First timers to Stratford Theater Festival: suggestions?
Hi--we are finally going to the Stratford Theater Festival the last weekend in June and would love suggestions of "must do's" and places to eat (no sushi please, otherwise open to all ideas). Flying in to Buffalo and driving up. Have received great suggestions from this website in past for NYC (walking self-guided foodie tour was tons of fun). We have tentatively made plans to stay at the Buckingham Inn. Anyone been there? If you have any thoughts on which performances we should definitely get tickets for, that also would be great.
re: The Chowhound Team
Thanks for the suggestions and sorry for going off topic. I have seen earlier postings on the chowhound bulletin board regarding restaurants and B&B's, as well as "must-do's" such as cooking schools, bookstores, kitchen supply stores, wineries, food-related walking tours, farmer's markets, pick-your-own, food tastings, grocery stores, carry-out for picnics and picnic locations, etc. So--if those related topics are OK--please keep the suggestions coming.
Hi We used to live in Stratford. Best lunch is York Street Dinner, very nice, near the river in town. For dinner, several places: Old Prune is reliable and good also home to the chefs' school, Rundles is good, and so is Keystone. They are in the city so that makes them 20min from the Festival Theatre but close to the Avon.
For web site see http://www.sentex.net/~lwr/food.html
As to the non-food question, this is Bill Hutt's last season, he said, so anything with him in it is great.
Book now for B&B and for plays stuff goes fast there.
currently my picks for stratford are:
lunch--Down the Street or Tapuz (but I heard it might be closing)
Dinner--Bijou (there is a focus on Fish mains but carni's should be happy too). Bijou is owned by two recent grads of the Stratford Chef School. My meals there have always been outstanding.
There is a great farmer's market at the Fairgrounds in Stratford (Saturdays)
The Old Prune, also associated with the cooking school, is lovely. Really like Down the Street and Bijou, too. Avoid Rundles, unless you like expensive silliness.
I second the "avoid Rundles" sentiment - it's overrated and too expensive to justify. For a cheaper meal, try the casual Italian food (pizzas, interesting non-pasta dishes) downstairs at Pazzo. I also had a very good, though not excellent, experience at The Church a few years ago. The "mint smoothies" (mint chocolates) at Rheo Thompson Candies on Albert St. are famous and a must-try, but keep in mind that their chocolate is not comparable to high-quality Belgian chocolate.
If the weather is gorgeous, drive further west to Lake Huron, and check out the town of Bayfield - The Red Pump is a great restaurant and the beach is not crowded like at Grand Bend. Or check out the lovely Benmiller Inn close to Goderich.
The Waterlot and Brittany restaurants in New Hamburg (between Kitchener and Stratford) are also elegant, slightly cheaper alternatives to the high-priced Stratford fine dining scene. Afternoon tea at Langdon Hall in Cambridge (near the 401) is a not-to-be-missed experience. If you're actually making the drive into Kitchener, Vincenzo's at the corner of Belmont and Union is the perfect place to pick up picnic supplies such as cheese, olives, bread, spreads, etc.
The Avon River is the perfect setting for an old-fashioned picnic. The Festival might still cater picnic lunches (rather expensive, but they sounded good in past years - usually themed according to current playbill) but you can get lots of other ideas for places to eat, cooking schools, etc. on the official Stratford Festival website (click on Visitor Info, and then click on Dining, and then it gives you four options, such as "picnic and deli", as well as in-town or out-of-town options) I've always wanted to take a cooking lesson at Chez Soleil school, which isn't mentioned on the Festival site. I've also heard good things about the new "authentic" Italian restaurant in Stratford, but I have no idea what it is called (definitely not Fellini's) - probably Sapori as their website seems fit the description.