Eugene Weekly : Best of Eugene : 2011-2012

Best of Eugene 2011-2012: Eats

Best Bakery, Sweets

photos by todd cooper

1. Sweet Life
755 Monroe St.  683-5676.

2. Metropol
2538 Willamette St. 465-4730.

3. Divine Cupcake
1680 W. 11th Ave. 543-5757.

From the Chocolate Orgasm cake to the lavender honey gelato, Sweet Life never fails to satisfy the most intense of sugary cravings — but judging from its longtime spot on top in Best Of, you already knew that. Try taking your dessert experience to the next level by pairing some of Sweet Life’s gourmet coffee drinks with one of your favorite treats.

Best Bakery, Savory

1. Hideaway Bakery 3377 E. Amazon Dr.

2. Metropol 2538 Willamette St. 465-4730.

3. Eugene City Bakery 1607 E. 19th Ave. 334-6906.

It’s carbs that make the world go ‘round, and Hideaway Bakery’s wood-oven offerings could speed up the earth’s rotation with their deliciousness. Hideaway’s bread menu alone includes almost 20 items, from the Kalamata olive loaf to the potato rustica, and whenever possible the items are made from local, organic ingredients. It’s a perfect reward for a walk to this comfy, hidden spot.

Best Hangover Breakfast

photo by todd cooper

1. Brails 1689 Willamette St. 343-1542.

2. Glenwood 1340 Alder St., 687-0355; 2588 Willamette St. 687-8201.

3. Studio One 1473 E. 19th Ave. 342-8596.

In a city where drinking is a sport to a large segment of the population, getting in a good hangover breakfast is essential. Brails once again takes the spotlight as the first thing one must do when waking from a night of beastly drunkenness, right after you crack that morning brew.

Best Barista


1. Sue Harnley, Eugene Coffee Co.
1840 Chambers 344-0002.

2. Thomas Howard, Wandering Goat
268 Madison St. 344-5401.

3. Emily Swan, Barry’s
804 E. 12th Ave. 343-1141.

Over on 18th and Chambers, where delicious coffee nectar flows softly out of espresso machines and into mugs for consumption, Sue Harnley will undoubtedly be going about her business. The Eugene Coffee Co. barista bought the company with her friends in March of 2008 and has worked hard ever since to make sure that her business, as well as her barista skills, thrive. “The relationships that I get to have with my customers” are what Harnley has proclaimed to be her favorite elements of barista-ing, and we’re glad she’s stuck with it. Sue, you rock; keep on keeping on.

Best Coffee

1. Wandering Goat 268 Madison St.

2. Dutch Brothers

3. Full City 295 E. 13th Ave., 465-9270; 842 Pearl St., 344-0475.

Just thinking about a good Wandering Goat latte makes our skin crawl with lust. Some folks whine about the “weird” location, but we like its funkiness and the hipster vibe is overwhelmed by the Wandering Goat’s caffeine-laden scrumptiousness. The baristas are dedicated coffee folks, and the brew made from locally roasted beans is just as good at Lane Community College’s café or made in your own pot at home as it is while using the free Wi-Fi and holding a beer in your other hand at the retail location on Madison Street.

Best BBQ: Papa’s Soul Food


1. Papa’s Soul Food 400 Blair Blvd. 342-7500.

2. Hole in the Wall 3200 W. 11th Ave., 683-7378; 

1807 Olympic St., Spfd., 726-1200.

3. BBQ King 18th & Pearl. 915-3252.

If it’s not the succulent, smoky, barbecued meat that hooks you, the crispy fried chicken will. Throw in some sides of cake-like cornbread, good ol’ fashioned collard greens and some sweet tea to wash it all down, and you’ll think you’ve stepped right into the South at Papa’s Soul Food. Don’t forget to finish it off with one “big-ass piece of cake.” Papa’s has proven once again that it knows how to do comfort food. 

Best Italian

1. Beppe & Gianni’s 1646 E. 19th Ave. 683-6661.

2. Mazzi’s 3377 E. Amazon Dr. 687-2252.

3. Osteria Sfizio 105 Oakway Center

Year after year Beppe & Gianni’s is anointed as Eugene’s choice for fine Italian dining. The mixture of cozy ambiance and upscale service is rivaled only by the delicious food cooked by an excellent kitchen staff. Whether celebrating birthdays, anniversaries or meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time, Beppe & Gianni’s is the premier choice for authentic Italian dining in a distinguished yet down-to-earth atmosphere. 

