HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Help! Hound moving to Ajax; Reccommendations needed for Durham.

  • o

Due to a growing family and desire for change, we're moving out to South Ajax this summer. We know very little about restaurants in Durham region and I could only find 'Pimentos' as a good high-end Italian place - while searching online.

Any reccommendations on great restaurants as well as family places and good take-out regional cuisines (Jamaican, Thai, Chinese, Sushi, Pizza) would be greatly appreciated. Really, anything you know from Pickering out to the Shwa would be a great help.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I moved from Ajax a couple of years ago...all I can say is SLIM PICKINGS!

    There was a cute Sushi place on Kingston Rd/Church St in Pickering that I actually do miss. Also, there's a place called "Rendevous" on Baley(?) St....it was pretty good most of the time. There's a good fish and chips place in the strip mall at Westney Rd, and Kingston Rd.

    I cooked alot more when I lived in Ajax, which is great for saving money, but I was usually disappointed with the restaurants there...sorry...

    10 Replies
    1. re: kathleen

      More like, slim pickerings :) Rendezvous is closed "until further notice" unfortunately, according to their web site.

      1. re: Ben Reiner

        Slim Pickerings...love that...

      2. re: kathleen

        Okay, I moved from Ajax 4 years ago but visit Mom and Dad often. If you want fine dining - you're going to want to go into Toronto...but:

        - Pimento's in Whitby for not bad food.
        - Pepperberries Bistro in Whitby food is usually good, service is spotty, ranging from excellent to downright horrible.
        - Mainly Cheese at Harwood and Westney for deli, salads and prepared European foods.
        - Teddy's Family Restaurant in Oshawa for great deli meals (yes there's always a line up but the food is good and filling and no, they don't serve alcohol). Save room for the coconut cream pie!
        - Texas Burger on Harwood Ave N. for burgers, gyros and homemade milkshakes - nothing fancy but cooked fresh and topped to order.
        - The little sushi/korean joint at Church St. and Kingston Rd (southwest corner beside the appliance part store).

        1. re: Mike

          I can second the Mainly Cheese recomendation. Try the schnitzel on a bun. THe last time I had it it was still excellent!

          1. re: otonabee

            Schnitzel on a bun, schnitzel cordon bleu or schnitzel parmesean. Made on Thursday afternoons...it's all good. Most of their meats are Brandt and cut to order...

            1. re: Mike

              Mainly Cheese sounds like a real bonus since it's close to where we'll be living. I'm always up for a good schnitzel!

              Do they have a website?

              1. re: Oxtail

                Not that I know of. Keep in mind that they are not a restaurant but a specialty food store, specializing in European foods, deli and prepared salads...take out only.

        2. re: kathleen

          Roti/curry...try rotiliscious at north end and behind harwood plaza, geat falafal in harwood plaza too (these are both the north plaza)
          Roti/curry again - caribbean nights in pickering at brock and 2 NW
          Also most eatern outpost of popeye's when you want grease at brock and 2 SE, but not open late
          Great Pita's in Whitby at Thickson and Consumers NE corner, or beside Pizza Pizza in Thickson plaza....
          To sit down there is Thai in "Whitby Centrum" that is good, or at Valley Farm and #2 in Pickering....

          1. re: kathleen

            I highly recommend Brother's Ristorante in Whitby (East of Garden and HWY 2, at Lupin). Very small, but the food is excellent and well priced. Their House Fettucine Alfredo with chicken, mushrooms and onions is incredible. Check their website or call for information - as a small restaurant, they are sometimes closed on holidays and open a bit later than others.

          2. WHITBY:
            Nice Bistro = French - MUST TRY!!!! Not cheap but really, really good food - Chef (Owner) is from France - They love kids - Daily blackboard specials - Owners are very friendly. On Brock Street (Hwy 12) just north of Hwy 2 on the East Side.

            Two Really Good All You Can Eat Sushi = Kyoto House is just north of hwy 2 on Brock Street on the east side and the other (which is better) I have forgotten the name of is just east of Garden Street off of Hwy 2 on the south side.

            Hot Rocks = 728 Anderson Street (Anderson & Manning) - Website www.hotrocksdiner.com


            Casa Verde = Italian - Excellent!!!! Hwy 2 & Church St. (Pickering Village
            Mount Everest = Indian - The BEST Indian food I have ever had....even in TO. It is also at Hwy 2 & Church Street. Try their Butter Chicken....it is AMAZING!!!!!

