Eating Out in Eugene: A Physicist's Guide
Eugene has many, many good restaurants, and the prices are fairly
cheap compared to similar restaurants in larger cities.
The list below is by no means comprehensive, but are
a few suggestions of places that are noteworthy, convenient, or both.
This list is somewhat UO-campus-centric:
Restaurants listed in the campus area are an easy walk from campus (duh),
and most downtown restaurants (west of campus)
are also walkable (some walking can be saved
by taking the EmX bus downtown—fee info is
Other areas are best visited by car.
Call to verify hours, as they change often
(note that the 541 prefix is required, even when dialing on a local phone).
For a good start, try Studio One Café, which is justifiably popular
for their eggs benedict (try the “northern lights”)
and their french toast, which comes slathered in almond sauce and
You can also find a wide selection of pancakes
Original Pancake House, a national chain but a good one;
the swedish pancakes with lingonberries are interesting, and if you have
an hour to kill (and you want to ingest a few thousand calories), order
the apple pancake.
A true campus institution is the
which serves breakfasts in the “healthy diner” style,
including omelettes, scrambles, pancakes, etc., but all nicely done
and reasonably priced. They're a good choice for lunch and dinner too,
with a good sandwich selection.
All three of these places tend to be crowded, so take this into account
before you stagger off to one of them in your morning pre-coffee haze.
One place that deserves special mention is
Barry's Espresso Bakery and Deli, a deli in the true New-York style.
Their lox and cream cheese
on a bialy is incredible. A good place for a quick, simple breakfast
(I'm not even quite sure what else they have there for breakfast,
since I always order the same thing).
Also an excellent choice for lunch,
their soups, sandwiches, quiches, cookies, cakes, challah, and everything else
are consistently spectacular. Highly recommended.
Barry's Espresso Bakery and Deli
804 E. 12th Ave. (map) 541-343-1141 (northwest campus)
6:30 am-late M-Sa, 10 am-6 pm Su
1340 Alder St. (map) 541-687-0355
7 am to 9 pm daily
Original Pancake House
782 E. Broadway Ave. (map) 541-343-7523 (northwest campus)
6 am-2 pm M-F, 6 am-3 pm Sa-Su
Studio One Café
1473 E 19th Ave. (map) 541-342-8596 (southeast campus)
7 am-4 pm daily
Pizza in Eugene is often somewhat problematic, with the Northwest focus
on unusual toppings, instead
of the crust, the pizza's critical foundation.
I personally am a pizza purist: regardless of the style,
the crust should have excellent, yeasty, long-fermented flavor,
a crackling crisp surface, and good chew.
In this regard, Sy's New York Pizza has a respectable pie, the medium-thickness
kind that's best folded over before being crammed into your mouth
for some light protection from the incendiary cheese.
They're fast, open late, sell by the slice, and have a Sicilian deep-dish style as well.
Being a purist and pizza minimalist, I usually shudder when strange things
like pineapple go cavorting across my slice. Then why do I love
Pizza Research Institute, which reigns as the king of
Because masters with a true passion for pizza can get away with
damn near anything and make it good.
Put yourself in their hands with the “chef's
choice” and you may find anything from corn to marinated eggplant
to peaches (gasp) on your pizza, but it will all be impeccably fresh,
each topping meticulously arranged in its proper place,
and astonishingly good. This place tends to be popular, so be prepared
to wait for your masterpiece to arrive.
Another popular campus pizza joint that deserves mention is
Pegasus Smokehouse Pizza,
which is popular for beer and respectible pizza
(try the barbecue chicken pizza).
This is your best bet for accommodating a large crowd.
For similar stuff with a different topology,
The Dough Co.,
which has a huge selection of calzones. Good fresh-baked cookies, too.
Eugene's most Italian foray into pizza nirvana is
La Perla Pizzeria Napoletana, founded by Beppe and Gianni (see the Italian section),
bringing the superb quality of their Italian restaurant to the pizza world
and quickly establishing itself as the
premier spot for pizza in Eugene.
