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Good Restaurants in Bend?

I've been having a fun time reading the threads on the Bend Bubble 2 about the horrid housing, nightlife, shopping, activities, and restaurant situation we have here in Bend.

I like Bend. I've been here for just about 10 years and I came from a major city. I came to Bend because I didn't like all the traffic, the noise, the hustle and bustle of a major city. I came out here because I liked the slower pace, the quiet, the lack of humidity, how it gets freezing cold at night, how the lights blink red and the town is quiet at 10pm, how most people are really friendly, and an overall better quality of life.

I enjoy cooking food. I love to go out to eat. I read recipes and restaurant reviews. One point I can agree on in the Bend Bubble 2 thread is the misleading of media here in town. In particular, the restaurant reviews are horrible. Has there been one bad word said about ANY restaurant by the reviews at the bulletin, the source, and Gusto?

Why would these guys say anything bad about a restaurant when they have to turn around and sell them ad space? I would be more apt to buy an ad from your rag if you say how awesome my place is. “Your restaurant is sweet! Check out this great review we have written for you. Oh hey, let me transfer you to our account team, it looks like you’re due to renew your ad campaign”.

The lack of an honest opinion about the restaurants in Bend by the media and so called restaurant review magazine is one of the main reasons I started this little blog. I found myself disagreeing with many of the reviews I was reading. I know what I like and try to do my best to let you know where you can find good food at a good price, in my opinion. I don't get paid by anyone to write any of the posts and the money I make from the Google Ads will be donated to COCAAN to help feed the need.

But why do people say that there aren't any good restaurants here? I've said that there aren't any good Italian restaurants here. Or that Kanpai is the only good place to get sushi even though it's expensive (and because Don Don isn’t around). No there are not a million restaurants to choose from. This town is not big enough to support a huge variety.

Even great restaurants like Don Don end up leaving for whatever reason. I bet if they had a line out the door every night, they wouldn't have shut down. Oh I love you Don Don, please come back!

The idea that service is bad here is silly as well. Service can be bad at any time and any restaurant for anyone. I've had good and bad experiences at almost every restaurant that I frequent. I've had bad first experiences all over the country. But I've also had great first experiences and continued good times at many many restaurants.

Sometimes I wonder about certain people that ALWAYS seem to have a bad experience no matter where they go. I wonder how they present themselves to their waiter or waitress. I've witness people speaking down to their wait staff, insulting, and just being rude many times, and MANY of those times here in Bend. If you are rude to your waitress, don't be shocked if you don't get the best service. Dummy.

Watch the movie “Waiting” or talk to your friends who have worked in fast food or at a restaurant chain. Get an insight into what it's like and how you're treated by customers as a server.

Anyway, I forgot where I was going with all that. The point is, there are good restaurants here in Bend. They may not be exactly what you had where you came from but hey, we have Izzy's, Jonny Corinos, Applebees, Outback, Red Robin, and more to make you feel at home.

Sorry, that was mean. Just remember, you’re not in your big city anymore, you’re in that cute small town of Bend, Oregon. Remember why you moved here. It had better not been for the nightlife or the shopping cause everyone knows, we ain’t got it. Go to one of the many breweries like BBC, Cascade Lakes, McMenamins, or the tourist favorite – Deschutes. Get a pint of something that doesn’t read “Lite” on the side, and relax.

For more upscale dinning (but you can still wear jeans) you can try out The Blacksmith, Scanlon’s, Cork, Merenda, or 38 Degrees.

For some casual or family friendly dining you can check out my favorites like, El Caporal, Baldy’s, SOBA (I go there mostly for lunch), Angel Thai, and Olde Towne.

These are just quick examples. There are still many restaurants that I don’t get out to often at all.


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8What? Got something to say?

Blogger Jen said...

Agreed! There are bad restaurants, OK restaurants that are just plain overrated...

And then there are some *fantastic* places to eat!

BOR, have you checked out yet??

February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don Don. Awful. Frozen tuna sashimi, sushi rice made without vinegar, and their miso soup was made from powder. Blah.

People will never agree with all of your reviews, but we sure enjoy reading them.

