Eating Out in Eugene, Oregon: The 10 Best Local Restaurants
Established in 1995 by Jim and Tamara Underwood, Bagel Sphere is a delicious fast-casual eatery specialising in artisan bagels. Sourcing the highest quality ingredients from local purveyors, and using no preservatives, guests will taste the difference in these authentic bagels. The kettle-boiled and stone-hearth baked bagels, which are made daily, come in 16 different sweet and savoury varieties, plus seasonal flavours. These can all be made into delicious breakfast and lunch sandwiches, or topped with tasty spreads. Appealing to a wide range of tastes, this restaurant also offers vegetarian options, salads, soups, and other baked goods, such as muffins, cookies, and brownies.
Bagel Sphere (West Eugene), 4089 W. 11th Ave., Eugene, OR, USA, +1 541 868 1072
Bagel Sphere (Downtown), 810 Willamette St., Eugene, OR, USA, +1 541 341 1335
Starting out as a food truck, Cornbread Cafe is now a fully-fledged restaurant, delighting customers with its flavourful vegan comfort cuisine. Established in 2010, this colourful retro-styled café provides hearty dishes made with the best locally sourced ingredients, with an emphasis on organics and non-genetically modified items. Even though the food is vegan, the menu will appeal to everyone, with delicious options such as the Southern-fried tofu with sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes with cashew gravy, and the BLT with tempeh bacon, lettuce, and tomato on sourdough bread. In a cosy and friendly environment, diners can also enjoy breakfast on the weekends, plus tantalising desserts.
Nestled in the rolling hills 20 miles southwest of Eugene, sits the organic family-owned and -operated vineyard King Estate Winery. A beautiful establishment specialising in pinot gris and pinot noir, this winery also features a gourmet restaurant, serving lunch and dinner daily, plus a weekend brunch. Using the finest seasonal and organic ingredients, including those from the winery’s orchards and gardens, diners can delight in creative dishes inspired by the area’s bounty. Past highlights have included a prosciutto-wrapped scallop atop sliced plums, with a citrus truffle sauce; lamb shank with quinoa; and a wine-infused burger. With breathtaking views plus a knowledgeable staff, this is a culinary experience not to be missed.
Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen & BBQ
Starting out as a little food cart, Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen and BBQ went through many growth spurts to become the full-service eatery it is today. Featuring mouth-watering Southern cuisine, this restaurant is located in the historic Whiteaker neighbourhood, where it serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Succulent dishes diners can savour include the BBQ pulled-pork sandwich served with potato salad; fried chicken served with a choice of two sides, including collard greens and macaroni and cheese; and fried catfish with fries. With an art-infused interior complete with walls decorated in folk art, plus weekly live music, guests will not only enjoy the food, but also the lively ambience.
Established in 2013 downtown by Tiffany Norton and Mark Kosmicki, Party Downtown is a brick-and-mortar extension of their food cart, Party Cart. Featuring flavourful New American cuisine, this eatery is a true farm-to-table establishment, as most of the ingredients (nearly 100%) used in the innovative cuisine are locally sourced, including organics. Foodies will love the rotating menus, which may include delectable dishes such as red curry red potatoes for a starter, then meatballs with slow-roasted San Marzano tomatoes, basil-chanterelle broth, purple tomato gnocchi, basil, and chanterelles. The creativity flows into the desserts as well, with one highlight being green curry pound cake with lime curd and lemongrass crème.
Party Downtown, 55 W. Broadway, Eugene, OR, USA, +1 541 345 8228
The Bier Stein
Established in 2005, The Bier Stein is a speciality beer store that recently moved to a larger location reminiscent of a beer hall. Having a very large beer selection, with 30 rotating taps plus 1000 international bottles, this venue for beer enthusiasts is well on its way to meeting its goal of having the largest selection on the West Coast. This lively establishment also serves tasty food, from appetisers to sandwiches, to soups to entrées. Highlights include artichoke and spinach dip with chevre, cream cheese, parmesan, and feta served with pita wedges; the spitfire panini with chicken breast, jalapeño aioli, peppered bacon, and pepper jack cheese on grilled ciabatta; and pork schnitzel served with spaetzle and mushroom gravy.
The Bier Stein, 1591 Willamette St., Eugene, OR, USA, +1 541 485 2437
Owned and operated by Ryan and Debbie Rogers, who are both long-time Alaskan fishermen, Fisherman’s Market provides the Eugene area with the freshest seafood available. Founded in 1987, this venue is both a market and an eatery, serving everything from speciality entrées to sandwiches to tacos. A popular place — it even featured on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives — guests can feast upon mouth-watering highlights, including the Philly fish sandwich with grilled mahi-mahi with sautéed peppers and onions, Colby cheese, blackberry BBQ sauce, and sarayo sauce. They also have a large selection of fish and chips from halibut to clam strips, and they’re all served with coleslaw, fries, and a choice of tartar sauce.
A new addition to Eugene’s restaurant scene, Membrillo Latin Cafe is a lovely eatery delighting gastronomes’ taste buds with Cuban and Latin American cuisine. Specialising in small plates for lunch and dinner, owners Chef Corey Wisun and Sarah Foottit have created a cosy space where diners can sample made-from-scratch dishes made with locally sourced and organic ingredients when possible. The menus change often to reflect seasonal products and the chef’s creativity; flavourful options may include the jabali bocadito, which is a small sandwich with boar pate, radish, cucumber, pickled onion, cilantro, and spicy mayo, and the poutine de yucca — layers of yucca frites with beef picadillo and smoked cheddar. With limited seating, dinner reservations are recommended.
Sabai Café & Bar
Founded in 2009 by Mon Duangkamol Sutthiwari (a native of Thailand) and Tim Murff, Sabai Café and Bar is an intimate café specialising in Thai and Pacific Rim cuisine with a Northwest twist, and also has a full bar serving imported beer, local micro-brews, and regional wines to name a few. Within a warm and modern space complete with reclaimed wooden accents and soft lighting, diners can savour innovative dishes made with the freshest ingredients available. Flavourful and exotic dishes to try include pad him ma parn (stir-fry with chilli paste, onions, bell peppers, carrots, water chestnuts, cashews, plus a choice of protein) and pad kua kai, (wide rice noodles served with marinated chicken, egg, lettuce, and green onions). With plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, plus desserts, everyone will find something appetising at this gem.
Established in 1993 by two sisters, Catherine and Cheryl Reinhart, Sweet Life Patisserie is a lovely café where locals go to satisfy their sweet cravings. A delightful bakery with a bright interior, customers can try a host of sweet treats — plus some savoury edibles — all made-from-scratch with quality ingredients, including organics and local products when possible. Open seven days a week, from morning until late into the night, guests have plenty of time to try everything from croissants to muffins, to cookies and cakes, and more. They even offer fluffy biscuits, including a gluten-free version, with sausage or veggie gravy, plus espresso drinks and organic teas.