Sweetwaters on the River

3.8
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430 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Northwest
SweetWaters on the River is a time-honored classic, located on the banks of the Willamette River at Valley River Inn in Eugene, Oregon. With our panoramic views and three-season outdoor patio, SweetWaters on the River provides the quintessential Oregon dining experience for the culinary tourist, fine food epicurean, and corporate diner alike. Predicated upon local producers of meat, produce and unique ingredients such as Oregon truffles, huckleberries and artisan cheeses, our restaurant maintains a focus on locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Our central location in the Southern Willamette Valley wine region is highlighted by our premium wine list, designed for the wine enthusiast and showcasing the best of Oregon's growing wine industry.
What 430 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.8based on recent ratings
4.1
food
4.2
service
4.0
ambience
3.4
value
Noise · Quiet
77% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DJ
Palm Springs
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall2food4service2ambience3

We had not been to Sweetwaters for a very long time. We found it a mere shadow of its former self! The menu was limited, the prices were $$$$ and the level of service disappointing. The food was good, but we felt it was overpriced. We had difficulty flagging down the server or busboy for water, the server took an extended time to bring my tarter sauce and the staff wearing denims was unexpected. Sweetwater's used to be an upscale dining experience. By the amount of diners, it's no longer the popular "go to" place. We won't be back.

K
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Had brunch with a friend. The food and service was very good. We do miss the brunch buffet :)

M
Orange County
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The food was good, nice view of the river, quiet and relaxing. I only wish their menu was not so limited. Most of the items were "gourmet," meaning a working class person has no idea what they are. Sometimes you want an upscale dinner for a special occasion, but still want to know what you are ordering.

OT
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Valentines prix fix menu. Good choices except desert

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DS
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food4service1ambience3

The food was fine, but it took well over an hour to get to us. If the restaurant was crowded, I might understand, but we had an early reservation and were one of only a few occupied tables when we were seated. For a meal that cost well over $100, that was pretty unacceptable.

OT
Los Angeles
14 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall3food3service4ambience3

The service was very friendly and helpful. The restaurant itself is in dire need of some renovation and refreshment but it’s ok. The food is the big let down. Atlantic salmon? Why even have that any where in the Pacific Northwest? The risotto was meh. The chicken was average. All in all, just an average hotel restaurant.

DR
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our dinner was cooked perfectly. The risotto was great and the shrimp just popped in your mouth. Highly recommend.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Enjoyed having you dine with us thank you for the review! #greatfood #ontheriver #ambiance

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2020
Overall2food3service2ambience4

We made a reservation for noon. We arrived at 11:55. The restaurant was empty but still had to wait 20 minutes to be seated. The hostess seemed unorganized and lackadaisical. The view of the river was lovely however.

KB
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall3food2service3ambience2

Large restaurant with good looking menu, but the delivery was really subpar as well as bland. I had the scallop and grits, even with bacon no real flavor. Wait staff was friendly.

CD
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience2

Since it was Christmas Day and our dinner reservations were right after the afternoon buffet was over it was a bit hectic and the staff really had not had time to clean up and set the tables in the manner that we are used to for Sweetwaters. I suggest that in the future a bit more time should be allowed between the change over.

GH
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Christmas buffet was excellent.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on December 29, 2019

Thank you for joining us for Christmas so glad you were able to make it! #ontheriver #happyholidays

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OT
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

We had a guest visiting from out of town. Service took quite a long time and didn’t check on us frequently. The food besides the salads was all subpar. The drinks were nice and unique however the out of town guest was so displeased with the amount of time that our meal took that they wanted to walk out prior to the food arriving. Then once the food arrived parts of it where inedible while other parts were still just bland, and under cooked. We let the manager know our displeasure and she was very professional in her handling of the situation. The atmosphere was nice and we may try again later but for such a lousy experience at what we considered to be low value and quality of cooking for the price I doubt we will return.

CH
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on December 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was delicious and the service was great. The soup was a little under seasoned and the clams were overcooked, but they were still delicious. I plan on coming back.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on December 29, 2019

Thank you for your review! #ontheriver

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BJ
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2019
Overall3food1service4ambience3

The service here and the drinks were amazing. On the other hand the food was overpriced for the quality in my opinion. Also my date became sick shortly after eating the crab chowder. I was hoping for a much better dining experience.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on December 29, 2019

Thank you for your review!

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EO
Portland
17 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Lunch with a friend at Sweetwaters on an overcast day--and the river looked beautiful with mist laying over it. The food was very good and the service excellent. Lovely!

