Because Eugene is home to the flagship University of Oregon, we’ve always enjoyed a better-than-average dining scene, combining a taste for adventurous and sophisticated cuisine with a budget-conscious perspective handed down from generations of student eaters.
So without further ado, here are a few of our favorite spots to grab a bite the next time you need to fuel up in our neighborhood!
The first of our top restaurant in Eugene picks take on tapas-style food sharing, Board occupies the space of the former Tiny Tavern, a 1930’s vintage Eugene landmark. You’ll find hearty and innovative fare seemingly from every corner of the globe but always focused on big, bold flavors coupled with inspired cookery.
Is retro-vegan soul food the next big thing? If so, we’d put our money on this fun, and forward-thinking cafe—or is that retro-thinking?—serving up diner-inspired and Southern kitchen faves like chili and cornbread, Reubens and grits, all of it meatless and dairy-free.
For those of you who think “Japanese food” starts and ends with sushi, “Izakaya” roughly translates to “drinking food.” In other words, these are savory and flavorful tidbits to be enjoyed with beer, sake or tea: Gyoza (a bit like Japanese potsticker dumplings); grilled and deep-fried skewers like pork belly and shiitake mushrooms, and many more epicurean excursions into the deep (and deeply delicious) Japanese pantry.
Even if it’s a quick-serve affair, Laughing Planet brings serious cred to the world of casual dining, featuring burritos, salads, and bowls brimming with fresh vegetables and grains. By featuring locally sourced veggies and sustainable, pasture-raised proteins, this hip little chain shows us how “delicious” and “responsible” don’t have to be at odds.
This simple and homey Mexican joint is short on frills, but it serves up fresh, hot and delicious specialties like sopes—a thick, chewy handmade tortilla with savory toppings—and Mexican corn on the cob, roasted with mayo and salty cheese.
A staple of old-school Eugene, Newman’s has been serving up fresh fish for an incredible 125 years. The menu is no-frills in the extreme: Fish—your choice between cod, halibut and salmon—and chips, or a couple of simple salads and clam chowder. There’s a lot to be said for choosing a specialty and then making it perfect each and every time.
Another Eugene mainstay, Papa’s has changed locations many times—starting with a humble food cart and expanding to meet demand—but it’s found a happy, and we hope permanent home not far from us. Look for Southern specialties like fried snapper, black-eyed peas and pulled pork on the expansive menu, and weekends bring live blues, soul, and R&B.