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Aug 29, 2008 12:31 PM

Non-tourist trap places in Niagara Falls?

My sister is doing the Niagara Falls marathon in October. We'll be there for lunch and dinner the day before her race as well as breakfast (for me) and a quick bite to carry on the train on race day. Does anyone know of any non-tourist trap places, preferably close to the Brock Plaza Hotel? Lunch and dinner on the day before the race will be leisurely and can be pricey or not. Post-race meal will have to be quick takeout. Many thanks!

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  1. Casa Mia and Napoli are both nice Italian places in the Falls. Casa Mia is pricier, but the quality is very good at both.

    For your breakfast, head to Bassel's, a diner that's been around forever.

    "Non-tourist-trap" and "close to the Brock Plaza Hotel" are not phrases that mate well in the same sentence. There is a very good Dim Sum restaurant in the Fallsview Casino, and 17 Noir in the Casino can be very nice, but very pricey, and sometimes uneven.

    3 Replies
      1. re: Gourmando

        Is Bassel's open Sundays? Is there a website or phone number for this place?

        1. re: LTL

          Basell's, 4880 Victoria Ave., 905-356-7501. Sorry I misspelled it my earlier post.

          Here's a website of sorts:

      2. This has go to be my tenth time replying to a question about dining in the falls. Short answer, there is no good food in the falls. At all. There is mediocre Italian, mediocre Thai and that's about it. You can search the board for past posts if you want more details, but basically you don't go to the falls for the food. The experience, however, is awesome! And if you enjoy crappy, theme park type food, you'll have a good time!

        10 Replies
        1. re: likescrab

          That isn't really accurate. The places that Gourmando recommended are at least better than mediocre. 17 Noir in particular is even quite nice as long as you don't mind being gouged horribly.

          1. re: graydyn

            If you join the players club at the Casino they'll send you monthly vouchers that can be used at 17 Noir and other restos at both Casinos. I didn't think it was terribly overpriced but it's a lot nicer using the voucher.

          2. re: likescrab

            Well we went to Niagara expecting nothing from the food .. and consequently broke one of our cardinal rules and dined in the hotel restaurant with the voucher that came with our package. What a SURPRISE!! We took the option of the chef's menu with an insanely good value matched wines package and had the best meal we've eaten while in Canada.

            Dishes included a strawberry, goats cheese & balsamic salad, calamari, a moroccan spiced soup, seabass with cilantro & raspberry and fillet steak with lobster tail. We requested the sommelier concentrate on local wines and were delighted with the pairings that were presented.

            The service was excellent, the view with the snow falling over the falls gorgeous & the decor and atmosphere in the dining room lovely. From our pre-dinner drinks at the bar (fabulous martini!) to the offer to send desert to our room if we'd prefer to finish our evening upstairs it was an entirely enjoyable experience.

            In Australia we would avidly avoid a hotel restaurant ... particularly one with a 'view' but we found ourselves delightfully surprised by our experience at the Marriott Fallsview's Terrapin Grill. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to visitors wanting something special while visiting the Falls!

              1. re: visitorfromoz

                Glad to hear the Falls did not disappoint in any way. Being from the falls and a chef and restaurant owner, I've always been concerned about thelack of any good food. Where you from inOz? You know there are a ton of aussie winemakers in Niagara...

                1. re: likescrab

                  I didn't realise that the Aussies winemakers had invaded Niagara ... I hope my enjoyment of the local wines hasn't been because they've been too familiar! That would be most amusing considering how I've avoided the many Australian wines I've seen on menus in an effort to try the 'local' flavours! Sorry for the delay in replying, we finished our stint in Toronto & have been enroute to Germany via a Christmas party in Amsterdam on Sat night ... Japanese restaurant with a fabulous tasting menu and a switch to the wines of Sancerre & Bordeaux! Home is Melbourne, when we manage to spend any length of time there ;-) But that is hardly relevant to this thread. Will continue to pop in here for updates on the local scene, we hope we won't have to wait too long to return to your lovely area!!

                  1. re: visitorfromoz

                    Yeah, there are at least four i can think of.

              2. re: visitorfromoz

                Thanks for the report, oz! I've actually heard good things recently about the restaurant at the Skylon Tower. They have a promotion on for locals right now, with a $50 gift card that has been sent to our house. I'm really tempted to use it just to see if the good news is true. In the past, it has had a terrible reputation, but it might be worth seeing if they have seen the light.

                Another place that I have yet to try is AG, but I've heard very good things about it.

                The calibre of restaurants in the Niagara region has improved dramatically over the last decade. I think that the restaurants in Niagara Falls itself have started to figure it out. At least, I hope that's the case!

                1. re: Gourmando

                  Ur welcome Gourmando! We toyed with the idea of lunch at the Skylon Tower as we hadn't eaten when we were going up, but looking at the a la carte menu it wasn't what we'd envisaged for a light lunch so we gave it a miss. From memory the entrees were around the $30 mark, but I can't remember what any of them were sorry!

                  We were REALLY surprised by Terrapin. Of course seriously low expectations will always be easier to exceed than high ones ;-) The seabass was a wonderful piece of fish and was perfectly prepared to boot. I found the dishes interesting with nicely balanced flavours, something that we haven't experienced a lot in our trip here. (Not suggesting that's representative of Canadian dining!!)

                  Breakfast in the same venue was also good, with an omelette station with cooked to order eggs. It was included in our package so it didn't hurt our pockets but I think it had the 'tourist markup' included!! To be honest we didn't need lunch after such a big breakfast so I guess it wasn't completely outrageously priced.

                  Good luck with your expedition to Skylon, it can't hurt to test them out with their voucher right? Hopefully the reports you've heard are true and you can enjoy a nice meal as well as that spectacular view!

                  PS: If you ever make it 'downunder' let us know so we can recommend some of the gems that Melbourne has to offer!!

                  1. re: Gourmando

                    I had the unfortunate opportunity of dining at Skylon about 3 years back. Maybe it's changed since (like the CN Tower, which I was pleasantly surprised about when dining with on the company's dime earlier this year - great Caesar salad with lots of anchovies in the dressing and crisp bacon. What's better than a nice, grey salad dressing? I dislike the white goopy stuff), but it was pretty mediocre and overpriced (as to be expected of a tourist trap). If you go in with expectations set at the correct level, it's tolerable. Not good, but not unbearable either. You're paying for the view. I would compare it to Red Lobster with a view. That or Milestone's.


              3. a search and see my review.