THE BEST OF BEND OREGON

Visiting Bend, Oregon?  Thinking of making it your home?  Be sure you check out the very best our town has to offer- restaurants, hikes, lakes, happy hours, car camping, getaways, fast casual dining, brew pubs, winter recreation spots, backpacking trips, breakfasts, and more!

I’ve polled my clients, friends, and colleagues, and what you see below are consensus results from that research.

Top fives in each category below!

 

BEST OF BEND OREGON- RESTAURANTS

best of bend oregon restaurants ariana

1st Prize: ARIANA

http://www.arianarestaurantbend.com/

Three restaurants on these lists often rotate as the number one rated restaurant in Bend Oregon on Yelp! .  They are Palmer’s Cafe, Zydeco, and Ariana, and generally Ariana spends the most time at number one.  It is one of our finest dining establishments, and you will almost always need a reservation.  High quality food and service in a cozy setting, it gets our highest rating for those who like fine dining.  And yes, it’s also one of our more expensive restaurants, along with Zydeco, Brickhouse, 10 Below, and the Jackalope Grill, but it’s the best of the bunch.

best of bend oregon restaurants zydeco

2nd Prize: ZYDECO

http://www.zydecokitchen.com/

Zydeco features New Orleans style food fused with Northwest flair.  It is always busy, so you’ll want to get reservations for dinner.  The bar is lovely as well, and though there is no happy hour here (they don’t need it), if the prices for dinner scare you away, you can also get a great lunch here and save a few bucks.

 

best of bend oregon restaurants noi thai3rd Prize: NOI THAI

http://www.noithaicuisine.com/

Noi Thai is one of my very favorite places to eat, and you’ll also find it on my Best of Bend Oregon happy hour list.  The Crispy Garlic chicken is a local’s favorite on both menus, drinks are well done here, and it has something that so many of our Bend restaurants do no- atmosphere!  Great lighting, beautiful art, comfortable seating, terrific service, and fantastic food.  A great place for date night as well.

 

best of benf oregon restaurants brickhouse

4th Prize: BRICKHOUSE

http://www.brickhousesteakhouse.com/Brickhouse_Bend.html

Brickhouse, though generally a steakhouse, has a menu that is quite varied.  It is in an old firehouse, and has a lot of charm.  One Bend Oregon’s higher dollar dinners, but worth it.  And fret not, their happy hour is excellent, with a much larger menu of items than the vast majority of Bend eateries.

 

5th Prize: 900 WALL

 http://www.900wall.com/

  900 Wall features high quality fine dining, and one of the best bars in town.  It also ranks as one of our finest (PACKED) happy hours, and is a classic Bend Oregon meeting spot.  In early 2016 it is closed for renovations, but should reopen this Summer.  I have been craving it for months, and will be one of the first through the doors for a nice Gin Gimlet and a Prime Rib sandwich!

 

BEST OF BEND OREGON- HAPPY HOURS

best of bend oregon restaurants noi thai1st Prize:  NOI THAI

http://www.noithaicuisine.com/

Noi Thai has THE most talked about happy hour item in town- their Crispy Garlic Chicken.  It also has atmosphere, and ambience in spades, and is just right on the “dark” meter for date night, or a casual get together.  Comfy seating, and great service round out the offerings here.  High food quality as well.

 

best of bend oregon happy hours level 2

2nd Prize:  LEVEL 2

http://www.theoldmill.com/bend-oregon-restaurants/level_2_global_food_lounge

Level 2 sits above Saxon’s jewelry in the Old Mill, so it’s easy to miss!  But don’t- great views from the deck, comfy seating with a few couches and padded booths, and a happy hour menu that may be the largest in town and has so much variety everyone will find something they like.  The Dirty Dog is about as stunning a miniature hot dog as you will ever have.  Try my favorite drink in Bend- Tico’s Touch, which is a margarita muddled with cilantro and jalapeño!

 

Best-of-Bend-Oregon-Anthonys3rd Prize:  ANTHONY’S

https://www.anthonys.com/restaurants/detail/anthonys-at-bend

Anthony’s, a Northwest seafood chain, features one of the best riverfront decks in Bend, Oregon, right on the river trail.  Their happy hour prices tend to be some of the most fair in Bend as well, and one of the few to feature seafood!  Service is always good, and it’s a Summertime staple for sunset views over the river.

 

best of benf oregon restaurants brickhouse4th Prize: BRICKHOUSE

http://www.brickhousesteakhouse.com/Brickhouse_Bend.html

As I mentioned above in the Best of Bend Restaurant list, Brickhouse has great atmosphere, top notch food, and a large happy hour menu that is sure to please.  It’s located across the street from the Hotel Oxford, and since it sits off of Wall street and Bond street, it sometimes has an available table when eateries on those streets are full up.  Another great one for date night, or for some quick eats before a movie.

