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Recs for Elora lunch?

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Going to Elora next Saturday for a festival event. Did a search on this board and Elora didn't come up, which I found kind of surprising. Anyway, there is a popular music festival going on and it occurred to me today that I better make reservations for lunch, if it isn't too late already. Any suggestions of where to go?

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  1. Don't have any positive recommendations, but did have a very underwhelming lunch at 13 Mill Street Restaurant there a couple of weekends ago. Artichoke dip appetizer was OK, but the burger was frozen, tasteless and sat in my stomach like a rock. Came with potato chips out of a bag. Service also poor. We ordered two virgin caesars and one with vodka. Waitress had no idea which was which, and no clue what to do about it.

    The Guelph-based friend we were with said that on a previous visit she'd checked out the restaurant at the Elora Inn, and was put off by the high prices and boring menu. She did like the pub at the inn, though.

    1. Actually there was a short thread about dining in Elora early in May, but not specifically about lunch. I'll repeat what David, a friend of ours who lives in Elora, sent me when I asked him for tips:

      "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!!!
      Cheers,
      David

      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: <cest.bon@hotmail.com>

      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: <resa@sympatico.ca>

      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: <thedragonflycafe@yahoo.ca>

      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: <bailey.restaurant@gmail.com>

      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: <information@eloramill.com> Website: www.eloramill.com

      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.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Bob Catt

        This is helpful. Thank you very much.

        1. re: Bob Catt

          I'm shocked to see no mention in the list of Alex's Kitchen on Mill St! The Boy and I were up in Elora about a year ago and had a fantastic dinner there based on recommendations from both our friends and our hosts at the B&B. I do recall them being open for lunch as well.

          The food is great (my fish was cooked to perfection), their wine selections are excellent (I still rave about the Pinot Grigio I had there), the service is attentive (watch for Alex and his orange clogs... he seems to make a habit of greeting patrons as they come in), and the prices are surprisingly reasonable compared to similar places in TO (we paid under $100 for two, including apps, dinner, dessert and wine).

          1. re: tartiflette

            My husband and I went to Elora in September and after many recommendations went to Alex's Kitchen. What we didn't know is that he had sold the place (or so I though... he may be back according to their site).

            Got to say the food was more than disappointing. Which saddened me greatly. . I am assuming that the place is different if the gentleman is back.

            Has anyone gone recently?

            1. re: Otonabee

              Alex is back. Was just there for lunch two weeks ago -- also disappointed. The osso bucco was tough and had no flavour. The monkfish wasn't too bad (but it was basic - fried in butter). Both dishes seemed to come with the same sort of ragu on the side. Everything needed to be seasoned.

              We were the only people in there for lunch on a Thursday. Says a lot.

              1. re: RYP

                Sigh. Too bad...
                We'd been talking about going back to Elora for another stay (the B&B we stayed in was wonderful, and I've been craving the apple fritters from the St Jacob's market something awful). I'll make a note to find somewhere other than Alex's for dinnertime. :(

        2. Just to follow up, we ended up at Bailey's Restaurant, 146 Metcalfe, (no website). It was overall a good experience and I would definitely go back.

          The ambience is indeed pleasant and inviting, the service friendly and attentive. Our waiter was also knowledgeable about the quality and types of beer from local microbreweries (which are on tap). The wine list is decent.

          I can't remember what the dish was called on the menu (some sort of pie?) but my friend had the brie, pear and walnut salad-type thing in puff pastry with cumberland sauce. He raved about it, said the flavour combination was delicious and the sauce perfectly done.

          My other friend had the calamari and shrimp sandwich. The calamari was tasty and tender, the crusty bun fresh, and she particularly liked the special horseradish spread.

          I had the classic steamed mussels in white wine, garlic, etc, and it was not great, but average. I came across one piece of grit and the mussels were a just a tad chewy. The broth was delicious but over-salted to my taste. And surprising, bread was not automatically offered to sop up the broth.

          The potato wedges (frites not on offer) were good -- hand-cut, crispy on the outside, good texture inside and they came piping hot.

          A pitcher of water with a lemon slice was placed on the table as soon as we sat down. When one of my friends had a sip, he said the water tasted awful (I didn't try it).

          Someone paid for the bill before I had a chance to even look at it but from what I remember of the menu, prices are reasonable.

          As I said, overall we had a positive experience in a fun atmosphere and I would recommend Bailey's.

          I also want to add Alex's Kitchen to the above list of possible recommendations. We didn't eat there (Bailey's was closer to our festival venue) but some local friends recommended it. Our waiter at Bailey's told us that Alex of Alex's Kitchen helped Bailey's owner set up when she was starting out. We will check it out next time we're there.
          http://www.alexskitchen.com/MeettheCh...

          1. I liked the Elora Mill Inn very much, make sure you can be seated where you can see the beautiful view.

            1. I was just in Elora this weekend for the music festival. I was with a large group, and the only place that had room for us was Alex's. The appetizer of sea scallops was excellent, so I had high hopes for my tuna. The tuna, potatoes, and various vegetables were awful, and for the price of the entree, which was 16 or 18, I was very disappointed. The tuna was half an inch thick, and way overcooked-I should have just opened a tin of tuna and would have saved some money. I asked the other diners, and the halibut and veal shank were the only dishes that were even acceptable.