            That is all I can think of for now...I have since moved to the big city and they are the best ones that I can remember.

            Good Luck!!!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: zoohort2

              In Whitby, across from the Nice Bistro is a nice, not cheap Italian place - it might be Pimiento's. Pretty good, for Whitby.
              There are a number of pubs that are good, but unfortunately it doesn't get much better than 'good'.
              Good luck and please report back if you find anything decent.

              1. re: jill

                Thanks for the help, everyone. I was definitely expecting slim "Pickerings" but it's great to hear that there's at least some good Italian, Indian, bistro and sushi places. I checked out the website for that Hot Rocks Diner - and it looks pretty interesting (for Whitby!).

                I know that I won't find a Perigee or Senses there, but I'll be happy to find some good neighbourhood spots that are worth returning to.

            2. Having grown up in Pickering, but moved to Toronto 3 years ago, I can tell you there isnt much around Ptown. There is a new upscale bistro in the plaza at Dixie & Finch that my parents have tried and said is pretty good, cant think of the name right now, will get back.

              There is also Al Dente at liverpool and Pickering Pkwy, used to be Regalis...

              At the end of liverpool, right at the water is Masseys (great steak sandwhich) and The Waterfront Restaurant, which i think is great, especially in the summer now that the boardwalk has been re-done.

              On the other side of the Rouge Valley near Port Union rd is the Black Dog pub, which has some better pub/british style fare, and always has a decent band and lively atmosphere.

              In Ajax / pickering village is Safari (same as the one at St Clair/Yonge...ok, and a pool table / dance floor downstairs

              And I second Hot Rocks recommendation in whitby

              That is all i can think of right now

              1. Hi
                I was at the Burbs Restaurant on Saturday in Pickering (Dixie and Finch). It was one of the better dining experiences I have had in Durham. Check out Shrimp Cocktail in Oshawa. Good chef who makes spicy food (he's from Trinadad). For lunch, The Friendly Greek in Pickering is just as consistent as the one on the Danforth. North Ajax has Deer Creek Golf Course and they have opened a year round restaurant which is different than the burger and fries option they had previously. I hear there are some good places in Brooklin. Good Luck! (Make sure to make reservations as it is nearly impossible to get into a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night.)

                2 Replies
                1. re: foodiegirl

                  I know it's almost 2 years late, but I will second this recommendation for Burbs Bistro. I'd say it's Durham's best-kept secret since it's a bit off the beaten path (tucked in a residential area while most Durham restaurants line Kingston Road). Definitely want to make a reservation. They even have a "licious" type promo going on, menus are on the website:

                  Burbs Bistro
                  1900 Dixie Rd, Pickering, ON L1V6M4, CA

                  1. re: TexSquared

                    Thanks so much for this! My SO and I moved out here and have really struggled to stay in the area when we eat out. We have not yet located our anniversary dinner place, we keep trying but the locations (Safari, Cafe Verde) have been so uneven as to drive us back to TO for a reliably good meal...

                2. d
                  Dinin' and Dishin'

                  Good burgers, great fries, low price and freakishly clean for a greasy spoon...try Mr. Burger on Bloor W and Park. Right at the exit to the 401 (north side of Bloor).

                  The place has been around for ages, but we just found it. It is full of Elvis memorabilia and other 50's kitch. Counter service only, but you won't be afraid to let your kids use the bathrooms.

                  Oh, and it is also licensed.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Dinin' and Dishin'
                    Dinin' and Dishin'

                    Oh, but skip the corned beef, it pales in comparison to the "real deli-style" thing.

                  2. Do try Shige at Liverpool at the 401 (used to be a Pizza Hut) for sushi and Korean BBQ. Definitely slim pickings. To be safe, avoid all Chinese buffets in Durham...

                    1. Seconding Pizza Pino. They make delicious pizza and load on the toppings! 1 slice is often enough.

                      Another Durham take-out suggestion:

                      Red House - Thai and Malaysian Cuisine
                      Whites Road Shopping Centre
                      705 Kingston Rd., Unit #8
                      Pickering, Ontario L1V 6K3

                      Their Pad Thai is mediocre, but their Mee Goreng is heavenly. Large portions + decent price = jackpot.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: StitchStabwound

                        On Liverpool in Pickering is decent fish and chips--Jasper.

