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Looking for rustic restaurant in Collingwood area

j
jinxed Sep 3, 2007 06:24 PM

I'm planning to go up to the Collingwood area to take in the change of seasons in the fall. Any recommendations for a good rustic meal?
Looking for quiet ambience, under $75/person without drinks. (Preferably under $50.)
Wish I could go to Eigensinn Farm, but that's not an option right now! (If they are even open to the public in the fall??)

Also, any good eats in general? Anything that cannot be found in the Toronto-area, that should not be missed? Last fall we stayed in the mountain homes, and mostly cooked for ourselves but ate out at Oliver & Bonacini. It was alright but nothing memorable. Most of the restos in the area look like tourist traps, so I'm counting on all you CHers out there for some good advice!

  1. t
    Tout Garni Sep 13, 2007 11:20 AM

    Simcoe County on Hurontario in Collingwood is the finest I've had in the area. Much better - more imaginative, more dedicated to local ingredients - than the Mill Cafe in Thornbury. I've never had a better seafood risotto, clearly made with chef's own fish broth.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tout Garni
      s
      sochow Sep 13, 2007 11:35 AM

      We totally enjoyed Tesoro - a funky little Italian place that's got a bit of a diner crossed with tratoria feel. It's in the main town but almost in a back lane location. Friendly service, casual ambience, reasonable prices. Small and fills up quickly.

      18 School House Lane
      Collingwood, ON L9Y 4H5
      Phone: 705.444.9230
      tesoro@bellnet.ca

    2. m
      magic Sep 13, 2007 07:57 AM

      Mill Cafe in Thornbury. Delicious. Young, somewhat disinterested service, but wonderful food and occupies an old mill building, gotta be at least 100 years old. That kinda qualifies as rustic.

      4 Replies
      1. re: magic
        s
        Snarf Sep 13, 2007 09:31 AM

        IF you don't mind kitschy, the Alphorn does traditional swiss foods, and the fondu is decent. Yeah, 70's flashback, but for what it is, the beer is tasty and the food is attentively prepared. This from a food snob.

        1. re: Snarf
          f
          fussimist44 Jul 18, 2008 10:53 PM

          I stopped going to the Alphorn in the 70's...

          1. re: fussimist44
            s
            Snarf Dec 3, 2008 02:07 PM

            Nothing has changed. It is what it is, and for what it is, it's fairly decent. Almost retro now. Put on your flairs, shine up the medallion, put the dice back on the rearview of your transam, and boogie on......

        2. re: magic
          m
          magic Aug 3, 2009 06:31 AM

          I must say I have grown increasingly frustrated with The Mill Cafe since the longtime exec left last summer. Since his departure, the food, while stunning in appearance has been ho-hum at best. The service continues to be somewhat cool (generally), but then, they always have been. At least in my experience. This has also become more annoying as time goes on.

          But what is really bugging me is the horrid value. The portions never were huge, which is fine, but on returning several times this summer I'm just appalled at the portion sizes now. I've never seen such small offerings for their price points – and I’m from Toronto! Barely any food on your plate, yet their prices remain very high. I'm by no means a huge eater, but wow, it's very difficult not to feel you are being taken advantage of, considering how little food you get when you think about your final bill. Me and a friend went for lunch recently and had 2 very mediocre appetizers with very inexpensive ingredients and two desserts (no drinks or coffee) for a princely $50. That's just not right. I know their clientele can afford it but I have to be thinking even their blue-blooded customers are leaving feeling a little bit hungry and ripped off. And I usually only go for lunch… the more affordable of their services. I shudder to think at the ways I'd be taken for a sucker at dinner, which is markedly more expensive.

          This might be all well and good if their food was fantastic. But it’s not. It's ok. Mediocre. But certainly not as good as it has been in the past. And of the dishes I’ve had this summer the only one I’d return for (if it weren’t so abysmally small) is their chocolate fudge cake. While certainly one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever eaten (the lone star of recent meals there), it's finished in 3, maybe 4 (small) bites. Think something a little bigger than a two-bite brownie, but costing about $11 after tax and tip. Unacceptable. This is just one example. I can go on, but won’t.

          Oh, and who puts homemade strawberry shortcake in a martini glass?!?! Ridiculous.

          Needless to say, after many years The Mill has lost me. Time to give some other nearbys a shot.

