Vela is King West's hotel lobby-inspired restaurant with striking interior design and a massive streetside patio.
Rising out of their shared love for five star hotel lobby bars, the restaurant takes shape on the first floor of the heritage Scholastic building with design from Toronto firm Partisans.
Arrive at the coat check-style reception area and you'll be met with the restaurant's sweeping curvature and an undulating ceiling light design, a confluence of inspirations like Antelope Canyon or the restaurant's namesake constellation.
The vision for Vela is that no-commitment hotel vibe minus actual lodgings.
You can sit dressed-down by the open kitchen or at the dapper bar for champagne-based cocktails.
Or you can arrive glammed up for lounge seating by the live music area, where there'll likely be blues or jazz playing. "There's a little bit of magic in a hotel lobby," says Goodfellow. "Anything goes."
Outside, a lush patio that's completely weatherized takes over a 2,000-square-foot portion of Portland, with a mechanized garage door function to protect diners from the rain.
The menu from Chef Jeffrey Lapointe excels in vegan dishes, but isn't going out of its way to be meat-free.
An iceberge wedge salad ($15) with sunflower chorizo, tomatoes, red onions, and radish is drizzled with Vela's go-to tahini ranch dressing.
The standout dish for me are the huge pieces of deep-fried maitake mushrooms ($12).
This vegan dish is prepped with paprika- and garlic powder-spiced rice flour for a super crispy exterior that pulls apart like chicken.
Artichoke cakes ($26) are served with romesco, dandelion, wilted kale, and black olives.
The B.C. Steelhead Trout ($32) comes with ajo blanco, charred grapes and almond slivers.
There's just under a handful of options for steaks, including 8oz Flatiron AAA served with frites and a take on chimichurri ($35), 8 oz Wagyu from Snake River Farms ($85) or 24 oz dry-aged ribeye ($150).
The cocktail list is divided up into a few sections, including Vacation Drinks inspired by abroad, like the Tokyo ($19), a pretty Suntory Whisky drink with a leather tincture and sakura blossoms.
From the Reality Check portion, beverages from fictional universes are brought to real life. The Mos Eisley Cantina ($19) is the Star Wars ode with Casamigos tequila, Jogan fruit, and the Force.