The Blacksmith (211 NW Greenwood Ave., 541/318-0588, 4:30 p.m.–close daily, $16–38), housed in an actual old blacksmith shop, has a brawny Texas-meets-Oregon atmosphere, with highly polished wood-plank tables and a composite concrete floor. The food is similarly robust: try the steak frites or oven-seared and pan-roasted halibut served over potato puree. Even the veggie lasagna is filled with hearty roasted vegetables. The starters, including a tasty shrimp tostada, are good enough that it’s tempting to make a meal of them. After 10 p.m. on weekend nights, a DJ comes in, and the whole atmosphere changes to a club scene.
Also in the downtown core, The Pine Tavern Restaurant (967 NW Brooks St., 541/382-5581, 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 5:30–9:30 p.m. Sun., $10–30, reservations recommended) has been in business since 1919, and although it is not a trendy place, it keeps current enough to continue drawing crowds. It’s located in a garden setting overlooking Mirror Pond, with an ancient ponderosa pine that’s been growing up through the floor since 1919. Prime rib, meatloaf, and hot sourdough scones with honey butter are among the many specialties. Most dinners are in the $15–20 range and come with scones, soup or salad, and a vegetable.