As far as authentic Neapolitan pizza goes, this is the real McCoy,
from the tipo 00 flour in the crust to the house-made
to the sub-90-second flash cooking in an ultrahot wood oven
(reaching 1500°F in the dome) to the
grassy, peppery olive oil drizzled over the pizzas afterwards.
Real enough, that is, for the owners to seek certification
according to the strict rules of Naples, a rare distinction in the U.S.
The texture of the thin crust is crisp with a decent chew and a slight char
around the edge, enough to leave black smudges on the plate.
The flavor of the crust and toppings
(The toppings are perfectly proportioned, incidentally—no overcheesed
or otherwise smothered pizzas here.)
Each pizza is about 14”
in diameter, enough for one or two, depending on your level of restraint
and what else you order.
I suggest skipping appetizers and other distractions
and focusing on the pizza, which is
what they really do well; and look elsewhere for dessert.
Be also warned that glasses of wine are served in ordinary bar
glasses—I'm not overly uptight about that, but I like to smell my
wine, and for their prices I expect proper stemware.
But once the pizza hits the table, all foibles are forgiven.
Expect this place to be crowded, and the posted closing time of “??”
seems to mean 10-11 pm in practice.
The Dough Co.
1337 Hilyard St. (map) 541-485-7459 (west campus)
11 am-3 am daily
La Perla Pizzeria Napoletana
1313 Pearl St. (map) 541-686-1313 (downtown)
11:30 am-?? M-F,
5 pm-?? Sa-Su
Pegasus Smokehouse Pizza
790 E. 14th Ave. (map) 541-344-4471 (west campus)
4 pm-10 pm M, 11:30 am-10 pm Tu, 11:30 am-11 pm W-Fr, 12 pm-11 pm Sa, 12 pm-10 pm Su
Pizza Research Institute
530 Blair Blvd. (map) 541-343-1307 (west downtown)
11:30 am-9:30 pm Su-M, W-Th,
11:30 am-11:30 pm F-Sa
Sy's New York Pizza
1211 Alder St (map), 541-686-9598 (northwest campus)
11 am-midnight Su-Th, 11 am-1 am F-Sa
In the past, even the very recent past,
Eugene had a dark secret:
chinese food in Eugene can be seriously awful. Seriously awful.
For years, Panda Express and P. F. Chang's were among the best options
With a recent boom in the UO's asian-student population,
this situation is in rapid flux, with new and interesting
chinese restaurants and noodle shops opening all the time.
But because of all the history and rapid change, consider
yourself warned: tread carefully here.
one of the classic beacons for slaking your mu-shu craving has been
Ocean Sky, a good bet for reasonably tasty food.
Also, Kung Fu Bistro is a relative newcomer, and has a reputation for excellent Sichuan food;
221 BCE is
another interesting newcomer that advertises authentic
contrast, Thai food has long been plentiful, inexpensive, and almost universally excellent in and around
Eugene, although there has been a spate of recent closures.
Aiyara Thai Cafe
is farther out (in Springfield), but is great
and one of the more authentic options
(try one of the house specialty “Chiang Mai” dishes);
other good choices around town are
(they pass the “pad thai test” with flying colors)
Tasty Thai kitchen
(with excellent white pad thai and pumpkin curry).
Other good Asian options abound as well.
Japanese restaurants in Eugene are reasonably good,
and there has been a recent explosion in sushi shops;
is a good deal
with reasonably decent sushi and many non-raw-fish choices,
and even though it's farther out,
has some of the best sushi in town.
For Korean cuisine, Korea House
has friendly owners
and a good dolsot bi bim bap.
Indian food is rather sparse in Eugene, but
Evergreen Indian Restaurant
is acceptable and close to campus.
