January 19, 2017
A Local's Guide to Bend's Restaurant Scene
By: Marlena Williams
As Bend continues to grow and change, so does its thriving food scene. The city offers a wide range of inventive and diverse cuisine that combines Central Oregon’s trademark adventurousness with its no-fuss, down-home mentality. Don’t limit your trip to burgers and microbrews, though you will have more than enough options in that regard if burgers and microbrews are what you are after. In Bend, you can dine out on everything from Latin American "soul food" to diner cuisine with a sophisticated twist. Here is the Pine Ridge Inn’s guide to the restaurants that keep locals coming back for more.
Drake mixes elegant cuisine with a retro diner aesthetic. Whether you are in the mood for Duck Confit or burgers, fries, and a shake, Drake has got you covered. Drake specializes in upscale comfort food, serving up fancy takes on everything from popcorn to fish ‘n’ chips. With its black-and-white checkered floors and stylish leather booths, you can sit back and relax without having to sacrifice quality.
Esta Bien means “it’s good” in Spanish, which is a spot-on way to describe the food at this small, colorful eatery. Esta Bien offers a host of cuisine from all over Latin America, including torta ahogadas, or drowned tortas, Salvadorean pupusas, and birria, a spicy meat stew from Mexico’s Jalisco region. Come to Esta Bien for flavorful Latin American “soul food” served up in a lively, bright blue interior.
- Website: http://541estabien.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EsTa-BiEn-378251975665828/
For the best chile relleno in Central Oregon, make the drive to Rio, about 30 minutes down the road in Sisters. Rio’s chef Roberto Cardenas hails from Guadelajara, Mexico, and infuses his menu with the spicy and diverse flavors of the region. You know the food is going to be good when the chef uses his own grandmother’s recipes. Rio’s Mestizo cuisine mixes Caribbean, Aztec, Central American, and even Philippine and European culinary influences to bring you food that is both inventive and authentic.
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RioSistersMexicanCuisine/
Kebaba is a popular lunch spot among locals, offering exotic, healthy, and fulfilling Mediterranean fare in a old blue house. The lamb gyros and delicious spicy eggplant soup are the local favorites, but you can also dine light on a selection of healthy salads and mezzes. During the summer, Kebaba offers a heated and covered deck, but during the winter, retreat into the warm interior for satisfying and inventive Lebanese cuisine with a Central Oregon twist.
Brown Owl started out as a food cart and has recently expanded into a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Brown Owl was one of the most popular food carts in The Lot, where locals would flock no matter the weather to load up on Brown Owl’s trademark burgers and sandos. Owner Lisandro Ramos helped smooth the transition by keeping the kitchen in his old bright yellow food cart and using the new indoor-space for a bar and community seating. With 14 beers on tap, a cozy, log cabin interior, and hearty, no-nonsense menu options, Brown Owl is a new but quintessential Central Oregon eatery.
Stay with Pine Ridge Inn as you explore Bend's restaurant scene. Click here to book direct online for our best rates & amenities!