Sweetwaters on the River

4.0
327 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 327 People Are Saying
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Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.0based on recent ratings
3.8
food
4.1
service
4.4
ambience
3.6
value
Noise · Quiet
79% of people would recommend it to a friend
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FM
Miami
11 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Great location by the river. Great appetizers. Main course Food so, so,not great. Been there, ate there, saw the river. Not returning.

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OT
Phoenix
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Birthday it was nice

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CL
Portland
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food in a lovely setting for New Years Eve dinner with friends.

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RC
Portland
113 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I have honor to hang my large scale paintings at the hotel and in the wine room of the hotel and I have enjoyed many meals here. Tonight I took my lovely wife on an early New Year date and it was perfect. Her Risotto was one of the best she had ever had (and this woman knows her Risotto) and I did something I never do; order a hamburger! It to was delicious and NOT RUNNING AND MESSY! Again, something I never do. The wine , a 2014 pinot noir from Erath, was perfect! And we got to see the lights shimmering on the river. Not a bad night.

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CC
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rachel & Chris were great servers and bussers. Food was very yummy, attentive service and serene scene of the river.
Yes I will go there again!

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L
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Christmas evening menu was limited, not full menu which we did not know . Very limited offering, two entrees were shellfish which we cannot eat so not much to select from. Glazed chicken was good but steak was poor cut of meat, too much fat and gristle, medium turned out to be much undercooked, somewhat bloody in spots, and steak knives were not sharp enough to cut the meat. We had house salads but champagne vinegrette was bitter and flavorless, couldn’t finish my salad....some desserts were already out of stock so ordered the chocolate mousse which was somewhat flavorless also.

The restaurant has a great location on the river and the interior design was attractive but we were quite disappointed by the food on Christmas evening. We had high hopes and it was a special holiday to us. Not sure we will come back. Sweet waters, you need to step up your game, customers don’t expect you to be Sizzler or Denny’s.....

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JH
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Cozy and tasty buffet on Christmas Day was impressive. We thought you must have cooked up everything on your menu and served it all at once. A perfect solution for our change of plans and very satisfying.

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JG
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

Very over priced for the quality. Very disappointing particularly given it was a holiday.

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OT
Portland
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

We stayed at the Valley River Inn. Our very nice room was right around the corner from Sweetwaters. We both thought it was the worst buffet we have ever been to. The food was luke warm. The prime rib was very rare and my first piece had as much fat as meat. Didn’t think the desert selection was very appealing. I could go on and on. Even our table was very uncomfortable. It was a booth. Our room was $129 plus tax. Our buffet was $98 for two plus one $6 beer and tip. Will never eat there again.

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C
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 3

$45 a plate for 2 risotto cakes and a small wedge of chocolate cake and cup of mushroom soup, wow way to take it to the consumer of xmas eve, same experience on thanksgiving as well terrible buffet service and again two people = $100. Way outta sight for what your getting many better choices in Eugene wont be back and don't recommend. Get it together Sweetwater

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KH
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Sweetwaters has an excellent menu, outstand service and a relaxing ambiance. Whenever my family and I go there on a special occasion, we are never disappointed.

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M
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The meals were excellent; didn't feel rushed ; accommodated special request.
Will definitely return...soon!

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CK
Portland
28 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were there for breakfast and it was outstanding. We have been there before and had a great experience then and we will be returning with family in a few weeks and expect the same service, food, and ambiance, always wonderful.

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JH
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 4food 1service 1ambience 4

Our family has eaten at Sweetwaters for more than 30 years making wonderful memories and enjoying stellar meals. Unfortunately on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 our experience was the exception to the rule. Our reservation was for 5:30. Our waitress forgot us and we sat for an hour before finally getting in our order. Five of us ordered the grilled salmon. Big mistake! It was extremely dry and the vegetables surrounding it were simply cooked down to a mushy texture. I ordered a glass of wine which never came and since we rarely saw our waitress, I gave up on it. We had met another couple from out of town who had never been there. We didn't want to make a fuss by sending our dinners back while we were enjoying our visits together. We will not be going back to Sweetwaters until they get another cook - especially on a Saturday night!