1301 Patterson St. (map) 541-600-8905 (west campus)
11 am-9 pm M-F,
12-9 pm Sa-Su
Aiyara Thai Cafe
1012 Harlow Rd. (map) 541-736-8306 (Springfield, near Gateway Mall)
11 am-3 pm, 5-8 pm M-F;
12-8 pm Sa;
Evergreen Indian Restaurant
1525 Franklin Blvd. (map) 541-343-7944 (north campus)
11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5:00 pm-9:30 pm daily
Izumi Sushi and Grill
2773 Shadow View Dr. (map) 541-683-1201 (far north, crescent village)
11:30 am-2 pm and 5-10 pm M-F,
5-10 pm Sa, 5-9pm Su
1306 Hilyard St. (map) 541-345-9555 (west campus)
11 am-9 pm M-F
Kung Fu Bistro
2560 Willamette St. (map) 541-968-9258 (south Eugene)
11 am-3 pm, 5 pm-9:30 pm daily except Tu
1601 Chambers St. (map) 541-342-4848 (west Eugene)
11 am-9:30 pm M, W-Th, closed Tu, 11 am-10:30 pm F, noon-10:30 pm Sa, noon-9:30 pm Su.
Ring of Fire
1099 Chambers St. (map) 541-344-6475 (west Eugene)
11 am-midnight M-Th, 11 am-1 am F-Sa, noon-midnight Su
199 E. 5th Ave. #7 (map) 541-484-1334 (downtown)
11:30 am-10 pm M-F, 4 pm-10 pm Sa, closed Su
Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine
941 Pearl St. (map) 541-284-2944 (downtown)
lunch 11:30 am-3 pm M-Sa;
dinner 5-9 pm Su-Th, 5-10 pm F-Sa
Tasty Thai Kitchen
80 E. 29th Ave. (map) 541-302-6444 (south Eugene)
11 am-9:30 pm Tu-F, noon-9:30 Sa-Su
As in many other cities, this category is by far the hardest hit by the tanking national economy,
with the closing of such venerable institutions as Bel Ami,
Chanterelle, El Vaquero, and Koho Bistro, and Cafe Zenon;
Eugene is still blessed by some truly excellent restaurants
on the higher end,
Bruno's Chef's Kitchen,
The Restaurant at King Estate Winery,
All have excellent food, top-notch service, nice ambience, good wine lists,
and reasonable prices (not cheap, but good for the quality).
Their menus rotate constantly, and it's difficult to capture
their essences in a few words, so check them out online. However,
in general you can
expect good braised and roasted meats, fowl, fish, and vegetarian
foods rooted in France and Italy but with eclectic nods towards
the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia.
There are also good options for more focused international menus.
A notable option is
Café Soriah, which
has an excellent pan-Mediterranean menu; order the prawns or a dessert
you may find the owner himself finishing it for you tableside.
Another is Belly Taqueria,
a spinoff of
(mentioned above), where stunning tacos
the fusion of “rustic, European farmhouse style”
with informal Mexican food.
30 E. Broadway (map) 541-683-5896 (downtown)
5-9:30 pm T-Th, 5-10:30 pm F-Sa
454 Willamette St.
(map) 541-687-8226 (downtown)
5-9 pm T-Th, 5-10 pm F-Sa
Bruno's Chef's Kitchen
3443 Hilyard St. (map) 541-687-2433 (south Eugene)
5 pm-9 pm T-Sa
384 W 13th Ave. (map) 541-342-4410 (west downtown)
lunch 11 am-2 pm M-F, dinner 5 pm-10 pm Su-Th, 5 pm-11 pm F-Sa
King Estate Winery (The Restaurant and Wine Bar)
80854 Territorial Rd. (map) 541-685-5189 (southwest of Eugene)
11 am-5 pm M-T,
11 am-8 pm W-Su
2101 Bailey Hill Rd. (map) 541-681-9335 (far west Eugene)
11 am-2 pm and 5 pm-10 pm T-Th,
11 am-2 pm and 5-11 F,
5 pm-11 pm Sa
296 East Fifth Ave. (map) 541-342-3612 (downtown, 5th Street Market)
lunch 11:30 am-2:30 pm daily,
dinner 5:30 pm-10 pm F-Sa, 5:30 pm-9 pm Su-Th
The best of the Italian options in Eugene are also spectacular.
