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Kitchener/Waterloo

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I moved to Waterloo a little more than a year ago and since then have been discovering area restaurants. Most are huge disappointments. Some that (in my opinion) seem to be good are:

Waterloo:
Hannah's, Sole, Rude Native, Wok Wagon

Kitchener:
Three Kreatans

Cambridge:
Lily Ruth
Bianco Nero

Others I avoid;
Waterloo:
Charbies
Salute

Does anyone else have any recs. to add?

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  1. I left Waterloo in 2004 but up to then, Charbries was one of my favourites. I hope it hasn't gone downhill. Charmaine's caesar salad (and most things except her potato and veggie sides) are amazing. I even went for a cooking class there (won it in a charity auction) and respected their kitchen even more once I saw how it worked. I would highly recommend Bhima's Warung - it's expensive but you get tons of memorable food. I too loved Hannah's. The Rude Native went downhill long before I left, and I wouldn't recommend it. When it first opened in its former location, it was affordable (nothing over $13) and deliciously interesting. I've also always liked Sole. In Cambridge, Mimosa is terrific as is afternoon tea at Langdon Hall. In Kitchener, try Taka Sushi on Bleams - it's a step above what's available in the region. In St. Jacob's, the market-style Vidalia's is reliable and affordable.

    1. Not sure if it's still there (I haven't visited since mid-2004) and not a restaurant, but totally chowish: Akropolis Bakery on Ontario St. in Kitchener. I miss it and have insane cravings for their touloumbes.

      1. Sad to say that K-W seems to be lacking in memorable dining experiences -- we usually go to Toronto when we are feeling adventurous. We can't figure out why with the Stratford Chef's School so close-- its graduates so rarely choose to open up restuarants in this area. That being said, here are a few local places that we frequent: Yukiko's in Waterloo(great little bistro -- amazing desserts)Cafe Bijou (in Stratford-- another great bistro -- a bit higher priced), Carden Street Cafe, in Guelph -- which by the way, has a much greater selection of funky restaurants. With The Grain is a great Bakery and light munchies place also in Guelph, and we also like the restaurant Friends In Our Kitchen in that town. Hannah's has reopened by the way -- have been there twice, with mixed results.

        1. Here are some places in Kitchener-Waterloo to try:
          -*New* Bakery Mi Colombia - a Columbian bakery. Great breads, empanadas. (10 King St. E. Kitchener tel: 579-6388)
          -the Kitchener Market (market shops providing all types of food from Mexican to Indian and everything in betweeen... I have been very impressed by the food 'stalls' at the market!); shops open most days; the market itself operates on Saturdays (6 am to about 2 pm during the winter, also on Wednesdays from about Victoria Day to September or early October). The vendors sell fresh (mostly local) products. Great butchers, bakers (we like Sproll's for authentic Germans-style pastries), farm produce
          -the Acropolis bakery on Ontario St. in downtown Kitchener is great - they are changing ownership, but it's rumoured that it will still be great
          -good Indian food at the Classic Indian Restaurant, Wissler Road in the North end of Waterloo
          -decent Greek food at the Three Kretans on Frederick St., close to downtown Kitchener
          -*** best bakery in town is Nugat cafe/bakery on Queen St. in Kitchener
          -AM Africa Restaurant on King St. in downtown Kitchener - Ethiopian food that is pretty even
          -I have heard great things about the Carribean restaurant on Charles St. across from the Kitchener bus terminal, but haven't been there yet

          Good luck! The best places in Kitchener-Waterloo are 'hidden' gems!

          1. I myself really like Salute, I have yet to have a disappointing meal there. The wild mushroom crostini and their caesar salad are favourites of mine.

            I recommend Zen Garden on King St. in Uptown Waterloo for delicious vegetarian cuisine.

            The Grill in University Plaza on University Ave., Waterloo has probably the best burgers in town and an amazing turkey burger.

            AM Africa is consistently great Ethiopian food and I just found out that if you call ahead, they can customize the spiciness of your food, or prepare items that weren't going to be on the menu that day.

            Caffe Bolero (Water Street, Kitchener) has affordable, delicious thin crust pizza in a great atmosphere. Their goat cheese salad is also very tasty.

            Ammar Halal Meats Food Mart Inc. at 315 Lancaster Street West, Kitchener has a wide range of middle eastern grocery supplies and is where I buy a lot of my spices and supplies to make hummus/falafel. It was recommended to me by a Lebanese friend.

            Modern India near the 401 is my favourite Indian restaurant in Kitchener-Waterloo. 4355 King E., near Pioneer Sports World. They have a buffet and also do take-out. Everytime I'm in there the customers are mostly East Indian, which I always take as a good sign.

            For Egyptian food, the Almadina Restaurant at 150 University Avenue West in Waterloo does a pretty decent buffet, although I am still mourning the loss of their tent room that could be rented for special events.

            Frederick's Restaurant (open during the day on weekdays - 58 Frederick Street, Kitchener - 742-0231) will prepare a fabulous middle eastern spread if you call ahead to order for eat-in or take-out. Hands down they have the best tabouleh salad I've ever eaten.

            1. If Indian's your style, Masala Bay on Regina St. is a winner. You can check them out online at www.masalabay.com

              1. I like Charbrie's, though I haven't been there in a while.

                For good Viet-Thai, try Pho Dau Bo, across from the (sorry, Your) Kitchener market.

                Dim sum is great at Cameron Seafood (at Cameron and Charles)

                A surprisingly good place to take the kids is Sole (go before the romantic dating crowd). I've always gotten great service there, and it's nice to know I don't have to resign myself to eating at the Golden Griddle for the rest of my life.

                1. Anyone have cafe suggestions? Especially Sundays? I just moved to Kitchener this winter from Toronto and ... well, it's a smaller place. Love City Bakery Cafe but sometimes I just don't feel like another bagel... And any news on when that Olive and something place on King is opening? And anyone tried that new Chinese (?Lotus) on King near City Hall yet?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jmmm

                    We really need some cafes to be open on Sunday in K-W. Yukiko's Cafe used to be open many years ago and did a great Sunday Brunch a la Queen Street in Toronto. But as a small family run business felt (deservedly so) they would like the day off. I really can't think of anything locally (Nougat is closed too) -- if we are looking for Cafes on a Sunday, we usually drive to Guelph to Against the Grain (Bakery/Cafe) or the Cornerstone Cafe both certainly worth the drive or even the Bookshelf. Don't really know why Guelph has so many of these places open on Sunday and we don't. It's disappointing.BTW-- Did you know one of the owners of Aunties and Uncles (small Breakfast/Lunch spot downtown TO)is from Kitchener? We have tried to encourage him to come back and set up a second place here but he isn't sure there's a market locally for more "upscale" breakfasts.

                    1. re: jmmm

                      The Lotus Tea Room on Regina near Bridgeport has pretty decent vegetarian Chinese food. A small cozy room, but beware that it's open only Tues-Sat.

                      Not quite a cafe, but the Colombian bakery mentioned above near Kitchener City Hall is quite neat. I especially enjoy their tres leches custard that you can see in the dessert case.

                      1. re: Blueicus

                        Lotus has an amazing house noodle soup, with veggies and mock meats. You couldn't ask for a better 'rainy day' meal.

                    2. On Northfield I had some great pho - think the place was called Viet-Thai?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Wiley

                        Ben Thanh is the place, and its a regular stop for us.

                        They were originally on Cedar Street in Kitchener, but had to move out for the new Farmer's Market. They re-opened in Cambridge, and then once the settlement money from the city came through, they opened the second location in Waterloo. (That's right, *not* in Kitchener. You can fill in the blanks there.)

                        The Waterloo location is run by the son. The menu is *mostly* the same between both locations, likewise the quality of the dishes.

                        However, the Vietnamese coffee at Northfield comes from an electric espresso machine; we continue to drive to Cambridge just for the coffee press ;)

                      2. I can recommend "Verses", which is wonderful restaurant, and is located in a chucrh. We have dined there 3 times. The decor is upscale, and not hokey.
                        I can also recommend Bijou in Stratford, and The Church Restaurant (portions are small). Bentley's can be good for regular food. Their soups are always very good.
                        Charbries is a restaurant that continually misses the mark.
                        We have dined there a few times and we keep hoping they will get in right. The last time the Hudson Valley duck was uncuttable and unchewable. They sat us at at table for 2 in the very back of the restaurant when the roon was virtually empty. We have gave them many chances, but no more.
                        Salute has been very good some nites, and so so on others.
                        For fresh fish and seafood try Classicos. The location is not the best but the food is always fresh and delicious.
                        Forget the Rude Native.
                        We are looking forward to trying Lily Ruth and Mimosa.

                        1. Some other places include 20 King in downtown kitchener - standard old school fine dining. A nice 'hidden gem' is Asie in New Hamburg (about 10 mins from Waterloo - great sake collection). I'd second the recommendations for Mimosa for great classic french cuisine and Cameron's for the best dim sum in town. I wouldn't go to any other chinese place in KW unless you're looking for quick take out. Also try Ellison's Bistro near the bus station down for some great caribbean food. It's not quite fine dining but I always enjoy the food there.

                          Many other local reviews on a blog I co-write:

                          http://sapphiremartini.blogspot.com/

                          1. Another good chowfind is remarkably that latin american grocer right by the Kitchener bus terminal. You'll notice these old ladies make some interesting items in the kitchen and these latin american men sit around this long table scarfing down. Don't be afraid of being the only gringo and just ask around as to what they have... I noticed they had an interesting shrimp soup once, but I opted for their pupuso (sp.) since it was portable... they were delicious and greasy coming right off the griddle, filled with meat and spices. It also came with coleslaw in a bag (which I didn't have enough appetite to have).

                            1. We live outside K-W but have tickets to some concerts at Centre in the Square over the fall/winter. Suggestions for chowhound-ish restaurants that are near the Square and can turn around a tasty pre-concert meal?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: nasturtium

                                The restaurant at the Centre in the Square is not half bad. Verses is nearby (on Victoria, East of Centre in the Square). Very fine dining and excellent food.

                              2. Greetings and Salutations!

                                I am looking for a unique, comfortable, perhaps artistic, somewhat elegant coffee house/cafe in the KW area. Been to a lot but am missing that hidden jem! Any suggestions?

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Michelle K

                                  I don't know where you've been, but I doubt you are missing any hidden gems. IMO there are no good coffee houses around K/W.