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LB
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Excellent, personal service, and a place quiet enough to talk in group (six at the table). WHAT a relief THAT is! The bar also looked to be inviting and not noisy.

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D
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Was very pleasant. Visiting area looking for a Sunday brunch buffet. Little pricey ,$21 for a salmon salad? Overall experience, ok.

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JC
Orange County
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

Came here for the Thanksgiving buffet. There was no wait staff addressing our table for over 10 minutes. We ended up flagging someone else down just to get drinks order. Food was pretty average with some choices either lacking seasoning and/or texture. Based on the food served at the buffet I will not recommend this on top of the service being lackluster or non-existence.

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J
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 5

We've eaten Thanksgiving dinner here for several years. It seemed like they had cut back on the variety of food items available. We always look forward to prime rib, but this year they cut it from the menu. What was provided was good but the variety limited. Dinner was $48 per person. Coffe and soft drinks were extra. Too expensive for what you get. Will try somewhere else next year.

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AD
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

We come here every year before the Festival of Trees and each year we move our reservations up this year 5:45 to be done by 7:00 pm.
Service was slow, even though we had let them know. Took forever to get drinks then we ordered an appetizer which was a mistake because our dinner arrived about 6:50. We asked to have the halogen spot lights turned down from full to give more of a night time dinner ambiance which they did, thank goodness!
PLEASE UPDATE AND GET BETTER STAFF AND PEOPLE WILL COME BACK. YOU ARE THE ONLY POSSIBLE UPSCALE RESTAURANT ON THE RIVER!!! Take advantage of it!! Lived here 57 years and I’m 57 remember when VRI was built, had our wedding reception there. Create the best and the best of Eugene will come!!!

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RC
Portland
114 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great meal, simple with great presentation.

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CK
Portland
28 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant was recommended by a friend and we took family visiting from Las Vegas here and they loved it. We will return and enjoy.

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AD
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

We made reservations for Sunday breakfast on our 25th anniversary! We had done breakfast with all our families the day after our reception at Valley River Inn 25 years ago. This time we wanted a quite breakfast just the two of us. The hostess sat us at a two top next to 3 large parties in the right side of restaurant where everyone seemed to be going to the brunch bar and the noise level was cafeteria style. We went back to hostess and said again it was our anniversary and we were hoping for a river view quite table so after a few minutes we were reseated. The waitress came for beverage order which was 2 mimosas and 2 coffee, the mimosas arrived first I think pre poured because she wasn’t gone two minutes. Then she asked if we were ready to order, we had just put napkins on our laps and hadn’t even picked up menu so asked for a minute....10 minutes later she returned with coffees and took our order. Coffee refill was us getting up to ask for a second cup. The restaurant was busy but the area we were in was half full. The breakfast was good but it seemed to take forever to get to us.
We are returning for Festival of Trees preview night for dinner with two other couples so hopefully things will run smoothly with wait staff.

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g
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Well, it was extremely quiet due to us being there during a Ducks football game, but the food seemed to be phoned in--maybe for the same reason.

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FD
Phoenix
88 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Stopped in for dinner while I was in Eugene for work. The calamari appetizer was good but too much breading in my opinion. And the Korian style sandwich was on a roll the was too much bread again for my taste. The view of the river was fabulous.

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A
Phoenix
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Pedestrian food in a tired hotel. Appeared to be more interested in what worked for the business rather than the customer. I was in town for the Oregon football game and was told everything they couldn’t do rather than what they could do.

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CG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 4

It’s great location with nice ambience. Unfortunately the food is terrible.

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DC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant was wonderful! They accomodated our large group, two tables of eight, during family weekend. Staff was so nice - and food, cocktails, and view were great. Thank you so much!

