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Can an excellent dining experience be had in Niagara Falls?

My partner and I have booked a suite overlooking the falls next weekend for our anniversary. We were going to have dinner atop the Skylon for the novelty factor, but after one look at their boringly traditional and overpriced menu online, we wondered, "Why would we want to pay $50 for chicken cordon bleu when we already have a great view of the falls from our jacuzzi suite?"

So... anyone know of a fabulous, even fine dining restaurant in Niagara Falls, preferably in the downtown area or within a reasonble cab ride of the core so we can enjoy wine with dinner without worrying about driving?

barb

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  1. Someone else will need to report on the new casino, as I haven't been there. Other than that possibility, I'm not aware of any fine dining options in the Falls. There are also many, many horrific places to eat.

    There are a few good home-style Italian places mentioned in other threads.

    What distance from the falls would you consider reasonable?

    1. Ideally, we'd like it within a reasonable cab ride of our hotel, which is right near the falls, so that we can enjoy wine with dinner.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hadra

        Personally, I think you are out of luck. There are options in Niagara on the Lake and St Catharines, and there are a few country places, but the Falls itself is a culinary wasteland. I hope someone can advise you about the casino.

      2. Yeah, I'd have to agree with embee on this one. Wasteland. Good reports about the Casino, but I haven't eaten there. Haven't heard much about Casa Mia lately, but it may be worth an expensive look. Get room service and make your own dessert would be my best advice.

        1. The Wolfgang Puck Cafe and Napoli are the only 2 places I eat when I am in Niagara. Both have above average food.

          1. In the new Casino Galleria's there is what they call the "upscale" (for Niagara Falls anyway) dining room called "17 Noir" that has a decent asian menu as well as "haughty cuisine" as I the locals would call it and right accross from it in the Galleria an acceptable Pan-Asian restaurant namely the Asian Pearl. For finer dining choices one would have to go to Niagara-On-The-Lake, a twenty-five minute car ride away.

            1. Another vote for Niagara on the Lake. There are some good restaurants available there.

              1. Thanks everyone for the intelligence, it's worse than I feared! Thanks also for the nod to other similar threads, it seems this question comes up at least once a year... I should have read those first. But the updated info is much appreciated.

                Cheers,
                Barb
                Toronto

                1 Reply
                1. re: hadra

                  A friend of mine who's taste I trust and who spends much time in NF on high-end business says 17 Noir is very good. I note that AAA gave it a four diamond rating which is also the highest rating it gave any N-O-T-L places. Not exactly the impeccable five, but food for thought when pondering dropping so much money on taxi fare. The long ride can really drain the romance out of your night. I'm a sucker for romance.
                  http://www.fallsviewcasinoresort.com/...

                2. Barb, you need to find a way to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake! Perhaps the hotel runs a shuttle service to and from NOTL, or you could find a taxi that offers a flat rate fare.

                  There are many upscale restaurants in NOTL. One of the best is the restaurant in the Prince of Wales Hotel. I can't remember its name but you can find it online. It's pricey!

                  Also consider Giardino in The Gate House Hotel or Queen's Landing on Byron Street. They're both very good.

                  I don't know if the winery restaurants are open at this time of year but if they are you might consider Hillebrand's Vineyard Cafe on Highway 55 or Peller Estates Winery on John Street East. These restaurants, however, are not in NOTL proper.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ambrose

                    The Prince of Wales is competent at best in my opinion, average most of the time. It's well executed 'pub food' but nothing special - at least not on the occasions I was there.

                    I had one very good, one good meal at Zees in Niagara on the Lake. Link: http://www.niagarasfinestinns.com/

                    1. re: andreas

                      Wow, sounds like the Prince of Wales restaurant may have changed drastically since I was last there. "Pub food" is not the phrase that immediately springs to mind. When I was there, it was VERY expensive and VERY good. Great for a special occasion but hard to justify for an ordinary night out.

                      Based on some of the recent posts, it seems that there are at least a couple of decent spots in The Falls for Barb to check out.

                  2. There's a place called Queenston Heights Restaurant about midway between the Falls and NOTL. It is operated by the Niagara Parks Commission, and most of their restos serve execrable food. However, there have been some positive postings about this one place. It's in a beautiful setting. It is also directly accessible via the Niagara People Mover system.