                                  You can try this place (www.matteroftaste.ca), but it's located in dwtn Kitchener. Not someplace I like to frequent in the eveninings.

                                  1. re: Michelle K

                                    The closest thing to what you are describing in terms of atmosphere- artistic, but upscale, in my opinion, is Yukiko's Cafe in Waterloo.
                                    Since we moved here over 15 years ago, we have been hoping that someone might choose to open up a place where you can could get an all day upscale breakfast a la Queen Street or College street in Toronto. The Cornerstone or Against the Grain (both in Guelph)somewhat fit this bill. But in KW, it seems that there isn't anything to fill this niche. Nor is there much for your category either.

                                    1. re: alleyjasper

                                      I must say, we did not have a good experience at Yukiko's. The waitress forgot to put our order in. We waited for 30 minutes for dinner and finally had to ask her when we could expect it. She then retook our order and admitted she forgot to give it to the Kitchen 30 min. ago!

                                      I don't know how she could have forgotten about us -- she kept walking by, but was to busy talking to her "regulars".

                                      I agree, we really need a good Breakfast spot. Angies is a real disappointment. We tend to go to the Daily Grill on Northfield. Not exeptional, but a good greasy dinner breakfast.

                                      Cora's is opening up in Cambridge. I can only imagine what the line-ups will be like.

                                      I keep telling my DH that I should open up a nice breakfast/lunch joint.

                                      1. re: RYP

                                        Duke of Wellington, right by (below) Angie's isn't bad for breakfast!! The price is good too :) It's not upscale.
                                        I've been looking for a good breakfast place too. Mel's Diner is out of the question...
                                        I only grudgingly go there if my friend's want to go for food at 3AM and it's really the only place open.

                                        RYP, if you open a nice breakfast place, i'd be happy to be one of the first customers ;)

                                        1. re: sumashi

                                          Personally, I think the Lion's Brewery does a pretty decent breakfast. They usually serve it until early in the afternoon. For some reason I really don't like Angie's... it's so much more expensive than the Dearborn or Mel's (and I also used to hate Mel's but I feel they've improved in the past 6 months) without any substantial (or even marginal) improvement.

                                          1. re: Blueicus

                                            We've given up on Angies. Aside from the dated decor and jammed in feeling, their bacon is sliced so thin you can read through it!

                                            1. re: RYP

                                              I went to Angies once and was not impressed. I thought it was really over priced.
                                              Now keeping in mind that my idea of the perfect breakfast is bacon eggs homefries and toast, I love going to Benny's for breakfast. They even have baked bean with their breakfast.

                                              My friends that used to go to Angies have converted to Benny's lovers after I took them there once.

                                  2. We went to Charbries yesterday, business lunch.
                                    The dining room is dated, bordering on shabby and not in a good way. It needs updating badly.

                                    The food was decent, but tries too hard. Roasted parsnip soup was bland and watery but saved by a feta cream that could be stirred into the soup. Salad was very good. Chopped sirloin had a funny liver taste to it, but was pleasant enough. Not bad, but I won't rush back.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: andreas

                                      I went here two years ago when we moved to Waterloo. I heard so many wonderful things about this place, but similar to you, I was disappointed. I agree, it's very outdated.

                                      I am going again next week for a business Christmas party. I was curious to see if it had improved. But after reading your post, I'm not that optimistic.

                                      1. re: RYP

                                        Don't get me wrong, the food wasn't exactly bad. It was just....not all that good is the best I can come up with. The menu talks about seasonal food from local sources, which is normally a good thing. The food, when it arrived, was nowhere near the quality I'd hoped it would be.

                                        The cheese soup my business partner had ordered arrived with a thin skin, my soup I've talked about above. It feels like the kitchen is ambitious enough but lacks the flair and knowledge to pull it all off.

                                        Add to this really uncomfortable chairs (my butt was getting numb after an hour and half and I am not a heavy guy), an overheated dining room and the really dated 80's decor and the experience wasn't all I had hoped for.

                                        1. re: andreas

                                          I agree with your sentiment, I think in the end it reaches much farther than it can grasp.

                                          Heck, even the plates look old and decrepit, and I'm not paying $15 for a main.

                                          1. re: Blueicus

                                            If you haven't already, try Hannahs. They also have a really great Tapas restaurant downstairs. www.hannahsbellabistro.com

                                            1. re: RYP

                                              I just noticed The Kitchener Record reviewed Charbries today. Clearly the reporter is not very up-to-date on decor.

                                              www.therecord.com/entertainment/dinin...

                                    2. From the review:

                                      "Charbries thrills patrons by offering a bustling view of the waiters as they expertly negotiate the narrow passageways between the chairs with tableside trolleys, en route to preparing classic caesar salad and shrimp Dianne flambe with shallots, Dijon, and grilled portobello mushroom. The flare-ups and fireballs from the latter add a theatrical dynamic to the dining room, helping the dishes themselves to navigate their way to being among Charbries' top sellers."

                                      And here we have, I believe, everything that is wrong with the place. Show and ambition triumphs over quality and actual ability.

                                      1. I couldn't agree more. When I was there, there always seemed to be some sort of table side action happening.

                                        Contrary to the story, I was less than thrilled. I was distracted from my conversation, put off by the strong smells in the dining room, and annoyed at the staff trying to squeeze by with a large portable cart.

                                        1. Update on Charbries

                                          I went there for dinner last week as part of a work function. It was quite busy, especially since we were a large group and another large group came in after us.

                                          One big long table did not promote good conversation (In fairness, due to space limitations, I'm not sure how they could have resolved this). The service was wonderful -- especially given how busy they were that night.

                                          Now the food. The caesar salad was good, and garlicly, but that was about it. Given the hype, I was expecting to achieve the Big O!

                                          I also had the beef special. Again it was very good, unfortunatly the beef was cooked beyond medium (as requested). My husband's venison was cooked well beyond the requested medium rare. This was in keeping with our previous experience.

                                          For dessert I had the molton lava cake. Tasted just as good as the one I make at home (so easy to do).

                                          DH and I both agreed that we would not return on our own dime. It was a very nice evening with good food. But not worth the price.

                                          Has anyone been to Alex's Kitchen in Elora? It's bit of a drive but the food is really good and the prices are bargin basement compared to k/w.

                                          1. My husband and I dined at "Elixir" in Cambridge and we were very impressed. We happened to be in this area on a Saturday evening (without a reservation) and checked out the outside menu at Lily Ruth's, and then crossed the street to view the outside menu at Elixir. This is a recently new restaurant
                                            (1 1/4 years) and where Carnevales was at one time.
                                            As it is January things are a bit slow, and luckily they were able to accomodate us.
                                            The beef tenderloin which we both chose was delish, and although the Yukon potatoes were the accompanying veg. we asked if they could substitute with squash which was featured with the pork tenderloin. This was done without a hitch.
                                            This dessert we chose was a Creme Brulee with pistachios and Gran Marnier. This was wonderful, and the coffee was full bodied, and hit the spot.
                                            The service was quick and friendly, the atmosphere very pleasing and warm, and very clean looking, although the are fixing up the decor.
                                            A nice surprise considering this is an area that does not have many fine dining restaurants.
                                            We will be returning this time with a reservation.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Francine

                                              You broke my golden rule - two people are NEVER allowed to order the same thing! Glad you had a nice evening though.

                                              CK

                                              1. re: Francine

                                                Thanks for reviewing Elixir. I noticed it a few weeks ago when I was at Red Basil for supper which was decent though not a Chow destination. That whole street seems to be an oasis in the midst of "nowhere". There's even a women's boutique that sells Marc Jacobs and Diane Von Furstenburg. Really odd for downtown Galt.

                                              2. I just moved to KW from Toronto and here are the restaurants tat I love:

                                                Martini's: It's nice just for drinks and apps in the evenings, or even for a nice dinner. Love the atmosphere.
                                                Three Kretans (Greek): by far the best Greek in the area. Close to the Center in the Square if you're catching a show too - but usually need reservations on those nights.
                                                Sing-Lees (Chinese): good food, good portions.
                                                The Grill (Fast Food): Good quality burgers, vey clean, a little pricy but you are paying for the quality.
                                                Benny's (Breakfast): Good quality breakfast, nice atmosphere. Haven't en in a while, but still a favourite.

                                                1. In Cambridge you have to add the Golden Kiwi, not a huge menu but the quality is there. Desserts, simple and sweet. Creme Brulee is wonderful. Great local micro brews available as well. Another favourite growing up in Cambridge (Now I am TO girl) was the Cookhouse in Rockton. Worth the drive for the ribs and stuffed salmon. Also you need to get the double stuffed potato as a side.

                                                  1. I moved here to Waterloo 2 1/2 years ago from Texas and my biggest disappointment is the lack of Mexican food! If anyone knows of any restaurants, I would be glad to hear about them - and no Taco Bell does not count as Mexican food :-)

                                                    As far as what is here that I've tried:

                                                    Excellent:
                                                    Two Goblets - best schnitzel and perogies in town! Way better food, service and price than The Metro in my opinion.
                                                    Bhimas Warung - Pricey, but really good if you looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion or you just want to try something funky like shark soup.
                                                    Marbles - excellent hamburgers and more!
                                                    Masala Bay - Best Indian in town.
                                                    Golf's - Best steak in town (great price too!), but avoid the salad bar - way too much mayo in everything.
                                                    Vincenzo's - Great place to pick up a sandwich, pasta or soup for lunch. Best dessert counter in town!

                                                    Very Good:
                                                    Cafe Sole - Good food, although the menu could be varied up some
                                                    Yukiko's - Good food...the small space can get very crowded so it's best not to go here with a large group.
                                                    Lotus Tea Room - Great vegetarian Chinese.
                                                    Al Madina's - Good Egyptian buffet.
                                                    Thai Sun - New Thai place at Waterloo Town Square - More upscale than Ben Than, but still priced well
                                                    Ben Than Viet Thai - Super busy all the time, but worth the wait.
                                                    Huether Hotel - has very good panzorotti's and a pretty decent breakfast.
                                                    Lai Lai Chinese
                                                    King Street Trio
                                                    Ethel's Lounge - yeah its a bar and a bit of a dive, but I've never been disappointed - the ribs are darn good.

