8 Foodie Destinations In Ontario You Need To Savour This Fall

Calling all food fanatics! If you love good food and travel for exceptional culinary experiences, look no further than these epicurean Ontario destinations you’ll want to write home about (or at least post pics of).

Dish from Alo RestaurantImage credit: Nikki McKean, Alo

TORONTO’S TOP RESTAURANTS

From Chinatown to Greektown, Little India to Little Italy, Vegandale to St. Lawrence Market, Toronto is a multicultural city with a melting pot of flavours. In fact, four Toronto eateries made it into the top ten 2019 list of Canada’s 100 Best, the definitive guide to everything food related from across the country.

Alo

Lauded number one for the third year in a row, Alo is a sleek downtown French fine dining restaurant and cocktail bar with a refined tasting menu. From on-point décor to each carefully crafted dish and drink, this is a foodie’s must.

Giulietta

Well into year two in Toronto’s much-loved Little Italy neighbourhood on College Street, Giulietta has a lot to celebrate. Top Chef Canada runner-up Rob Rossi’s simple and authentic Italian menu also ranked number five in En Route Magazine’s best new restaurants list.

Buca Osteria & Bar

A member of the Buca family of upscale eateries, Buca Osteria & Bar made the cut for their signature coastal Italian cuisine. Tucked away in the Four Seasons Courtyard in the swanky Yorkville neighbourhood, this is a bucket-list spot for seafood lovers.

Edulis

This intimate bistro in the city’s Fashion District takes an unpretentious approach to upscale Canadian fare, using seasonal, wild and foraged ingredients to prepare 5 or 7-course chef’s tasting menus. It only takes one bite to see why the accolades keep pouring in. The proof is, as they say, in the pudding.

Where to stay: A foodie adventure demands totally unique and uber-stylish downtown digs. Check out The Annex Hotel, Kimpton Saint George and Anndore House.

Food and Wine at Born and RaisedImage credit: Born and Raised

HAMILTON EATERIES CREATING A BUZZ

As part of Steeltown’s recent cultural renaissance, Hamilton has become a culinary mecca. This place should be on every foodie’s radar. As Canada’s national newspaper The Globe & Mail recently put it, food is fueling Hamilton’s gentrification.

Quatrefoil

One of the city’s finest dining experiences, Quatrefoil is in fact, located in Hamilton’s hamlet of Dundas. Cooking power couple Fraser Macfarlane and Georgia Mitropoulos create contemporary French inspired fare in a handsomely restored heritage house that redefines date night.

The Heather

Prepare to be wowed. For starters, the intimacy of the place will strike you. There are only twelve seats. Repeat, just twelve guests at a time. You’ll be served a set seven course tasting meal of seasonally inspired dishes with a focus on Canadian ingredients. No distractions, no airs, just a pure and honestly amazing dining experience.

Born and Raised

Hamilton local Vittorio Colacitti is the driving force behind this aptly named eatery along James Street North’s restaurant row. Harking to his Italian roots, pasta and bread are crafted in-house, the olive oil comes direct from a family friend’s farm in Abruzzo, Italy, and the woodfired oven was transported from Bologna. Buon Appetito!

The French

The French in downtown Hamilton is an elegant, cosmopolitan little eatery that delivers big on taste, both in flare and food. Located in a heritage building, the marble bar, open style kitchen, Parisian bistro-style patio and impeccable service add to the old-world ambiance.

Where to stay: There are a handful of upscale chain hotels in the downtown core, or you can venture just west of the city centre to Best Western Premier C Hotel by Carmen’s, Hamilton’s first boutique hotel.

Food and Wine at Peller EstatesImage credit: Peller Estates Winery

NIAGARA’S WINE-INSPIRED DINING

One of Canada’s finest winemaking regions is also a culinary hotspot where the complementary relationship between winemakers, sommeliers and chefs results in a spectacular taste of place.

