Every vegetarian in Maine knows the Green Elephant in Portland (whose owners are getting ready to open a second Green Elephant, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, later this summer). It’s the state’s leading lady when it comes to sophisticated, exclusively meat-free fare. But what else does the Pine Tree State have to offer in the way of plant-based eats? Plenty, if you know where to look.

Today vegetarians can get a basic cheese sandwich or a bowl of pasta with sautéed vegetables at pretty much any restaurant. But what places go beyond the perfunctory? Which stand out? I asked my vegetarian friends and readers to help me identify the places that offer well-conceived meals and multiple choices for diners who don’t eat meat. The result? This crowd-sourced list of where to find high-quality vegetarian and vegan food in Maine, which takes us from white tablecloth restaurants to country cafés and everything in between.

The first stop for most vegetarians on the go is the local co-op or health food store. Because Maine is fertile ground for homesteaders and hippies, these shops pop up everywhere in the state, including the Whole Life Natural Market & Café in Machias, the Market Street Co-op in Fort Kent and the Bread of Life Bulk Food Store in Presque Isle.

Speaking of Fort Kent, Presque Isle and Aroostook County in general, it’s the one part of the state where my readers and I came up short. A friend told me about a café in Presque Isle where her husband and daughter enjoyed tasty vegetarian meals last summer, but it has since closed. The only other suggestion came from Julia Johnson, who recommends Café Sorpreso in Presque Isle for its “good vegetarian choices” and a chef willing “to modify the menu if you are vegan.”

If you know of a veg-friendly eatery in Aroostook County or elsewhere in Maine that’s not mentioned below, please add it online in the comments section for this story. Otherwise, use this story to inspire a veggie-fueled road trip. Or let it point you in the direction of top-notch vegetarian eating when you’re enjoying one of Maine’s many scenic summer spots.


If your beach plans take you to Cape Elizabeth, head to The Well at Jordan Farm for an al fresco farm dinner, where the tiny menu always includes a vegetarian entrée.

Further south, in Old Orchard Beach, Drew Wilen recommends the vegetarian- and vegan-friendly Jimmy the Greek’s, specifying that the “avocado tacos are really good.” Traveling to Biddeford, Wilen recommends Thai ME and Jewel of India.

In neighboring Saco, the Run of the Mill pub offers river views from its deck and a menu that includes a popular house-made veggie burger.

Choice abounds in the Kennebunks. At Bandaloop in Kennebunkport, one highlight of the very veg-friendly menu, says Sherry Kaplan, is that it always offers vegan dessert. Over the river in Kennebunk, 50 Local offers vegetarian and vegan choices for dinner. The same team owns Owen’s Farmhouse wood-fired pizza and serves numerous veggie pies.

Nearby in Arundel, the new Slacktide Café has a small menu of breakfast items and sandwiches and Flora Brown, who co-owns Frinklepod Farm in Arundel, reports that the vegan tofu banh mi sandwich “is pretty awesome.”

Caitlin Kelty-Huber says the all-vegetarian Bread and Roses Bakery, which serves breakfast pastries and lunch items, is a must when in Ogunquit. The bakery sits next door to Harbor Candy Shop, where house-made truffles – including a full vegan line – serve up tiny tastes of indulgence.

Finally, if your travels take you to Kittery, check out the newish Misto, which offers both vegetarian and vegan choices for lunch and dinner.


When traveling through the central part of the state, the A1 Diner in Gardiner satisfies with diner-car ambiance and vegetarian and vegan dishes on the lunch and dinner menus.

Following the Kennebec River north, more vegetarian options can be found in Hallowell, where Roberta de Araujo recommends Café de Bangkok, Slate’s and the Liberal Cup, which serves the same veggie burger available at Run of the Mill in Saco.

In Augusta, Bay Wraps is a favorite of de Araujo, Bob Mentzinger and Molly Beal-Bofia, who says she orders “the falafel wrap without the yogurt dressing.” Stephanie Chaisson says Margaritas Mexican restaurant is vegetarian-friendly, and Jamie MacLeod Berhanu recommends Bagel Mainea, which offers tofu cream cheese, soy milk and “yummy vegetarian sandwiches.” De Araujo adds that the Senator Inn restaurant serves a veggie burger plus “good salads and pizza.” For Thai, check out Sweet Chili, where Berhanu says you can order “tofu for any entrée.”

In the college town of Waterville, Mary Clunie praises Selah Tea for its “awesome veggie burger” and “fabulous vegan cupcakes.” KC Immler points to Downtown Smoothie, The Jewel of India, Grand Central Café (“they even have vegan cheese for their pizzas”) and Mirakuya (“a couple solid vegetarian options”).


The resurgence of the downtown has expanded Lewiston’s dining options, which now include The Ark, an all-vegan lunch and brunch spot. The restaurant was recommended by a number of readers, including Marji Swanson and Carole Hunnewell. Also in Lewiston, She Doesn’t Like Guthries, which offers extensive vegan and vegetarian choices, got a nod from Hunnewell and Shawn Wright. Forage Market is the spot for a grab-and-go lunch, with both vegan and vegetarian sandwiches always on the menu. Finally, Betsy Carson recommends the new pho restaurant Boba for its “great vegan options.”


When you’re headed for the cool mountain air, Erica Jed recommends a stop in downtown Norway to fuel up at Taste of Eden Vegan Café.

