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Jan 11, 2009 03:16 PM

Where to eat in Kitchener

i am visiting on monday and tuesday and need a good spot to eat, any idea is a good idea.

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  1. If you like thai food then you must visit Bangkok Cuisine on Weber St. near Fairway.


    1. Here are some of my fave's - some are in Waterloo which, if you're not familiar with the area, is a quick drive across the railroad tracks!

      Ye's Sushi - 103 King W, Kitchener
      The Duke St Muse (healthy, tasty, vegetarian, cheap) - 6 Duke St E (at Queen)
      Marbles Restaurant - 8 Williams St W, Waterloo, Dynamite menu, but best enjoyed during the summer on their quaint patio
      Masala Bay (Indian) - 3B Regina St, N Waterloo
      Barley Works (Pub Fare) @ The Heuther Hotel - 59 King St N. They've got the best wings!!


      27 Replies
      1. re: RR3100

        Any current opinions on Ye's AYCE sushi? My Thai (beside Jane Bond) in Waterloo? Uptown21? http://news.therecord.com/article/482427

        Looking for a good restaurant in Waterloo (not Kitchener) for dinner this week, but not as expensive as Bhima's, and not Morty's nor Vietnamese. Please help?

        P.S. If I wanted to eat in Kitchener, I'd run straight to Donair and Kebab House or Taka (both in same plaza on Bleams).

        1. re: Food Tourist

          Uptown 21 is very good for gastropub type food made with mostly local ingredients- best meal I've had in Waterloo in the past year. Uptown 21 would be my top pick in KW. http://uptown21.ca/

          I also recently enjoyed the sweet potato lasagna at Sole- it's on the heavy side, and a massive portion, but I liked the flavours.

          I liked the atmosphere, service and desserts at Verses, but will avoid their seafood on future visits and stick with dairy, chicken or meat dishes.

          Found the lasagna at Casa Rugantino to be decent for a red sauce type Italian restaurant. Not authentic, but tasty enough for Canadianized lasagna. Lots and lots of meat and mozzarella.

          I like the cracker bread they include in their bread basket at Janet Lynn's- have only had lunch there a couple times, but have found it to be solid, but somewhat boring bistro food.

          Had one great meal and two mediocre meals at Wildcraft last year.

          1. re: Food Tourist

            Every visit I ever make to Ye's -- most recently a couple weeks ago -- makes me swear I'll never go back, but I always do because it's practically the only game in town and it's a hard student habit to break (I tried to go to Yummiyaki's one time, but it's more expensive and I was turned away because it was full). The food is passable, but the attitude there is so distasteful. Mandatory "tips" that I feel sure the owner is pocketing 100%, and some mystifying policies, like the "cash discount" that was offered to me once when I was in a party of six and mysteriously denied when I returned with only one other diner: completely unacceptable. (As a side note, isn't it more usual to charge less for fewer diners, not more?) All these episodes were admittedly at the Waterloo location, but the common ownership would lead me to assume these attitudes extend to the Kitchener location as well, even though it's been a few years since I went there.

            Easily the worst "Japanese" experience in Waterloo though is at the Iron Chef location in the University Plaza. "Tasteless" is an understatement, they skimp even on soy sauce and season absolutely nothing, not even with salt and pepper. I know of only one person who thought the experience was passable -- because they ordered sashimi! No seasoning needed! Bleh. I was shocked to hear later that this chain is actually considered "good" in Mississauga. No quality control on this particular chain outfit, it seems.

            Ben Thanh is one of the better value propositions in the K-W area, I think. Good price, decent service and food if you choose the right things.

            1. re: morefoodplz

              Wow, thanks. I did enjoy my experience a couple of months ago at Iron Chef in Mississauga - fairly decent quality, clean and enjoyable.

            2. re: Food Tourist

              I avoid Ye's since I never feel well afterwards. It seems that the meal repeats on me for hours (and I don't overindulge).

              I've been to Uptown 21 once and it wasn't bad. What's the latest on Hannah's - either the restaurant or the tapas bar? Has it improved?

              This isn't an option for this week, but when you are in Kitchener, you must try Bangkok Cuisine on Weber (near the Fairview exit). It is amazing Thai food.