Pearl Morissette

A sculptured red cardinal welcomes you to this arresting winery and restaurant off a back road outside the village of Jordan. While there’s no traditional tasting room, their acclaimed wines are paired in the restaurant, which also bucks tradition. In the absence of a menu, guests are treated to an ever-changing blind-tasting, multi-course meal. Reservations are required, and wine purchases need to be ordered online (you can arrange to pick up on site).

The Winery Restaurant at Peller Estates

Autumn begs you to experience vineyard dining. From the twinkling chandeliers above to the sweeping vineyard views, the setting at Peller Estates is magical, while the menu celebrity Chef Jason Parsons presents each season is out of this world. For something extra special, check out the unique private dining options at sister property Trius Winery that include the winemaker’s lookout, the vineyard pavilion or, for groups of twelve and up, dine among the aging wine barrels in the Trius Red Barrel Cellar.

backhouse

Options for winery-inspired fare in Niagara-on-the-Lake are plentiful. Locals love the clean, simple lines, the rustic open grill and brick oven, and the ever-changing, cool climate wine-inspired cuisine. So does the foodie press like Toronto Life Magazine which named backhouse among the top five restaurants outside the city.

Treadwell Restaurant

Renowned for its farm-to-table philosophy, Treadwell Restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake has been setting the bar for fresh, creative, local and seasonally inspired culinary excellence since 2006.

Where to stay: Choose from well-appointed boutique properties like the Oban Inn, 124 on Queen Hotel & Spa, or The Charles Hotel, all in uber-charming Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Dish at SixThirtyNineImage credit: @ontarioculinarytourism via SixThirtyNine

FARM-TO-FORK IN SOUTHWEST ONTARIO

As Ontario’s southernmost region, the southwest enjoys the longest harvest season, fertile soil, and naturally a strong farming culture. Tap into the region’s rich rural roots at one of its many celebrated farm-to-table restaurants.

The Combine

The Combine, in the town of Simcoe, takes hospitality to a whole new level. The restaurant is the main floor of the chef/owner’s century old home. The menu is inspired by and comprised of Norfolk County’s bounty, including Lake Erie perch.

The Root Cellar Organic Restaurant

A member of the Old East Village community in the heart of London, The Root Cellar Organic Restaurant passionately practices a locavore philosophy with a menu featuring local, organic, free-range, farm-to-fork fare.

SixThirtyNine

Tucked away on a side street in Woodstock, the ever-changing menu here is a celebration of local flavour. This gem is a credit to chef/owner Eric Boyar (in partnership with his mother, Pauline Bucek) who source ingredients from their own family farm.

Twisted Lemon Restaurant

Head to the village of Cayuga for a lively and eclectic dining experience. Seasonal cuisine, cooking classes and special events have been attracting ‘flavour junkies’ since 2009.

Where to stay: Elm Hurst Inn & Spa is centrally located in the town of Ingersoll. For an urban option, stay at London’s sleek Metro Hotel.

Dish at The CommonImage credit: Christianne Stever, The Common

STRATFORD TAKES CENTRE STAGE

Ontario’s revered thespian town (thanks to the Stratford Festival, North America’s largest Shakespearean theatre event) also pours endless creativity into (and out of) its kitchens.

The Restaurant at the Bruce

Perfect for pre- or post-theatre, this luxury hotel invites you to enjoy formal dining in the Restaurant or a more relaxed meal in the Lounge, with impeccable service.

The Common

‘Eat without borders’ at this eclectic spot that will take you around the world with its cross-cultural fusion menu, and back home with locally sourced ingredients.

Bijou Restaurant

Just a short walk from the Avon Theatre, Bijou is famous for its farm-to-table Blackboard Prix Fixe menu, shareable food flight platters and tasting menus.

The Red Rabbit

A recent addition to Stratford’s culinary scene, this ‘worker-owned’ restaurant has a relaxed, down-to-earth vibe and serves up a mouth-watering menu of comfort food favourites.

Where to stay: In addition to providing the finest of dining, The Bruce is also a gorgeous boutique hotel. For a different pace, you can eat, drink and rest at the hip Mercer Kitchen Beer Hall Hotel.