                                                    Good:
                                                    20 King Street
                                                    Mel's Diner - you have to be in the right mood for Mel's, but its a decent breakfast.
                                                    Lucy's Seafood Kitchen - a few cajun items on the menu which I thoroughly enjoyed.
                                                    Yummyaki (Japanese) - Good all you can eat sushi
                                                    Ye's - Also good all you can eat sushi

                                                    Mediocre:
                                                    Hannah's
                                                    Charbries
                                                    Janet Lynn's
                                                    Angie's
                                                    Ali Baba
                                                    Cafe Bon Choix
                                                    Cafe 1812

                                                    Terrible:
                                                    Rude Native - My food was cold and congealed!
                                                    Fox and Fiddle - Unfortunately their wings night is on the same night as the poker tournaments - loud, bad service and the food wasn't that good.
                                                    Symposium - Expensive, stale desserts, tries to be too hip - they try for "atmosphere" but end up just being dark and uncomfortable.

                                                    This town is really in need of a good cafe/coffee/dessert place. I've been to Cafe 1812, Cafe Bon Choix, Cafe Mozart, Symposium and have found them to all be disappointing in one way or another.

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: scorn

                                                      I once got a fake fingernail in my pizza at Symposium, got a free drink as a reward for my trouble (they admitted the chef wore fake nails), and never went back.

                                                      Sorry to hear Charbries and Hannah's have gone downhill. Last year, I went for dessert only at Charbries and still enjoyed it. I like the fish tank and fireplace and the retro rolling cart for cooking up crepes, salads and so on. And both Hannah and Charmaine are truly lovely, generous women. I just hope they give themselves a much-needed update/overhaul.

                                                      I would drive all the way from Toronto just to enjoy a sandwich at Vincenzo's (on real Montreal bagel with pesto mayo!) or dinner at Bhima's. Or wings at Morty's. I haven't found wings as good in the GTA.

                                                      Try Taka Sushi on Bleams near Homer Watson - it's terrific (hopefully still is!) Or Northern Thai on Queen near Charles. Of course, I haven't been to either since 2004.

                                                      1. re: scorn

                                                        Rude Native in Waterloo is possibly one of the worst restaurants I've ever been to.

                                                        Pepi's Pizza in Kitchener is amazing, one of the best pizzas I've ever had anywhere. Nothing traditionally Italian - just awesome cheesy savoury goodness. Lovely.

                                                        Ali Baba was horrible. Sole was meh, and I can't understand why people like Mel's Diner so much. Morty's is supposed to be good. St. Jacob's farmers market: awesome. I miss Stanley's.

                                                        1. re: scorn

                                                          If Taco Bell is not your thing (understandable!) try the Mayan Grill in Cambridge for delicious, freshly prepared food! It's not a fancy place but the food is genuine and fresh.

                                                          1. re: scorn

                                                            Have you tried El Rinconcito Mexicano in Cambridge? It's received favourable reviews in the local paper -- "simple, no-frills home-cooked Mexican food".

                                                            Also, if you like pupusas, the Mi Tienda Latina in Kitchener is supposed to be good, according to the Record's food critic.

                                                            -----
                                                            Mi Tienda Latina
                                                            103 Ontario St S, Kitchener, ON N2G, CA

                                                            El Rinconcito Mexicano
                                                            21 Ainslie St N, Cambridge, ON N1R3J3, CA

                                                            1. re: JamieK

                                                              The pupusas at Mi Tienda Latina are good... but before this goes off on a different track I'd take The Record's food reviewer's words with less than a grain of salt, IMO.

                                                            2. re: scorn

                                                              on point reviews from scorn.
                                                              I am also new to the area and willing to drive the entire KW/Guelph/Cambridge/Elora in search of decent nosh.As an ex-Toronto chef, the lack of a decent brunch or Mexican makes me want open something myself.

                                                              Negatives

                                                              Bhima's.. interesting but not worth the price
                                                              Rude Native...rude food,highly over rated
                                                              Wildcraft and Del Dente...avoid the mediocrity
                                                              Curry in a Hurry (Guelph)the 'hurry' is the microwaves...bleh

                                                              Positives

                                                              Vincenzo's...for sandwiches! or artichoke tapenade
                                                              Cameron's...best take out for miles around,hope to try the Dim Sum today
                                                              Morty's...for wings

                                                              Finds (so far)

                                                              Joe's Real Italian Sandwiches (MacDonell St )Joe's a card and serves up cheap hot table and amazing italian salumi// Nona-style nosh

                                                              Sombaat the Thai guy (Woodlawn Guelph)nice and spicey

                                                              Sonny's Drive In (Waterloo) great fries, average burgers
                                                              Against the Grain is solid for lunch

                                                              -----
                                                              Sonny's Drive In
                                                              21 Kennedy Rd N, Brampton, ON L6V1X5, CA

                                                              1. re: highlander

                                                                highlander, looks like you have resurrected an old thread.

                                                                Re: your comments, Personally, I wouldn't call Del Dente or Wildcraft negatives but I understand the "mediocrity" comment.

                                                                Agree with your positives (Cameron is GREAT!) Have not been to Joe's and thus far have not found a great Italian sandwhich in KW, so I have to try. Are we talking Meatball, Veal, and Steak on a bun? Please advise what you ate and prices if possible?

                                                                BTW... IMHO best sandwhich in KW is at Taste of Philly Cheesesteak on King st. downtown. Nothing I've tried in Toronto (or EVEN Philly) comes close. (OK... Jim's in Philly close or equal)

                                                                Also, I think the best burger in KW (though not really a take out place) is at Bogey's Rustic grill at Pioneer Park plaza on homer Watson. Kobe burgers, Black and blue, jerk burger, lamb burger, even a burger topped with pulled pork! all delicous and served with fresh cut fries. Not cheap ($12-$15) but definetly good.

                                                                1. re: highlander

                                                                  Have you tried the Mexican place on King St (margaritas?), it's opposite the Stag Shop. Also, The Bauer Kitchen?

                                                                  For my money (a student's pocket BTW)

                                                                  - Masala Bay: IMO the best North Indian food you'll get in Waterloo. It is quite expensive though and I have been restricted to the Buffet offerings.

                                                                  - Vincenzos: Worth it if you get the unique stuff. The regular stuff is so-so

                                                                  - Eve Chocolatier: over priced. It may be good but I am not spending that much to find out

                                                                  - Cora's: I haven't been yet, but have heard good things. Any takers for an investigation?

                                                                  - Marbles: The food is good (temp, flavour etc) but it would be quite average without the atmosphere. I've had the salmon so far and have heard good things about the ratatouille and the apple pie.

                                                                  On my list of 'to try':
                                                                  - Hogtown Barbeque on Bearinger
                                                                  - The hot pot place in university plaza [minimum 2 required, so I can't get it: :( ]
                                                                  - The Bauer Kitchen
                                                                  - Uptown 21: it'll have to be dinner now
                                                                  - Coffee culture: They have daily lunch specials and the cakes look good (not baker street or la rocca for a change)
                                                                  - Seven shores Cafe: Small coffee shop in Regina, behind symposium cafe.

                                                                  Any one want to try some of these out with me?

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Vincenzo's
                                                                  740 Belmont Ave W, Kitchener, ON N2M1P2, CA

                                                                  Masala Restaurant
                                                                  205 Duke St, Dryden, ON P8N1G9, CA

                                                                  The Bauer Kitchen
                                                                  187 King St., Waterloo, ON N2J 1R0, CA

                                                                  1. re: meatnveg

                                                                    Hogtown: good pulled pork, have to go back to try other stuff.
                                                                    Cora's: Nice fresh fruit - but EXPENSIVE...
                                                                    On a recent trip to Vincenzo's, I noticed the Bauer Kitchen. Will have to give that a try. Any reviews of Bauer Kitchen? Anyone been yet?

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Vincenzo's
                                                                    740 Belmont Ave W, Kitchener, ON N2M1P2, CA

                                                                    The Bauer Kitchen
                                                                    187 King St., Waterloo, ON N2J 1R0, CA

                                                                    1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                                      haven't been yet. Do you wanna go? 2 people would be able to sample a lot more

                                                                      1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                                        Have been to the Bauer several times -- for dinner -- since in opened last December. What I like most about the place is the atmosphere. At long last KW has a funky mod but casual and comfortable restaurant with a fabulous wine list, great bar and fun music.
                                                                        Overall, the food is quite good, but like most restaurants in KW it is very bland. For example, the chorizo sausage is lacking chorizo (and spice!) and the leek sauce (Chicken Supreme) is lacking leek. They do bake their own bread which is very tasty. The pastas are mediocre, again, in need of additional ingredients or more of what is offered. Just a sprinkle of ingredients on a bed of pasta just doesn't seem right for almost $20. Pizzas are very good. THe service is above average but they never seem to remember us even though we are there on average every 3 weeks and often have the same server. We will continue to go here hoping for more specials and change of menu.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        The Bauer Kitchen
                                                                        187 King St., Waterloo, ON N2J 1R0, CA

                                                                2. Tandoori Corner in Cambridge (Hespeler Road across from Burger King) probably the best Indian restaurant in the region. Northern style Indian cuisine which is super spicy, rich, and very flavourful. Go for the affordable lunch buffet to try first...a lot of people may think its too spicy. http://www.mytc.ca

                                                                  Pho Nam Thanh in downtown Preston (King St. in Cambridge) across from the Preston Library at a gas station, good quality Pho and better than Ben Thanh now (they've gone downhill over the years), but everything else though is below average.

                                                                  Cameron Seafood in downtown Kitchener (Cameron/Charles, across from Cameron High School), high quality dim sum (higher than a lot of places in the GTA), small selection, kinda pricey but usually worth it because everything usually comes out hot, fresh, and delicious. The regular menu though is definately worth ignoring (mostly bland Canadian/Chinese stuff). http://cameronrestaurant.ca

                                                                  Pho Dau Bo in downtown Kitchener (King St., across from the Kitchener Market), very good quality Pho, but not as good as their North York location (I used to go there before this location opened a long time ago).

                                                                  Ellison's Bistro in downtown Kitchener (Charles St., across from the main bus terminal)...awesome Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas and other Caribbean delights, regular menu kinda pricey since its little upscale, but they have cheap takeout lunch specials. http://www.ellisonsbistro.com

                                                                  Rainbow Caribbean Cuisine in downtown Kitchener (somewhere on King St.), is cafeteria style with very affordable prices for lunch. I like the ox tail. http://rainbowcaribbean.com

                                                                  Ye's Sushi in downtown Kitchener (somewhere on King St.), all you can eat Japanese food. Been there only once, good for a cheap and filling long lunch and really the only place in the area for Japanese food, but no where near as good as the AYCE Japanese places in the GTA (which are cheaper, better, and have a lot more selection).

