Had another great meal at Mio Sushi the other day. Plenty of vegetarian options, good range of relatively inexpensive choices, friendly staff. Eating vegetarian in Bend does pose its challenges. It’s not like Seattle or the Bay Area where there are all-vegetarian restaurants, like Vegetarian Teapot in Redmond, WA. Restaurant staff here are not always as familiar with or respectful of vege requests. It’s certainly a lot better than when I grew up here, but Bend still has a long way to go. I plan to update this list once in a while – probably won’t be full fledged reviews, and probably won’t be the trendy overpriced I’m-too-full-of-myself-to-have-more-than-one-word-in-my-name restaurants. But it might be helpful for those looking for decent vegetarian food – just because it gets listed in a directory as having vegetarian items, doesn’t mean that those items will be adequate – or even really vegetarian.
Some restaurants that I’ve had a good experience with in Bend:
Bend Brewing Company – they clearly mark vegetarian items on the menu, usually including a vegetarian soup daily.
Deschutes Brewery – Great jerk tempeh sandwich among other options. Original brew pub in Bend, good reliable place that’s been here since I was a kid. Unfortunately, ALWAYS crowded.
El Burrito – Good stuff. And blueberry (or is it blackberry?) margaritas.
Hong Kong – they’re careful to let you know which options are vegetarian if you ask, even which soups have chicken broth. Veges always seem very fresh. Most meals come with yummy lemon cookies.
Kebaba – Yummy! Many vege options.
McMenamins – tend to have the same limited options, but are flexible if you ask. Every once in a while have a great special.
Mio Sushi – see above.
Typhoon – knowledgeable about what ingredients are in all of the options, have a vegan menu if you ask.
Some restaurants that I’ve had a bad experience with in Bend:
Cascade Lakes – I used to love getting the portobello mushroom burger (and beer) there, – until the day that we specifically mentioned we were vegetarian and then were served and consumed half of a sandwich with a big chunk of chicken mixed in. They did apologize and comp the mistake, but we were so grossed out that we haven’t been back.
El Rancho Grande – I ordered something vegetarian and it came with chicken. I ate some of it before I noticed, which spoiled my meal. The wait staff was completely unsympathetic, grudgingly provided a luke-warm replacement burrito (or whatever it was). We used to go there fairly frequently and sit in the bar area – we’d always had good service before. It is possible we’ll give them another chance sometime, but with Mio Sushi just across the alley, it is so much more tempting to just eat there.
McKay Cottage – Update: We ate there on 11/9. Staff was friendly, bloody mary and coffee liquor drinks were very good, food was hit and miss (disappointing gooey scone and usually the scones are outstanding) – but at least the vege was vege. We have frequented this breakfast place quite a bit over the years and were enjoying the newer friendly management. They offer vegetarian options and substitutions like garden burger instead of sausage. However, after having several good vege breakfasts, we were served meat in one of them. Again, they did apologize and correct the mistake, but we were grossed out and haven’t been back. We’ll probably give them another chance eventually.
Merenda Restaurant – I’ve definitely given up on this place. I’ve had very bad pretentious service from this restaurant on multiple occasions over the years – from right after they opened to as recently as a year ago. Last year I was sent there for the Bend Venture Conference lunch. The service was bad, the staff was completely unknowledgeable and uncaring about what entrees might possibly be vegetarian, and they didn’t provide the table enough food (we had some good size college age boys at our table). Plus they have auto music on their website. I don’t even want a free meal from them. Done.
That’s it for now. I’d love to hear your suggestions and experiences!