Dish at La CondesaImage credit: @robbiegardenphoto (robbiegarden.com), La Condesa

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY: HIP & FULL OF CHARACTER

It’s been called the Hudson Valley of the North. Locals just call it The County. Picturesque, rural-chic and just a two-hour drive from Toronto, this quaint little piece of heaven has been attracting Ontario’s trendiest urbanites for years for its thriving cuisine culture, craft wineries, cideries, distilleries and breweries. You must check out what all the buzz is about!

La Condesa

We love la cocina Mexicana! Recently opened in the spring, La Condesa’s authentic Mexican food brings colour, flavour and zest to The County.

Flame + Smith

The open kitchen and woodfire cooking creates a warm, inviting ambiance to this casual little spot in Bloomfield. Order off the menu or put it away and let the staff take care of you prix fixe ‘family style’ from starters to dessert.

The Drake Devonshire Restaurant

Perched on the water’s edge in Wellington, the intimate patio and dining room at the hip Drake Devonshire hotel offers amazing charcuterie and sea-cuterie board selections as well as the wine region’s finest reds and whites.

Bloomfield Public House

This gastropub is another Bloomfield favorite go-to for a carefully curated, locally soured menu paired with craft coffee, local brews and wine, and specialty cocktails.

Where to stay: The Drake Devonshire pulls off quirky-chic in an unparalleled fashion. Or for something a little different, get a flavor of comfortable farm life with a stay at The Wilfrid Boutique Farmhouse.

Food and Drinks at Le Chien NoirImage credit: Le Chien Noir

KINGSTON: FLAVOUR AND CHARM APLENTY

With a rich live music history, there’s a veritable cool factor to this historic university town (and Canada’s original capital), that has also cultivated a hip epicurean culture.

Le Chien Noir

Just a stone’s throw from the downtown historic Market Square, Le Chien Noir is a super stylish little French bistro serving classic soups, charcuterie and cheese, and oysters. Don’t miss their three-hour ‘cocktail hour’.

Woodenheads Gourmet Pizza

With their classic and creative woodfired pies, Woodenheads proves that pizza can indeed be gourmet.

Bayview Farm Restaurant

Local celeb chef, Clark Day, grows many of the vegetables served on site. Fitting with the historic charm of the city, the restaurant sits in the Day family’s ancestral homestead dating back to 1831.

Days on Front

For ritzy contemporary Canadian Cuisine, head to Days on Front in the city’s west end. It’s a popular go-to for local chefs which is always a good quality gauge.

Atomica

Take a dive into the tasty Mediterranean-inspired menu exploring bold flavors from Spain and the Middle East.

Where to stay: In Kingston, you’ll find no shortage of cool places to stay, from waterfront hotels to boutique inns and cozy bed and breakfasts, including the Rosemount Inn & Spa, only a five minute walk from downtown.

Dish at AtelierImage credit: Miv Photography, Atelier

OTTAWA CAPITALIZES ON TASTE

Iconic charm, top national museums and abundant urban nature characterize Canada’s capital, as does its vibrant culinary scene.

Social

Located in the heart of historic Byward Market downtown, this restaurant-meets-cocktail lounge is a great spot to discover innovative craft cocktails paired with a main, shared oysters or cheese board ‘sociables’.

Whalesbone Restaurant

Squeeze into the narrow Whalesbone Restaurant on Bank Street for some of the best oysters in town. And if you can’t get enough of shucking and exploring the city, enjoy the three other Whalesbone locations in town.

Beckta Dining & Wine

Along with sister restaurants Play and Gezellig, Beckta is one of Ottawa’s finest and most fashionable places for seasonal New Canadian fare and exceptional wine.

Atelier

Another high-end New Canadian eatery, Atelier invites you to sample the 12-course French fusion tasting menu, plated in impossibly beautiful presentations.

Where to stay: Ottawa has no shortage of great places to stay, but the hands-down best view is the sweeping cityscape from the rooftop Copper Spirits and Sights cocktail bar at the upscale Andaz Ottawa Byward Market.

Which fall foodie getaway will you tackle first? Whichever road you take, your tastebuds won’t be disappointed.

 

Main image credit: Born and Raised