                                                                  Taka Japanese Restaurant in Kitchener (out on Bleams Road which is almost like the boonies to me). Best Japanese food in the region but so out of the way for me that I basically never go there...I usually rather save my cravings and go to Toronto.

                                                                  The Duke of Wellington pub in downtown Waterloo (Erb St., behind Rude Native Bistro, a place to seriously avoid by the way), pretty good British pub fare, beer battered Fish and Chips, Steak and Kidney Pie, Banger n Mash, etc. http://www.dukeofwellingtonpub.com

                                                                  Verses Restaurant in Kitchener (Victoria St.), upscale fine dining, contemporary French with some fushion. 3/5 star from Toronto Life, beautiful place, nice but small menu, been there only once for dinner, not much to complain, just somewhat underwhelming. But probably the best bet to try when you wanna spend a lot of money. http://www.versesrestaurant.ca

                                                                  places I'll would like to try again before recommending; Korean BBQ (a block away from Pho Dau Bo) and The Mayan Grill (little Mexican joint in downtown Preston, Cambridge).

                                                                  also, check out the kw.eats newsgroup at http://groups.google.ca/group/kw.eats... for some good recommendations in the area...and a lot of non-recommendations, lol

                                                                  and The Record newspaper restaurant reviews...
                                                                  http://www.therecord.com/entertainmen...

                                                                  and http://www.restaurantica.com for personal user online restaurant reviews.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: xianzhong

                                                                    if you are on Facebook and want to keep up to date with local restaurant and food related news in the Waterloo region (including Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and surrounding areas) then join this group

                                                                    http://www.facebook.com/groups/100139...

                                                                  2. has anyone tried Meditereaneo since it is under new ownership? I have never been....
                                                                    Was wondering how it is?

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ShariBlossom

                                                                      Is that the place in the University East plaza near Price Chopper? I haven't been since 2004 but it was very popular back then!

                                                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                        Yes, I have been to Mediterraneo. Much better than the past owners - you can tell that it is cleaner, however, I still think that Three Kretans has better Greek food. Better quality of food, pretty good wine list and definitely better service. Being from Waterloo, Mediterraneo is more convenient, but if I am not feeling lazy I would rather drive the extra 5-10 minutes to the Three Kretans. Also, the last time I was there the waitress told me that we could leave our car parked there if we were going to the Centre in the Square as long as we dined there of course, and then just walk across which was great! (I go to the Centre a lot, so this is a bonus).

                                                                    2. Fratello on King and Bridgeport has BY FAR the best north american style pizza I've had for awhile. Just make sure to ask for the thin crust. Walk in specials are great, and I recommend you get a fresh pizza made while you wait and eat it there...it a great little place with plenty of window seats!

                                                                      Can anyone recommend any good places for sunday brunch???

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: sofiav

                                                                        I am a full-time student at Laurier, and believe me I've eaten out quite a few times!!! To tell you the truth, Marbles (located in Uptown Waterloo across from the new LCBO) is awesome! I went there with 6 of my friends, and we all ordered different meals WHICH were amazing. The homefries are sooo good (usually I order salad but not here), the burgers are so big and tasty, the nachos are loaded, and the quiche is the perfect thing for lunch. I also am a true Benny's fan because of the family atmosphere and the hearty meals that they serve (chicken souvlaki dinner is awesome). The Grill (located on Univ. Ave) has awesome burgers and amazing onion rings. For Italian food, Enzios is a great choice (located on King) and is very reasonable. All in all i would say that is you want great food in a small and private setting, Marbles is the number one choice. Us Laurier girls give it two thumbs up!

                                                                      2. Hi,

                                                                        My wife and I both moved to Cambridge recently and have tried a variety of places. Caesar Martini's in Waterloo was certainly one we could recommend. Lively atmosphere with a unique interpretation on modern cooking techniques.

                                                                        It appears that Family Style restaurants are the primary focus in this area, and with that in mind, there are some excellent asian options out there, especially if you focus on the independents that have some superb variations on traditional themes. Some of our favorites here are Red Papaya, Red Basil, The Mayan Grill (Mexican in Cambridge). All of the above have menus online and can be easily found on the web..

                                                                        Hope the above helps and bon appetit,

                                                                        1. Conservative menu but great quality upscale dining: Benjamin's at St. Jacobs. Also, for fast and simple I like Kismet at the University Plaza (Bangladeshi, which is similar to North Indian).

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: fwilhelm

                                                                            I thought the food at Kismet was pretty decent, but with the bad attitude that the owner gave me and my colleagues when we went for a group lunch there, I wouldn't go back ever!
                                                                            One of my colleagues ordered the garlic naan, but when the order came, it was the regular naan. He mentioned that he ordered the garlic one and the guy said "no you didn't" and didn't want to take it back! After my friend insisted that he did indeed order the garlic one, he took it back grudgingly and then came over mid-meal to make him pay the 60 cents or whatever difference!!!!
                                                                            The other server at the front was nice, but geeeeez.. I refuse to give this guy any business.

                                                                          2. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Wildcraft (King St., near Weber). I've only been a few times and consider it excellent for the price point (moderate by Toronto standards). Food's not sublime - but they have a reliable, appealing and accessible menu. Summer 3-course prix-fixe for $30-ish was actually superlative, given the comparatively-bargain cost and sleek patio atmo.

                                                                            Bhima 's Warung is indeed tasty and inventive, but the the food's not so great that I don't begrudge the pricing, particularly given the atmo's depressing and service is so glacially slow that it's almost preferable to sit home with a plate of ramen noodles by the TV. At least you get fed before your head explodes.

                                                                            I really like the Duke Street Muse - Duke and Queenish in Kitchener. Modest little place with a limited menu, but the vibe's good and the food is tasty. Not open weekends, which is disappointing (it's the kind of place where you'd linger with your paper), but it's open 'til 8pm weeknights which makes it an easy after-work takeout spot. Vegetarian.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: urbnmns

                                                                              I've been to Wildcraft several times in the past few months and enjoyed the atmosphere and food a lot too. I think their walnut bread is really good and I like the pesto that they give with the bread basket.

                                                                              I find their service sloppy though, even with the number of servers they have running around. On two separate occasions, they brought out soup, but we had to ask for a spoon. On one of those times, we were given a table.. and then bread and the soup, but we had to ask for the small plates and cutlery sets (which took a really long time to come).

                                                                              Food-wise, I love their mushroom soup!! It is flavorful and thick, not from any thickeners, but because it is so full of minced mushrooms. I've ordered their mushroom flatbread as well, and I swear they just put the same 'soup' on the flatbread and cover it with cheese....
                                                                              Their lamb chops, at $30, is not worth it... 4 pieces and really not that flavorful.
                                                                              If you MUST order the salmon dish, ask to get it not completely done because the one time we ordered it, it was dryyyy.
                                                                              The mushroom fusilli is pretty good... lots of mushroom pieces... (i love mushrooms...can you tell?)
                                                                              Overall, it's a pretty nice place to take somebody coming to visit you in Waterloo!

                                                                            2. I went to Ye's Sushi about a week ago and was amazingly disappointed. I'd say about 75% of the sushi tasted of nothing but tempura, it was pretty gross. The actual fish sushi they had there was frozen and tasted like what you could buy in the supermarket. Especially at 20 dollars, it was an intensely dissatisfying experience, especially with what I've heard about it.

                                                                              Leung Yue on King and Bridgeport is probably even worse. My "spicy beef brisket noodle soup" was basically this salty beef broth with pasta and brisket cubes and was generally quite gross. Although, after my meal when I chatted with the owner for a bit, he insisted that the soup noodles weren't pasta, and told me that all the best menu items were on the Chinese-language menu, because white people apparently don't dig good food. I might try it again; it does seem to be popular with the Chinese in Waterloo. Then again, so is the bizarre Mr. Panino in the University Plaza and it certainly isn't great either.

                                                                              I've eaten at Masala Bay on King and Erb once, a year or two ago, and it was really pretty good as far as I remember. Can't recall any specifics of it but it certainly didn't disappoint. Considering I live about 5 minutes away walking, I should probably check out their all-you-can-eat lunch sometime.

                                                                              Viet Sun on Regina and Erb is also a pretty decent place. At least it was when it was Viet Thai earlier this year. I haven't eaten there since April when I saw the staff arguing passionately over something or other. I guess they must have changed ownership then! There's also a Viet place on King St in Kitchener, in the basement of some big building. I forget what it's called or where exactly it is but it was better than Viet Sun. Generally Vietnamese food is kinda decent in Waterloo, which is surprising considering how disappointing the restaurant scene is up here.

                                                                              Noodle Hut up next to Laurier is also kinda decent too, although not as cheap as it's made out to be. It's not really saying much but it has been the best Chinese I've tried up here. Keep in mind, though, that I haven't tried out Crystal Palace or Dragon Court, which are also supposed to be okay.

                                                                              Ethel's Lounge also has okay food, but one-ups that with a nice quasi-divey atmosphere. Fratello's, about a block down from there, has a nice little hole-in-the-wall atmosphere and decent pizza, but nothing too amazing.

                                                                              I'm missing something for sure, but it's not really like there's much to write home about in Waterloo anyways. Make the trip to Toronto if you want quality food -- or, just cook up here!

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: fennel cartwright

                                                                                I completely agree!!!!
                                                                                Ye's Sushi is so not worth it.... every special roll is filled with mounds of tempura bits as filler.... I couldn't believe I saw another Ye's Sushi location while I was driving up King St. and Northfield... Waterloo is sorely lacking in the sushi department, but it doesn't need another Ye's!!!
                                                                                The last time I went there was because it was one of handful of restaurants actually open at the time... so we were seated, but then after we ordered.. they were telling us to hurry up because they were closing!!! Meanwhile, there were other tables of people who were there before us and they were still eating by the time we left. What kind of place tells their customers to hurry up??

                                                                                1. re: fennel cartwright

                                                                                  Definitely skip Masala Bay's "all you can eat lunch" unless you get there early. My experience (aside from the butter chicken, which is by most accounts the main reason to go there, so it's frequently replenished) is that the food tends to be oily, and after the initial set-up, cold. (Maybe everyone ONLY eats the butter chicken...)

