Review by Laurel Brauns
Giuseppe’s is where the locals go when they have a craving for classic Italian food. Owner Peggy Falcaro originally hails from New York and brought to Bend an equal passion for powder skiing and the culinary arts. Her home-style recipes were passed down through generations of her family from both the North and South of Italy and later the boroughs of New York.
Located in the heart of downtown Bend, the décor at Giuseppe’s suggests a Continental wine cellar with a mix of exposed brick walls, wooden accents and high-backed, intimate booths. During a recent makeover, original paintings by local artist Kim Jones and bright source lighting were added to illuminate one wall of the front room. A concrete wine bar, a music stage and green plants were also part of Falcaro’s thoughtful modernization of this downtown hotspot.
Some elements of year’s past remain however, like the wine corks lodged into the brick joints on the walls (signed and dated by customers, of course), and Butcher-block paper instead of tablecloths (great for keeping the kids busy with coloring before the hot crusty bread arrives). This sense of authenticity combined with consistently satisfying meals has kept both locals and visitors alike returning to Giuseppe’s for 22 years.
Start your evening off in Goomba’s, the rose-painted lounge area at the back of the restaurant that opens up onto an urban patio in the summer months and often features local musicians. Goomba’s (a colloquial Italian term of endearment) is a great place to share some of the best-priced wines by the glass in Bend as well as a slew of small plates priced between $6 - $14 like Italian Artichokes, Cheesy Garlic Ciabatta Bread and Asian Style Pork Wings.
Best-priced wines by the glass in Bend. High-quality selections from Europe and the Pacific Northwest.
The Roma-Style Steamer Clams are prepared two ways: one is in a savory white wine butter sauce, and the other is in a basil-cream sauce that provides the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
Our favorite was the Roasted Garlic and Gorgonzola, which was served with a whole clove of garlic and a plate of melted blue cheese along with warm homemade bread, fresh from the oven.
The Calamari Tempura was lightly battered with tempura dough and flash fried. It is accompanied by Giuseppe’s homemade marinara and a sweet chili sauce, and was a large enough portion to share around the table.
After a brief flirtation with the introduction of French and Pacific Rim flavors, Falcaro has returned Giuseppe’s to its Italian roots with a menu that is more classical and family-style than ever. This is the place for you if you are nostalgic for grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna; both served with a homemade tomato sauce that melts in your mouth.
To that end, one of our favorite dishes was the Eggplant Parmesan: lightly breaded Chinese eggplant, quickly fried and served on top of Giuseppe’s signature marinara and perfectly el dente spaghetti, topped off with crispy parmesan and three spears of bright green broccolini.
Also try the Signature Crab Cakes: Oregon Dungeness crab soaked cakes topped with a roasted red pepper cream sauce over angel hair pasta.
Caesar salad: features bite sized leaves of chopped romaine lettuce tossed with a house dressing, homemade croutons and grated Parmesan cheese.
Cannoli: deep-fried pastry tube filled with sweet whipped ricotta, pecans and bite-sized pieces of chocolate and finished off with powdered sugar and chocolate.
Live Music Stages: Call the restaurant for dates and times of music performances out on the urban stage in the summer and in Sessions Wine Bar throughout the year.