Dots Cafe

Times Visited: 20+

When I first lived in Portland 7 years ago I was never given a chance not to like Dots. It was THE place to get fries with a tofu dipping sauce. Dots is a dark, sometimes smoky bar and restaurant in Clinton. I was finally given a chance to make my own opinion. We ordered almost everything marked vegan on the menu: Spicy Fries with tofu dipping sauce, Vegan Greek Salad and the Sandwich, leaving off the Vavoom, which I hear it great.

I enjoy thicker French fries than the skinny fries they serve here. The spiciness of the fries are good and the tofu dipping sauce is mild until you dip it into the hot sauce on top.

The salad seemed odd when I first read it, Geek salad with Italian dressing. Nice crunchy lettuce, with tomatoes, olives, cucumber and warm tofu on top. I enjoy different things in my salads, but the once frozen, then fried tofu on top of my salad turned me off a bit since it wilted the lettuce right away. Other than that, there were a perfect amount of olives. The pita n the side was perfect, but I didn’t understand it until I was almost full. This is what I will do next time I buy this salad: Fill the pita with the contents of the salad and then dip it into the tofu dipping sauce – wonderful! (WB)


I’m not a fan of smoke, but other than that I’m a loyal fan of Dots. The food is reliable, there are not only vegan appetizer options, but main courses and specialty salads. I was told it was Portland institution when I moved here, and have certainly found that to be true, especially since moving into the neighborhood. The booths are spacious, the walls feel like velvet, and Elvis and clowns stare at you while you eat.

There are many beers on tap, good cocktails (Willamette Valley Martini and Strawberry Lemonade are two favorites) and well drinks and my sandwich featured here, the Vegan Deluxe, which I swear is better every time. Even with a glass of water. The Vegan Deluxe comes on rye bread, and is FULL of house made hummus, sautéed spinach and mushrooms, tomato and onions, if desired. Served on the side are carrots, celery, cucumber and pepperocini. The pepperocini aren’t the crispest around, but they are really spicy in a sharp way, not for the faint of heart. Other vegan options include a falafel wrap, the Greek salad and a black beans & tortilla plate.

But, you’re at Dots – odds are you’ve ordered the house cut fries – or should have. Typically fresh and hot, these fries come small or large with ketchup or the highly recommended spicy tofu sauce. A small can be shared between 3, but so can the large.

The bottom part of the sauce is savory and creamy, while the hot sauce on top is gradually mixed in while you dip. Dip the hot sauced fry into ketchup and you’ve got a content reviewer… They’re not the best fries in Portland, but who else has this sauce? (JD)

Vegan Deluxe Sandwich

Vegan Platter
Vegan Platter, Dots

Small Handcut Fries with Hot & Spicy Tofu Sauce

Greek Salad
Dots - Greek Salad

Rating: 4 out of 5
Address: 2521 SE Clinton St. Portland, OR 97202
Hours: Daily 12pm-12am


9 responses to “Dots Cafe

  1. what two great reviews!

    personally, i like fries thin or thick, so dot’s thin fries totally please my palate in every way!

    i also love their burritos!

  2. I love love love Dots, used to go there all the time when I lived in SE. The fries are greasy but completely hit the spot when you want fries, and when does one not want fries?!? When I was vegetarian I always got the falafel with hummus instead of the tofu sauce, and split the fries with someone. Oh man it’s been a long time.

    I do find the sad animal paintings kinda disturbing, I woudn’t mind them except I’m eating, you know? The doll leg & arm chandelier was EXTREMELY creepy, thank God they took that down!

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