For years, people have been drawn to Central Oregon’s sun-soaked climate, laid-back lifestyle, and adventure-oriented way of life—and that’s included plenty of talented chefs and culinary professionals who have elevated the region’s restaurant scene and created some of the best dining in Oregon.
Today, that influx of culinary acumen means you’re just as likely to enjoy a locally sourced, mouthwatering meal at the neighborhood brewpub as you are at the best restaurants in Central Oregon. It means food cart pods are incubators for multiple generations of renowned chefs—all putting their creative spin on everything from fried chicken sandwiches to inventive fusion fare. And it means you’ll try some of the best bevvies in Oregon while sipping your way through a world-renowned craft beer scene, enjoying hand-crafted wines in the shadow of Cascade peaks, and sampling some of the region’s best-loved spirits and cocktails from local distilleries.
And the pros do it all by doing it the Oregon way: by sourcing locally whenever possible. Regional ranches provide local beef to restaurants all over the region, Central Oregon farms grow the veggies that show up in your salads and top your pizzas—and odds are good the grains in your favorite beer were grown on a farm just outside Madras.
Best of all, this creative impulse is on display all over the region—from the resort community of Sunriver to the restaurants with outdoor seating in Bend to the up-and-coming dining scene in Redmond. Wherever you are in Central Oregon, you’re never far from your next favorite meal or night out.
Top Options for Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Whether you’re looking for locally sourced fare, thoughtfully crafted dishes, or down-home cookin’, you’ll find plenty to love about the eclectic dining scene around Central Oregon. And all those blue skies—we enjoy days worth of sun each year—mean you’re never far from a year-round outdoor patio or fire pit. Here’s a look at some of the best restaurants in Central Oregon.
Bend: Fuel up for the day with the ocean roll—a fantastic pastry made legendary with the addition of cardamom—at Sparrow Bakery, boasting two locations around town. Hungry for a healthful lunch? Head over to Toasty at The Podski food cart lot, just south of downtown, for vegan nachos, burritos, tacos, bowls, and more; Little ones will love the creative kids menu, whose highlights include cheesy nachos and avocado toast. Need a late-afternoon pick-me-up or to stow away a sweet treat for later? Head to Ida’s Cupcake Café, with two locations in Bend and one in Redmond; the bakery boasts eight cake flavors, 14 frosting flavors, seasonal flavors, and gluten- and dairy-free options. For dinner, try northern Thai food at Wild Rose, which eschews Pad Thai for a more rural cuisine that’s noted for fresh ingredients and is prepared to be shared; the menu’s highlights range from stir-fried jasmine rice with dungeness crab meat to khao soi curry.
Sunriver: The reservation-only Owl’s Nest at Sunriver Resort boasts a Pacific Northwest-inspired menu breakfast, lunch or dinner that changes with whatever’s fresh and in-season from northwestl purveyors; and covered outdoor dining that’s heated in the winter. Sunriver Brewing Co., meanwhile, boasts award-winning beers, locally sourced fare, a spacious patio, and a childrens’ play area that includes toys, books, and a chalkboard. Want a little international flair for your next meal? Café Sintra specializes in Portuguese-inspired breakfast and lunch dishes, such as crepes, omelets, sandwiches, and more.
Redmond: Looking for a filling breakfast or lunch dish that won’t weigh you down? One Street Down Cafe serves a variety of classic breakfast favorites (featuring eggs from a Madras farm and locally sourced vegetables whenever possible) alongside a creative lunch menu (ranging from a Thanksgiving-styled sandwich to a salad made with Oregon hazelnuts). Nearby Wild Ride Brewing pairs locally crafted ales and lagers with four food carts dishing sandwiches, tacos, burgers, seafood, and pizza—all in the heart of downtown Redmond. A five-minute walk away, Grace and Hammer Pizzeria crafts wood-fired pies—piled high with fresh, locally sourced ingredients—in a converted historic church; on Friday nights, the church bell still rings out as a dinner bell.
Sisters: Start your day with a cup of java from Sisters Coffee Company, a family-run roastery housed in a spacious, lodge-like setting; all your favorite coffee drinks are accounted for here, along with a few creative specials, light breakfasts, and house-made pastries. Come lunchtime, head to the beloved Sno Cap Drive In—where, since 1952, diners have enjoyed filling burgers, old-fashioned milkshakes, and decadent ice creams (some flavors of which are made in-house). Nearby Angeline’s Bakery & Café prides itself on fresh-made gluten–free, vegan, and agave-sweetened pastries—as well as creative soups, salads, juices, and lunch fare. For dinner, stop by the Old West-themed Sisters Saloon & Ranch Grill; the restaurant boasts burgers that use grass-fed beef raised in nearby pastures, sources its steaks from a regional ranch, and offers farm-fresh produce that’s (whenever possible) grown in Central Oregon.
La Pine: Coach’s Drive In evokes a bygone era with its menu that leans heavy on nostalgic favorites: classic burgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, fries, and desserts—like floats, freezes, shakes, malts, and roughly 20 flavors of ice cream. And while you’re sipping on the fruit-forward offerings at Legend Cider Company, indulge in a decadent dog from the Acme Hot Dog Co. food truck parked on site; the truck char-grills its dogs and piles them high with a variety of creative toppings—like the Dynamite dog, topped with homemade mac and cheese, crispy bacon crumbles, barbecue sauce, and green onions.