 

900-wall5th Prize: 900 WALL

http://www.900wall.com/

As mentioned above, 900 Wall’s bar, though too small perhaps for the hordes that tend to congregate there, is one of the best in town.  And their happy hour menu, thought it features slightly higher prices than many, is one of the most extensive and varied in all of Bend, Oregon, and the food quality is very high. Great place if you want to be “seen”!

 

okanesSPECIAL MENTION- LATE NIGHT:  O’KANES BAR- FIREPIT SCENE

http://www.mcmenamins.com/546-o-kanes-home

O’Kane’s, a bar in its own are in the back of the Mcmenamin’s Old Saint Francis campus, is a fun place to hang outside after dark.  It features several fire pits that will keep you warm in the coldest weather, lots of tables, and just a pleasant environment to strike up conversations with tourist or locals.  Mcmenamin’s happy hour menu is unfortunately miniscule, or it would rate close to the top of Bend, Oregon’s happy hour list.

 

BEST OF BEND OREGON- FAST CASUAL DINING

best of bend oregon fast casual dining spork1st Prize: SPORK

http://sporkbend.com/

Spork might be my very favorite place to eat on these best of Bend Oregon lists.  It manages to do something that no other place on this list can boast- make top quality, fine dining caliber food, at prices which rarely exceed $10!  It’s the kind of restaurant that has raving fans.  In fact, I am in the process of trying to find a new house that allows me to walk to Spork at least once a week!

 

best of bend oregon fast casual dining el sancho taco shop2nd Prize: EL SANCHO TACO SHOP

http://www.elsanchobend.com/

Like many of Bend’s Best restaurants, El Sancho started as a food cart.  The tacos became locally legendary, and now we have a full sized restaurant with an expanded menu and even margaritas!  The chorizo taco is one of the best I have ever eaten, and I’ve traveled extensively in Mexico.  Inexpensive and delicious, with a bohemian atmosphere.

 

best of bend oregon breakfasts mckays cottage

3rd Prize: MCKAY COTTAGE

http://themckaycottage.com/

McKay Cottage is a quaint little place, a bit out of the way on OB Riley road in Bend.  It’s a favorite with locals, feels more like a cozy home than a restaurant, and is less visited by tourists due to its “off-downtown” location.  But it doesn’t take long to hear about it once you move to Bend, and it is a go to for casual and homey breakfasts and lunches for Bend residents, and on holiday weekends or other busy Bend tourist periods, it’s a lot less crowded than downtown eateries.

 

parrilla4th Prize: PARRILLA GRILL

http://parrillagrillbend.com/

Parrilla Grill has been around Bend, Oregon for longer than most of the eateries on this page, and was doing insanely delicious wraps before Chipotle even existed.  A mellow, bohemian vibe surrounds you as they make the wraps right in front of you, with you making all of the choices.  Delicious, healthy, and cheap.  Music in the Summer on the porch, and margaritas too!

 

Best-of-bend-oregon-Brother-Jons5th Prize: BROTHER JON’s (ORIGINAL LOCATION)

http://www.brotherjonspublichouse.com/#about

Brother Jon’s is LOW key.  It features all of the brews you are looking for, comfort foods that are tasty, and a local Bend vibe that so few Bend Oregon establishments can boast of anymore.  A favorite with the mountain crowd, and the west side “mill house” neighborhoods.

 

BEST OF BEND OREGON- PUBS AND BREWERIES

 

best of bend oregon pubs breweries crux1st Prize: CRUX FERMENTATION

http://www.cruxfermentation.com/

Crux is one of the new kids on the block in Bend, and is very popular with tourists and locals alike.  Their brews are fresh, their decor strictly utilitarian, and their food menu minimal but very well done.  And perhaps the best part is that El Sancho taco shop, also one of Bend Oregon’s Best, maintains a taco stand outside the brewpub on certain days of the week- be sure to check!  Can’t miss at this one, but keep in mind, parking and seating are often filled to capacity.

 

best of bend oregon pubs and breweries worthy

2nd Prize: WORTHY BREWING

http://www.worthybrewing.com/

Worthy Brewing brought something sorely need to Bend- an EAST side brewery!  All of the rest of our breweries are on the tourist heavy West side, and the East side had been left brewery barren for decades.  No longer, and Worthy is a welcome addition, with a lovely outdoor patio area, wood from the Sanitarium featured in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, and quality food and brews.

 

deschites3rd Prize: DESCHUTES BREWERY

https://www.deschutesbrewery.com/

Deschutes Brewery made Bend famous, and when I was in my 20’s in the early 90’s, I spent a lot of time here!  It’s a bit touristy for my tastes these days, as you will see a constant stream of people taking selfies in front of the sign.  Beer remains very good, and the food is some of the best you will find in a pub.  I often take clients here for those two reasons, at least when it’s not high tourist season!