                      2. Just had lunch at Pizza Pino's. Great suggestion! Pizza was made fresh, tons of toppings - had the house special. My SO and I ordered large - I got through 2 pieces and he scarfed down 3 - brought home 3 for a late afternoon snack. $25 for large pizza, pop and a corona.

                        We ate in - it's a very VERY tired sports bar atmosphere, lots of adults eating in. Service fast, efficient. The have a non-stop take-out activity and deliver - not sure if they make it out to Claremont but we are going to try...

                        Glad we took the advice from other CH's in Pickering, we'll be back!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: xssnrg

                          I second Pizza Pino's. Not much for atmosphere, but delicious pizza with tons of toppings and cheese. Must be into a thick pizza to enjoy this one!

                          I also love Mt Everest, delicous food, good take out or eat in.

                          Blossom Garden chinese food on Kingston rd and salem (near the mcdonalds') is alright.

                          I truly wish there was better Hakka out here (I dont care for Tangerine, I work near Federick's in scarborough and they're hard to beat) and some kind of Portugese chicken place

                          Mt Everest Restaurant
                          469 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1X9, CA

                          Pizza Pino
                          855 Westney Rd S, Ajax, ON L1S3M4, CA

                          1. re: iheartpie

                            New to Chow but thought that this thread was great, so wanted to add a couple that I'm sure are discussed elsewhere.
                            The Port down Liverpool rd. is the place to be these days out here. Always busy so you need a reservation, but if one is looking for an anniversary restaurant this could be it. A little on the pricey side, but we often do lunch and they have great specials.

                            I must add that if if is too busy, do not go to the Waterfront Bistro. This place is in business strictly for its locale and all the boaters use it, but the food is terrible. I would go anywhere else.

                            A super place that I know also gets reviewed, but is worth mentioning is Fratelli's in Highland Creek. Not really Durham, but so close it's worth trying. Wood stove for pizzas, nice local ambiance, friendly staff. And a good deal.

                            Mexico Lindo in Ajax is worth trying too. We enjoy dinner, but always go for their guac and tortillas rather than nachos - much better. Great staff, great prices, great authentic mexican.

                            Brothers Pizza in Whitby was also good. I haven't been there for years, but it was good for family dining. A nice place to have a good pizza with the kids and still have a beer or glass of wine...reminds me of some of the places when I was kid we used to go to. Nothing fancy, just a chance for a family night out without breaking the bank.

                            Finally the Red House is a classic out here now. Great eat in, but we also love to get the mango salad take out sized for 4. It's a great deal and so yummy with a steak on the bbq when you don't want to do any prep.

                            Mexico Lindo
                            915 Taunton Rd E, Oshawa, ON L1H7K5, CA

                            1. re: pickeringmom

                              You'll see more Durham Region suggestions here:


                              For me, the go-to places in Durham are Buster Rhino's in Whitby for BBQ, Pizza Pino in Ajax for pizza,and Burbs Bistro in Pickering for higher-end cuisine. I'm not impressed at all with the Lindo's (they have several in Durham, including one on Kingston west of Brock) in terms of price to quality ratio. I satisfy my Mexican cravings during my U.S. trips, having long given up on the GTA for this.

                              Other notables include two places in the plaza at Whites and Kingston (no, not the Lone Star which has gone downhill since I moved here): Red House is OK for Thai/Malaysian stuff (a lot better than that God-awful "Thai One On" chain across the street, and better pricing too), and Bellagio's makes excellent Italian veal sandwiches.

                              Makimono is OK for AYCE Japanese but for that I'd rather go to Ten-Ichi in Scarborough.

                              Burbs Bistro
                              1900 Dixie Rd, Pickering, ON L1V6M4, CA

                              Buster Rhino's
                              2001 Thickson Rd S, Whitby, ON L1N, CA

                              Lone Star Cafe
                              472 Morden Rd, Oakville, ON L6K3W4, CA

                              Pizza Pino
                              855 Westney Rd S, Ajax, ON L1S3M4, CA

                              1. re: TexSquared

                                Another one for Bellagio. It's our destination place for gelato - flavours rotate and we get the tub of 3 for $10. Great expresso too. My SO loves the sandwiches too!

                                1. re: xssnrg

                                  Just a heads-up for anybody planning on making the trip out to Pickering. Bellagio's is closed for renovations until Monday September 26.

                            2. re: iheartpie

                              Well I finally decided to try pizza pino, it's about time.

