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A weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake

  • r

My husband and I are going to go to NOTL in February for a weekend. I have been trying to decide where to have dinner. I would really like to try Stone Road Grill. I was also thinking either Restaurant Tony Deluca or Peller - both of which I've been to.

Not sure about lunch.

I know NOTL has been exhausted on this board, but I was wondering if anyone has any feedback/suggestions. I'm not interested in any of the restaurant in the Vintages Hotel nor do I like Zees (bad experience).


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  1. I had a great dinner experience at Stone Road Grill. It was two years ago and I've always wanted to go back.

    1. I was in NOTL this summer. We ate at both Stone Road Grill and Tony DeLuca's (as well as his cheese store for lunch!). I suppose if you haven't tried Stone Road Grill, you should try it, and it tends to cost a little less. But I have to say, we had an outstanding meal at Tony DeLuca's.
      The meal at Stone Road was good, but I found my main to be dissapointing. I had pork done 3 ways - and each 'way' was dryer than the last. But my SO had a very nice meal and the service was nice.

      1. Stone Road Grill hands down for dinner! Was just there a month ago and left completely satisfied. Good service, food, oysters, and wine. We had a late reso (9pm) so it was nice being there while busy then finishing with the place to ourselves. I am jealous of your weekend already!

        1. Have you thought of Hillebrand Estates' restaurant - in my opinion it's much better than Peller, which doesn't quite deliver. Also, just as a caution, avoid the pub/bar at the Oban Inn which used to be very nice for a casual dinner, but no longer.

          1. was there this summer and had a Great dinner at Tony Deluca, but if you have not been to the Charles Inn the food there is also very good both are about the same price.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Food4201

              I know I've recommended it before, but not far from NOTL is Port Dalhousie in St Catharines where you will find Treadwell - it's incredible, locally sourced, and serves a wonderful variety of hard to acquire ON wines with their tasting menu. You will not be disappointed. I am dreaming of my next visit....

              1. re: jcanncuk


                61 Lakeport Road, St. Catharines, ON L2N 4P6, CA

                1. re: JamieK

                  Treadwell Cuisine is closed until Feb 7th.
                  You could try Riverbend Inn on the Parkway - a mile outside of NOTL. A secret gem for sure.

                  1. re: woodenhorse

                    We decided to do the late Valentine's dinner at Treadwells. Unfortunately, though the qualtiy and flavour of the entrees was acceptable, the main arrived barely lukewarm at our table. It also arrived at least forty minutes after our starter plates were removed. The waiter never approached our table the whole time we were waiting to inquire with the standard "is everything okay", or "sorry your entrees are delayed", or anything.
                    When we relayed our disappointment in the timing and temperature of the entree to the waiter when he removed our plates, he said he was sorry. I said that was okay, he didn't cook it, But that didn't excuse the fact that he didn't seem to care, no he really didn't care about us the whole time we were waiting for our food. Let me follow this with two things: the fact that we are not fussy people, and we don't expect to race through a dinner in a restaurant of this calibre and second the restaurant was busy but not packed, there were empty tables. Almost two hours for three courses is not good.
                    Maybe we were spoiled by a recent trip to NYC, where the food was good and for the most part, the service was excellent. Even though all places we visited were packed, service was consistently quicker.
                    I also agree with a previous post that the sticky toffee pudding was overcooked and dry. I make this dish often myself at home using the original recipe from the Sharrow Bay Inn and have been told by others it's pretty good. I think it's better than what they serve at this restaurant.
                    The floor manager realized there was a problem and came over to apologize profusely for the entree and the wait time. Almost fifteen minutes after that our dessert arrived.
                    When the bill arrived, we realized they had "comped" one of our prix fixe dinners. This helped a bit but obviously we would rather have paid full price for a nice dinner instead of half price for a mediocre one.
                    As long time Niagara residents, we have pretty much given up on, I won't say fine dining, good dining in Niagara.
                    I've convinced my SO to give Stone Road Grill a try but I agree with him. I don't think there are any really good restaurants in this area. And if I see one more pan seared scallop or molten chocolate cake or creme brulee on one of these "fine dining" establishments, I'm gonna hurl. What happened to innovation and originality in cooking ? I don't care where you're sourcing your ingredients from. You should be attempting to astound with flavour, not serving dishes from ten, even fifteen years ago.

                    1. re: Sweet BooBoo

                      Would you be willing to share the sticky toffee pudding recipe? I had it there 20 years ago after a saddle of hare with a mustard cream sauce which was something I remember to this day.

                      1. re: Snarf

                        It sounds like a wonderful meal.
                        This recipe is from Jane Grigson's great book English Food. As with most English cookery books you need a kitchen scale to pull it off right.

                        175 g (6 oz)dates, stoned, chopped
                        1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
                        60 g (2 oz) butter
                        175g (6 oz) caster sugar
                        2 eggs
                        175 g (6 oz) self raising flour
                        1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
                        200 g (7 oz) soft brown sugar
                        6 tablespoons double cream
                        140 g (4 1/2 oz) butter
                        1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla essence

                        Grease an 18 cm (7") loose bottomed square cake tin with butter. Switch on the oven to mark 4, 180 C (350)

                        Put dates into a pan, pour on 300 ml (1/2pt) of boiling water and bring to the boil. Remove from stove, stir in bicarbonate of soda and leave to stand. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs bit by bit. Fold in the flour, then the dates and their juice, plus the essence. Pour into the tin and bake for 30-40 minutes. (do not overbake or you'll end up with Treadwell's dry result, I've done it before when I was distracted)
                        Meanshile, make the sauce by mixing the ingredients and bringing them to the boil, then simmering 3 minutes. Pour some of the sauce over the cooked pudding, put it back into the oven for the sauce to be absorbed and bubble to a nice golden brown. ( I also like to poke to cake to allow it to absorb even more of the sauce, ooey gooey good !) Serve cut in squares with the rest of the sauce in a separate jug. Also good with ice cream or whipped cream.

