This is the 3rd of three posts about our recent family vacation in Sunriver & Bend, Oregon.Sarah and her family were guests of the Central Oregon Visitors Bureau. Please read the first in the series, which is a detailed review of the Sunriver resort, and the second, which was about family activities in Central Oregon.
Dining in Bend and Sunriver, Oregon
People in Bend & Sunriver, Oregon like to eat. Or at least, when my family and I were in Bend and Sunriver, we liked to eat. (Probably both are true.) In any case, we sampled many restaurants and did not have one bad meal the entire week.
We launched our trip to Bend with lunch at Chow. This hangout for both locals and visitors proudly serves locally-sourced produce and meats and for one moment I felt we might be in that scene from Portlandia where the waitress displays the portfolio of the chicken the diners are about to eat. But instead we just ate some truly delicious food: I had a sauté of brown rice, grains, spinach and organic chicken. My husband had a pasta primavera, my eldest son had a BBQ burger and my youngest got a stack of fluffy pancakes, because they serve breakfast all day there. They’re known for their juices – and at brunch, for serving those juices with booze.
We ate a spectacular dinner at the Sunriver Lodge, which is debuting a brand new menu to go with the breathtaking views of Mt. Bachelor and the surrounding valley. There are a dozen entrée options, including a Vegan & Gluten-Free Cauliflower steak that was amazing.
We ate lunch at the Zeppa Bistro next door to the Caldera Links golf course, where they offer pizzas, sandwiches, salads and a lovely beer and wine list and an even lovelier setting, looking out at the man-made lake and pool area.
Craft Beer Capital of the US? Possibly
Did I mention the beer? There are 17 Craft breweries in Bend, Oregon, having been spearheaded by The Deschutes Brewery in 1987. The grandfathers of the industry locally, they are a major operation and even have a brewpub restaurant in downtown. The Central Oregon Craft Beer industry has a huge fan in my husband and he was in heaven getting to sample all the great beers the region has to offer.
Sunriver Brewing co, another local brewery with a restaurant located right in the Village at Sunriver, is where we had dinner one night and tried fried avocado, which sounds like it would be a bad idea, but was actually terrific. And the beer was great, of course.
Drake, based on a Facebook friend’s recommendation, was a terrific meal in downtown Bend, with super cute décor and – fried portobello mushrooms in a beer cheese sauce we apparently thought was amazing because we ate it before I could even take a picture.
The Flatbread Community Oven, located in the Old Mill District, was where we ate a terrific dinner one night, and the Margherita pizza, the Meat Lover’s pizza and the flatbread with shrimp were all really tasty. Since I had been missing my kale, I got some in a side salad and the kids had cookies and milk for dessert. Check this out: they have a make-your-own pizza kit for the little ones. Smart thinking!
Throughout our stay in Sunriver and Bend, Oregon, we had one great meal after another, and my sense is people in Central Oregon love to eat and eat well. There is a deep appreciation for locally-sourced, organic food and the Slow-Food movement is alive and well here, and wherever we went, restaurants were happy to accommodate my picky eater’s requests every time. No matter what your family likes to eat, I feel certain they’ll enjoy dining while they’re in Central Oregon.
Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder of MomsLA.com. She and her family traveled as guests of the Central Oregon Visitors Bureau; the lodging, some activities and some meals were comped and the rest they paid for themselves.