(Photos courtesy of WAVEJourney.com)
Want a change of pace? Just head over to Trattoria Sbandati and let the server know you want to dine family style. With co-owner and chef Juri Sbandati sending out dishes that only a native Florentine could produce from the semi-open kitchen just a few paces away, you’ll swear you’re in a trattoria in Italy rather than one at the foot of Bend’s College Way.
My food posse and I started what would turn out to be an unforgettable feast with a single jumbo scallop each, pan-seared to dark golden crispy perfection yet still translucent and velvety. Served with an Italian salsa verde of parsley and capers, and a drizzle of chili oil, a sliced lemon and arugula, the dish showcased Italian cuisine at its best—heavenly simplicity highlighting first-rate ingredients. Co-owner and general manager Erica Parker, launched the wine pairings she would provide for all our dishes, with a lovely Ferrari Brut prosecco. (She’ll hook you up with wine pairings as well. Just ask.)
“Why would we go anywhere else for a steak?” asked one of my friends, who along with another of my chums had never been to the restaurant before. The first-timers were already imagining their return when dessert landed. Talk about sealing the deal. A bright, fresh raspberry coulis countered the dreamy creaminess of the silky panna cotta, and the hot melted dark chocolate that accompanied the Bongo—a Florentine version of a cream-stuffed profiterole—was downright seductive.
Small wonder that after nine years, Trattoria Sbandati continues to rank as the crème de la crème and one of Bend’s best.
1444 NW College Way, Bend
Hours: Monday-Saturday 5pm-close
Owners: Juri Sbandati, Erica Parker and partners