              1. re: RYP

                Hannah's is closed.. new owners of the Waterloo Hotel wants to jack up rent.


                edit: I feel the same way after eating at Ye's, but strangely go back there once a month or so. Good value when you feel poor in this economy though.

                1. re: TripleQ

                  I was never a fan of Hannahs (either the restaurant or Tapas) mostly due to really bad service. However, the the quality of the food in the tapas bar eventually got to be pretty bad too.

                  But it is sad that KW can not seem come up with some exeptional restaurants. I just don't get it. I did have a Cambridge chef once tell me that he couldn't cook things a little more "adventureous" because the patrons didn't like it. But surely, that must be chaning!?

                  I'm in need of a nice restaurant for an anniversary dinner. I'm thinking of the standby Verses. But does anyone have comments on Peter Martin's 20 King?

                  1. re: RYP

                    Don't be too sure about times are changing, I think KW remains very much a meat and potatoes town. (Or sausage and sauerkraut)... as we grow and become more cosmopolitan it will hopefully change.

                    20 King is pretty good, but not very adventurous. (Heh, I just looked at their menu.. the first 3 dinner entrees are literally meat and potatoes!) But I see they have jumped on the charcuterie bandwagon now. I also usually feel very young when I go there, I think much of their clientele is the 40+ crowd. (Same with Janet Lynn's)

                    Depending on how special an anniversary it is, I'd recommend Langdon Hall.

                    1. re: TripleQ

                      Thanks TripleQ -- sound like 20 King is what I expected it to be.

                      I have to say, I'm not a lover of Langdon Hall. I've been there 3X and each time I have not been completely satisfied. Either service or the food was lacking. At $250-300 a couple, I am VERY picky :)

              2. re: Food Tourist

                I'd also eat lunch at City Cafe Bakery on Strange St. but it's too far for my purposes this week.

                1. re: Food Tourist

                  Nick and Nat's Uptown 21 was fairly decent. Ridiculously laughable service (we had a reservation for 2 people, were seated at a table for 4, and then ignored for 30 minutes because they thought we were waiting for 2 more guests! Not even offered drinks while we waited...).

                  Food was tasty and good but not excellent. Nice use of local and in season ingredients (ramps, fiddleheads). 8/10 overall (K-W rating; this place would be a 7 in Toronto). Great caipirinha ($8) - strong and tart. Lots of wines by the glass.

                  1. re: Food Tourist

                    Food Tourist,

                    Did you have lunch or dinner at Uptown 21? Did you order off the a la carte menu or did you get the Prix Fixe Menu?
                    I'm trying to decide whether to dine at Verses or Uptown 21.


                    1. re: sugarcube

                      Dinner. I had a la carte and my friend had the 3 course prix fixe. I haven't been to Verses yet. Uptown 21 had a good atmosphere though personally if I could dine in a former church, I'd choose that!

                      1. re: sugarcube

                        Not that you asked me...but I have dined at both and would pick Verses over Uptown 21. I prefer the environment and the food.

                        1. re: RYP

                          Not that you asked me, either, but I'll post my 2 cents. I had not-exactly-fresh-tasting scallops at Verses, and I'm surprised that the chef and server didn't pick up on the not-so-freshness. I'm cautious about ordering any seafood (as opposed to lake fish) in SW Ontario. After several experiences in KW and London, I've been getting the feeling many chefs/cooks don't actually notice or know when seafood is off or borderline. If I return to Verses, I'll stick to meat or poultry.

                          The service at Verses was slightly better than the service at Uptown 21. The atmosphere at Verses is more upscale, and the tables are set far apart so it's easy to make conversation, whereas Uptown 21 is on the energetic side, where convsersation can become a little difficult.

                          The dishes I ordered at Uptown 21 were tastier than the dishes I ordered at Verses. Might have been a case of me making better choices in terms of what to order while dining in KW.

                          I'd pick Uptown 21 over Verses.

                          1. re: phoenikia

                            Thanks for the helpful info Phoenikia and RYP. Perhaps I can try Uptown 21 for lunch and then Verses for dinner. What dishes would you recommend by the way (from either/both restaurants)?


                            1. re: sugarcube

                              Because the menu's change often, I don't believe the items I had are still on menu.

