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Eugene's Best Special Occasion Restaurants

Published: November 15, 2022

 

An important night out deserves a dining experience beyond the typical. The restaurants on this list, with their exceptional food and elevated atmosphere, are perfect for date night or a memorable celebration. What makes Eugene's food scene so wonderful is that you can feast on creations from notable chefs without the big city parking issues or waiting lists a month out. It is recommended that you make a reservation at these locations in advance but you won't need to wait forever for a seating. 

Beppe & Gianni's Trattoria

Beppe & Gianni's Trattoria has been both a popular business dinner destination and a romantic favorite for many years. The pasta is perfection and the wine list is sizable but nothing compares to their tiramisu. So, if you devoured every bite of dinner and don't think you can eat a whole dessert, take a slice to go so you can end your perfect night with no regrets. 

Set in a historic home, the restaurant features several intimate and elegant dining rooms, a small bar and outside patio dining. Just a few blocks from the University of Oregon's Hayward Field, this venue is often bustling, so plan ahead as seating is first come, first serve.

Lion & Owl

This innovative and adventurous restaurant offers a fun, contemporary twist to fine dining. Lion & Owl is known for their weekend brunches but also offer dinner on Friday and Saturday night. Browse their bubbly drink menu for a celebratory toast. Their menu changes seasonally but you can expect to find items such as caviar, Dungeness crab and foie gras for those with expensive tastes. 

Party Downtown & Party Bar

Party Downtown showcases organic, locally sourced ingredients and a creative approach to food that makes even familiar dishes like a burger feel new and exciting. The menu changes seasonally and is a great way to enjoy the flavors of the northwest. If you fall in love with the flavors in your meal (and trust me, you will), you can bring home some sauces and other items from their market store in the back of the restaurant. 

PartyBar summer dish

Party Bar Summer dish

Photo: Melanie Griffin / EugeneCascadesCoast.org

Izakaya Meiji Company

Izakaya Meiji is where east meets west - a Japanese tavern with country western influence and an extensive whiskey library. Located in The Whit District, this restaurant is as unique and fun as the neighborhood it sits in. Even though it is fancy enough for a luxury date night, it can also be a vibe! Stay for the late-night menu and some cowboy karaoke to really show your person a good time. Reservations are not offered; this venue is first come, first serve. 

Izakaya Meiji Company by Melanie Griffin

Izakaya Meiji Company

Photo: Melanie Griffin / EugeneCascadesCoast.org

Sabai Cafe & Bar

Located at Oakway Center, not far from Autzen Stadium and downtown Eugene, the Sabai Cafe & Bar presents Thai and Pacific Rim cuisine with thoughtful design and full flavor. A sophisticated, contemporary atmosphere that invites intimacy; Sabai is what date night dreams are made of. The date night experience can continue later into the evening at the adjacent Hyatt Place hotel's rooftop bar. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Ambrosia

Handmade pasta and delicious wine selected by an Ambrosia sommelier in this charming historic building in downtown is a common way to congratulate a recent University of Oregon graduate or celebrate a new year. The elegant bar and upstairs dining provide romantic elements, while company parties and business entertaining are perfect in the banquet spaces. Reservations are recommended.

Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar

Photo: Colin Morton

The Vintage

If sweet and intimate describes your ideal date night, The Vintage creates that experience in the residential neighborhood bordering downtown. This former home-turned-restaurant offers cozy downstairs and upstairs spaces and fun shareable foods like cheese or chocolate fondue, fishbowl cocktails, crepes and decadent sundaes. Tucked away at a table for two, this romantic restaurant will feel like your own very special secret. 

In the summer, the patio is a lush green space with fairy lights and sweet kiwi vines. Order a spicy passion fruit margarita to heat things up. Reservations are not accepted; so come early.

Fondue at The Vintage

Photo: Maria Peter / EugeneCascadesCoast.org

Rye

rye's menu is a sophisticated world tour of tastes from Greek to French and beyond. Even though the dinners are deeply satisfying on their own, the dessert pairings are the star of the show. Each dessert is expertly paired with a spirit meant to accentuate the flavors. They offer eleven different dessert pairings which are the perfect way to finish an evening. There is a beautiful bar with authentic cocktails, and dimly lit booths and corner tables. Reservations are recommended.

rye Restaurant cocktails

Photo: Melanie Griffin

BAR PURLIEU

For a modern French experience near downtown Eugene, visit Bar Purlieu.  The Chef's Tasting Menu designed by Chef Brandon Lang is a surprise selection meant to be shared which makes dining with loved ones feel even more special. Reservations are recommended. 

Cafe Soriah

The warm way guests are greeted, the spices and the ambiance make the dining experience at Cafe Soriah unique. This Mediterranean restaurant has been acknowledged as one of Eugene's most romantic destinations time and time again. The beautifully presented Lamb Shank is sure to impress. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Cafe Soriah Margarita by Melanie Griffin

Cafe Soriah Margarita

Photo: Melanie Griffin

Marché & Le Bar

Marché is one of Eugene's best-known and most celebrated restaurants for fine dining. This French-inspired restaurant focuses on seasonal, market-fresh ingredients. A James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for "Oustanding Restaurant 2019", Marché brings the same uncompromising quality that Chef Stephanie Kimmel started with more than 20 years ago.

Tucked in among upscale boutiques at 5th Street Public Market, Marché is both romantic and perfect for entertaining clients. Start in the bar with a cocktail and oysters on the half-shell. There are no bad options on this carefully crafted menu. Reservations are recommended. 

King Estate

Just outside of Eugene, this spectacular winery makes special occasion dining truly memorable. King Estate sits atop a vineyard-covered hill with sweeping views. The estate is known for its fine wines, sustainable agricultural practices, chateau-style architecture and elegant dining. This is the kind of place where you are sure to feel a sense of gratitude because the views, the ambiance and the flavors are just so incredibly good. Reservations are required for restaurant seating but walk-ins are welcome in the tasting room. 

Holidays at King Estate

Photo: King Estate / EugeneCascadesCoast.org

In Springfield

George + Violet's Steakhouse

Located on Main Street in Springfield, George + Violet's Steakhouse has everything you'd expect from a steakhouse plus some really great surprises from Chef Andrew Francisco on the menu. Songs could be written about how heavenly the fig leaf ice cream sundae is and still you wouldn't be prepared. 

Tavern on Main

Tavern on Main is full of charm and Jazz era style. This upscale bar + kitchen is reminiscent of the Roaring 20s which makes it feel dreamy and special. The cocktails are great and so are the mocktails. 

Author: Melanie Ryan Griffin

Melanie is a University of Oregon graduate who studied Cultural Anthropology. After finishing school, she worked as a touring photojournalist writing concert and album reviews for online publications. Melanie is now the Art Director for Travel Lane County. She has lived in Eugene for more than a decade and spends nearly every weekend searching for new favorite places in the county. She has also lived in California, New Mexico, Florida, Spain and Slovakia but loves Oregon the most.

Melanie enjoys exploring the vibrant arts and culture scene in Eugene.  She also loves painting, cooking for friends, dancing, hiking and learning new things.