                                                                                  1. re: fennel cartwright

                                                                                    I agree about Ye's sushi. That stuff is gross and overpriced - but considering they're probably far from fresh ingredients and it IS one of very few AYCE Japanese places, it's the best they've got. Poor fare at best.

                                                                                    Leung Yue was a weekly thing for my friends and I one summer while going to school there. The owner has a vicious temper if you get on the bad side, the movies are incessantly playing (or some fairchild tv or other asian programming), and the noodles can be as cheap at $3! Porkchop noodles for 3 bucks is a steal, even if it does taste gross and probably is pasta. Including a generous tip, $4 gets you a meal!
                                                                                    Their hotpot isn't too bad, considering. I can't remember the price but they have a decent selection considering how far you are from a highly concentrated permanent asian community.
                                                                                    Mr. Panino is the same, and they're usually pretty nice too. If they're not too busy and they have more food around, they'll refill your plate at times. A nice bonus, not one to expect really I suppose.

                                                                                    Here's something that I don't think I've read about yet. There's a buffet called "At the Crossroads" up in Elmira. If you continue on Hwy 87(?) past University and King and the rest, you'll eventually pass St. Jacobs. Continue until you pass an Esso on the left and you should see it after a set of lights on the left. I've been told that it's sort of an "Amish Buffet" and the food has always been pretty good. The buffet on the weekends is great but I've only had the Saturday ones although I've heard Sunday is better. Breakfast ends at 10 or 10:30 and Lunch opens up at 11, including a selection of pies. Who knew all you can eat pie could be so good?

                                                                                    For FINE dining, check out Charcoals near Fairway and King in the Radisson Hotel in Kitchener. Their prime rib au jus is pretty awesome. It's the same group of people who started Wildcraft and I've never had a problem when I've gone.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Radisson Hotel Kitchener
                                                                                    2960 King St E, Kitchener, ON N2A, CA

                                                                                    1. re: Paradocs

                                                                                      I have been in KW for a few months now during the workweek for a long term project. These are my experiences so far:

                                                                                      Good
                                                                                      Hannah's Bella Bistro – Small wine list, we had a nice Barolo but not was not served in decanter. Tapas are inventive, very tasty and easy on the eye. Recommend the duck.

                                                                                      Café Artisanale – Great food, a little dark at night outdoor, trendy.

                                                                                      Pho Dau Bo – Phos are simply good. Prices are unbeatably low for the food.

                                                                                      Martini – Nice waiting staff, many food choices (shares kitchen and menu with
                                                                                      Charcoal), large wine and cocktail selection.

                                                                                      Charcoal – Shares kitchen and menus with Martini. Excellent meats.

                                                                                      Del Dente – Decent Italian comfort food. Food not too exciting, but very nice ambient and waiting staff.

                                                                                      Rude Native – Been a few times, good food so far, service ok. Good cocktails.


                                                                                      OK
                                                                                      Salute – Excellent pastas. Pizza is forgettable, Salads and entrees ok, never tried their lunch sandwiches.

                                                                                      Niko Niko - Decent Bento boxes at lunch, annoying no alcohol license yet.

                                                                                      Café Bon Choix – Had a couple of tasty crepes, good Lebanese mix with hummus and pita triangles. Outdated lunch with plastic plants.

                                                                                      Marbles – Good for lunch, tried for dinner once, I was disappointed in food choices and service.

                                                                                      Boa Nova Rodizio – Small operation to be a Rodizio (go/stop indicators to receive roasted meats from a giant skewer). Appetizers table had a couple of interesting choices, meats were decent.


                                                                                      Negative
                                                                                      Casa Rugantino – Very blah Italian food. Charged me CAD22 for 1/2 liter house wine (not a price mistake). Never gone back

                                                                                      Next to try on my list are: Taka, Cameron, Asie, Three Kretans, Masala Bay.

                                                                                      Cheers,

                                                                                  2. I recently went to the former Thai-Viet (now called Viet Sun) and was pretty disappointed. It seems to have got a fair bit worse. The pho wasn't very flavorful and the beef was even worse. It tasted almost precooked (not that I know why they would do that). The spring rolls were too densely packed and basically had the texture of eating a brick. It's still better than the Golden Mango in University Plaza, but definitely not as good as Pho Dau Bo, which is really pretty decent fare.

                                                                                    While waiting for the Greyhound at the Charles St. terminal I popped across the street to this grungy looking chip stand. It didn't really compare to the chip trucks in Toronto but was still okay, I thought.

                                                                                    After a bit of hype around these boards I tried out the new Mary Brown's fried chicken location at Bridgeport and Weber. It was okay I guess. The chicken was nice and juicy with a well-done breading. However the "taters" were basically the same as supermarket potato wedges. I still prefer Popeye's but this is pretty good, if slightly expensive.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: fennel cartwright

                                                                                      I just remember going there on a Saturday, not long after it had opened. The restaurant was half full and I waited well over an hour for my food, there was apparently one cook in the kitchen. Everybody around us also had tables devoid of food. Alas, the curry I got was pretty ho-hum.

                                                                                      The East African Cafe just around the corner of the terminal had alright food, it wasn't particularly hot but I liked that their injera wasn't overly tangy (I don't know how authentic that is, though).

                                                                                    2. Definately try Verses in Kitchener, Janet Lynn's in Uptown Waterloo and Bhima's on King St just N of University (right before Morty's). Go to Torontolife.com for more specific reviews of these restaurants, but these are the three premier dining establishments in Kitchener-Waterloo.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: askher

                                                                                        And if you really have a wad of money to blow, go to Langdon Hall in Cambridge (the same people own Verses). They even having a daily tasting menu.

                                                                                        1. re: Blueicus

                                                                                          The people at Langdon Hall do not own Verses...the people who own Verses did work at Langdon Hall and The Blackshop for a few months before they opened the restaurant though, but that's it.

                                                                                          Anyhow, I would like to know more details about your experiences at Langdon Hall if you don't mind. I haven't heard too much about it in the past few years since the latest chef arrived. I'm wondering when did you go there and what did you order?

                                                                                          1. re: xianzhong

                                                                                            Sorry, my mistake. Actually, I've never ever been to Langdon Hall (it's not easy for me to go there and to be honest if I want to spend a wad of money eating I typically wait until I go back to Toronto). However, according to the website the chef seems to have a pretty good CV and the menu looks a darn sight better than most of the supposed upscale places in the area. I guess I will make it a point to go when I've saved up the money, though.

                                                                                      2. I have to say that Hannah's is now off my list.

                                                                                        We use to enjoy the Tapas at her basement location, but always found the service a little casual. But now we have noticed a huge decline in the quality and flavour of the food over the last six months. On our last visit, we ordered one of the flat bread pizzas that was suppose to have parmasan cheese, instead it came loaded with heavy asiago.

                                                                                        As for Hannah's upstairs, we ended up walking out on our last visit due to non-existent service. We were seated (in the empty restaurant) within five minutes of our arrival. We ordered bottle water (which came quickly) then waited...and waited...and waited...for someone to take our order. My husband went up to the bar and asked one of the four waitresses if someone could take our order. One waitress responded that she would be over a couple of minutes. She then proceeded to go and take the order from another table that arrived 10 minutes after us. At that point we got up and told the first waitress we saw that we were leaving. She shrugged her shoulders.

                                                                                        We've heard similar stories about bad service at this restaurant.

                                                                                        1. Make a point of checking out Michael Hodgson over at Wildcraft; I was really impressed by his work. In fact, the owner, Charcoal Group, has several restos in Kitchener/Waterloo: Charcoal Steak House, Martini's and del Dente. All worth checking!!

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Wildcraft
                                                                                          425 King Street North, Waterloo, ON n2j 2z5, CA

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: The Goddess

                                                                                            So is there anywhere to get (relatively) good sushi in KW? I'm heading back to UW in April and need to get my priorities in order!

                                                                                            1. re: rbc

                                                                                              Taka on Bleams just east of Homer Watson.

                                                                                              1. re: rbc

                                                                                                Try Sakura Island on King just past University. I've only had two rolls there, but they were tasty and filling, and much better than Ye's or the few I've had at Niko Niko.

                                                                                            2. I always wanted to try Yukiko's and Janet Lynn's Bistro. However they both don't have websites, which isn't very helpful because I like to know the type of cuisine and menu items they serve before I decide to try a place.
                                                                                              As well, when I passed by Janet's recently they didn't even have a menu posted outside! They weren't open either because it was midday, so I couldn't step inside to ask for one. For regular clientele, this may be a tolerable practice but for someone who has never tried their restaurant before, it would be good to know what they serve, rather than solely relying on blogs and outdated dishes people mentioned they ate, etc.
                                                                                              Any opinions on this?

                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: sugarcube

                                                                                                TWO WORDS: Langdon Hall.

                                                                                                Had both Breakfast and Lunch there last year.
                                                                                                Both were 9/10!

                                                                                                And Executie Chef Jonathan Gushue rocks!!
                                                                                                Great guy, and hands on, too!

                                                                                                Looking foward to returning soon!

                                                                                                1. re: sugarcube

                                                                                                  Janet Lynn's feels and judging from previous reviews reads like it hasn't changed in ten, fifteen years. Unfortunately, I simply didn't feel that my meal was any good, the dishes felt tired and boring and I was presented with the silliest and most pretentious bread plate I've ever seen.

                                                                                                  1. re: Blueicus

                                                                                                    We've avoided JL's for that very reason. I've been to Charbries a few times (not by choice) and have always felt that they need update their decor and menu.

                                                                                                    Yukiko's isn't bad. The good thing is that it's not to pricey, so at least you know you won't be dropping $150 for a meal - if you don't like it.

                                                                                                    1. re: RYP

                                                                                                      Charbries isn't any good? Considering how much bolstering they've done about their molten chocolate cake recipe being the inspiration for the President's Choice rendition, I thought they would have great food as well.

                                                                                                      1. re: sugarcube

                                                                                                        Molton Lava Cake has been around for years (it's very old school) - I hardly think that PC based their's on Charbries. I make a great lava cake from a recipe that I got from the LCBO magazine.

                                                                                                        Sorry not a fan of Charbries that there tableside service, over cooked meat and 80's decor.

