Find the most enticing restaurants in this Central Oregon vacation destination, from classic French to Northern Thai
Bend has long been known as a place for outdoor adventure and lots of sunshine, not cutting-edge food and restaurants, but that’s starting to change. Chefs, restaurateurs, and critics alike are beginning to take notice of Bend’s exciting growth in the restaurant world. The meat-and-potatoes moniker is fading with the introduction of restaurants serving classic Cuban sandwiches, Argentinian-style bratwursts, and unforgettable northern Thai delights. Below, find a list of killer spots to hit between hikes, ski trips, or days on the river.
1. Cuban Kitchen
133 SW Century Dr Suite 204
Bend, OR 97702(541) 797-6587Visit Website
With its welcoming interior of natural wood, colorful Cuban art, and domino sets, Bend’s first Cuban restaurant has become a town favorite. Christina and Chris Rojas created a wonderful space serving traditional Cuban specialties, like puerco asado, a plate of tender pork marinated and braised in tropical spices and juices. For those after the ever-popular pressed Cubano sandwich, Cuban Kitchen has several enticing combinations sandwiched (no pun attended) between house-made light, crispy bread.
Situated in a quaint little cottage on busy Galveston Avenue, Ariana has been the cornerstone of fine dining in Bend for quite some time. Husband-wife duo Andrès and Ariana Fernandez have continually created simple, refined food, often incorporating seasonal produce from Central Oregon. Seating is limited, so for those hoping to nab seared scallops with Dungeness crab risotto, reservations are highly recommended.
3. Bangers & Brews
1288 SW Simpson Ave Suite A
Bend, OR 97702(541) 389-2050Visit Website
This counter-service, family-operated brat shop on Century Drive is one of the newest sensations to hit the Bend restaurant scene. The Garcia family, natives of Argentina, have rapidly developed a loyal following for their restaurant’s welcoming environment, extensive tap list, sausage toppings, and an eye-popping variety of bratwursts — think lamb, elk, and even water buffalo. Grandma Mercedes Garcia makes the restaurant’s chimichurriin-house, offered as a side and sold by the jar.
In 2013, chef-owner Jeff Hunt’s 1960s-era Airstream food cart transformed into this funky, lively counter-service restaurant, heavily influenced by his travels around the world. The busy market vibe with lanterns and prayer flags strewn above the space really adds to the one-of-a-kind dining experience. Spork has become a mainstay in Bend’s restaurant scene, thanks to its devotion to bold flavors and brilliant riffs on street-food classics like the addictive Burmese fried cheese with tomato curry or the spicy pork noodles with nuoc cham.
5. Foxtail Bakeshop & Kitchen
Following a recent move to Bend’s expansive Box Factory, Foxtail has quickly staked its claim as the best bakery in town, although there’s more than just baked goods to get excited about. The counter-service establishment, featuring a beautiful, vivid mural of a red fox frolicking in a meadow, offers a creative menu of both sweet and savory options. The seasonal grain and rice bowls are both thoughtful and creative, and the All Butter Biscuit Sando is a shining example of what a breakfast sandwich can be, with a house-made biscuit, apricot tarragon jam, runny egg, and house-cured bacon.
915 NW Wall St
Bend, OR(541) 389-2025Visit Website
Since moving literally across the street to a more accommodating and vibrant space in downtown Bend, Barrio has taken its game to another level. The Latin American and Spanish cuisine from chef and owner Steven Draheim features colorful and alluring takes on paellas, tacos, and tapas. The team at Barrio also hosts a nightly happy hour with great deals on tacos and margaritas.
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7. Bos Taurus
The team behind 10 Barrel worked for over a year to open this stunning and needed addition to the Bend restaurant scene. The modern industrial feel inside is just the beginning; The top-notch service and impeccable product create a truly memorable experience. Bos Taurus is from the Latin for “bovine cattle,” which means the restaurant is all about the beef; still, for those looking for something different, there are excellent seafood and vegetable options as well.
8. 900 Wall
Inside this historic, two-story brick building, 900 Wall slings knockout cocktails, a stunning wine list, and one of the best happy hours in Bend. The airy atmosphere and open kitchen pumping out classic modern American fare result in one of Bend’s most inviting destinations. It’s a quintessential spot for its thin-crust pizzas on house-fermented dough, the Imperial Ranch beef burger topped with red onion jam, and the ethereal beignets.
9. Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails
Inside Zydeco’s elegant and bustling space lies one of Bend’s most consistent and popular restaurants. The food is Northwest with a Louisiana flair, and the menu features enticing options like jambalaya, barbecue shrimp, and blackened redfish. The upscale bar is a great place to try one of its signature cocktails. Zydeco also offers a full gluten-free menu.
10. Wild Rose Northern Thai Eats
At this family-run Northern Thai downtown gem, the quirky, frenetic atmosphere is well-paired with the vibrant, spice-driven food. Delightful turmeric clams and a luscious khao soi are just a few of the stars on an expansive menu, meant to be shared. The wait here can be long on the weekends, so reservations are recommended — and so is a peek at the rotating specials board.
11. El Sancho Taco Shop
What was once a popular food truck is now one of Bend’s most happening local hangouts, with timely counter service, vintage booths, and year-round outdoor seating. The walls are adorned with funky, colorful paintings, and the menu is filled with Mexican street food and inventive margaritas. The tacos here are the main draw, but the crackling chicharrones and tantalizing specials board are no slouch either.
12. Jackson’s Corner
The stars at this bright and spacious eastside location — which has another cozier, brick-laden spot at 845 NW Delaware Ave — are the pizzas and pastas, all born with house-made dough and topped with seasonal ingredients sourced from farms throughout Central Oregon and the Willamette Valley. The weekly rotating specials are wildly creative, and its brunch game is on point as well. The team here has also gotten in on the natural wine craze, developing a wonderfully curated selection from all around the Pacific Northwest.