 

10 Barrel4th Prize: 10 BARREL BREWING

http://www.10barrel.com/

10 Barrel has one of the best non-river patio scenes in Bend, Oregon, with a custom firepit.  Food is good for a pub, and beer is decent.  It’s now owned by Anheuser Busch, which has rubbed some the wrong way, but it’s still a good niche for those in the neighborhood and of course, tourists.  A good place for lat night chat around the fire.

 

bbc5th Prize: BEND BREWING COMPANY

http://www.bendbrewingco.com/

Bend Brewing is the rare pub in Bend, Oregon where you will find more locals than tourists, and is where Bendites found a refuge back in the days when Deschutes was being discovered by the national beer community and had not yet expanded to fit the hordes.  It still is a nice place to get out of busy weekend visitor crowds and have a beer and some decent chow.

 

BEST OF BEND OREGON- BREAKFAST

best of bend oregon breakfasts palmers

1st Prize: PALMER’S CAFE

https://www.facebook.com/Palmers-Cafe-204244732942292/

Palmer’s is in an ugly old building attached to a motel, hard to find, parking is far too slim, and you often have to wait in line.  Yet, it is, in my opinion, by far the best breakfast in Bend, Oregon.  Owned by a sweet old couple, they make old fashioned breakfasts, the kind in which you can taste the love.  My favorite is the Banana Bread French Toast, but everything I have ever had there is top notch.  A true Bend secret known mostly to only locals, and located far from the tourist crowds, on Greenwood.

 

best of bend oregon breakfasts victorian cafe2nd Prize: VICTORIAN CAFE

http://www.victoriancafebend.com/

The Victorian Cafe was the first of the new set of wildly popular Bend Oregon west side breakfast eateries, the type that have a line out the door every weekend and are filled with tourists during the busy seasons.  It is famous for its bloody mary’s and eggs benedict.  It’s a small place, so be prepared to wait unless you come very, very early.  On the corner of Galveston and 14th, at the “Flaming Chicken” roundabout.

 

best of bend oregon breakfasts chow3rd Prize: CHOW

http://chowbend.com/

Chow is one of those that frequently sites near the top of Yelp! best restaurant lists.  Like the Victorian, you can expect lines out the door on busy weekends and holidays, as it’s also an easy one for the tourist crowds to spot.  However, it is larger than its sister on 14th street, so the wait id often not quite as long, and you will generally find more locals here as well, who are lucky enough to walk from the nearby neighborhoods at the base of Awbrey Butte.  Across from Newport Market on Newport.

 

best of bend oregon breakfasts mckays cottage

4th Prize: McKAY COTTAGE

http://themckaycottage.com/

McKay Cottage is a quaint little place, a bit out of the way on OB Riley road in Bend.  It’s a favorite with locals, feels more like a cozy home than a restaurant, and is less visited by tourists due to its “off-downtown” location.  But it doesn’t take long to hear about it once you move to Bend, and it is a go to for casual and homey breakfasts and lunches for Bend residents, and on holiday weekends or other busy Bend tourist periods, it’s a lot less crowded than downtown eateries.

 

best of bend oregon breakfasts la magie5th Prize: LA MAGIE

http://lamagiecafe.com/

La Magie is my very favorite Bend coffee house, and no slouch in the breakfast department either.  It has something so often missing in Bend Oregon restaurants- charm!  I like to sit in the very back in the antique chairs and couches, and sip a cappucino with a breakfast sandwich while enjoying conversation with a friend or a client.  If you are a client of mine, chances are we will meet here at some point to discuss your search!

 

BEST OF BEND OREGON- DAY HIKES

Best-of-bend-oregon-Many-Lakes1st Prize: MANY LAKES TRAIL

LINK HERE

I discovered this one just recently, but I have to say it is now my favorite trail in the Eastern Cascades.  Why?  I count 17 lakes in about a 4.5 mile stretch, and I am a sucker for gorgeous lakes.  And crowds- there are none, because it is not on the tourist map, and takes some effort to reach, as you MUST have a high clearance vehicle and 4wd.  But if you do, it’s a piece of cake, and well worth the effort!

 

best-of-bend-oregon-Green-Lakes2nd Prize: GREEN LAKES TRAIL

LINK HERE

Green Lakes is the classic Bend day hike.  A steady climb along a rushing river brings you to one of the most beautiful spots you will ever see, a series of lakes sandwiched between the Cascade peaks of South Sister and Broken Top.  This is a great space for a backpack camp as well, or for a base to climb either peak.  Camping is limited!