                                                                                                  2. re: sugarcube

                                                                                                    i've only been to Yukiko's for dessert and coffee, but they can't really post a fixed menu because i think they change their menu items very often... daily maybe. They have them written on chalkboards on the wall.

                                                                                                    1. re: sumashi

                                                                                                      Yukiko's does have a fixed menu, but they also have a specials board that rotates fairly frequently.

                                                                                                      1. re: Blueicus

                                                                                                        Thanks for the info... by the way, what are their operating hours? Are they open 7 days a week?

                                                                                                  3. Have I mentioned Donair & Kebab House Turkish Cuisine right beside Taka on Bleams? Definitely order the beyti and the pide. Can't wait to return to try their other menu offerings.

                                                                                                    1. Recommendations and avoidances:

                                                                                                      Langdon Hall for Sunday brunch--very good. Excellent service. Beautiful spot. Very good to excellent food--interesting choices, clean flavours, well prepared and presented. The duck confit was particularly good. Good wine list. Worth the price.

                                                                                                      Wildcraft--good. Fun, lively (for Waterloo) atmosphere. Good service. Okay food, though nothing special in terms of flavour or presentation. Better than okay steak. Expensive for the quality/skill of the kitchen. Good wine list.

                                                                                                      Hannah's (upstairs)--My experience was similar to the post above. Terrible service--a long wait even with a reservation, slow and inattentive waitresses. Food that sounded good on the menu but that was really disappointing across the table. Much of our meal seemed to have been prepared well in advance, reheated, and then buried under micro greens. I won't return.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: gfjones

                                                                                                        It really is sad how Hannah's let the quality of food and service go downhill. I've noticed this with a lot of restaurants in the Waterloo area. They open strong then quickly decline.

                                                                                                      2. Maybe we should start a separate Cambridge thread, but I recommend City Pizza in Cambridge for ooey gooey delish thick crust delivery pizza and wings.

                                                                                                        1. The Olde Heidelburg House in Heidelburg.
                                                                                                          Go for the baked hock dinner and a pitcher of house lager.

                                                                                                          DT

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                            My favourite restaurants:
                                                                                                            Three Kretans (Frederick St. across from Centre in the Square) - I just dined there tonight (again) and I must say that the food there was fantastic as usual! Everything was so tasty and their lamb chops and baklava are fabulous, not to mention the service. I haven't been to a restaurant with great customer service in a long time and the service here is consistently excellent - probably because its family owned and there seems to always be an family member there which is nice. You will never leave this place hungry. So, if you like Greek food, this place fits the bill. Just make reservations because sometimes they can get packed if there is a performance at the Centre In the Square - otherwise, generally, you are ok.
                                                                                                            Metro (on Victoria Street)- mmmmmm..schnitzel. If you are a schnitzel person, this place is great. Its a small place, very warm and inviting and the schnitzel is very fresh and tasty! Service here is also for the most part very good - again, family owned so they take extra care of their customers. Great German restaurant.
                                                                                                            For burgers, try The Grill in Waterloo (in University Plaza) - it is a little more pricier than say McDOnalds or HArveys, butyou are getting what you pay for. The quality is much better and the food is always fresh - doesn;'t sit in a steam table or get microwaved, thy make everyting in front of you. There wraps are also very good and again the service generally is pretty good also. IF you don't mind spending a little extra, this place is great.

                                                                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                              Blasphemous; give me pigtails and ribs with a side of battered mushrooms or give me death!

                                                                                                            2. Has anyone tried Uptown 21? I was thinking about heading to Verses again ( had a wonderful experience there when I was in town) but wanted to try something different

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: sugarcube

                                                                                                                I always like City Cafe Bakery. There's one in Kitchener, and another in Cambridge. Funky, quirky place, but great bread, pizza, butter tarts, etc.
                                                                                                                Good vibes, a cool honour system for paying, and the owner is hilarious.

                                                                                                                1. re: Marumari

                                                                                                                  oooh butter tarts eh?
                                                                                                                  Thanks for the rec Marumari!
                                                                                                                  Do you know their operating hours?

                                                                                                                  1. re: sugarcube

                                                                                                                    7am to 6pm, 7 days/week I believe.
                                                                                                                    Victoria and Strange intersection in Kit

                                                                                                                2. re: sugarcube

                                                                                                                  I'm in love with Uptown 21! It's my new go-to place for good food. 3 course prix fix lunch menu is $25, and 3 course prix fix dinner is $35. Everything is available a la carte too if you don't feel like that much food.

                                                                                                                  The ingredients are fresh (and I believe the owner mentioned that they source locally as much as possible). The food is tastier than Wildcraft, the plates are better executed than Verses, and the pricepoint is lower than Langdon Hall. The atmosphere is generic dark woods and candles..but cozy nonetheless.

                                                                                                                  I think there may be consistency issues though as the lunch I had there 2 weeks ago was average, whereas the lunch I had there a month ago was one of my top three meals in the decade that I've been eating in this town.

                                                                                                                  1. re: missanusha

                                                                                                                    nice to hear that uptown21 is doing well.

                                                                                                                    The one time I ate there, the food was much tastier than anything I had eaten at Verses and is a whole lot cheaper with better portion sizes.
                                                                                                                    The only thing verses has everyone else beat at is their service.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mmmduck

                                                                                                                      I enjoyed another dinner at Uptown 21 last week- enjoyed the late summer marinated veg salad, and the potato cheese tortellini with maple & vinegar.

                                                                                                                      They have a special Oktoberfest suckling pig special coming up, starting on Oct 9th. I think you need to make reservations for a group in order to get the suckling pig- but it looked like it might be a neat time to visit Uptown 21.

                                                                                                                      1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                        Thanks to those who recommended Uptown 21. I found myself in Waterloo this week with one night to myself and, based on the reviews here, plus a gander at the menu on the restaurant website, I popped in without reservation for dinner. Romantic space, I wish I had been with my husband. Friendly, professional service from the outset. I didn't go for the prix fixe, choosing instead to order from the regular menu. Mussels to start, a large portion in a tomato, olive broth with crisps on the side. I ordered the supplementary between-course sorbet; it was a lovely lemon, a little overly sweet for what I think of as a palate-cleanser--could have been dessert, and also a very large portion. Quarter chicken, white meat, was succulent, perhaps the most tender chicken I've eaten in a restaurant, and the accompanying sage spaetzle with cranberries was perfect. I had the maple sugar pie for dessert, and I'm still dreaming about it.

                                                                                                                        I got some info. about the suckling pig: A minimum of 8 people are needed to order it, and I think they may also require advance notice. They also have some other interesting items on the menu during Oktoberfest, including homemade pretzels!!!! I might just need to go back, and soon!

                                                                                                                        One thing I found kind of fun is the bacon on the supplement menu. Add bacon to your dish, for free, "just because we like your choice", or something like that. So, my spaetzle had delicious, juicy bits of bacon mixed in--at no extra cost. A fine addition, too, I might add, in case anyone else orders the spaetzle.

                                                                                                                3. I've really enjoyed reading through this thread and I've now got a list of places to try out but I thought I'd add a few of my own favourites.

                                                                                                                  Marcelo's Restaurant on Eagle St. in Cambridge tops my list. It's top-notch Italian with the best bread anywhere. The pasta is made fresh as is everything in the restaurant (often you'll walk in to see the bread rising on the counter) and although it has a very small and limited menu, every item is just excellent. Once you get past the strip mall exterior, it's one of the best dining experiences in the area and the service is wonderful.

                                                                                                                  El Rinconcito Mexicano, Ivey's Restaurant, and Andy's Pizza in downtown Galt are all hole-in-the-wall shabby little places where the owner is also the cook and the food is better than you'll find in any upscale establishment in the area. The Mexican restaurant is authentic and delicious and the sopes, burritos, enchiladas are all fantastic. Ivey's is Jamaican fare and it's the real deal too... the jerk is amazing and you can get oxtail and curry that takes you back to the island. Andy's is, hands down, the best pizza you'll find anywhere. Thin, crispy crust and fresh (real bacon and cheese and market fresh veggies) toppings combined with an amazing sauce. A large deluxe pizza is $20 but just a few pieces fill you up because they're so jam packed with pepperoni, bacon and veggies.

                                                                                                                  Langdon Hall for Sunday brunch or high tea is one of the best "special occasion" places you'll find. The setting is serene and elegant and the service is quick, pleasant and unobtrusive. The food is first rate and well worth the price, which is $42 for brunch and $27 for afternoon tea ($49 with champagne) - reservations are a must.

                                                                                                                  Silver China Restaurant & Tavern (Cambridge - Elgin St.) and Cameron Seafood Restaurant (Kitchener - Cameron St.) have the best Chinese food. Silver China's chicken balls have twice as much chicken as they do dough and it's perfect white meat. Their cantonese chow main is incredible and their lemon chicken is amazing. Cameron's has the best snow pea leaves with garlic I've ever had and their dim sum is amazing but you need a sense of humour about the lack of service. If a mistake is made on your order, it likely won't be fixed but their food is so good it's worth overlooking the service.

                                                                                                                  Three Kretans has all the service Cameron's lacks and more... it's an absolute delight to eat there and every waiter and waitress I've had there is my favourite. You get the same attention if you're dining alone as a giant group gets and they're also fabulous with kids. One of my son's friends had never tried Greek food so the waitress made suggestions and he's now a regular. The food is consistently good.

                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                  El Rinconcito Mexicano
                                                                                                                  21 Ainslie St N, Cambridge, ON N1R3J3, CA

                                                                                                                  Langdon Hall
                                                                                                                  1 Langdon Drive, Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8, Canada

                                                                                                                  Andy's Pizza
                                                                                                                  12 Wellington St, Cambridge, ON N1R3Y5, CA

                                                                                                                  Three Kretans
                                                                                                                  151 Frederick St, Kitchener, ON N2H2M2, CA

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Cinemaven

                                                                                                                    Three Kretans is amazing! I don't live in KW anymore, but I miss this place.

                                                                                                                    I would skip Langdon Hall- at least for dinner rather than the tea you mention. It's overpriced, and quite overrated..

                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                    Three Kretans
                                                                                                                    151 Frederick St, Kitchener, ON N2H2M2, CA

                                                                                                                    1. re: Cinemaven

                                                                                                                      Three Kretans is the ugliest place in town but it is awesome food, no doubt.