                              At Uptown 21 I had the tasting menu. I remember frong's legs - which were yummy. Don't really remember the entree, but I know I thought it was good - though not exeptional. Dessert was a disappointment...some sore of dry cobbler.

                              On my last visit to Verses, I believe I started with a salad then had the bouillabaisse. I quite enjoyed both my dishes and had no issues with off seafood. However, the scallops were not as sweet as the ones I've had elsewhere. I think K/W's fish mongers are lacking.

                              Can't remember my SO meal, but I know he's enjoyed his meals there as well.

                              Again, this isn't going to be the best meal of your life, but odds are it will be an enjoyable night out with good food and great atmosphere.


                              1. re: sugarcube

                                At Verses, I liked the selection of breads that were served- an herbed cracker bread/lavash, an herbed white, a whole wheat (possibly with sundried tomato) and a traditional white. 2 of the 3 salads in my composed salad were quite good. I also liked the Schnitz Pie- a caramel and apple pie with old cheddar and ice cream. None of the dishes I ordered are on the current menu:

                                At Uptown 21, I ordered the Brazilian Codcakes (not particularly Brazilian, they just tasted like the codcakes you can buy at Portuguese bakeries, wouldn't order these again). My main was the 1/4 roasted chicken with mushrooms, spaetzle and cranberries. The dish I ordered sounds ordinary, but it was one of the best tasting roast chickens I've had in a restaurant (haven't been to Zuni, not comparing it to that one!). Had the chocolate mudcake for dessert, which was also good.

                                Other people at our table enjoyed the tender greens (salad), the beef and the tortellini.

                                They also offer prix fixe at lunch ($25) and dinnertime ($35/$45 depending on # of courses) that changes frequently Here's a sample menu for their prix fixe: http://www.uptown21.ca/prixfixemenu.pdf

                                1. re: phoenikia

                                  Phoenikia -- you make me want to try Uptown21 again. Maybe I'll make reservations for tonight!

                                  1. re: RYP

                                    Hope it works out for you this time- and I hope the kitchen is consistent! I think the trick is to stick with chicken, pork or beef, and to avoid anything complicated when you're in KW.

                                    I don't compare KW restaurants to TO restaurants, and similarly I don't compare TO restaurants to NYC restaurants, because it's comparing apples to oranges. I adjust my expectations when I'm outside the GTA, because I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed. That being said, the roast chicken I had at Uptown 21 could have easily been served at one of our better bistros in Toronto .

                                    I think at least a couple places in KW can do a few simple things well ;-)

                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                      Thanks RYP and Phoenikia. I've made my reservations for next week. I'm looking forward to trying these two restaurants. The last time I was in the K/W area for a visit, we tried the Village Creperie. Unfortunately, the food was quite bland.
                                      Some of the items we tried included the Kibbeh (baked organic, extra lean ground beef mixed w/ spices, onions, pine nuts & bulgar wheat) which was overcooked and dry.
                                      Even though we started dinner at 6:30pm, they were already out of their Reuben Crepe, so I had to settle for their Espagnola crepe (spanish style blend of pinto beans, tomato, roasted peppers, onion, celery, carrot, chili pepper,cheddar, mozzarella & served w/ yogurt & kalamata olives)
                                      The beans tasted like they had come out of a can.
                                      The desserts failed to impress. My friend lamented that he felt 'ripped off' with the crepe suzette. Although it was flambeed table-side, the crepes just tasted like watery orange syrup.
                                      I chose the organic peanut butter, chocolate and honey crepe. It too, was nothing spectacular and definitely something you could easily cobble together at home.
                                      We also shared a carrot cake which was burnt around the edges and very mangled looking.

                                  2. re: phoenikia

                                    I am finally going to try uptown 21 this week.
                                    I have heard mixed reviews about the place which is why it has taken me a while to go there.
                                    Friends have loved it but they are also friends with some of the workers there and so I believe they are a little bias . Another friend who dines out frequently said that there is nothing special about the place and she's not rushing to go back.
                                    Another friend said that she left hungry and she had a full course meal !
                                    I want to form my own opinion about the place and am curious about the food.
                                    I have high expectations. Hopefully they don't fall flat.

