Like many towns on the West Coast, Eugene, Oregon
is a rather vegetarian-friendly city. Many restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options as part of their regular menu, but where do you go if you really want an extensive selection of scrumptious vegetarian food? Here are five restaurants where any vegetarian is sure to leave feeling satisfiedÃ¢Â?Â¦
CafÃ?Â© Yumm! Is a local operation with two locations in Eugene – one is at Oakway Center off Coburg Road (225-0121) and the other is in The Meridian building at the corner of Willamette and 18th in South Eugene (431-0204). Both restaurants offer an ample menu with vegetarian and vegan dishes made with fresh, organic ingredients. There are “non-vegetarian” options available, but with such an extensive meat-free menu, the carnivores in your party might not even notice the missing meat. CafÃ?Â© Yumm is open for lunch and early dinner and is rather affordable. Check out the website at http://wwww.cafeyumm.com.
The Lotus Garden is a vegetarian restaurant hidden in the heart of downtown Eugene. I say “hidden” because it is tucked away on a less frequented street in a store-front location at 810 Charnelton. The Lotus Garden is well-known to local vegetarians, however, and this is a classy place with a variety of dishes to satisfy just about anyone. Call for hours and directions at 344-1928.
Another well-kept secret is Irailia Mediteranean Rustica – this is a restaurant with limited evening hours tucked in next door to the Humble Bagel in South Eugene. While not a vegetarian restaurant, Irailia has a varied menu with many vegetarian and vegan options – wonderful pastas, salads, soups, stews and appetizers. This is a gem of a restaurant and while reservations may be recommended on a week-end night, week nights are a little quieter. The address is 2435 Hilyard and you can phone 684-8400 for information and hours.
One of the new kids on the block is Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine and Bar. This urban-feeling restaurant burst onto the local scene about two years ago – with its cozy tables and high ceilings, Sweet Basil is a great addition to “The Pearl” district in downtown Eugene. Located along a busy strip of restaurants at 941 Pearl Street, Sweet Basil is not exclusively vegetarian but there is a fine selection. It is a little more expensive, but the food is wonderful and it is a very “happening” place to dine. The web address is www.sweetbasilor.com, or you can call for information at 284-2944.
Finally, for a taste of the eccentric and funky side of Eugene, you can’t beat the Keystone CafÃ?Â©. This little restaurant is a Eugene original and a favorite breakfast place among the local residents. The Keystone can be found at 395 W. 5th, just North of downtown Eugene. The menu is also not exclusively vegetarian, but this serve-your-own-coffee kind of cafÃ?Â©’ has an extensive menu for breakfast and lunch and is a great place for a group of herbivores and carnivores to meet for a meal. Call 342-2075 for hours and directions. You’ll enjoy lingering over coffee and the fresh-baked bread at the Keystone.
Eugene truly is a vegetarian-friendly town so take a tour of these restaurants to get you started experiencing the variety of local offerings. You’ll find these are just the tip of the iceberg (and that goes for lettuce, too) for vegetarian and vegan-friendly establishments!