                      2. re: Sweet BooBoo

                        Do give Stone Road Grill a try. A group of us went there last summer and were very impressed. Much better than any meals I've had right in the heart of town, and the service was terrific.

                2. re: Food4201

                  Gotta disagree with you on this one. Last summer we ate at both De Luca's and the Charles Inn. Had the tasting menu at De Luca's which was good but not great. Charles Inn on the other hand was disappointing. For the price, equivalent to De Luca's, it did not deliver. If the entrees were priced about $12 lower, it would have been reasonable value. Bottom line - acceptable fare with small portions at an exhorbitant price. Not worth it.

                  My $0.02? Favourite restaurants in NOTL are Peller Estates and SRG. Agree that the hotel restaurants have gone way downhill. Had a great tasting menu at Treadwells. If you are willing to drive a bit, Zest in Fonthill was another favourite.

                3. Wise to stay away from the hotels. They are priced for a different market.
                  In the evenings, the Epicurean Cafe turns into a full service restaurant with very good flavours at reasonable prices. Also good is the Old Winery, which is also run by Tony De Luca, and which is significanly less pricey than his restaurant in the Oban.
                  For a good lunch, I would suggest La Cachette in the Strewn winery on Lakeshore. French bistro. Another option, if you want takeout, would be the sandwihces or pizza from the Stone Road Grille. A great selection of flavours and meats. The duck pizza is fantastic.

                  1. We just returned from our fabulous weekend at NOTL. Saturday night was dinner at Restaurant Tony Deluca. We did the Valentines Tasting menu with wine pairings. We quite enjoyed it -- even though it wasn't as good as the last time we were there.

                    We started with a lobster bisque (yummy); short rib (a little fatty and short on flavour IMO) with a wonderful brussel sprout and celeriac puree; a tasty cod with mushrooms; lamb saddle with oat cake and greens (the lamb was VERY rare and we were so full by this point to even try and enjoy this course); tasty cheese with walnuts and honey; tasting of three chocolate desserts (the black forest cake was extremely dry).

                    Sunday we had lunch at Le Cache in Strewn Winery. We went for the oysters and mussels special. We shared a 1/2 Litre wine; 6 raw oysters with a very oily accompaniment; mussels in a yummy white wine sauce (but please 12 mussels for $10!!); 6 oysters with a spicey chilly topping. $75 poor we left hungry.

                    Finally an amazing dinner at Stone Road Grill. It was a very difficult decision, but we both decided to do the Valentines price fixe menu. I started with the Oyster's Rock (they were okay -- but what else do you expect), SO had the kobe beef tartare -- really good -- I had food envy; next was a heavenly squash agnolotti which I am still dreaming about; main was a beautifully prepared beef tenderloin, potatoes (scalloped I think), green beans, lobster tail! with an amazing vanilla scented sauce; dessert was a trio of chocolate desserts. I can't wait to go back to SRG!!!

                    1. I think Sweetbooboo brings up some good points. NOTL seems to have been stuck for a few years re-hashing dishes. There seems to be less choices as well. I enjoy going down there and have had very good experiences at Stone Road Grille, Riverbend Inn and Treadwells. I was surprised at the review of Treadwell's- none of those fundamental mistakes were evident on my last meal there-however- I feel the focus there is a bit "meat-centric" -concentrating on the proteins and sauces- it is well done but the richness, saltiness and sweetness can be a bit much- personal preferences aside but I would like to see lighter dishes there and try more of the local produce and products that they boast of. (that goes for any of the Niagara restaurants). A few contacts down there tell me that a farm-restaurant will be opening this summer near NOTL which sounds very exciting.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: woodenhorse

                        i have had an excellent meal at the restaurant at Vineland estates winery...


                      2. Fonthill is the new NOTL!

                        Come here instead. ;)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: antin

                          Another cheer for Mont Font!

                          Had a killer red snapper dish for lunch at Zest yesterday. Seared in a panko crust with a coconut milk and lime sauce, served over boiled potatoes and green beans. David Watt (the "Soup Santa" I learned yesterday) also makes some of the best soups anywhere.

                          1. re: antin

                            Hey Antin... I agree totally. I hear there is an amazing place at highway 20 and Pelham Road for baked goods and cakes. The guy there makes one mean cappucino too. (wink wink)

                          2. My vote to Stone Road Grill. Wee place but packs a powerful and superior meal! They are also wonderfully knowledgeable about wines, not just the local stuff, but a broad knowledge. The diff here is that this is more of a "local" hangout vs the tourism aspect of the Vintage group / wineries, etc. My experience at some of the vinyard restos is that, ultimately, they are there to offer a support service to the winery; to encourage people to eat with the main product which is wine. But, the bottom line is their business is the making and selling of wine, not the making and selling of food, so...some aspect of the food end of the biz often suffers (whether it's just not quite up to par, or lack of choice, or less than stellar service...).