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on December 29, 2019

Thank you for joining us at SweetWaters, The river in morning is so nice with the mist rising! #ontheriver

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B
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience3

For the price the value was “ok”. Not sure if I’d go back

l
Hawaii
3 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall2food1service4ambience2

Not for Thanksgiving. We made our reservation weeks before to assure they were set up for ADA and we would be able to bring our family members that use wheel chairs. Yes, we were told "there would be no problem".
We were seating in the lobby area. The room was in the high traffic area with other dinner, as well as Festival of Trees crowd. Noisy and people walking by the group of tables to get to the restaurant, waiting to be seated etc. The wall of plate glass windows, was VERY COLD even with the fireplace across the room which must be for beauty not a heat source.
The food by 5 pm was running low, the server was picking white meat off the bone to give to the women in front of us - so no Turkey for us on thanksgiving. Cold hot dishes and not much of those anything remained. If they replenished the food, by the time we came back into the servicing area in the bar from the lobby area, it was gone. We were able to get hot waffles/omelettes from the great breakfast area. The server/chief was quick, friendly and helpful... a saving grace for us.
So sadly, not worth the 250.00 dinner for 4. Our server Shelby was wonderful and give us her best, she and the breakfast chief were defiantly the high light of our experience.

RS
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience3

Service was bad, it was like we were invisible. They were so concern with getting as many people into the place, they seem to forgot the people they sat down ! Food was okay but nothing to get excited about! We will not be back, and won’t recommend them either!

w
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

If I’m dining out in Eugene for Thanksgiving, Sweetwaters is probably the place to be. Plenty to eat at the buffet including turkey, ham and roast beef. Plus a nice selection of desserts. Reasonably quiet during our meal and nice to watch the river flow by. I made my reservation weeks in advance and am glad that I did. Took about an hour and fifteen minutes to be seated, have our meal, pay the check and leave.

JE
Portland
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Lunch Thanksgiving day: The food was mostly OK. The cranberry "sauce" was TERRIBLE. So sour and vinegary - I shook and shuttered with one bite. My mother had nothing to good to say about it either.
And, why were the three of us seated at a table for six? Seems like poor planning on the part of the restaurant or reservations system? I noticed a group of four crammed into a booth meant for two people.

AD
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience2

We had reservations and arrived on time. No one at the hostess desk, waitress arrived looking like she worked at a diner. Just not what we expected. After spending several minutes looking at desk she sat us in a booth. The decor is some updated some 90’s with a splash of original 1970’s. Needs all around updated including staff uniform attire, please more than jeans and cotton shirt. The booth seats were uncomfortable because they were too high for table. The food was good, limited wine selection. We only ate there because we had an event to go to at the hotel.
Would love to see a fine dining on the water again!!

JO
New England
30 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

This place is a bit of a mystery... at least on a chilly Sunday evening after dark. Perhaps it's a different place when the riverside patio is open? Restaurant is located in a hotel. For the entire 90+ minutes we were there, there were few other diners. Yet service was strange and strangely slow and the dishes we ordered were, with one exception, nothing special. It took over 10 minutes to get a drink order placed. Asking for tastes, we got them after another 10 minutes or so. Then appetizers arrived, finally followed by the drinks we ordered. Crab chowder was decent but the crab taste was "subtle," to say the least. The redeeming feature of the Caesar Salad was that the romaine lettuce was not rusty. "Homemade" dressing was bland; croutons which were supposedly made from focaccia, were tasteless. The mushroom risotto was outstanding and seemed to include maitake mushrooms, which I didn't know were native but were delicious and copious in the risotto which was also cooked perfectly al dente. Reuben sandwich was good but nothing special. In short, I think we'd avoid this place if we return to the Eugene area.

S
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience3

limited menu at Sat lunch and food quality not good

OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall3food1service2ambience5

Beautiful setting in the river. Great coffee! Food selections looked great on the menu; many well thought out combinations and yummy sounding. There were 4 of us for brunch and 3 of our meals were VERY disappointing. The quinoa bowl had too much mayonnaisy dressing, the chopped salad had a speck of bacon and same sort of gloppy dressing, and the smoked brisket hash tasted like sliced, day old steak. The server was harried and brought our extra bread after we finished our food. We will not be back

JK
1 review
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience4

The kitchen sent a burnt beyond recognition steak to our table, for the waitress to check and see whether it was too done. It looked terrible and never should have been sent to the table. The next steak was fine, and was comped, but the free dessert that was given to us was gross, and had clearly been sitting in a display case for a week too long. Overall, the waitress, busboy, manager and hostess were great, but the kitchen staff made some poor choices in what food was served.