My preferred gastronomic center in this category is
Beppe and Gianni's Trattoria, where everything is done absolutely impeccably.
Try any of several pasta frescas or one of the daily risotto, fish, or
ravioli specials, but make sure to start with
the roasted garlic with cambozola cheese appetizer—warm, comforting, velvety, and intensely flavored, assuming you can tolerate the accompanying arterial clogging—and a bottle of
They only take reservations for large parties, so get there by 6 or be prepared
for a long wait: this place is popular.
Stop at Prince Pücklers across the street (see the Desserts section)
for a post-gorging ice cream.
It's usually easier to get a table at the
Excelsior Inn, and the quality there is also very good.
The seasonally changing menu includes
soups, pastas, and heavier braised and roasted meat dishes that are
Beppe and Gianni's Trattoria
1646 E. 19th Ave. (map) 541-683-6661 (southeast campus)
5-10 pm daily
754 E. 13th Ave. (map) 541-342-6963 (west campus)
breakfast 7 am-10 am daily, lunch 11:30 am-2 pm daily, dinner 5 pm-10 pm daily (bistro until 11 pm Su-Th, midnight F-Sa)
I'm usually suspicious of Mexican food this far north of the border,
and you should be too.
In particular, some locally popular hippie renditions
of the classic burrito seem uninspired at best.
Though the selection here will probably never match what can be found
in Austin or Santa Fe, with some judicious choosing, decent Mexican
food can be had.
El Pato Verde is one of the better choices
near campus for
lunch and one of the better places to get a fish taco. But even
better are their toasted burritos. And the owner is always pleasantly friendly.
Burrito Boy Taqueria
has better hours and also respectable burritos (especially the wet burritos).
One of the best deals in town can be had at
for great, fresh-made pupusas (masa stuffed with cheese and/or meat,
flattened, and grilled) and good tacos. It's a trailer in the
parking lot of a convenience store, but the food is excellent (and there
are a couple of tables under a tarp to get away from the rain).
The best tacos in town are at
mentioned above under Continental/Bistro/Eclectic
(try the octobelly or the carne adobada taco).
A close second can be found farther away at
the more authentic
the handmade tortillas on the tacos a mano
actually edge out the ones used by Belly, but Belly has
the edge on the fillings.
Burrito Boy Taqueria
510 E. Broadway (map) 541-344-8070 (northwest campus)
7 am-11 pm daily
El Pato Verde
682 E. 13th Ave. (map) 541-686-9700 (west campus)
11 am-8 pm M-F, 11 am-4 pm Sa
1835 Pioneer Pkwy East, Springfield (map) 541-726-8599 (Springfield)
10 am-8 pm Su-Th, 10 am-9 pm F-Sa
Near 1st and Jefferson. (map) 541-497-3302 (northwest of downtown)
9 am-8 pm daily
Being only an hour away from the Oregon coast, you might expect
a plethora of great restaurants specializing in seafood.
This is surprisingly not the case. However, decent fish
be had at any of the restaurants listed under Continental or Italian.
A cheap and “pure” way
to enjoy fresh fish is in the form of
fish and chips, but this
is a dish that is particularly problematic—many
joints in Eugene do it, but only a few do it well.
Fortunately, two local joints make life-changing fish and chips:
Newman's Fish & Chips
Newman's is pretty straightforward: everything you get here except the slaw
and you can get some of the best thick-cut, potatoey french fries anywhere
The large, breaded chunks of cod,
halibut, and salmon are all good, as are the daily specials,
which can include oysters and calamari. The sauces include
a horseradish-laced tartar sauce, a shrimp-cocktail sauce, ketchup,
and malt vinegar sauce. All seating is outdoors and the line can be long;
clever locals call their orders in before they arrive.
Fisherman's Market goes towards smaller chunks of fish and criss-cut waffle
fries, and more options, including an array of different tartar sauces,
dungeness crab, oyster shooters, and other entrees.
