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Jan 31, 2009 04:47 PM

What is good in Guelph?

Just moved here. Last night ate at Atmosphere Cafe and it was *awful*. I read two positive comments here about this place and was sorely disappointed. Started with the quail egg, roasted potato & spinach salad. The salad was entirely devoid of seasoning. It was like eating plain spinach. Not even a pinch of salt. Next was the chicken & duck liver pate. I think it came from a can. It was actually watery on the bottom. But the worst was the pizza. I couldn't even eat it. I had the sausage and portobello pizza. On each slice there were five roasted whole cloves of garlic - five per slice - who can eat that? Toppings were piled so high so that nothing was cooked properly. In particular, the sausage looked like it only been boiled, no searing at all. And the thin crust pizza was soggy. I love pizza, and was really looking forward to this meal - big fat disappointment. I could have done better myself. The service was bad too - waitress couldn't even remember the specials and we waited 10 minutes before she returned with her notes. Food was brought the wrong table, and they had a hard time keeping our water glasses filled up.

Is there any place really stellar to eat in Guelph or am I going to have to drive to TO every time I want a good meal?

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  1. Think you're sol buddy, but we went to this place in New Hamburg for sunday brunch, which was good if agricultural:

    1. Can't comment on fine dining in Guelph and It has been many years since I was last there - however my most favorite restaurant outside of NYC is Woks Taste - across from the arena - was excellent. They have changed management so I am not sure if it is the same but I still dream of their food. Visiting is on my list of winter activities.

      3 Replies
      1. re: juliewong

        Hi Julie--it is always soooo heartwarming to hear these comments. I will definitely tell my parents that you enjoyed their food. You are right--the owners have changed. I really can't convince my parents to come out of retirement.
        There is always one place I always make an effort to go to during my visits to Guelph: With the Grain. Simply the best feeling of baked bread smell and wonderful little pies, cookies, squares. You must go try if you haven't already.

        1. re: jazzng

          Hi jazzng - your folks ran Woks Taste? Your parents restaurant is a legend with the U of G crowd. We even had a 10th anniversary a few years back and 20 of us decended on the restaurant for dinner. Let them know that their food rivaled anything we have since had in the GTA and they are missed.

          1. re: juliewong

            Sorry a bit late on the reply but yes, I will let them know. I even miss the food and my parents cannot do some dishes at home. It needs the heat of the wok to get the right flavours. Other restaurant that I enjoyed on my last visit to Guelph was Einstein's cafe. Simply the best salad ever!

      2. Meg, you don't have to drive too far. The Old Mill in Aberfoyle, just before you get to the 401, has competent, but conventional, cooking and service.
        Or for your stellar culinary experience, just go a bit further across the 401 on Highway 6 South to the little Village of Morriston and treat yourself to Envers, a delightful little restaurant that continues to amaze me with their well crafted work. Be sure to book ahead if you go as they only have about 10 tables.

        10 Replies
        1. re: iamafoodie

          The Bookshelf Café used to have decent food. I haven't been in a while but I was impressed when I was there. There's also a really yummy Mexican spot downtown. It's kind of a café-style place. Near where the farmer's market is.

          1. re: Sarah Cat

            I don't think there's been a favorable report on the Bookshelf since it changed ownership and chef over a year ago. Too bad as it used to be a reliable spot in downtown Guelph.

          2. re: iamafoodie

            I share your pain about finding a decent restaurant in Guelph. We have not been successful. I whole-heartedly support the recommendation for Envers in Morriston. As for Aberfoyle, we've not had dinner there, but a brunch a few years ago was terrible. I'm kinda loath to go to these "heritage" type places. They provide a pleasant atmosphere but invariably the food disappoints.

            1. re: cynalan

              Lots of great places to eat in Guelph & area, also near by Kitchener waterloo area has a few great places too

              cynalan do you even you live in guelph? If you can't find a decent restaurant in the guelph area maybe you should move some place else.

              1. re: Jab05

                No I don't but visit it frequently to attend River Run Centre. I stand by my comment that I have not found a really decent restaurant. Sure plenty of road houses but have not found a good fine dining experience. I would be happy to be corrected but perhaps it is you who should get out more.

                1. re: cynalan

                  Have you ate at La Cucina , Bin 23, Babel Fish bistro, and Other Brothers and near by in the town of Blair is Langdon Hall ?
                  I would say one of the best is Bin 23. Those places aren't roadhouses.

                  1. re: Jab05

                    Langdon Hall? I would hardly call that a Guelph restaurant, Cambridge maybe, but not Guelph.

                    Had not been to Bin 23 and had a look at their website. Sorry, but not impressed. Beyond desserts there appears to be very little artistry in the presentation. Many of the dishes look like a handful of vegetables were simply dumped on a plate. They just don't give the impression of fine dining. Can't speak to the taste of the food, but presentation is not impressive.

                    1. re: cynalan

                      I don't recall calling Langdon Hall a guelph restaurant i said its near by. duh, Just because a restaurant's website fails to "impress "you doesn't mean its not good. and it's not fine dining its bistro dining

                  2. re: cynalan

                    As someone who lived and worked in Guelph for 7 years, I can tell you that it has always had a pretty good food scene. Way above "roadhouse" cuisine IMHO. Actually, for the size of the city, it was always shocking to me how much diversity there is/was.


            2. There's an Italian place on Macdonnell, goes by the lame name 'il cucina' but is quite beautifull inside and I've had some very good meals. Lots of people I know rave about Georgian Creeds on Douglas, but I haven't been in an age. There's also a little place by the university called Bistro 6 which used to be decent. Try Eggcetera at York and Victoria for breakfast. Wok's Taste is good, but not lifechanging.

              Avoid Artisinale at the Bookshelf, I've had a succession of awful meals there.

              Short answer - no, nowhere consistently stellar in Guelph, but you won't starve.

              1 Reply
              1. re: andy andersen

                Agree about Artisinale. I had a horrible experience there. Service was slow and unattentive. I had the steak special which had a 1.5" wide rind of fat attached to a 1.5" wide strip of meat. Outrageous -- and it was tough and not at temperature. Even after complaining and leaving the steak untouched after the 1st bite, it remained on the bill. This was a special weekend for us and we were so disappointed by this alleged upscale place. like the wind.

              2. Has anyone here been to Babel Fish Bistro lately? I have not been there, but know a few people who have, and they had good things to say. I have read some good reviews on the place, and that it is a big improvement from their pre-restaurant makeover days.