A quarter mile west of center city is Blair Boulevard and the Whitaker neighborhood. In recent years, a budget restaurant row has been developing in what had been in previous decades a strip of fast-food places and greasy spoons. These places, for the most part, are easy on the pocketbook while offering an interesting variety of cuisines.
One of the neighborhood highlights is the Pizza Research Institute (530 Blair Blvd., 541/343-1307, 5–9:30 p.m. daily, $12–18), which has the most innovative pizza in town. In this case, innovation equals excellence—try the chef’s choice, which is invariably tasty. PRI, which serves only veggie pies, has a friendly, spunky feel that’s thoroughly Eugenian. The pie with Granny Smith apples, smoked Gouda, and roasted walnuts may be life-changing.
Vegetarians can get a good inexpensive meal at Laughing Planet Café (760 Blair Blvd., 541/868-0668, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $5–8). A bean burrito will fill you up, but daring diners will order the dish called soylent green.
A couple of blocks south across 7th Street is a concentration of eateries including La Tiendita/Taco Loco (900 Blair Blvd., 541/683-9171, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 4–8 p.m. Sun., $4–10), serving up locally renowned tamales and other south-of-the-border specialties adjacent to a store devoted to Latino foodstuffs. Low prices, huge portions, and down-home Mexican and El Salvadoran specialties (try the pupusas) draw a large takeout clientele at lunch.
On the east side of Blair Boulevard on 7th Street is Full Boat Cafe (830 W. 7th Ave., 541/484-2722, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, $6–10), a fish market with an attached café. The array of fish-and-chips is noteworthy for its freshness and the tasty and nontraditional tartar sauces. The attached fish market sells the freshest Dungeness crab in town, excellent smoked salmon, and microbrews.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel