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Oct 7, 2006 02:29 PM

How far would you drive for good chow within Ontario?

If you had the time, transportation and craving, where would you go in Ontario for great food that is available to the public? Is there something worth going far out of your way to enjoy? I've always wanted to try Eigensinn Farm, but even if you think the best donut is worth a 4 hour drive, let me know.

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  1. For me, I would say I wouldn't drive very far for chow. I've gone 30 - 60 minutes which isn't' too much. The thing is, I'll drive a long way for food if I can combine it with other things. There is too much good stuff around here (GTA) to have to go too far out of the way. I have been known to go to Niagara or St. Jacobs or further for certain places. And do other things while there.


    3 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      I agree that it's a bonus to have great sightseeing on a road trip - I think the main reason I love eating in Bayfield (The Red Pump Inn), Niagara-on-the-Lake, Port Dalhousie, and St. Jacob's (Vidalia's) is for the atmosphere, view, family and/or great shopping. You're right that since we live in GTA, we don't have to go very far to find great chow of all kinds. But for example, if I wanted to try Dutch/Indonesian rijstafel, I'd have to drive far away, right?

      1. re: Food Tourist

        There's a Rijstafel in Tobermory right? That is a little far. But, if I'm ever in the area.

        I'll go anywhere within a decent day trip. I have gone as far as Tillsonburg to try the Shakes at Hewitt's Dairy Bar.

      2. re: Davwud

        What kind of cuisine are you looking food? TO has a lot to offer without going out of the way.

      3. Hey FT

        Next time you go to St. Jake's, give the Olde Heidelberg House a try. It's just outside of town and has really good food. We prefer it to Vidalias.
        It also has an excellent house brew on tap.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Davwud

          Thanks for the tip, Davwud. I don't think Vidalia's is worth the drive, but since St. Jacob's is, I'll give OHH a try next time I'm in that region!

          1. re: Food Tourist

            I had the schnitzel last time I was there and liked it. I love the pig tails and my wife gets all but apoplectic when she starts to think about the roasted ham hock.


          2. re: Davwud

            I wish I saw your post last week! I drove through Heidelberg on the way to St. Jacobs on Thanksgiving Monday. We ended up at Vidalia's (again), mostly because we didn't know there was another German option nearby.
            Here's the website, in case anyone is interested:

            I ordered the wurst with kraut at Vidalia's. It was very ordinary. The sausages from the carts near Nathan Phillip's Square are tastier.

            Will try the Olde Heidelberg House next time I'm in the area.

          3. Wouldn't drive further than Etobicoke to dine at Via Allegro. Otherwise everything one could want is within Toronto proper. Or I fly to New York (great steaks) or London (great atmosphere) and enjoy fine dining in the course of a vacation.

            NO WAY would I drive even 5 minutes to Eigensinn (sp ?)
            Farms to be told what I have to eat and to bring my own wines in a precious atmosphere at high prices !

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bigtigger

              I've always wanted to go to Peter Luger steakhouse in NY, but is it really better than anything here in Toronto? For instance, I had a fantastic porterhouse at Ruth's Chris' and I know it's a chain, but it was still the best I've ever had!

              I don't mind chefs choosing my menu or not having wine, but if the ingredients and preparation are not worth the money, then I wouldn't want to dine there.

              I, too, have always loved Via Allegro, but haven't been there for over a year, sadly.

              1. re: Bigtigger

                Wouldn't drive more than 5 minutes to go to Eigensinn Farm, but you are willing to drive to Villa Allegro. Interesting. You are missing out a really great dining experience from one of Canada's master chefs. Michael Stadtlander prepared the best meal I have ever eaten, and yes I've dined in New York, Chicago, Paris and London too.

              2. I can't think of anywhere in Ontario...but a few times I drove to Rochester for a big plate of Dinasaur BBQ...and picked up a few bottles of their sauce for home..

                1. After today, I may reconsider how far I travel! (See my rant under Mike Love's BBQ). I'll usually drive the 1.5 hr to Paris, ON for Camp 31 BBQ, 4 hrs to Syracuse, NY for Dinosaur Jr BBQ, 45 minutes to Caledon for Flapjacks' toast and jam, 1.5 hrs to Buffalo, NY for Schwabl's beef on a weck, 5 hrs to Montreal for St Viator's bagels and fly 5 hrs to San Francisco for an El Farolito's al pastor burrito.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: fickle

                    Sorry to hear you went all the way to Mike's BBQ in Barrie for nothing. I hope you took advantage of a gorgeous, sunny day on Lake Simcoe at the very least, even if you were angry and disappointed! I don't blame you for never wanting to go back...but if I ever get a craving for BBQ, I'll make sure I call them first and then go the same day (and mention that they lost a customer already)! Although, after reading the review, I am sure I would be disappointed because my main complaint with "northern" southern 'cue is the lack of smokiness.

                    1. re: fickle

                      Fickle, I think you and I have bad long weekend karma. I went all the way (20 mins. drive across the city via Gardiner) to Barrio for brunch on Sunday. They are normally open on Sundays and had no posters on their window to indicate that they would be closed. I had to eat at another restaurant (Joy Bistro) nearby, which wasn't as tasty, but it was quite good and definitely very affordable. Barrio was still closed when we left Joy.

                      I'm never leaving the house again before calling ahead.

                      1. re: Food Tourist

                        Calling ahead wouldn't have helped me that morning since we left early to head up there for lunch. But the weekend was not all lost, got my bbq from Camp 31 today. Yum! Love that cornbread and pulled pork. Can't wait to have it again for lunch tomorrow. I'm gonna be dreaming about it tonight ;-) Off to Montreal next weekend to stock up on my bagels and if St Viator's not opened, there's always Fairmont at least!

                      2. re: fickle

                        fickle: ditto on the Dino BBQ (have been to Sryacuse and LOVE IT but not been to the closer Rochester location), bagels etc.

                        Have you tried El Trompo - 277 Augusta Avenue, in the Kensington Market area? It might save you the 5 hour flight. Mind you, its likely different and good but less $$$ as its in CAD and theres no flight involved. Very worth a try and I adore one of the ladies who works there and I believe is the owner. After going there a few times she recognised me, remembered my request for her to try speaking a bit of spanish and when I said I wanted to learn how to make some of the food, she said she'd love to teach me but to come during a time that wasn't too busy and made suggestions. Such a sweetie. They server Horchata and a Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Flowers) and a few other fun bevvies.

                        1. re: live4food

                          Hi live4food,
                          Yes I've been to El Trompo, Burrito Boyz, Big Fat Burrito, Mexitaco, Dos Amigos, Jalapeno, Bandido, Rancho Relaxo, Sneaky Dees, El Sol, Quesada and El Asador. All in search of the perfect replica to El Farolito! My SO lived in SF for 6 years and made it his mission upon his return to find a replacement. We're still looking... The closest thing in Toronto is Burrito Boyz but unfortunately their quality has gone downhill quite a bit since they've expanded. The last time I was there, they were watering down the salsa with a pitcher of tap water to make it go further and that just churned my stomach. Haven't been back since. Pity since their halibut was tasty! The next closest thing to El Farolito is actually in NYC (so a bit closer to travel to!) in this dinky tacqueria in Harlem north of Central Park. Now we just travel back to SF, load up our carry-on with half a dozen burritos. Not sure how that's going to work now with the new security measures ;-)

                          1. re: fickle

                            I've concluded there is absolutely nothing close to the taquerias indiginous to SF. When I want a big burrito loaded with real ingredients not too overprocessed I make it at home.