                                    1. re: mmmduck

                                      Keep us posted on your experience. I never made it there on Friday and as I said before, after my first (and only visit) I thought it was just okay.

                                      1. re: mmmduck

                                        I wouldn't go into any restaurant in Ontario with high expectations- you're setting yourself up for a disappointment ;-)

                                        I'd describe Uptown 21 as basic food done well. Nothing spectacular or innovative, but much better tasting than most restaurant food in SW Ontario.

                                        1. re: phoenikia

                                          I had never been in the former salute and so I didn't know what I was walking into. The place is small. It is however, the right size for a new restaurant owner.
                                          I consider it casual fine dining. It's not trying to be hip , trendy or fancy schmancy . It's a place that wants to do simple food well in a relaxed atmosphere.
                                          The prix fixe menu changes every night. Nice idea but I like the idea of choosing whatever I want. I don't like to be limited .
                                          My companion and I both ordered from the a la carte menu. We shared the mussel app. You can't go wrong with mussels. It was in a tomato brandy kalamata olive broth with fresh chunks of tomato and fresh herbs which I believe were parsley , basil and rosemary.
                                          We then both had the foie gras bites. Slightly undercooked in the middle , otherwise this dish would be a winner ! I couldn\'t fit the whole thing in my mouth so I cut it in half but I enjoyed how the foie gras oozed out of the pastry.
                                          We shared a foie gras course which was served in a ramekin that night(we were told that the chef likes to change it up quite often). The foie was on the bottom was was topped off with a truffled brandade. It came with slices of crustini. Very rich but delicious . My only complaint is that I wish there was more foie gras ! =)
                                          For our mains I decided on the aged cheddar potato tortellini's and my companion had the regions finest beef. I went with the tortellini's because I liked the description and it just sounded good. It was served with a generous amount of toasted pecans, frisee(rounded out the dish nicely)and some kind of drizzle....I forget ....and fresh black pepper. Kudos to the chef for making the tortellini's in house. I don\'t mind paying 19 dollars for pasta when it was made on the premises and lots of love went into it . (unlike ennios, never again. 16 dollars for frozen ravioli's and sauce from a can just doesn't justify charging 16 dollars).
                                          My partner enjoyed his beef dish. Cooked perfectly. nice use of ramps and fiddleheads .
                                          By the end we were both stuffed...no room for dessert... and I was surprise cuz I had heard that the portions were small. Maybe the chef realized it and had changed things from the time they first opened.
                                          I can only see this place improving. Don't write it off yet. Supporting independent chefs in this town with a vision is better than supporting those bigwig corporate restos like the charcoal group and sole.

                                          1. re: mmmduck

                                            At Uptown 21, you can order from a la carte, prix fixe, or individual dishes from prix fixe menus. Lots of choice!

                                            The night I went, the chef hadn't yet decided what to offer for the daily foie gras special -- and it was already 6:45 pm -- so I skipped that and tried the terrine of the day instead (very good). I did, however, try one foie gras bite - it was nothing spectacular in terms of the foie, but the deep fried coating was certainly tasty.

                                            1. re: mmmduck

                                              Thanks for your post. I will have to go again.

                        2. In Waterloo, a personal fave is Ben Thanh. It's Viet and Thai food. It's around King and Northfield if I remember correctly.

                          1. My recommendations are based on my university days there 3 years ago. Morty's...the best chicken wings I've ever had. Done simple and right, better than All-Stars or any other wing place in Toronto. It's on University and King.

                            Another is Pilot Pita. Honestly, I don't know what they do...but it's the best pita I ever had. Really really....really good pitas. Also on University and King.

                            I would, and have driven back there, just for these places. And I am the type that enjoys places like Scaramouche and George in Toronto.

                            1. I don't know if heading slightly out of town is an option but the Olde Heidelberg House in Heidelberg is great. Excellent house lager and the smoked pork hock dinner is one of Mrs. Sippi's all time favourites. I myself most often opt for the pig tails.



                              2 Replies
                                1. re: Davwud

                                  I like the Olde Heidelberg House as well and I usual go for the smoked pock hock. It really too bad that it is so hard to get good German-style food in the most German city in Ontario.