Best Mediterranean

1. Poppi’s Anatolia 992 Willamette St. 343-9661.

2. Evergreen 1525 Franklin Blvd. 343-7944.

3. Café Soriah 384 W. 13th Ave. 342-4410.

Everything about Poppi’s Anatolia is a little odd: The dining space is tiny, the menu offers equal space to both Greek and Indian food, and the décor hasn’t changed since they moved from campus decades ago. Yet this homey restaurant in the heart of Eugene is consistently a favorite. It’s like eating at your hippie friend’s house when they cook everything you really like. 

Best Thai

photos by rob sydor •

1. Ta Ra Rin 1200 Oak St. 343-1230.

2. Sweet Basil 941 Pearl St., 284-2944; 1219 Alder St.,

3. Tasty Thai 80 E. 19th Ave., 302-6444,; 1308 Hilyard St., 


Housed in that old IHOP building, Ta Ra Rin cooks up some to-die-for Thai cuisine. The green curry with shrimp or chicken served with a vegetable medley over jasmine rice is a must-try dish. The pots of gold and chicken satays are also highly recommended. Hell, from the many items on the menu, you really can’t go wrong with any dish here. And for dessert there’s that delectable sticky mango rice. So really, who’s missing those pancakes?

Best Mexican

1. Chapala 68 W. 29th Ave., 683-5458; 136 Oakway Center, 434-6113.

2. Red Agave 454 Willamette St. 683-2206.

3. Mi Tierra 638 Blair Blvd. 743-0779.

It’s nice to see Chapala Mexican Restaurant receiving the credit it deserves. This place is perfect for those date nights where we don’t feel like dressing up, but don’t feel like completely slumming it either. The drinks are cheap, the food is solid and the atmosphere is lively enough to be fun without being obnoxious. Chapala, you’ve got it figured out, and our sombreros are off to you.

Best Sushi Roll

1. Sushi Domo 1020 Green Acres Rd., 343-0935; 2835 Oak St.

2. PURE 296 E 5th Ave. 654-0608.

3. Izumi 2773 Shadow View Dr. 683-1201.

Whether you’re a designer sushi roll snob or someone who loves to try new food, Sushi Domo can’t be beat — that’s how they roll.

Best Pizza

1. Pizza Research Institute 530 Blair Blvd.  343-1307.

2. Mezza Luna 933 Pearl St., 684-8900;  2776 Shadow View Dr., 743-2999.

3. Pegasus 790 E. 14th Ave., 344-4471;  #4 Oakway Center, 344-0844.

Even good old pizza can get boring, but not at P.R.I. You’ll find no pepperoni or Hawaiian on the lab bench, no whiffs of boredom in the fume hood. Instead, the chefs use combinations like Granny Smith apples, smoked gouda and roasted walnuts or pear, pesto and roasted potatoes. The chef’s choice is a fun surprise for adventurous eaters. Vegans and cheese-lovers alike go for the vegan pizza just for funsies. Sure, it can be a glacially slow dining experience, but all the better to enjoy the company of friends. Check it out if you need to do more research.

Best Cheap Eats

1. Café Yumm 1801 Willamette St., 686-YUMM; 130 Oakway Center, 465-YUMM; 730 E. Broadway, 344-YUMM; 1005 Green Acres Rd., 684-YUMM; The Crossroads, 3340 Gateway St., Spfd., 747-YUMM; Sacred Heart, 3333 RiverBend Dr., 736-YUMM

2. Burrito Boy 510 E. Broadway, 344-8070; 497 Hwy 99, 607-5513; 30 W. 10th Ave., 343-8089.

3. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd., 868-0668; 2864 Willamette St., 505-5399.

The one thing at the heart of all that makes Café Yumm a local favorite has to be, without a question, the Yumm sauce. We have heard it referred to time and again as no less than addictive. With a growing and diverse menu, Café Yumm provides something for all tastes, be it the staple, the Yumm Bowl, or the wide array of sandwiches, salads and soups. This café has grown from the founder’s obvious love of food and continues to provide the perfect meal choice for vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Best Food Cart

photo by Rob Sydor •

1. Cart de Frisco Oakway Center; UO Bookstore

2. Viva! Vegetarian Grill 12th & Willamette St.

3. Devour Location/schedule varies.

Even as the Borders Bookstore has gone out of business, Eugeneans still stop by the storefront to enjoy the charbroiled chicken sold by Cart de Frisco outside. The smoky, delicious poultry flesh dominates the simple menu, including the chicken sandwich, which is as messy as it is scrumptious. Regulars also appreciate the cart’s sauces, which complement the chicken’s versatile smokiness in different ways. On top of the chickenwich extraordinaire, the cart offers skewers, salad and a noodle dish, all about the chicken and sauces. The food cart is also located near the Duck Store on weekdays, so students can get their fill on the fly while they head to class, leaving trails of breadcrumbs in all directions.

