stuff. You won't be dissapointed. I wish they kept better track of the outdoor seating waiting list though. Several times I have been waiting on a list for quite some time to sit outside, and people just cruise out there off the street and get served. Obviously in the winter it's a non-issue. It's one of my favorite places to eat, vegan, organic, or not. Did I mention I like the Vita Cafe? A lot of others think so too, it can get busy, and you may have to wait for a table on weekend nights. I would give it 5 cows but for some reason happy cow will only allow 4 right now
Caught a cab to herbivore clothing and stumbled on to vita cafe for lunch. I had the Nachos (gluten free & Vegan) and the house tea (spicy and yummy) All was very Yummy. Friends had the Mac and Chesse (vegan) and Three Bean Chilli and everyone loved the meal the service was fast and friendly and they do offer a full bar. Cakes are all Vegan. The also have a full bar service.
Vita has a large menu, so whether you're looking for something healthy or just a huge plate of comfort food (like biscuits and gravy or nachos), they have something for everyone. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, and it can sometimes get pretty busy. I see several reviewers complained that the portions aren't huge anymore, but I think the portions are very generous. I usually can't finish all my food. This is a great place to go with a group of friends (the booths are large and can easily seat 6 or 7) or with kids. They have a full bar and usually some innovative daily specials. The Vegan Nachos are the best in town. I almost cried when I saw that the Vita Cafe was closed for repairs after they had some fire damage inside (but I hear they're supposed to be up and running again on May 15th).
They do serve a couple of meat items, but I'd estimate that about half the menu is Vegan and the rest of it vegetarian. So people need to quit complaining and realize that the world doesn't revolve around them.
Vita was my fav vegan place in town namely because its the only place in PDX with southern style food, had huge portions, and was cheap. Apparently the latter two are gone with a recent 20% price hike. The $7 tempeh sandwich was buttered whitebread, slab of tempeh, and a few peices of letuce and tomato with the smallest amount of hummus. The new item, BBQ ribs, are just Gardenburgers Ribs, with two tiny scoops of mashed potatoes. The Tofurky Florintine was my fav, and the breakfast burritto (was $7, now $9) could serve 2. The weekend were crowds are out of hand on weekends, but maybe the prices will reduce the #s.
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Last updated: 2013/11/13
Added by: Guest