Best Vegan / Vegetarian Dining
If you check HappyCow before traveling anywhere, this blog is for you. If you have no idea what that is but you have vegan guests coming to Eugene, this is also for you!
Here is a list of the best plant-based options in the city, written by a picky herbivore. Some of these restaurants are entirely vegan and some are not, but none of the restaurants listed below offer a salad sans dressing as the sole vegan option because that's just sad. Eugene made #7 on Conde Nast Traveler's list of the 15 Best US Cities for Vegetarians and we just keep getting better.
Cafe Yumm started here in Eugene at the 5th Street Public Market before growing to 23 locations across three states. Eugene has four locations because we just can't get enough of this good stuff. All of their signature Yumm bowls are vegetarian and can be made vegan upon request. The "Original" bowl is a great starting place for Yumm virgins. The Yumm sauce is what makes these bowls so addictive. If you fall in love, you can buy a bottle of the sauce to take home before you leave.
Vitality Bowls Superfood Cafe is a great place to get a tasty acai bowl that will make all of your Instagram followers hungry. But it's more than just picture-perfect bowls, they also offer fresh juices, smoothies, paninis and salads. Many of the bowls and smoothies are sweetened with honey so vegans should speak with the juice bartender (smoothista?) before ordering.
Cornbread CafeCornbread Cafe courtesy of Cornbread Cafe
Voted the best vegan restaurant in Oregon by Travel+Leisure, Cornbread Cafe is southern comfort food except that everything on the menu is 100% vegan. Eat like Guy Fieri did on his visit during an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and order "The Eugenewich". The carrot bacon is the star of this amazing burger.
Sweet Life Patisserie
No trip to Eugene is complete without a stop at Sweet Life for a decadent treat. Their pastry cases are full of options for vegan and gluten-free dessert-lover too. Those options are clearly labeled so you can easily tell the vegan cheesecake from the original. This place is very popular so expect to see a long line. But don't worry, this line moves quickly and the delicious morsels make it all worth it.
Lotus Garden is a dedicated vegan Chinese restaurant in downtown Eugene. For many vegans in Eugene, Lotus Garden is a staple. Everything is delicious, authentic and cruelty-free. This is a great place to take veggie-curious folks because most dishes come with plant-based meat substitutes that look and taste a lot like the real thing. Try the Sweet & Sour Nugget and Special Fried Rice. Each meal comes with complimentary green tea to aid digestion. Gluten-free options are also available.
Morning Glory Cafe
Morning Glory is a fully vegetarian and vegan spot for breakfast and lunch located in downtown Eugene right near the Amtrak train station. Watch travelers coming and going as you sit with a hot cup of tea and full breakfast in a cozy atmosphere. Try the Three Sisters with the tantric mushroom gravy and a dill roll for the most important meal of the day and you'll be ready for any adventure. The pastry case is full of heavenly sweet treats so grab some for the road.
This is one of those restaurants that welcome your substitution requests. They can make any dish vegan and are happy to do it. With toy dinosaurs on the table and fuzzy velvet portraits of rockstars on the wall, Laughing Planet feels super casual but the flavors are surprisingly elevated. The sauce game is everything. The fresh-pressed juices are bright and super tasty. A harvest bowl or burrito and a pint of craft beer might just be the perfect meal.
Nourish Noodle & Juice Bar
Nourish is not a dedicated veg restaurant but you'll love it just the same. The focus here is fresh, healthy, nourishing fare. Every ingredient is intentional. The vegan noodle bowl is warming and comforting. And raw vegan cheesecake for dessert instantly improves your day.
Occasionally, you need vegan pizza slices, a refreshing salad and a cold beer served by tattooed bartenders with Rage Against the Machine blasting through the speakers. When that particular mood strikes, Sizzle Pie is the answer. Not all pizzas here are vegetarian so if your group includes carnivores, everyone can be satisfied with a different style of pizza slice. Plus, Sizzle Pie is open late and located in the very heart of downtown making it the perfect choice for a post-bar-hop meal.
Viva! Vegetarian Grill
Viva is the original vegan food truck of Eugene. They have been in business for more than 15 years and are still making the quick vegan food we all love. You can find them downtown and at many of your favorite events. Choosing between the vegan Philly Cheesesteak and the Tempeh Reuben is hard so go with a friend who doesn't mind sharing. And you won't want to miss their classic-style vegan soft serve ice cream made with a cashew base.
Acorn Community Cafe
Acorn is special to the community because they do more than just sell food. Acorn is actually a non-profit vegan cafe that strives to meet the need of food insecure individuals in the community. When you buy a delicious meal here, you are paying it forward. Acorn offers free meals daily to those who need them. This project was started by a group of restaurant workers who were furloughed during the pandemic and wanted to help combat hunger. But you aren't just doing good for the community when you eat here; you are doing good for yourself too! You'll love their Buckwheat Banana Pancakes and the Blackberry Beet Smoothie.
Govinda's Vegetarian Buffet
When you want a little bit of everything, an entire vegetarian buffet with fresh and delicious Indian-inspired offerings is the solution. Govinda's has been serving the Eugene community for a long time and they have a strong reputation as a friendly place with reasonable prices. They offer a salad bar and a hot food bar with a delightful variety.
Top photo: Tofu Pho from Pho The Good Times