It is noteworthy that both places can do a masterful salmon-based fish
and chips, since salmon when deep-fried by unskilled hands can be
quite nasty (here it's light and perfectly cooked).
830 W. 7th Ave. (map) 541-484-CRAB (west downtown)
11 am-8 pm daily
Newman's Fish & Chips
1545 Willamette St. (map) 541-344-2371 (south downtown)
11 am-7 pm M-F, 11 am-6:30 pm Sa
Comforting, anyway, until after you ingest excessive quantities of it.
Papa's Soul Food Kitchen
is a famous local joint for its barbecue (pulled pork, brisket, ribs, chicken), cajun specialties (jambalaya, gumbo), southern catfish and snapper, and any side you can think of to go with them. Great stuff.
They have desserts, but keep in mind that Sweet Life (see the Desserts section) is within staggering distance.
Straight barbecue joints have been turning over rapidly
over the past few years, but the current best choice is
Bill & Tim's Barbecue. It is not exactly authentic, but the food is excellent.
Try the tri-tip (a nontraditional take on the otherwise obligatory brisket)
or pulled pork, and the sides are also good, if a bit quirky.
Bill & Tim's Barbecue
201 E. 13th Ave. (map) 541-359-1361 (west campus/SE downtown)
11 am-9 pm Su-Th,
11 am-10 pm F-Sa
Papa's Soul Food Kitchen
400 Blair Blvd. (map) 541-342-7500 (northwest downtown)
12-2 and 5-10 T-F, 2-10 Sa, closed Su-M
Eugene has its own distinct, hippie/counterculture personality, sparked by Ken Kesey's presence beginning in the 60's.
This influence pervades
numerous restaurants in Eugene.
Café Yumm! (a Eugene chain) is one of the more unique
restaurants in this vein.
Their signature is the Yumm! bowl, which comes in a number of variations but at its core is a rice bowl with cheese, beans, salsa, sour cream, avocados, olives, and other good stuff, plus the aptly named Yumm! sauce—a
mysterious but tangy and tasty tan concoction that somehow
pulls everything together
into something wonderful.
Cornucopia is arguably the place to go for a beer and a burger.
The burgers feature local, high-quality, grass-fed beef
(from Knee Deep Cattle Co.),
and the crispy fries are also among the best in town.
Go during the summer to enjoy the cooling evening out on the back patio.
On the sweeter side, there is
Off the Waffle,
which serves authentic Liége waffles (Belgian street
waffles), which are dense, yeasty, caramelized,
and probably unlike any waffle you've had before.
They can be had with a variety of toppings,
ranging from bacon and eggs, to various combinations
involving hazelnuts, cardamom, chocolate, kiwi fruit,
and many more. But they're stunningly good on their own.
They fall in a funny regime of not quite a meal,
and not quite dessert, but you need to find some time to
try these. Seriously.
is a Portland institution that spread to Eugene a few years ago,
and offers some of the best and most entertaining doughnuts
Doughnut highlights include: voodoo doll (with a toothy
voodoo expression and raspberry blood), bacon–maple bar (yes,
topped with bacon), doughuts coated in cocoa puffs or fruit loops,
Tex-ass sized doughnuts, phallic doughnuts, and French crullers made
the right way (with a light, airy pâte à choux).
Good for those late-night carb cravings.
730 East Broadway (map) 541-344-9866 (northwest campus)
10 am-9 pm daily
295 West 17th Ave, at Lincoln (map) 541-485-2300 (downtown/south Eugene)
8 am-10 pm daily
Off the Waffle
840 Willamette St. (map) 541-654-4138 (downtown)
7 am-9 pm Su-Th, 7 am-12 am F-Sa
20 E Broadway, at Willamette (map) 541-868-8666 (downtown)
24 hours Th-Su, 6 am-midnight M-W
Any of the Continental or Italian places will have an impressive
dessert selection; Café Zenon and
the Excelsior Inn (try
the chocolate pot de creme) are particularly good.
Or check out Off the Waffle in the
“Quintissential Eugene” section.
However, there are two dessert specialists you should know about.
