Empire Chinese Kitchen

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 6 reviews )

575 Congress St, Portland, Maine, USA, 04101

Serves meat, vegan options available. Modern style Asian fusion and dim sum restaurant. Could get vegan dumplings, vegetable stir-fry, a few of the appetizers, plus noodle dish without the meat - be sure to specify. Prices are moderate to slightly expensive. Open Mon 11:30am-9:00pm, Wed-Sat 11:30am-10:00pm, Sun 11:30am-9:00pm.

Categories: Chinese, Beer/Wine, Asian, Fusion, Non-veg

6 Reviews

First Review by cookiem

absolute yum - Edit

A table was easy for dine-in on a Sunday before noon, and the restaurant filled up quickly to a full standing-room wait for tables after 12:15. Even though the vegan options were not ample, they were clearly identified, and absolutely delicious. The vegan ramen was filling and a treat for an uncommon option, and the bok choy was excellent. The servers were very welcoming to vegans, and we were not rushed as the restaurant swelled with people waiting to eat. The server explained that the kitchen is adept at accommodating gluten-free requests, and takes excellent care in keeping GF tickets untainted. We will definitely be back.

Pros: excellent quality, fun atmosphere, GF and vegan options are uncompromised

Cons: can be a long wait- but worth it!

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Will definitely come back - Edit

This is definitely 5 star in my opinion! There were several appetizers, dumplings, and entrees that were vegan. The bartender even pointed out which cocktails were definitely vegan as well. Great experience, and loved that there is a music venue attached (upstairs!). Made for a really fun night out!

Pros: Two vegan dumpling options!

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Delicious food with multiple labeled vegan options - Edit

The food was incredible and the vegan labeling made it easy to order with confidence. There were 3-4 appetizer and entree options to choose from as well as two types of vegan dumplings. Food was delicious, albeit a little oily for someone who limits oil at home. Wine, cocktail and beer list were decent. Reservations a must for dinners on weekends - food is so good that this is becoming a really popular restaurant! We tried twice to make dinner reservations and ended up going for lunch.

Pros: vegan labels, delicious food

Cons: reservations recommended, a little oily

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Okay, pricey - Edit

They have a good number of vegan options that are clearly labeled on the menu. We ordered a handful of dim sum dishes and small plates. The food is pretty good, but it is expensive, especially compared to most dim sum places (even those in NYC and Boston). As someone who grew up eating a lot of dim sum in more modest settings, it was hard for me to get on board with Empire.

Pros: Vegan options

Cons: Pricey

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Tasty, and lots of options - Edit

Empire Chinese is easy to over-look, but it is definitely worth a visit. They have small plates, dim sum, and larger plates. Everything is appropriate for sharing. My husband and I shared two different kinds of vegan dumplings, garlic green beans, and kale noodles. Everything was tasty, came out fresh and hot, and just made us happy. The green beans and noodles were my favorites. The atmosphere in the restaurant is relaxing and our waitress was super friendly.

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Asian Fusion Labels Vegan and Gluten-free - Edit

If you're in downtown Portland, you will probably, as a veg*n, hop on towards the Green Elephant, but, if you want something more authentic in Asian cuisine and don't mind being in a non-veg restaurant, Empire is an incredibly tasty choice. I was suspect and skeptical, to say the least, that this place would have anything near authentic for dim sum or Asian or Chinese cuisine, but I was wrong.

The menu is easy to navigate because they label everything that's vegan and gluten-free. It's so cool. There are at least 6-8 incredibly delicious choices for vegans who are also gluten free, and 2 more choices for vegetarians.

You cannot go wrong with either or both dumpling choices: spinach or mushroom chive. The latter is pan fried on the bottom, so it's super special like that. The fillings are similar, but the latter has, well, mushroom and chive, and the former is way more spinach. I could have eaten all of these dumplings easily and then been happy with some baby bok choy and sautéed garlic green beans and been done. Delicious.

For good measure, they have an awesome kale and rice noodle dish (gluten free and vegan!), as well as a fried rice. The drink list is just as impressive with sake, beer, wine and cocktails. No dessert, though.

Delicious, fresh, steaming hot food that hits the spot. Make reservations if you can, because this place is hopping! 4 cows because I am surprised that Portland has a great choice like this!

Pros: Vegan items marked and delicious, Authentic flavors, Baby bok choy

Cons: Not 100% vegetarian, Busy busy busy - i.e. wait time

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