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First timers to Stratford Theater Festival: suggestions?

  • l

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.

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  1. Hi-

    Folks, few free to chime in with the dining tips, but theater tips, or other, non-food related "must do's" are off topic for this board and will be deleted.


    2 Replies
    1. 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.

      1. re: lacontessa

        Wolfy's just outside of St. Mary's is fabulous! We go to Stratford every year over the August long weekend, and Saturday night dinner at Wolfy's is always on the agenda. It's about 15 minutes outside of Stratford, but certainly worth the drive!

    2. 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.

      2 Replies
      1. re: David

        has anyone seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Avon Theatre yet this season?

        how was it?

        1. re: David

          I can second the York Street suggestion. Either for eat in or (even better) get sandwiches to go and pack a picnic to eat by the water! They have a nifty ordering system where you tick off things on a list, hand it in and then they make it.

        2. 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)

          1. 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.

            1. 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.

              Link: http://www.stratfordfestival.ca/visit...

              1. I would add to the other suggestions the following:

                38 - it's located at 38 Erie St - limited menu but great food for both lunch and dinner. Funky interior.

                Curry On - Indian food on Downie...good value

                Bijou bakery on Wellington and Pass da Pasta on Albert for picnic supplies.
                Enjoy your visit - I'm a local and I love eating here

                1. I'm a former resident and frequent visitor to Stratford and will put my two cents in for those planning future trips.

                  Pazzo's upstairs dining room is quite wonderful, though recent insistence on what I consider "freaky" game menu options makes me not reserve for our own upcoming trip. That said, I adore the downstairs pizzeria, with yummy pasta options, kick-ass service and solid bartending: alc and non-alc options.

                  My absolute favourites in Stratford are York Street Kitchen and Boomer's. A lot of the aforementioned restos are packed with blue-haired non-chow types who can quite frankly ruin a meal if you dine before 8, when the tourists pack every place within walking distance.

                  I second the motion re heading for Bayfield if you have time. Best damned hamburger I ever had at the Inn there, not sure what the situation is now, hopefully not emu and orchids on grilled foccacia bun...Simple and present works for this chowhound.

                  1. Thanks so much for all of the suggestions. Our B&B called last night to suggest Sapori (must be the original Italian cooking you were suggesting), Sunroom, farmer's market on Saturday, Carter's, a new restaurant called Garlic, and Down the Street. He recommended Pass the Pasta, Bijou and Wellington Deli for carryout/picnics.

                    1. We just got back from Straford on Sunday, saw "Into the Woods" it was wonderful. Had lunch at Rundles, spent well over $200.00 cnd. $14.00 a glass for cave springs riesling, $29.00 each for two small apps. They were well made, the skate wing cilantro enhanced sauce was wonderful, but my god, the price! no need for that . I say go to the Old prune or the Church. I worked at the church in the late 80's and revisite it last year and had a wonderful lunch. They have always done a good job and continue to do so.

                      1. A quick report on our fun 2 night stay last weekend (4 shows: Hello Dolly, Wingfield's Inferno, Fallen Angels, Tempest) in Stratford. We had one of the best meals we have ever had at Wolfey's in nearby St. Mary's. Down the Street was also good and there were always lots of people in Garlic (hubbie said salmon salad carryout had too little dressing). Carter's was a disappointment (my strawberry rhubarb pie is tons better!). Way too much mayonnaise in everything at York Street Kitchen. We stayed at the Buckingham Hourse--a small quiet B&B in walking distance from the quaint downtown (www.buckinghamhouse.ca) where the breakfasts were excellent (e.g, quiche, fresh strawberries, rhubarb muffins, cereal, juice, coffee/tea). Ted was also creative for my lactose-intolerant hubbie. Have to dig up those menus...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lacontessa

                          Found the menus! For Buckingham House breakfast 1: strawberries & melon with lime yoghurt, orange date bread (no milk products), rhubarb muffins, pesto souffle, fresh orange juice, coffee/tea/hot chocolate, cereals & yoghurt. For Buckingham House breakfast 2: local strawberries with cointreau, spiced pumpkin seed bread (no milk products), whole wheat irish soda bread with currants and pecans, sunday quiche and sausages, fresh orange juice, coffee/tea/hot chocolate, cereals & yoghurt. Woolfy's at Wildwood (St Mary's) dessert for me was delicious chocolate brownie triangles with sour cream ice cream and chocolate sauce. Hubbie's desert was a huge slice of meringue (non-dairy) with two different kinds of fruit couli. Hubbie had scallop appetizer with steak on non-dairy mashed potatoes--he loved his meal. My guinea hen was a little sweet, but, the appetizer was a yummy hot soup of 3 vegetables (beets, can't remember the others).

                        2. We go to Stratford each year and anticipate our trip in a few weeks. We have had great success with Bijou: really creative,
                          excellent food (often a little crowded and don't expect elegance); we had a very good lunch last year at Carter's;
                          a surprisingly good and quite reasonable dinner at Foster's
                          (our favorite place for a quiet beer); and we always love to
                          go to the Westover Inn for dinner if we don't have a play.
                          We aren't keen on Pazzo or their restaurant downstairs; Rundles
                          has good food but the cost is ridiculous; the Church (from
                          our experience two years ago) was not very good (although the
                          Belfry is worth going to). I second the idea about picnics
                          in the park, esp. if you have a play that night: our favorite is to go to Boomers for fish and chips and pop open a bottle
                          of white wine. We love Stratford.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: fresh

                            Oh, I forgot: we've loved Woolfy's around St. Mary's the last two years.

                          2. Most of these suggestions are from a while back so just wanted to get a more current perspective. I'll be there in late June. Any suggestions for lunch on a Sunday? Not limited to any cuisine type.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: LTL

                              Bijoux is my current favourite in Stratford and it's open for lunch on Sundays from May- November.

                              I found the portion sizes at the Old Prune and the Church to be ridiculously small on my last visits.

                              1. re: phoenikia

                                What are prices like? I'm not restricting myself with super cheap, but don't want to break the bank either.

                                1. re: LTL

                                  I've only been to Bijoux for dinner, but they have a choice of a 2 or 3 course dinner, based on the choices written on the blackboard. I can't remember the exact price since I was treated to dinner when I went, but I believe it was around $40 for the 3 course prix fixe. I would consider it more fine dining than casual, in terms of style and price point, but the meal seemed to be a less expensive and a better value than Rundles, the Old Prune or the Church.

                                  I would imagine the prices would be lower at lunchtime.