ML
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were there for my Dad's 81st Birthday, there were seven of us and it was absolutely perfect. The food was amazing, the price was extremely reasonable, our waitress Katie was the best!!!! Cannot wait to go back again soon.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Thanks for leaving a great review, so glad we were able to create a wonderful experience. #ontheriver #ambiance #greatservice

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g
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

first time visit for us but not our last. we loved the crab chowder. i’ll be back for that.

TS
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Beautiful setting, nice staff, good food. What more could you ask for?

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Thanks for leaving a great review, so glad we were able to create a wonderful experience. #ontheriver #ambiance #greatservice

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PC
Portland
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had Victoria for our waitress. She was wonderful, informative, helpful on selection, took pictures for our party. We really appreciated her attentiveness. This was a 90th birthday party for an Aunt and we came from six different states to gather for the event. Everyone was kind. The bathrooms were clean. We came when the restaurant was not too full. The weather was perfect and the view of the River was outstanding. The food was very good, although they were out of one of the beers on the menu.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Thanks for leaving a great review, so glad we were able to create a wonderful experience. #ontheriver #ambiance #greatservice

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AT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience3

The most overpriced and sub-quality food I have had in Eugene. Every item was remarkably mediocre and the prices significantly too high. Server was kind, but the food came out very slowly. There are scores of better dining experiences in the area.

R
Portland
473 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great restaurant overlooking Willamette River with outdoor dining availability. Nice menu, two of us this evening, we both chose salads, the BLT salad and the Salmon salad, both with fresh ingredients, well prepared, tasty, and large portions. Nice beverage menu to complement your entree choice. We enjoyed our meals and the ambience on the outdoor patio. We have eaten at Sweetwaters on many occasions and experienced good to great meals, tonight was a great night. Definitely will be back again.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Enjoyed having you dine with us thank you for the review! #greatfood #ontheriver #ambiance

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JL
1 review
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, great food and awesome atmosphere on the deck outide

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

So happy you enjoyed your visit, thank you for the excellent review! #ontheriver #ambiance

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DB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience4

The patio was closed due to paint repairs so I did not experience the outdoor dining I was hoping for. My clans and mussels seemed skimpy in quantity. The rolls served with and few pieces of baguette toasts were insufficient to enjoy the mussel juices. I had salmon salad which was disappointing. The greens were wilted and honey mustard dressing too strong. The salmon filet was cooked OK but rather small and unseasoned. Nothing in my experience would entice me back.

JH
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

If you want to have wonderful food served by a personable staff with an amazing view, THIS IS THE PLACE TO DO IT! I mentioned on the reservation it was my mom's birthday and the terrific staff went out of their way to make her evening special. Bravo Sweetwaters Staff!

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Thanks for leaving a great review, so glad we were able to create a wonderful experience. #ontheriver #ambiance #greatservice

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PO
1 review
Dined on August 21, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Beautiful view of the river, and a wonderful place to dine outside. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate (rain in August?) but we were graciously offered indoor seating.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Thanks for leaving a great review, so glad we were able to create a wonderful experience. #ontheriver #ambiance #greatservice

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OT
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great night out! Sat outside, the river was right in front of our table. Food and service was great.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

So happy you enjoyed your visit, thank you for the excellent review! #ontheriver #ambiance

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SS
1 review
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love the variety of healthy, tasty, well-presented food options on the menu. Service was excellent. Loved being outside by the river on a shaded patio. And especially appreciated the lower noise level so we could converse easily (two members have hearing issues).

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Enjoyed having you dine with us thank you for the review! #greatfood #ontheriver #ambiance

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SL
1 review
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

This is a beautiful restaurant with great staff. My only complaint was with my food selection. I ordered the quinoa bowl and it was super small with very little flavor. My guest ordered the Caesar and loved it.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Thank you for your review! #ontheriver #great service

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KT
1 review
Dined on August 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good food and a lot for the money. We had intended to eat on the patio,but ate inside, but still had a nice view of the river.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Enjoyed having you dine with us thank you for the review! #greatfood #ontheriver #ambiance

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F
Seattle
3 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic setting. Actually a little hot in the setting sun so pick your table carefully.

Sweetwaters on the River
Responded on February 10, 2020

Thanks for leaving a great review, so glad we were able to create a wonderful experience. #ontheriver #ambiance #greatservice

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