There are plenty of choices for places to eat in Bend, especially somewhere new that's trying to offer something unique to the Central Oregonian palate. While it can be easy for a place to become the trendy and popular new food spot, it needs to stay consistent with its food and service in order to remain on top of the deep bench of selections. While Bendites are loyal to the places they love, they will also find somewhere new if anything falls off—just ask a local for their opinion on the constantly shifting popularity of breakfast spots for proof.
Sen Thai Hot Pot and Noodle House has an added bonus coming into the food scene, as an offshoot of Wild Rose, what is easily Central Oregon's most popular (and delicious) Thai restaurant. Sen translates to "noodle" or "thread" in Thai, which is the perfect name for the restaurant, not just because it's a noodle house, but also because in the traditional way of preparing the hot pots at your table with your group, it becomes a lesson in patience and expectation that knits the party together even closer.
Whether it's the gorgeously prepared street food dishes like the Khao Mok Gai, where the chicken flakes from the bone with ease before being dipped in the sweetly tart cucumber relish, or whether it's the Mama Pad, a perfectly cooked ramen noodle dish with pork meatballs and white pepper, every single bite at Sen is like a passport to the deepest heart of world cuisine.
Sen Hot Pot
69 Newport Ave., Ste. 100, Bend
Second place: Hablo Tacos