                              They gave me the wrong pizza, totally different than what I ordered, guess it was a mixup but delivered my original pizza and let me keep the other one free of charge which was sweet.

                              The sides like cheesy bread sticks and cinnaballs were very "fresh and homemade" and the pizza sauce and thick dough is WONDERFUL.

                          2. Some of my personal favourites:

                            Starr Ave. Burger - Whitby
                            (Starr Avenue and Brock Street N)
                            Easily the best homemade burger in Durham Region, if not the GTA.

                            Sushi Mountain - Whitby
                            (Thickson Road and Hwy #2)
                            A personal favourite of my GF and I. The all-you-can-eat sushi lunch is great for the price.

                            Cyrus - Oshawa
                            (Ritson Road South)
                            A great place for Persian with a friendly atmosphere. The owners are great people and go that extra mile to make sure you are completely satisfied.

                            DeSiam - Whitby
                            (Consumers Drive, East of Thickson in the AMC Complex)
                            Authentic Thai that racks up against what I have tried downtown Toronto. The owners are from Thailand and make great food,

                            The Hunter's Horn Pub - Whitby
                            (Jeffery Street and Hwy #2)
                            Excellent pub fare at very reasonable prices. I have never ate a single thing here I dd not like.

                            1. A couple of other good spots:

                              - Massey's on south Liverpool Road for Steak on a Kaiser and Fries with gravy - I've been going since I was a kid, and it's still pretty great, even though fresh-cut fries can be tricky in summertime. The steak is not a chewy striploin, but rather multiple large medallions of marinaded flank steak grilled to a char-flavoured delight and piled high on a toasted kaiser. I recommend skipping the customary lettuce & tomato, and asking for pickles, onions and HP sauce instead, for the traditional Pickering version :-) They have good salads & burgers, too.

                              - Harp & Crown on Kingston for chicken wings, specifically the lemon-butter ones. Yes, weird I know, but yummy. The wings are really well-prepared, not breaded, with nice crispy skin, but sadly they use BBQ sauce in their hot-medium-mild wings, as opposed to the buffalo-esque Frank's Red Hot style, but the Lemon-Butter are shockingly addictive, and half price early in the week!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: TorontoTips

                                Thanks for the tip on wings! Will be giving them a try.

                              2. 2 places I would add that have not been mentioned: Starr Burger in Whitby on Starr Avenue (Brock and Manning) has, in my opinion, the best burgers in Durham Region. Go for the home made burger and fries. Also, Bitmore's in Courtice on Nash Rd. has a decent menu with stir fry, fantastic wings (the pineapple curry are amazing) and very good pizza http://www.thebittmore.com/. Hopefully these help.

                                1. for jerk chicken and other hot caribbean dishes, i'd HIGHLY recommend beryl's pepperpot on westney rd. south of bayly...(hard to find kind of...it's in an old brown business plaza). it's really just a take-out place with minimal seating, the service is sort of lackluster, but the food is very very tasty. the place is always busy around lunch.

                                  i second massey's on liverpool. good ol canadian-american food. i also second starr burger in whitby...the burgers are huge and are a struggle to finish in one sitting for me.

                                  the panzerotti at pizza pino in ajax is good as well...and freakin massive. it can feed 3 easily.

                                  1. The Teriyaki House on lupin just off hwy 2 east of brock in Whitby is Fantastic! We went there on Saturday night. Everything was fresh made to order, delicious and affordable. Love their Japanese fare including the sushi. Sit down restaurant with classic decor. Quiet, classy and a great place to come as a couple or with friends. I highly recommend this hidden jewel of Whitby.

                                    1. Mt Everest is a delicious and consistent Indian restaurant. As posted before it's at Church and 2.

                                      Buster Rhino's in Whitby for BBQ. yum!

                                      Fat Bastard Burrito Co in Pickering.

                                      Shamrock Burger at Salem and Rossland isn't bad.

                                      Symposium Café also at salem and Rossland can be a little hit or miss, but I've had good meals there.

                                      Brooklin has a few new places I've heard about but haven't had the chance to try yet. The Pour House and another Bistro type place.

                                      Ajax is getting better for restaurants, slowly but surely!

                                      1. Hello Ontario Hounds! I'm coming for work on Sunday and I'll be staying in Ajax for 2 weeks. I'm sure I'll have a little time to get into the city, but any new suggestions for places in Ajax worth checking out? I'm from L.A., so I have plenty of sushi/mexican to choose from, but anything would be helpful, thanks!