Also, I disagree with your comment about the Bulletin writing biased reviews for advertising dollars. They barely take in any local restaurant advertising. Not only that, but have you been reading the latest reviews?


The Victorian Cafe - "The Reuben sandwich I had one day was just fine, but I wouldn't order it here again."

Toomies - "....drawbacks are gawkers staring in the windows and dinner prices that contradict lunchtime bargains."

McMenamins - "The eclectic atmosphere is more interesting than the culinary offerings at this casual eatery."

"...plates of stick-to-your-ribs 'comfort food,' like homemade soups, pastas and chops, are prepared with too heavy a hand."

The last one surprised me the most, as that's the only advertising that I had seen on a regular basis.

Keep up the great posts - we look forward to them.

February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bulletin switched over from their neutral restaurant "profiles" to actual criticism around the first of the year. The guy has gone to six or seven restaurants so far - loved a couple, liked a couple, and slammed one, I think. Check it out in the Go mag on Friday.

February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you tried Jake's lately?

February 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! There are many fine restaurants here and everytime I read a scathing review, I wonder what my finely attuned palate didn't pick up. I think those people are the ones that can't be pleased no matter what kind of food & service they get. But again, maybe I'm just tired of my own cooking and would eat anything someone else cooked!

March 01, 2007  
Blogger IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

For the fam with kids, you still can't beat Costco! A hot dog for $1.50? Get outta heee! And the people watching is unbeatable.

Another family oriented place that is dirt-cheap is Del Taco. I was hesitant to try this place at first, but it's got the best hamburgers & fries in town. Yeah... Del Taco... who knew?

March 01, 2007  
Blogger Bender said...

Your Comment ...

Sometimes I wonder about certain people that ALWAYS seem to have a bad experience no matter where they go. I wonder how they present themselves to their waiter or waitress. I've witness people speaking down to their wait staff, insulting, and just being rude many times, and MANY of those times here in Bend. If you are rude to your waitress, don't be shocked if you don't get the best service. Dummy. ....

Reminds me about the great service we have had at Terrobonne Depot -- 3 Times Great -- Once not so great but it really had to do with the attitudes of my wife and I when we walked in. Tired, hungry and more tired. It really wasn't the TD's issue it was ours.

I think I'll have a porter and relax next time.



March 03, 2007  
Blogger Bend Economy Man said...

I think that The Bulletin is morphing before our eyes from a small-town paper into a mid-sized-city paper.

The Bulletin was started, and came of age, as a paper in a small town where bad or snarky news would make the rounds in the form of gossip to the people who needed to hear it. The editors would also sound off from time to time on political issues that affected Central Oregon in one way or another, endorsed candidates for office, etc. From day to day, the paper itself was more a community bulletin board (probably hence the name) than a serious newspaper that broke stories and slung mud. This wasn't just because of the day and age: remember that editors for The Oregonian were winning Pulitzers as far back as 1939.

Until recently, there weren't enough restaurants in Bend that you wouldn't hear something about it soon after one opened - and, as everywhere, opening a restaurant is risky business. The Bulletin served its "community bulletin board" function simply by describing the restaurant, its location, the menu and its owners. Giving a bad review to an establishment would have been just about a scandal until recently.

Giving a "fact-based" review also covers The Bulletin's ass when its friends open restaurants. If there were a serious foodie with integrity out there reviewing each new place, it would put The Bulletin in the awkward position of editorially controlling these reviews. If everyone gets the same kind of review, though, it saves the editors from experiencing awkward moments at the club or on the golf course.

People from bigger markets can be forgiven for seeing "pandering to advertisers" as the reasons for the flagrant boosterism and lack of negative reporting that you see on KTVZ and in The Bulletin about local businesses and economic conditions. But there's no serious economic reason that I can see. I mean, they're basically monopolies. It's more a social reason: that The Bulletin and KTVZ, and their editors and reporters, are right smack-dab in the middle of the community they're reporting on, and the community is small. They've been content to have a "just the facts, ma'am" approach to business and economy, and not do a lot of digging beyond what business owners and community leaders say when asked for comment. Not a lot of tough follow-up questions.

March 05, 2007  

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