Around Central Oregon: Over the years, Mecca Grade Estate Malt has earned acclaim for growing the grains that show up in your favorite Central Oregon beers—and does so on a family-run farm just outside Madras; stop into the seasonal “malthouse” for house-made beers crafted from the farm’s grains. Club Pioneer, meanwhile, has been a Prineville institution since 1942; befitting the city’s reputation as the heart of ranching in Central Oregon, the menu leans heavily on regionally sourced steaks, prime rib, seafood, and other meaty fare. For lighter fare, stop into The Sandwich Factory to choose among roughly three-dozen filling sandwiches and wraps—served hot or cold—or create your own from the restaurant’s selection of fresh breads, meats, cheeses, veggies, and toppings.
The Nightlife and Bar Scene in Central Oregon
We get it: Central Oregon’s craft brewing scene gets all the love. With more than 30 Central Oregon breweries spanning the region, our love affair with quality craft beer runs deep. But that devotion to suds hints at a larger creative current that runs through all manner of craft beverage producers: Winemakers ply their trade with locally grown grapes, cider makers ferment fruit from around the region, and craft distillers create bourbon, gin, and other popular small-batch offerings. Best of all: These products aren’t the sole domain of tasting rooms around the region: You’ll find the best of the region while enjoying the nightlife and bar scene throughout Central Oregon. Here’s a guide to Central Oregon’s best places for drinks.
Bend: Hoping to catch the big game? Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill, in the heart of downtown Bend, boasts more than 30-flat screen televisions so you don’t miss any of the action; the Sidelines experience is rounded out with 14 beers on tap, a full bar, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare daily. A few blocks away, the stylish Velvet lounge offers a curated selection of creative craft cocktails, wines, and beers to go along with a food menu that includes Australian hand pies and steaming-hot soups. Also in downtown is FERM & fare, a boutique wine shop and bar that specializes in biodynamic and organic wines from regional producers. And for a lively scene, cap your night with a stop at the Wall St. Bar, which hosts pool tables, video lottery, a spacious wrap-around bar, and an outdoor patio with views of the Deschutes River and Mirror Pond—the perfect setting for cracking open a tallboy and whiling away a sunny evening. If you’re still thirsty, you’ll find plenty more watering holes in our bar guide to Central Oregon.
Sunriver: Is there a more iconic duo than burgers and beer? We think not—which is what makes Big Belly Burgers & Brew such a fun stop; the restaurant and bar serves a menu of filling burgers and classic sandwiches to pair with its full bar and (of course) ice-cold beers. And at Sunriver Resort’s Twisted River Tavern, you’ll enjoy an upscale pub experience with a variety of regional beers and wines, and thoughtfully crafted tavern fare (like fish and chips, elk meatloaf, and cornmeal-crusted trout); outdoor dining (heated in winter) and wide-open views of Mount Bachelor add to the charm.
Redmond: On a clear day, there’s no more popular seat in town than The Rooftop at the SCP Redmond Hotel—the only rooftop bar (with amazing views of the mountains) and dining space in Central Oregon; you can’t go wrong with whatever you order, but save room for The Rooftop’s cocktails, typically crafted with locally grown herbs, fruit, and spices. And you don’t have to be a craft beer geek to love Rimrock Taphouse—but it doesn’t hurt; the Redmond watering hole has 52 beers on tap (many brewed in Central Oregon) alongside a selection of regional wines, handcrafted cocktails, and an on-site food truck.
Sisters: Sisters Saloon & Ranch Grill resides in a building that dates back to 1912 and boasts all the hallmarks of a Wild West bar—swinging saloon doors, a colorful copper ceiling, taxidermied animals adorning the walls, and a selection of strong drinks made with all your favorite spirits. Nearby Hop & Brew takes a more modern approach to its offerings, pairing some of Oregon’s most popular ales and lagers with a menu of hand-tossed pizzas covered with fresh ingredients.
La Pine: Nightlife in La Pine revolves around Vic’s Bar & Grill, perhaps the most popular nightlife outpost in town; Vic’s is known for its hearty hamburgers and perfectly roasted chicken, popular bar games (think pool and pinball), and live music. Meanwhile, the big game might be the focus at Wickiup Station and Sports Pub—but the friendly bar also shines with karaoke nights, classic pub fare (spanning spaghetti and burgers), and rotating drink specials.
Around Central Oregon: The Waterhole Tavern has been a neighborhood favorite in Prineville since 1978—all thanks to friendly service, pizzas piled high with locally sourced meats and fresh ingredients, house-made sourdough pancakes, and a tap list that includes some of Central Oregon’s most popular beers. And in Maupin, nothing sounds better after a long day on the Deschutes than an ice-cold beer—which is what makes The Riverside a locals’ favorite; the pub boasts a full bar, regional wines, a variety of craft beers, a spacious patio for outdoor seating, and a seasonally rotating menu of upscale pub favorites.
Explore Nature’s Beauty
From the sagebrush-covered plains of the high desert to the towering pines and majestic mountain peaks, discover the diverse landscape Central Oregon has to offer.