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Apr 30, 2007 08:32 AM

Dining in Elora - Baileys

Last week I posted a request for restaurant recommendations in Elora. We stayed nearby over Saturday night and had dinner at Bailey's - a good choice, on the whole.

The restaurant is in central Elora (sorry, I wasn't driving so I didn't pay attention to where it was exactly) - very cozy and attractive. There were 4 of us and we didn't have reservations but they were able to accommodate us. We started with two shared apps of roasted red pepper hummus and moules mariniere. The hummus was odd, but tasty. I couldn't detect much of a chick pea undertone, so I suspect it was more red pepper than hummus. Nice, but probably needs another name. The mussels were outstanding. I don't know where these people get their mussels from - Elora is hardly in seafood country - but they were incredibly plump, perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious. The sauce was light and lemon/wine-ish. Mellow - fabulous. It's usually with some hesitation that I order mussels in a restaurant but these were some of the best I've eaten anywhere.

Mains. Two of us ordered braised lamb shank in red wine sauce. It arrived sort of lukewarm, with the sauce glutinously coating the shank in a slightly peculiar way. It looks like they thickened the sauce with corn starch or something and then it clung to the meat while it cooled slightly on the plate. The lamb was tender and tasty, but I think they need to serve the dish much hotter and get rid of the thickener. The accompanying veggies were really good - stir fried melange and some excellent potatoes.

One of us ordered the Szechuan noodles with chicken. I didn't taste it myself, and my friend didn't comment on the dish except to note that there was no chicken. None. I guess they forgot to put it in. Our server was on her first dinner shift ever, so my friend didn't complain although I would have.

The wine was, as reported by the person who recommended the restaurant, well priced. I would go back there again, but might try other things on the menu. What I did like about the place was that there were a LOT of vegetarian options available. I am not a vegetarian myself, but I often end up eating with one and it's so difficult to find a place that can offer a real choice to a vegetarian without depriving a carnivore of their meat.

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  1. When you first posted your query I e-mailed David, a family friend who's a retired professor at the University of Guelph and an Elora resident. He's been busy so his reply which just arrived last night is too late to help you. But it may help others who visit Elora this summer and look for somewhere to eat. Here's his note to me, and the comprehensive list he prepared for Chowhound (including Bailey's), for which he has my thanks.

    Hi Xxxx,
    It took me a little while but I've developed the list that is
    attached, with some related information about a couple of them.
    I have not included a couple of restaurants that are fancy but not
    especially good, nor a couple of mediocre coffee shops!
    I hope this list [is] useful. Remember, they are my
    judgements, not those of an expert!!!

    Cest Bon! – 140 Metcalfe Street, Elora
    Superb little “French” café with wonderfully tempting daily baked goods, homemade soups and sandwiches made by the owner, Anne Hull. Also various teas and fair trade organic coffees, expresso, latte, etc. Catering for lunches, baked goods, etc. This place is a gem. A great place to enjoy a break. 519-846-1999. Email: <>

    Desert Rose Café – 130 Metcalfe Street, Elora
    Owner-operated by a wonderful chef, Resa Lent, who produces an eclectic blend of ethnic vegetarian cuisine, superb soups, and more. The unusual decor helps make this a memorable place to go for a meal. Some of Resa’s food can be purchased in frozen form from Penhaligan’s, 10 Mill St. E., Elora (where one can buy fine European housewares and utensils, English & French pottery, china, linens, Wusthof & Laguiole knives, and many unique items unavailable elsewhere). Desert Rose Café’s hours: Wed - Sun 11:30-7:30; Closed Jan & Feb. Phone: 519-846-0433. Email: <>

    Dragonfly Café – 15 Mill Street East, Elora
    This licensed riverside cafe offers fair trade organic coffee, delicious homemade foods and delectable desserts. One can eat inside or on the riverview deck. The café is at the rear of The Elora General Store (where the motto “We’ve got it all!” is upheld by the rich array of gourmet foods, great gifts, kids’ stuff, books, and much more). Enjoy a coffee break or a meal before or after shopping at the adjacent farmer’s market every Saturday, June to October, where you will find a wonderful selection of local produce, much of it organic, for sale direct from the farm to you. Dragonfly Café’s hours: Mon-Sat 10-8, Sun 10-6. Phone: 519-846-0866. Email: <>

    Bailey's Restaurant – 146 Metcalfe Street, Elora
    This Bistro style restaurant is a special place to dine, with wonderful food, a warm ambience, and attentive staff. Enjoy summer dining on the patio. Hours: Summer: every day 12-4:00 and 5:30-9:00 p.m.; Winter: every day but Monday 12-2:30 and 5:30-8:00 p.m. Phone: 519-846-8880. Email: <>

    Fergus Tandoori Grill – 232 St. Andrew Street West, Fergus
    Fine dining Indian restaurant. Superb food. Licenced. Phone: 519-787-2304.

    Elora Mill Inn – 77 Mill St. West, Elora
    Fine dining in the H2O Restaurant, where large windows provide glorious views of the waterfalls along the length of Elora Gorge. For lighter fare, the Gorge Lounge and Patio offers pub snacks and exceptional live music performances. Phone: 519-846-9118 or 1-866-713-5672; Fax: (519) 846-9911. Email: <> Website:

    Gorge Country Kitchen – 23 Wellington Road (County Road 7), Elora
    Casual family dining (with easily washed floors, thus a great place to take little kids) where one gets tons of wholesome food on the plate at reasonable prices. Next to Tim Horton’s! Phone: 519-846-2636.