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TS
Las Vegas
17 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went there on Saturday night. The place was not really busy... but then the Ducks were playing. I ordered the Prime rib with 2 glasses of wine and had the Cream Brule desert. The steak was perfectly cooked Medium Rare. The mashed potato was ok. A little dry. But acceptable. The green beans were cooked to perfection with a wonderful spice. The wine list is good. You'll find something you'll like. Glass or bottle. The Cream Brule was really really good. All said and done it ran me around $80. But then I ordered the most expensive things. Not because they were the most expensive… it's just because I was hungry for those items. The staff did really well. There is lots and lots of room to stretch out. There is a bar with TV's showing sports if you're into that. There is a beautiful patio right on the Willamette River. But I had to pass on that thanks to the rain. Thanks to everyone for a great meal.

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p
Portland
2 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 2

Ceasar salad was strong fishy tasting. Ribeye steak was thin and not good quality.

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PA
Portland
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Friendly staff, good service, good food, great ambiance.

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BG
Portland
7 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great server and confirmation of reservation. The table was excellent and menu choices were goood. It’s a bit over-priced however.

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H
Portland
12 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Met up with a friend and her daughter who is an incoming freshman at University of Oregon. The Sweetwater's patio is wonderful as it sits along the river. It was a beautiful day. We arrived during happy hour and enjoyed a shared an appetized of calamari. I had the risotto with shrimp-- which was good. My girlfriend had a salad with a generous piece of salmon and her daughter had the pasta with shrimp. We all enjoyed our dinner. Service was good as well.

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WB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

I'm not sure what happened. remember Sweetwaters being a great restaurant for special occasions. We came here to celebrate my Dad's birthday. The service is good, but all the food was really bland. Even the supposedly "spicy" dishes that claimed to have habanero sauce and sriracha were dull and bland. The prices do not match the quality of the food any more. The riverside ambience is still nice.

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TP
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

Pre game for Oregon Ducks football. Great view on the river. Dated restaurant in a dated hotel. Food was not great. Good place for a quiet place to eat before the football game. Easy to get to and very pleasant patio on the river.

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n
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I didn’t realize the restaurant was inside the hotel. It was hard to find, but a lovely place.

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CB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

I would not recommend, the food was not flavorful. They wrote fresh razberrys on our desert and it was not fresh.

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W
Portland
5 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

It didn’t start off special. Had to wait awhile before being seated. Then was ignored for about 25 minutes. Wasn’t even served water for 15 min. Others that were seated after us were waited on 1st. Finally snagged a waitress who said wait a minute and I told her my plight. From then on service was great. My steak was best I’ve ever had. Think they should have server training as to customer needs. They had plenty staff, just not attentive.

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HK
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sweetwaters staff made my pre wedding dress shopping brunch a memorable one! Thank you for the wonderful service and delicious food!

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BS
Portland
8 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

4 of us came out for a Sunday breakfast and none had been here before. The view was beautiful, as was the decor, and it wasn't super busy so we could easily have conversation. I had the build-your-own omelette. I asked for Provolone cheese, but pretty sure I got Swiss. The bacon that everyone ordered (including in my omelette) was overdone - not burnt, but so crispy it was nearly inedible. The potatoes both my sister and myself had were dry, and seemed like they'd either been sitting for a while (even though our food didn't take all that long), or were just overdone. Also too much salt. My boyfriend got the Bananas Foster, which he said "the caramel sauce tasted... funny"... he couldn't quite describe it, but it wasn't his favorite. Aside from the food, we are pretty sure we were forgotten in the middle. We were checked on once to see if the food was ok (had barely begun eating), and we only got 1 refill of coffee and water. We didn't see our gal again (and as previously stated, it wasn't very busy, plus we could see at least 3 other waitresses) for about 40 minutes. Usually breakfast checks are dropped fairly quickly, and while we weren't in a super rush, we also didn't have all day... All in all, I'll give this place another shot because of the view and the ease of getting there, plus it could have been an off day for the cooks and staff, etc. I'm hoping for better food and service next time.

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T
Nashville
18 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Beautiful setting plus nice area wine with fine tasting salmon. Excellent server.

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