Living in a small, rural Oregon town, the opportunities to dine in a James Beard recognized restaurant are nearly nonexistent, but that was before I moved to Bend, Oregon.
Bend has become, over the past ten years or more, a foodie hub in central Oregon, and many argue it began when Ariana’s restaurant was established in a small craftsman home in 2004 along the unofficial second main street in Bend, Galveston Avenue. Chefs and owners Andres and Ariana Fernandez’ have established themselves, with their contemporary perspectives on classic dishes, as being deserving of a spot in the top echelons of the nation’s restaurant elite.
Upon moving here nearly two years ago, my Bend bucket list included near the top a dining experience at Ariana’s, and so the time came to dine this past weekend with mon amour who also had yet to dine at the acclaimed restaurant.
The wait staff was knowledgeable, convivial and providesd patrons with ample time to savor each course. After all, the food provides the foundation for lively, intimate conversation with your dining companions, and the cozy, softly illuminated atmosphere complete with white tablecloths and singular candles placed upon the tables at dusk invite diners to savor a most memorable dining experience, one which is unique and unlike anything else available in the ever-growing ski and outdoor-loving town.
Now, let’s talk about the food and drink.
When it came to selecting the wine for the evening, from a wine list that is carefully curated with selections from around the globe as well as top wines from the Pacific NW and California, we selected King Estate’s pinot gris backbone (2014). For those that wish to have a different wine pairing with each course, each evening a Chef’s Menu is available for a flat cost with meal items crafted from seasonal fare.
And then the dining began. With a complimentary shot of amuse bouche, the palette was cleansed and teased. The appetizer of bone marrow was immaculate in its simplistic, rustic presentation of roasted bone jus, parsley salad, grilled bread, and we scraped up every last taste. I highly recommend choosing this item to share as disappointment will not follow.
With proper proportion sizes, enjoying a multi-course meal is the ideal way to dine so long as it is in your budget. But upon knowing you will be dining at Ariana’s, allow yourself to indulge in the full experience as that is truly what is cultivated.
The beet salad offered a cool, refreshing transition between the appetizer and the entrée. With precisely sliced ruby and gold beets, watercress, and shallot vinaigrette, the final touch of the filo-chèvre sachet offered the perfect satiation.
If you have yet to experience what Ariana’s Restaurant can offer, you can make your reservations no sooner than a month in advance, but I highly recommend you make reservations as much in advance as possible. You can reserve on Open Table for a table on Tuesday through Saturday. Dinner service begins at 5pm and runs until closing. I would also recommend asking for a preferred table as there are ideal tables, one of which I will be requesting the next time I make reservations (one small suggestion – any table by a window or the fireplace will be a lovely spot).
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