                    Having led you on, there are two possible gotchas: (1) I don't know whether they are open in December and (2) I don't know whether the People Mover operates in December. I assume Niagara Parks can provide the answers.

                    The most consistently good place in NOTL is the Stone Road Grille (aka "REST"). Less consistent are Queens Landing and Zees. The Epicurion, while good, is too casual for your occasion. I don't think the Prince of Wales is worth its cost. The Oban restaurant has been highly touted, though I feel the chef's reputation is overblown. Of the wineries, I've been happiest at Peller and Strewn. I've been disappointed multiple times at Hillebrand. I don't know who is open in December, and this is an awfully long cab ride!

                    1. Queenston Heights is pretty close to the falls, and I would recommend it. My grandparents love it, and were shocked that any of the parks commission restaurants could be any good.

                      Regarding Queens Landing- love the buffet brunch, but have heard bad things about the general restaurant menu.

                      When I was younger I ate at dennys in the falls, and at applebees (ok I had a drink there after the casino, and an appetizer, even as a 19 year old I knew better than to eat at applebees) and I couldnt believe how attrocious the food was. As if these places arent bad enough anyways, the falls makes them worse since they dont rely on repeat customers.

                      (and to clarify myself I went to dennys on graduation night to eat cake while we were hammered, since it was in walking distance from the hotel and we were too wasted to drive. never in my life would I want to go there for a sobre meal, unless potentially starving).

                      1. In my opinion, Wolfgang Puck's is great. The atmosphere is romantic and the food is great and very reasonably priced. I highly recommend the pumpkin stuffed ravioli and the butternut squash soup. Check out their website to see their selections.

                        1. I feel that I should tell you that a taxi ride from the Falls to NOTL will be at least $30 each way and I think that is a conservative estimate.

                          I would have to also recommend the restaurant at the Niagara Fallsview Resort Casino, their menu is actually online for you to look at. www.fallsviewcasinoresort.com
                          The buffet there is also suppose to be really good (for a buffet).

                          I ate at the restaurant at Queenston Heights a few years back. I don't remember what the meal was but I do remember that I enjoyed it. It was dinner and theatre and it was right around this time of year. I am sure that they have a website if you googled it.

                          1. Niagara Falls is basically one huge tourist trap. I would say that it is impossible to find a restaurant that isn't a complete rip-off, but it isn't going to be easy.

                            1. Options are definitely limited in the Niagara Falls area, as all of the threads show. I was just there over Labor Day and came across one place worth trying that I didn't see mentioned anywhere else. On the American side of the falls, in the Goat Island park area, there is a place called Top of The Falls. Don't misunderstand me... I am not saying that it is amazing or even great... the menu is very standard, but they make an attempt at seasonal, local and sustainable. And there are a few creative twisis... I was there for lunch, and ordered a the hamburger, but it came on a pretzel roll with a mustad aioli - and it was very good - not fast-food. Also, the local favorite is Beef on Weck - not6 sure how tradiional their version was, but it sure tasted good. PLUS - if you sit in the outside deck area, you have an unbeatable view of the Horseshoe falls. One of the best views from any restaurant I have ever been to period.

                              I think your best bet would be to take your Chowhound hat off for an hour or two, drink some wine from the local area, enjoy the view, and treat the food at Top of the Falls as a pleasant surprise.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Michael Ambrosio

                                One thing I meant to add... avoid at all costs a place called Edgewaters on the Canadian side. This place aslo has an amazing view of the horseshoe falls, but is genuinely bad. Poor service, giant spiderwebs and awful food.

                              2. I was wondering if there are any good eats at the falls these days? I've heard about AG, Canyon Creek, Spicy Olive, Napoli Restaurant & Sandstone Grillhouse. Any first hand experinces? Thanks.

                                1. When I was there, not once but twice the cab drivers stated that
                                  this place is a staple in Niagara Falls. Excellent food:)
                                  http://www.thecasadoro.com/

                                  Have never been, but it is ON my list:):):)

                                  1. Had an excellent meal at Napoli. The Butternut squash soup with sweet potato crisps was excellent, good pizza, and I had their homemade sausage with polenta and rapini, which I loved. G/f had homemade ravioli, excellent as well. Good value and good food from someone who cares about making it.

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                                    Napoli Pizzeria
                                    5485 Ferry St, Niagara Falls, ON L2G1S3, CA