Good food in cottage country?
I will be in the Bala/Gravenhurst/Lake Muskoka region next week and I'm looking for good food suggestions. Any would be welcome, be it the best place for ice cream cones, through take-out fish and chips, to nice restaurants. Even gourmet food shops. I will be staying at a friend's cottage for a while and I would love to take her out for dinner (etc.) to say thanks.
Our place in near Huntsville so no recs for elsewhere in Muskoka. If you are in the area, following are a couple of suggestions:
Excellent fish a chips (halibut!!), other diner food, and homemade coconut cream pie at West Side Fish & Chips in Huntsville, about 3 minutes east of Hwy 11 Muskoka Road 3 (north side).
Ice cream cones: Kawartha Dairy (no need to elaborate) on Hwy 60, about 3 minutes east of Main Street in Huntsville.
A high end place recently opened on Main St. in Huntsville. It is called Aroma and it is supposed to be great (http://www.aromadining.ca/).
I wish we had a gourmet food shop in Huntsville.
The nicest non-hotel restaurant we've found is Rebecca's, on the highway, just before Port Carling. Food can be a little heavy sometimes, but a nice place to go for a decent meal.
Bala's pretty small, but a fantastic butcher shop opened up a few years back www.thecottagebutcher.com. The resident butcher, Wally Demerchuk, was a butcher in Bloor West for 20 years. It's a toss-up if this place is as good asn Morley's, the Port Carling institution, but it's a heck of a lot closer for people in between Gravenhurst and Port Carling.
Some people enjoy Bass Lake (hwy 169 near Delta Sherwood) for pub-style food. I've found the quality's gone downhill considerably. Instead, take a day-trip to the town of Rosseau and eat at the old gas-station-turned-restaurant "Crossroads" at the top of the hill.
Bala has Don's Bakery, practically an institution in Muskoka, although the debate rages on as to whether it's truly the best in the north. Good scones and chelsea buns, the tarts are delish.
You can't go to Muskoka without buying the Milford Bay smoked trout pate. It's in the deli section of the Gravenhurst Independent Grocer.
Rombo's in Gravenhurst used to have delicious pizza. I haven't been in a very long time, but the place still looks busy.
Re: fish and chips, I've never eaten that up north. Gourmet food places are a little few and far between, part of the problem is many are only summertime operations and the season hasn't quite started. There's one beside Don's in Bala (haven't been to), and there's one in Port Carling beside Steamboat Bay, just at the top of the hill. It may be open. Sorry, can't remember the name.
Hope that helps a little.
hey there, just got back from Bala, tried a new (?) place called Rebecca's on the highway heading into Port Carling from Bala, on the left side, beside a garden centre. Really quite good, a rare gem in the area, hopefully it lasts. Had a delish mulligatawny soup, and crab cakes followed by pecan chicken and grouper, and some incredible jamaican bread pudding for dessert. Highly recommended.
Rebecca's is definitely a permanent reso - opened in 2001. Had to look up the hwy (cottaged for too many years, it's now just the road to Port Carling!)
It's hwy 118, 1 km west of Peninsula Rd 705-765-0244
Ice Bites on Bethune Drive in Gravenhurst (I think it's still around) serves Kawartha Dairy and used to have huge scoops for a single serve.
I will add yet another vote for Rebecca's. She has developed a loyal local following with consistently good food...highly recommend. Another upscale dining option for cottage country - actually 2 - would be Riverwalk in Bracebridge...nice setting right at the falls...and finally, a bit of a hike is Beauideal in Port Sydney - check the map - lovely little house and excellent food.
As for a gourmet food shop, stop in at Irvine's Fine Foods, just off the main street of Gravenhurst. Great cheeses and cold cuts and some interesting "gourmet" items...she's actually expanding and moving into a larger building this summer! Also, down at the wharf in Gravenhurst there's a nice tea house for lunches - Blue Willow - good brie and bacon sandwich for lunch! Ice cream - Kawartha Dairy - yes on Bethune Drive just down from the beer store - also good brownies!! Enjoy!