                                                                                                                      I have to put in a good word for this sick Serbian place, J&B on Victoria near the Kaufman Lofts. It's a little hole in the wall place with "buy one get one half-price" for all schnitzel dinners. The schnitzels come all different ways; I like the Boem, wrapped up with cream cheese and ham and fried up like a yummy schnitzel log. They come with fried potatoes w/bacon and onions, SO good. Get the Serbian beer ("Nektar," IIRC) and you'll be in heaven.

                                                                                                                      Also - Nick and Nat's has cancelled lunch for the summer BUT they're doing an amazing all-you-can-eat tapas dinner on Tuesdays. It's $25 vegetarian and $35 meat/seafood; I did the former last night and latter last week; both were excellent. There are several dessert courses and the selection - which is all a surprise - changes daily. So, SO good. Pulled pork poutine, smoked duck and mushrooms on walnut toast, warm olives, chorizo with spaetzle, etc. Amazing stuff, and a great price too.

                                                                                                                      Margarita's in Uptown Waterloo finally opened; don't bother with the lunch, because there are no lunch specials. Pretty pricey place, especially for Waterloo. Authentic, eh, kind of, but not worth the dough. Lunch for two - with one Diet Coke for me and tap water for my husband - was around $40.

                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                      Three Kretans
                                                                                                                      151 Frederick St, Kitchener, ON N2H2M2, CA

                                                                                                                      1. re: ljamunds

                                                                                                                        Thanks for mentioning J & B. Will have to give it a try next time I'm in the area.

                                                                                                                        1. re: phoenikia

                                                                                                                          It's amazing, you won't be disappointed. :)

                                                                                                                      2. re: Cinemaven

                                                                                                                        I have to say I had one experience with Marcelo's and I will never be back. We went in on a weeknight for dinner and they didn't seem to know how to handle a walk in. There was only one other couple in the restaurant, so finding a table wasn't an issue but we almost walked out thinking they couldn't accomodate us!

                                                                                                                        We had two servers the whole evening. One had a very awkward presence and would linger at your table for a a few seconds to long after you placed an order or when she dropped something off. I'm not sure what she was expecting us to say or do beyond "thank you".

                                                                                                                        The other server had so much perfume on that I could taste it. Not appealing when she is bringing you food. And each time she would walk by the scent would linger for a while ruining the taste of whatever I was eating.

                                                                                                                        I don't remember what we had to eat. I think it was okay, but not exeptional. Not good enough to bring me back.

                                                                                                                        Interestingly enough friends of our went there months later and had a very similar experience.

                                                                                                                        1. re: RYP

                                                                                                                          As far as I'm concerned, all restaurant staff, not just servers, should be directed to not wear scent (perfume and after-shave for sure but also strong-scented shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, whatever). Nothing (except tobacco smoke or clinging odor) can ruin a meal more.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Cinemaven

                                                                                                                          Update to my original post... Silver China has changed owners and in a day, went downhill. The chicken balls are now mainly tasteless dough and nothing tastes the same.

                                                                                                                          RYP, you're the first person I know to have been disappointed with Marcello's. I have family who comes from Oakville, Burlington and London to eat there but we're Italian food lovers to a ridiculous degree. I've never noticed perfume/cologne on any of the servers and I agree it's off putting and I wouldn't have enjoyed my dinner if I was in a cloud of it either.

                                                                                                                        3. New review for Lions Brewery:
                                                                                                                          Went on 20th June for quiet dinner. I had the mussels mozambique and a small Lions salad. My companion (mom) had a carnivore pizza.
                                                                                                                          Both dishes were good without being memorable. They each had good and bad point. My Mussels came in a tomato leek broth that was a little too salty and watery for my liking, but they were cooked well and the accompanying bread (house made) was delicious. The salad was fresh and crisp, but uninteresting (not that I had any expectations from a house/chef salad)
                                                                                                                          The pizza was a hearty, slightly spicy mix of 3 meats, a spicier sauce and a thin crust. Portions were adequate but it was quite pricey ($31 for two, no drinks)

                                                                                                                          BTW, I went to Marbles on Saturday and... I must say I was let down by the ratatouille. The eggplant wasn't cooked all the way through and the dish had no uniting flavour and should have been let to stew longer. Also, the spicing was absent and dish was bland. As a final point, they took an abnormal amount of time to bring my dishes and the bread for the ratatouille (+10 mins after bringing the dish)

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: meatnveg

                                                                                                                            Marbles has always sucked; both the food and service are a total waste of time.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ljamunds

                                                                                                                              It's too bad, since it's a cute little place in a good location. But yeah, it has always been bad.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Marumari

                                                                                                                                What kills me is how close it is to being good. The dishes seem to fail on points that are rudimentary. For example: the ratatouille has undercooked eggplant, the accompanying side comes 15 mins after the dish is served

                                                                                                                          2. Went here for brunch/lunch and were quite satisfied overall.
                                                                                                                            I had the Peameal with a side fruit cup. My companions both had the Pizzetas (one with grilled veg + goat cheese and one with soppressata).
                                                                                                                            Both the pizzeta's passed with flying colours as did my order.
                                                                                                                            I also, tried their 'make your own caesar" bar. I have never made the drink myself and though there were bartenders, none offered their advice when asked. The result was a sub-standard drink, albeit with some pretty interesting garnishes (onions and chorizo!!). The overall bill was a little on the high side, but it was expected. I plan to return and try their dinner menu as it seems more interesting.
                                                                                                                            The highlight of the meal: Stephen Hawking on the table behind us!!

                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                            The Bauer Kitchen
                                                                                                                            187 King St., Waterloo, ON N2J 1R0, CA

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: meatnveg

                                                                                                                              Had dinner at the Bauer Kitchen last week. I had the soppresatta pizza (good flavor, nice sauce) and the Romaine (Caesar) salad. (always acceptable). Companion had 1/2 chicken and pronounced it "very good" but veg were overcooked. Passed on dessert, but a cuple did look interesting. I need to return to try something other than pizza and see how the kitchen does...

                                                                                                                              overall 7.5/10

                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                              The Bauer Kitchen
                                                                                                                              187 King St., Waterloo, ON N2J 1R0, CA

                                                                                                                            2. Bauer Kitchen has mostly been good. Their weekend brunch was awesome. Great atmosphere, good service, I'm guessing food could be better but for KW standards it's solid.

                                                                                                                              City Cafe always for bagels, wood oven pizzas, and sandwiches. Great place on Union, with another location opened up.

                                                                                                                              Just'n'Pita for amazing falafel and chicken shwarma, with the most insane amount of garlic in their sauces. So good, but can get definitely get a garlic burn from them.

                                                                                                                              McMullan's for great pizza (that's it). A good combo of floppy base and super thick end crust.

                                                                                                                              Ben Thanh in north Waterloo for truly great Thai.

                                                                                                                              Ye's Sushi for AYCE sushi, always been good for me (although pricey if you don't eat a lot).

                                                                                                                              -----
                                                                                                                              Ye's Sushi
                                                                                                                              583 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2V2E5, CA

                                                                                                                              The Bauer Kitchen
                                                                                                                              187 King St., Waterloo, ON N2J 1R0, CA

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: miketoronto

                                                                                                                                I went to the Bauer for dinner recently.
                                                                                                                                My mum had the 1/2 lemon-thyme roasted chicken. About half way through, she said it tasted 'off'. At first I thought it was the 'organic' nature of the bird which was imparting a flavour that was different than a regular grocery store bird. However, I took a bite and found myself trying to gnaw my through about a half inch of fat and cartilage. This was, I imagine, a result of leaving the skin on the bird or uneven heating in the oven.

                                                                                                                                My dish (Cioppino) was spot on, though not exceptional.

                                                                                                                                I found it edging on the high side (3 mains, 1 appetizer and 1 dessert) at $85 (pre-tip) for a 3 person dinner. Also, vegetarians have almost no variety in the menu as it is quite meat heavy.

                                                                                                                                The highlight of the dinner was the mushroom tart, which stood out due to its lemon infused crust.

                                                                                                                                I don't think i'll be heading back any time soon though.

                                                                                                                              2. I recently tried "41" at 41 King St in Kitchener. It used to be Peter Martin's 20 King which was a little too uptight for me. So I gave the new incarnation a try and it was awesome. The menu is diverse without being pretentious and everything we had was yummy. good price points too. I will definitely go back.

                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                20 King Restaurant
                                                                                                                                45 King St W, Kitchener, ON N2G1A1, CA

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: dinnerndrinks

                                                                                                                                  Unpretentious? Really? We just ate there and their classic french onion soup was called "caramelized onion broth with croutons and Gruyère" or some such drivel. I ordered it anyway, and it was literally a bowl full of croutons with the broth poured over it. I tasted good enough, but way too much bread and not enough soup.

                                                                                                                                  My wife had the Caesar, which she said was quite good, but she had the un-remarkable crab cakes and I had the braised short rib, which was braised at too high a heat so it was dryish, and tasteless.

                                                                                                                                  I wouldn't bother going back, service was pretty mediocre as well.

                                                                                                                                2. The best restaurant, in my opinion, in the area is Ben Thahn Thai/Vietnamese. I have yet to find another "non-ethnic" restaurant I like. I also like Koh-i-noor on Philip, Bangladeshi. We need a good Mexican restaurant in the worst way!

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Superbunny

                                                                                                                                    I haven't personally tried it, but I hear that El Rinconsito Mexicano in Cambridge (21 Ainslie Street) is suppose to be good.

                                                                                                                                    I tried My Thai in uptown Waterloo yesterday for lunch and quite enjoyed it. I had the lunch special of pad thai with a spring roll. This is one of the few pad thai in the area that I enjoy.

                                                                                                                                    I also noticed yesterday that a new fish and chip place is going to be opening. It's called "ish & chips".

                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                    El Rinconsito Mexicano
                                                                                                                                    21 Ainslie St N, Cambridge, ON N1R3J3, CA

                                                                                                                                  2. Charbries has closed. Apparently there is a sign on the door that says as of July 14, they will be closed. It comes as a surprise to many. Not that I will miss this restaurant, but I wonder what happened.

                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                    Charbrie's
                                                                                                                                    15 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2J2W6, CA

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: RYP

                                                                                                                                      There is note on their door from the landlord stating that the locks have been changed due to non-payment of rent.
                                                                                                                                      So, i would guess they weren't making any money.