        3. icey Sep 13, 2007 07:15 AM

          I think that a drive to Thornbury is definetly a good idea! There is a WONDERFUL bakery right across the street from Sisi on Main, and they make great food (can't remember the name). Yummy sausage rolls, great baked goods, chili, etc. For a light lunch or an afternoon snack, it is definetly worth it! We tried to go on the long weekend, but it was closed, so we drove around the corner and tried Piper's for breakfast. It was GREAT!!!! They had wonderful large pancakes, hot chocolate with whipped cream, good traditional breakfasts with lots of specials on a blackboard like montecristos and special omelettes.

          2 Replies
          1. re: icey
            f
            fussimist44 Jul 18, 2008 10:52 PM

            I would pass on the bakery (snooty service) and Piper's is okay at night when it is dark but it is really depressing in the daytime. My recommendation for breakfast is The Orchid - good breakfast, good service. I recommend the grilled cheese with back bacon sandwich. They are only open to 3pm though. If you want fine dining in Thornbury go to Largo. It has an amazine patio overlooking the Thornbury harbour and the food is OUTSTANDING. Their antipasto platter was so good I had to go back the next day to have it again. I would also recommend their bread pudding...

            1. re: fussimist44
              t
              truffleoil Dec 3, 2008 12:48 PM

              That chef that was at Largo has not been there since August. I am not sure if they are even still in business. However I did track him down and he is in Walters Falls now at the Falls Inn and the antipasto platter is there too. LOL.

          2. l
            legendrider Sep 12, 2007 06:26 PM

            Teds Range road diner in Meaford has to be seen to be believed not pretty but good food, the locals go for the prime rib because they served the Yorshire in a huge onion soup bowl.

            4 Replies
            1. re: legendrider
              j
              jinxed Sep 12, 2007 10:56 PM

              Thanks for the suggestion, legendrider!

              The breakfast and dinner menus look pretty good...but is it worth the 90km drive from Blue Mountains? I'll be travelling from Toronto, so Meaford is way out of the way. Is the food worth it??? The prices are pretty good, especially for the game (caribou, venison, bison, elk, emu). Aside from the distance, it sounds like a good tip.

              http://www.meaford.com/rrdiner_menu.html
              http://maps.google.ca/maps?daddr=Gray...

              1. re: jinxed
                l
                legendrider Sep 16, 2007 04:51 AM

                Actually if you are at Blue its only about 30 Km roughly half an hour, the food is excellent the last time I was there but the atmosphere is well interesting the owner has taken an old quansat hut and turned it into a resto, cement floors huge picnic tables and a fine dining / diner menu good home made food and trust me on the weekends the place is packed, well it is a hall but like i said has to be seen to be believed have rec'd it before and the people loved it just my two cents there are places closer but teds is a "trip"

              2. re: legendrider
                m
                magic Aug 12, 2009 08:40 AM

                I recently had someone else recommend Ted's. It looks interesting! Think I’m gonna check it out, for lunch maybe. Any words of advice?

                1. re: magic
                  m
                  magic Aug 18, 2009 07:08 AM

                  Ted’s was fairly good. I wouldn’t put it in the must-visit category, but for what it was I enjoyed it. My BBQ beef sandwich was nice enough but won’t invade my dreams at night, and the fresh cut fries were also nice and perfectly done (however were not salted at all). My garlic bread with cheese was really good, even if the bread was barely toasted. Still trying to figure out why watermelon and dill are used as garnish for garlic bread and cheese. Or raspberries as a garnish for BBQ beef and fries. Oh well, it was cute though, and appreciated, though misguided.

                  One friend’s club sandwich was quite good, while one friend’s buffalo burger was a small, grey overcooked trainwreck. I was trying to figure out why the buffalo burger was so small. Every time I’ve had a buffalo burger out they’ve been good hearty sizes; always the same size as their beef counterparts. Yet at Ted’s the buffalo burger was clearly half the size of their beef burger. Odd. And a bit cheap I thought.

                  From what I understood weekends are crazy and reservations for even lunch were a good idea. Yet the place was fairly dead. What gives?

                  Service? Meh. Not great. Things moved slow there, in the kitchen and the front of house. And the place barely had customers. I shudder to think what would happen if they were slammed. More than one mistake was made, for which there were no apologies. Just bored indifference.

                  Overall, I’d go back. But I’d order with caution. I probably would not order their famed prime rib, seeing how they destroyed and overcooked that buffalo burger. But I’d go back. I just wouldn’t rush back.

              3. j
                jinxed Sep 5, 2007 04:13 PM

                Help me, hounds!

                I'm still hoping to get some good recs for the Collingwood area. Is there *any* good food in the area? (within 30min drive from blue mountain resorts)

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