 

Best-of-Bend-Oregon-Blue Pool3rd Prize: BLUE POOL TRAIL

 

Best-of-bend-oregon-Matthieu

4th Prize: MATTHIEU LAKES TRAIL

 

Best-of-Bend-Oregon-DillonFalls

5th Prize: LAVA ISLAND FALLS TO BENHAM FALLS

 

Special Mention and Bend Classic: Tumalo Falls

 

BEST OF BEND OREGON- (KAYAK/CANOE) LAKES

best-of-bend-oregon-Hosmer

1st Prize: HOSMER LAKE

 

best-of-bend-oregon-Sparks-lake2nd Prize: SPARKS LAKE

 

best-of-bend-oregon-Waldo-lake3rd Prize: WALDO LAKE

 

Best-of-bend-oregon-eastlake4th Prize: EAST LAKE

 

Best-of-Bend-Oregon-Clearlake5th Prize: CLEAR LAKE

 

Best-of-Bend-Oregon-Cocktail

SPECIAL MENTION: SUNRIVER COCKTAIL CRUISE:

 

BEST OF BEND- CAR CAMPING

Best-of-Bend-Oregon-BigLake

1st Prize: BIG LAKE


2nd Prize: LITTLE CULTUS LAKE

 

Best-of-Bend-Oregon-Paulina

3rd Prize: PAULINA LAKE

LINK HERE

4th Prize: LA PINE STATE PARK

http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=32

5th Prize:

 

SPECIAL MENTIONS FOR BOAT CAMPERS:

Best-of-Bend-Oregon-Cultus

1st Prize: CULTUS LAKE

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/deschutes/recreation/recarea/?recid=38836

SUC51034.JPG

2nd Prize: PRINEVILLE RESERVOIR

http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=26

 

BEST OF BEND OREGON- WINTER RECREATION*

(*Non-Mount Bachelor!)

 

Best-of-Bend-Oregon-Badlands

1st Prize: BADLANDS WILDERNESS AREA HIKING

The Best reason to visit the Badlands in the Winter is the weather- it is generally a few degrees warmer, and when the trails in the mountains are choked with snow, it it usually snow free.  It’s easy to reach, only about 12 miles east of Bend on Hwy 20.

http://www.blm.gov/or/wilderness/badlands/

2nd Prize: ELK LAKE RESORT CABINS

http://elklakeresort.net/

best-of-bend-oregon-virginia-Meissner

3rd Prize: VIRGINIA MEISSNER XC SKIING

http://www.meissnernordic.org/

 

best of bend oregon kayak lakes paulina lake4th Prize: PAULINA RESORT CABINS

http://paulinalakelodge.com/

best of bend oregon caves5th Prize: BOYD AND SKYLIGHT LAVA CAVES

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/deschutes/learning/nature-science/?cid=stelprdb5252875&width=full

These are very easy, family friendly caves, one of them just 10 minutes south of bend, one just ten minutes north of sisters.  Two of my favorite caves for family fun, and skylight is especially gorgeous!  Remember to dress warm, bring lights and helmets of some kind.

 

BEST OF BEND OREGON- WEEKEND GETAWAYS

 

best of bend oregon out of town escapes breitenbush hot springs1st Prize: BREITENBUSH HOT SPRINGS LODGE and CABINS

https://breitenbush.com/

Breitenbush is pure joy, a place to recharge and retreat.  You can rent a cabin, and it features natural hot springs, a natural sauna, 3 vegetarian meals a day, self help classes, and hiking galore.  Keep in mind, cellphones and internet do not work here, and the tubs and pools are clothing optional!

best of bend oregon backpacking jefferson park2nd Prize: JEFFERSON PARK BACKPACKING

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/willamette/recreation/recarea/?recid=4241

Jefferson Park, off Hwy 20 in the Cascades, is my favorite place to backpack.  There are many, many lakes, trails all over the place between them, and it’s only about 5 miles in to camp.  Plenty of camp sites as well, in what may be the most beautiful natural environment in the Cascades.

Best of Bend oregon summer lake hot springs3rd Prize: SUMMER LAKE HOT SPRINGS RV CAMPING

http://www.summerlakehotsprings.com/

Summer Lake is not fancy, but it’s out of the ordinary in a good way.  The campsites are rustic and exposed to the open air, and there are both tubs and a large central pool.  Very relaxing, and a nice change from the usual mountain retreats.  To make it even better, get a reservation at the Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant near Silver Lake, where you pay a single price for a truly wagon train-esque dining experience- a Bend Oregon favorite (yes, people drive three hours there from Bend, JUST for dinner!)

best of bend oregon weekend getaways tillicum beach4th Prize: TILLICUM BEACH STATE CAMPGROUND (YACHATS)

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/siuslaw/recarea/?recid=42443

best of bend oregon weekend getaways portland events5th Prize: DOWNTOWN PORTLAND EVENTS

 

best of bend oregon weekend getaways seattle

SPECIAL MENTION: TAKE THE AMTRAK FROM PORTLAND DEPOT TO SEATTLE!