                                                                                                                                      Oh, well we still have Janet Lynns as a fine dining destination.

                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                      Janet Lynn's
                                                                                                                                      92 King St S, Waterloo, ON N2J1P5, CA

                                                                                                                                      1. re: meatnveg

                                                                                                                                        Oh, I am truly sad for Charmaine/Charbries. I had a craving for a tableside-prepared meal (caesar salad, crepes suzette) and wanted another road trip.

                                                                                                                                        Janet Lynn's was never great. Does anyone actually like their food?

                                                                                                                                        Interesting reading all the comments on Bauer Kitchen. Sounds mediocre and will avoid.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                          Alibaba's, now known as Encore does a table side caesar salad.

                                                                                                                                          I have heard good things about Janet Lynn's but have never ended up eating there.

                                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                                          Janet Lynn's
                                                                                                                                          92 King St S, Waterloo, ON N2J1P5, CA

                                                                                                                                          1. re: meatnveg

                                                                                                                                            True! Encore is really good - the steaks and crab legs are excellent.

                                                                                                                                    2. Went here for lunch and then dinner this weekend.

                                                                                                                                      Both times, the service was good, you don't get rushed even though it is a patio and they were clearly busy.
                                                                                                                                      I had the Lafayette salad ($12) and my dining partner had the Jerk Chicken wrap ($9).
                                                                                                                                      The salad was a nice mix of chicken, an egg, walnuts, bleu cheese and basic greens with salad veggies (cukes, tomato, onion). The helping is big enough for a meal .

                                                                                                                                      The wrap is listed as being 'spicy', which is somewhat misleading. There is some definite heat from the spices and peppers, but the addition of mango chunks and corn are enough to balance it out and provide some sweetness.
                                                                                                                                      In total, the meal with a side of rabbit food (carrots + celery + dip, $4) and a side of their suicide wing sauce ($0.75), came to $30 (incl. tax). It's not overly exorbitant, considering the portions, ambiance and taste.

                                                                                                                                      The meal was the same the second time around (what can I say, I am a sucker for a huge, hearty salad).
                                                                                                                                      I plan on trying the wings and mussels sometime in the near future.

                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                      Barley Works Bar & Grill
                                                                                                                                      59 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2J2X2, CA

                                                                                                                                      1. For anyone worried about not having a decent breakfast spot in town, try out the Cedar Barn near the St Jacob's Farmer's Market. Service is terrible but the food is traditional breakfast fare with decent homefries (key, but splurge the extra dollar to get the onions and green peppers), and, apparently, locally sourced food. Their dinner menu doesn't look great but for a decently priced greasy spoon breakfast this place is pretty good.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                              It's similar in size and consistency to a lemon meringue pie. The filling is like a creamy peanut butter filling, topped with whipped cream and crushed peanut butter-y candies. It's divine and I think you can still buy them whole, to go, for about $12 or so.

                                                                                                                                        1. Went to Wildcraft for a Birthday lunch and I have to say I came away feeling a tad fleeced by it all.
                                                                                                                                          We ordered a Seafood Bouillabasse and the Whiskey Glazed Side Ribs for our mains. Two things stood for the Bouillabasse:
                                                                                                                                          1. It was good in taste and had a good variety of seafood
                                                                                                                                          2. IT TASTED EXACTLY LIKE THE CIOPPINO AT BAUER KITCHEN!! I understand it's the same group of owners, but passing off a bouillabasse as cioppino and vice versa is little hard to bear.

                                                                                                                                          The ribs were similarly dissappointing. Mind you, they were well pepared and succulent, but the whiskey glaze was sweet as ketchup and there was no bite from the whiskey as I had hoped to taste (and was promised). The side of Sweet Potato wedges was OK, A little too big which led to a bad crunchy:mushy ratio.

                                                                                                                                          Desserts were much better, I had the tropical fruit with coconut gelato. The gelato is supplied by Whole-Lot-a-Gelato in Uptown and was good as usual. Te other dessert was the banana's foster cream pie. The taste was good , though it was basically a banana cream pie with some mashed rummy banana's on the bottom.

                                                                                                                                          Overall, portions were a little small (especially the bouillabasse) and the taste did not make up for that.

                                                                                                                                          Would not go back again on my own dime

                                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                                          Wildcraft
                                                                                                                                          425 King Street North, Waterloo, ON n2j 2z5, CA

                                                                                                                                          1. I've lived in KW for over 20 years and I cant say there has ever been decent fine dining (save Langdon Hall) and as a minimum, we drive to Enver's in morriston if we dont feel like driving all the way to Toronto.

                                                                                                                                            There are a few diamonds in the rough like Nostra Cucina, Hogtails, etc. Golden Hearth Bakery is great with awesome Brioche along with some ot the other rec's mentioned here.

                                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                                            Golden Hearth
                                                                                                                                            343 King St E, Kitchener, ON N2G, CA

                                                                                                                                            Envers Restaurant
                                                                                                                                            42 Queen St, Morriston, ON N0B2C0, CA

                                                                                                                                            Nostra Cucina
                                                                                                                                            31 Manitou Dr, Kitchener, ON N2C1K9, CA

                                                                                                                                            1. I went to Nic & Nat's Uptown 21. The food and service were terrible when I came on Nov. 8 2012. My friend and I both ordered the lobster and shrimp and when it came out, the lobster tail had no taste and there were tons of potatoes floating in a red spicy broth. And the shrimps were not fresh. The waiter was horrific, he disappeared during our entire meal and never checked on us, we couldn't even find him. He wore glasses, dark hair and a bit weird - he started the evening by asking us <What do you guys do>. My friend is a prof at Laurier U and was shocked. I replied with a smart answer since he seemed to look down upon us.

                                                                                                                                              When the waiter finally came around to take our plates away, I told him how bad the food was. He didn't apologize but had the nerve to say: I guess you want your bill then. No offer of a complimentary dessert or a I am sorry. I was horrified. He then proceeded to tell the <chef> or <sous-chef> who stuck out his head from the cooking area to look at my friend and I. What horrible manners. He was too shy to come out and talk to us.

                                                                                                                                              Don't come here. Being a Montrealer, I can tell you that this place isn't anything impressive. Because of the waiter's attitude and service, I am never setting foot in here again.

                                                                                                                                              1. There are some exceptional restaurants in this area. My tops would be:

                                                                                                                                                1. Bhima's Warung
                                                                                                                                                2. Langdon Hall
                                                                                                                                                3. Hogtails/Lancaster Smokehouse (two outlets of the same restaurant)
                                                                                                                                                4. Masala Bay

                                                                                                                                                ...but I also greatly enjoy The Village Creperie, Wildcraft, Sole (for Sunday brunch on the patio), and Marbles.

                                                                                                                                                There are scads of good Indian restaurants in town, and lots of decent Japanese restaurants (Ye's being the exception).

                                                                                                                                                The worst cooking is probably at the Bauer Kitchen, which is execrable, and that's such a pity as it's next door to the sublime Vincenzo's.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: RuthHaworth

                                                                                                                                                  Amazing that Marbles is still going. I used to eat there 20 years ago. I remember they had really good burgers.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RuthHaworth

                                                                                                                                                    Good to hear that Bhima's and Sole are still going strong in taste quality. Thanks for saving me a trip to Bauer - it looked great from the outside!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                      I've had some decent meals at Bauer Kitchen. http://www.charcoalgroup.ca/documents... I certainly don't think it's the worst cooking in KW.

                                                                                                                                                      My favourites in KW would be Nick & Nat's Uptown 21 http://www.uptown21.ca/PDA/index.html and Bhima's http://www.bhimaswarung.com/bhimasmen.... I also had a decent meal at Casa Rugantino a couple years ago. http://www.casarugantino.com/

                                                                                                                                                      Does anyone have any dishes they'd recommend from the dinner menu at Sole? http://www.sole.ca/dinner.cfm?m=2 I found the sweet potato lasagna too heavy on my last visit.

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for any suggestions.

                                                                                                                                                  2. I notice a couple of people here have said they don't like Marbles. That's really too bad. Been going there for close to 30 years. Its my go to burger place when I'm in the area. The burger and the sunshine salad are awesome.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Has anyone tried Exclamation?

                                                                                                                                                      Or Arabesque, AM Africa, East African Cafe, Holy Guacamole, Niko Niko roll, Taka, Ellisons, Korean BBQ, or Cameron in the past year?

                                                                                                                                                      Any good recs open at 5 pm or so on a Monday evening somewhat near The Aud and Homer Watson/ 401?

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                        from the Aud to Homer Watson/401 is quite a distance (in KW, anyway), so I guess anything around the expressway will work for you? Of course, nothing is more than a 15 - 20 minute drive from anywhere in KW...

                                                                                                                                                        Holy Guacamole is good, similar to Burrito Boyz (but better, IMO - except the shrimp)

                                                                                                                                                        I had dinner at the Cameron on Sunday. Lettuce wraps, Singapore noodles, peppercorn shrimp. Everything was up to standard. (Cameron is probably the best Chinese in KW)

                                                                                                                                                        On the same street as Holy Guacamole (Duke St.), known as the Duke Food Block (DFB), you will find good pizza @ Breadheads Pizza (wood burning oven) and Cheeses Murphy serves "gourmet" grilled cheese (if that's your thing)

                                                                                                                                                        If you're a Philly Cheesesteak guy, you might consider Taste of Philly on King (just west of Queen) It's been a while for me, but Matthew always made a killer sandwich, though not 100% authentic.

                                                                                                                                                        Fairly new in the last year is Taco Farm, on ERB near King. Not trying to be authentic, cool (small) tacos and tequila tastings. But great Fried Chicken, fried in corn flour with a honey, tequila, lime, black pepper marinade. Not exactly close to your location, but like I said... nothing is TOO far in KW.

                                                                                                                                                        Also, if you want BBQ, you could be at the Lancaster Smokehouse in 10 minutes from The Aud.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                                                                                                                          I forgot about Lanc. My friend is raving about exclamation.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                                                                                                            I have heard good things as well. If you go, please report.

                                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately, not much of an Asian or African food fan (with exceptions) so I have nothing to offer re: your other choices.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                                                                                                                                                            So you say Cameron is the best chinese but you haven't eaten at Exclamation?

                                                                                                                                                            Really, we just want a memorable sit-down place for 6 people (including two teens) at 5 pm on a Monday before a concert at the Aud.