Further north in the resort town of Bethel, vegetarians find a number of options, and the first stop is usually the all-vegetarian Café DiCocoa’s, which offers breakfast and lunch. Michael Perkins calls it a “great place in the morning” and Heather Manchester says it’s “soooo good.” During the winter months, the café offers all-vegetarian prix fixe dinners in the building next door. Other options in Bethel include the Korean and Japanese restaurant Cho Sun and the Jolly Drayman Restaurant and Pub, where a British theme results in many vegetarian dishes on the Indian side of the menu.

Near Rangeley, Jereme Gray recommends a stop at the Oquossoc Grocery in Oquossoc, which he says “has a surprising number of vegan and vegetarian items in their frozen section.” On Main Street in Rangeley, check out the Forks in the Air Bistro, where the menu always includes vegetarian dishes.

In the shadow of Sugarloaf in Carrabasset Valley, vegetarians will have the most luck at Tufulio’s Restaurant and the Bag & Kettle.


Since it’s a college town, Brunswick offers plenty of food for vegetarians and vegans. Stephanie Chaisson, Faith Woodman and Sarah Speare all sing the praises of the Frontier Café, with Chaisson saying it offers “lots of vegan options including vegan nachos.” She and Woodman also recommend the vegetable sushi at Little Tokyo.

At Henry and Marty’s, Woodman reports she recently had “a wonderful vegan bi bim bap.” Roberta de Araujo recommends the vegetarian fare at El Camino Cantina and Bombay Mahal. At the Coast Bar + Bistro inside The Daniel inn, also in Brunswick, Carole Hunnewell enjoys the daily vegetarian special and the black bean veggie burger.

Both Hunnewell and John Shattuck recommend the vegan and vegetarian friendly Wild Oats Bakery (now with two Brunswick locations). Shattuck says it is “very good” and has “amazing variety.” In neighboring Topsham, Shattuck calls attention to the vegan- and vegetarian-friendly TopSpice Thai and Blueberries Food & Drink, which he says offers “excellent” breakfast and lunch.

In Bath, Solo Bistro always includes vegan and vegetarian choices on its dinner menu, and Hunnewell says Mae’s Café & Bakery serves vegetarian dishes for breakfast and lunch.


Across the river in Woolwich, the Taste of Maine Restaurant may be known for its lobster rolls, but it also offers a vegan menu. Further up Route 1 in Wiscasset, Hunnewell recommends the vegetarian-friendly menu at Sarah’s Café.

Damariscotta presents plentiful options for vegetarians. Deb Cook and Faith Woodman both enjoy the vegetarian- and vegan-friendly menu at Savory Maine, where Woodman says the chef will make any “dish vegan or vegetarian if she can.” Cook also recommends the vegetarian-friendly menu at Crissy’s. The largest meat-free selection in Damariscotta can be found at the Salt Bay Café, where there is an extensive vegan and vegetarian menu with more than 30 dishes.

When in Rockland, the place to eat, according to Jill Beth Lang and Annie Brown, is Café Miranda, which has been serving vegetarian-friendly food for decades. Suzuki’s in Rockland is another solid choice, recommended by both Brown and Cook, who says it offers “vegetarian sushi and salads.”

Nearby in Camden, Long Grain gets a nod from Brown and Woodman, who calls it an “exceptional restaurant with several delicious vegan options.” Vegetarians looking for a splurge dinner can head to the Camden Harbour Inn, where the prix fixe dinner options include a full vegetarian menu with wine pairings.

Belfast is a veggie lover’s dream destination centered on the all-vegetarian and James Beard award-nominated Chase’s Daily, serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Deborah Gordon, Elizabeth Horton, Betsy Carson and Stephanie Chaisson all recommend it. The other all-vegetarian restaurant in town is The Gothic, which is owned by raw celebrity chef Matthew Kenney; it just announced a new head chef, Matt Downes, and a new summer menu. Emily Harradon calls a recent meal at The Gothic “divine” and says “they had this dairy-free ‘cheesy’ mushroom risotto that was out of this world.” The all-vegan Juice Cellar offers a great place to cool off with a smoothie. Chaisson also endorses the vegetarian-friendly menus at La Vida and Bay Wrap.


When headed to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park, stop in Ellsworth where Leslie Linder recommends Bangkok Thai, the Flexit Café and The Riverside, which she says offers vegan French toast and a tofu scramble. On the island, the greatest number of plant-strong options can be found in Bar Harbor, where Jereme Gray says Reel Pizza Cinerama “has a great atmosphere” and the menu is loaded with veggie pies and even includes soy cheese. Stephanie Chaisson identifies three other vegetarian-friendly spots in Bar Harbor: Gringos (“casual Mexican – cheap and amazing”), Michelle’s (“fine dining with vegan options”) and Siam Orchid (“casual Thai”).


In the Queen City, an expanding dining scene means more options for vegetarians. The newly opened Juice Cellar is all-vegan and offers salads, grain bowls, soup and cultured vegan cheese, in addition to smoothies and juices. For his part, Juice Cellar owner Chris Roberts recommends the vegetarian- and vegan-friendly menus at Taste of India and Miguel’s. Leslie Linder also endorses Miguel’s, saying it “has soy cheese, sour cream and ‘meat’ options for virtually all their dishes.” Another recommendation from Linder is Chopsticks, which she points out is vegetarian-owned, as is its sister restaurant in Orono, China Garden. Tom Winton says his family’s favorite veg-friendly spot in Bangor is Bahaar Pakistani, which “serves the BEST chana masala we’ve ever had.”

Avery Yale Kamila is a freelance food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at:

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Twitter: AveryYaleKamila