Prince Pücklers is a popular stop for ice cream—on
summer evenings, the line is often out the door.
They make their own ice creams, and they're great: the fruit flavors
actually taste like fruit, and their chocolate flavors are intensely good.
Speaking of chocolate, you can gild the lily by having them pour
Euphoria chocolate sauce (ask for it by name) over the top.
Let me emphasize that you need to try this sauce.
A good stop after dinner at
Beppe and Gianni's.
Sweet Life Patisserie
has a big selection of desserts, including gelati, pies, cakes, and cheesecakes.
The fresh berry tart in summertime is devastatingly good (this is
the land of berry abundance, after all), but all
the desserts are excellent.
Many vegan-friendly options as well (you wouldn't know they were vegan if they
didn't tell you, so don't shy away from them).
1605 E 19th Ave
541-344-4418 (southeast campus)
noon-11 pm daily
Sweet Life Patisserie
755 Monroe St.
541-683-5676 (west downtown)
7 am-11 pm M-F, 8 am-11 pm Sa-Su
The Pacific Northwest is a region with a long microbrew tradition,
and Eugene is a good place for microbrew fans.
McMenamins is a famous northwest chain with interesting atmosphere and
good northwest-style pub food.
They brew a variety of beers, make a number of good wines,
and distill their own brandy and gin!
There are three Eugene locations:
McMenamins East 19th Street Café is near campus and has pool
McMenamins High Street Brewery and Café is also near campus and has more
outdoor seating; and
McMenamins North Bank is the nicest for sitting outdoors,
with a pleasant river view (you can in principle walk there from UO campus by heading west on the
river bike path north of Franklin Blvd., though most locals would just drive there).
Another upscale, northwest-style pub is the
Eugene City Brewery, part of the Rogue Ales chain based in Newport, Oregon.
(basically bar food on steroids—the Kobe beef burger is transcendent)
and huge selection of beers,
including the famous Dead Guy Ale
(not to mention distilled spirits),
make this a very worthwhile stop.
A more comfort-food-oriented bar with plenty of character and a good
microbrew selection is the
which has tasty items ranging from huge piles of ribs to great fries
to collard greens and mac and cheese.
For the largest selection of beers in Eugene
The Bier Stein
wins hands down, with 10 beers on tap, and many, many bottled beers.
Good food, too—mostly sandwiches, and anything on the menu involving
beer and cheese heated and mixed together is bound to be good.
As far as the live-music scene goes,
One interesting venue with good food, microbrews, mead, and a variety
of live music is the venerable
Sam Bond's Garage,
very much a place with local Eugene color.
Papa's Soul Food Kitchen in the Comfort Food section; they have regular live blues shows.
New Max's Tavern
is an interesting bar as the inspiration for
On the way there you can walk by the
Pioneer statue (on 13th just west of the EMU),
which is supposedly the inspiration
for the statue of Jebediah Springfield.
The Bier Stein
345 E 11th Ave. (map) 541-485-2437 (west campus)
11 am-midneight M-Sa, noon-10 pm Su
Eugene City Brewery
844 Olive St. (map) 541-345-4155 (downtown)
11 am-11 pm Su-Th, 11 am-midnight F-Sa
99 W. Broadway (map) 541-683-3154 (downtown)
11:30 am-2 am daily
McMenamins East 19th Street Café
1485 E. 19th Ave. (map) 541-342-4025 (southeast campus)
11 am-1 am M-Sa, noon-midnight Su
McMenamins High Street Brewery and Café
1243 High Street (map) 541-345-4905 (west campus)
11 am-1 am M-Sa, noon-midnight Su
McMenamins North Bank
22 Club Rd. (map) 541-343-5622 (north of campus/downtown)
11 am-11 pm M-Th, 11 am-midnight F-Sa, noon-11 pm Su
New Max's Tavern
550 East 13th Avenue
541-349-8986 (west campus)
1 pm-2:30 pm daily
Sam Bond's Garage
407 Blair Blvd. (map) 541-431-6603 (west downtown area)
4 pm-late daily