Portland, OR has a new vegan Italian restaurant

The restaurant prides itself on its handmade pasta and fresh ingredients.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – When people think of Italian food, they usually imagine cheese, meat and creamy sauces, but a restaurant in Portland is taking a different approach to classic cuisine.

Lila, located at 960 SE Madison St., opened last month and offers plant-based pastas, pizzas, small plates and other dishes. On the menu, tagliolini with hazelnut basil pesto and dried tomatoes.

People can also enjoy soy ricotta and spinach pizzas made with sunflower mozzarella.

“It’s just something the Portland community wanted,” said restaurant owner Sanjay Chandrasekasran. “I don’t think there has been anything like this since Portobello, which closed a few years ago.”

As for what sets Lilla apart, he added that the pasta is handmade with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Dasquale Lioddi, who is the chef at Lilla, told KOIN 6 News that it is possible to prepare quality Italian cuisine without all the ingredients that people are used to.

“We eat a lot of cheese and meat, but we certainly eat mostly vegetables in Italy,” Lioddi said. “A lot of dishes are already oriented to be vegan. This is something Lilla wanted to bring out. Show another side of Italian cooking, and how fun it can be with vegetables and many other ingredients that are usually really used and shown.

Going forward, Chandrasekasran plans to add alcoholic beverages to the menu and add more staff as the restaurant continues to offer a new approach to Italian cuisine.

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