Best Place to Eat with Kids

1. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd., 868-0668; 2864 Willamette St., 505-5399.

2. Leave kids at home

3. Hot Mama’s Wings 420 W. 13th Ave. 653-9999.

Taking the “ew” out of fast food is no laughing matter, but throw in some plastic dinosaurs and Laughing Planet will give you a whole new perspective. Keeping true to its philosophy of serving wholesome, nutritious foods quickly (for people with time constraints) and at an affordable price (for people with wallet constraints), Laughing Planet’s dishes are deservedly a favorite. The organic, healthy ingredients on the menu make the food nothing less than honest. And it’s honestly good, too. What’s better than a quesadilla oozing with Tillamook cheese or a cup of vegetarian chili on a cool autumn afternoon — or even one of those famous burritos? Though the menu is vegetarian, the more carnivorous folk can add some Draper Valley chicken to just about any dish. And don’t worry about leaving the kids at home for this place — rowdy kids chasing each other (with those dinosaurs) have almost become part of the restaurant’s décor.

Best Winery

photo by todd cooper

1. King Estate 80854 Territorial Hwy. 942-9874.

2. Sweet Cheeks 27007 Briggs Hill Rd. 349-9463.

3. Territorial Vineyards 907 W. 3rd Ave. 684-9463.

King Estate, with its pristine setting in the heart of the Willamette Valley’s wine country provides the perfect spot to sample its array of masterful wine. One can sit and enjoy a glass and a gourmet meal overlooking the certified organic vineyard in a most picturesque setting. This year the vineyard celebrates its twentieth anniversary and continues to produce some of the most exceptional wines with grapes grown in its own vineyard as well as from various other Northwest regions. King Estate’s creations illustrate time and again why the Northwest is known for its wine.

Best Place to Take Vegetarians

1. Laughing Planet 760 Blair Blvd. 868-0668; 2864 Willamette St. 505-5399

2. Café Yumm 1801 Willamette St., 686-YUMM; 130 Oakway Center, 465-YUMM; 730 E. Broadway, 344-YUMM; 1005 Green Acres Rd., 684-YUMM; The Crossroads, 3340 Gateway St., 747-YUMM; Sacred Heart, 3333 RiverBend Dr., 736-YUMM,

3. Holy Cow 2621 Willamette St. 852-4659.

Best Place to Take Carnivores

1. Belly 291 E. 5th Ave. 683-5896.

2. Papa’s Soul Food 400 Blair Blvd. 342-7500.

3. Bates’ Steakhouse 433 E. Broadway. 683-3108.

After a brief vacation, the folks at Belly are back to satisfy our carnivorous needs in a town that has no shortage of vegetarian cuisine. With winter on the way, you can look forward to the last hoorah of fall fruits and an upcoming onslaught of well-proportioned meaty stews. New operating hours will leave flesh eaters out of luck on Sundays, but adequately compensated with Belly’s Monday taco nights!

Best Burger & Brew Special

1. Cornucopia 295 West 17th Ave. 485-2300.

2. Sixth Street Grill 55 W. 6th Ave. 485-2961.

3. The Vintage 837 Lincoln St. 349-9181.

Best New Restaurant

photos by todd cooper

1. Cornbread Café 1290 W. 7th Ave. 505-9175.

2. Hot Mama’s Wings 420 W. 13th Ave. 653-9999.

3. (tie): Holy Cow 2621 Willamette St., 852-4659; and Izakaya Meiji 345 Van Buren St., 505-8804.

This new restaurant offers a stick-to-your-ribs twist to vegan food. The Cornbread Café serves up vegan comfort food in a down-to-earth atmosphere. The Build-Your-Own Meal option allows you to get menu items like southern- fried tofu with barbecue sauce or chicken-fried tempeh with biscuits and gravy at à la carte prices. The sandwich selection ranges from the classic French dip to a more locally themed Eugenewich, which is served with a fried tofu patty, melted Daiya cheddar, deep-fried carrot slices, onion rings, lettuce and tomato in a smoky sauce on a grilled bun. For the kiddos, try the phish sticks with a side of mac uncheese or half a grilled cheese sammie on Dave’s Killer Bread with some crinkle fries. The majority of ingredients are organic and local. And, in effort to reduce its carbon footprint, Cornbread Café also sends all of its food scraps to a local gardener and gives away its used oil. 

Best Restaurant

1. Belly 291 E. 5th Ave. 683-5896.

2. Marché 296 E. 5th Ave. 683-2260.

3. Cornbread Café 1290 W. 7th Ave. 505-9175.









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