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Stratford on a budget

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The SO and I are going to Stratford the weekend of October 3/4. A lot of the restaurants I've looked at there are higher end, and although we may treat ourselves to one nice meal, we don't have a lot of disposable income and are looking for some more affordable but still chow-ish recs. Any suggestions?

We are staying at Foster's Inn - any experiences with their restaurant? Their breakfast/brunch menu looked good.

Also if we were to "splurge" (but not to the extreme), what would be a good choice for our one nice dinner (or even lunch).

Thanks!

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  1. Down the Street is a good option for a chowish but economical dinner:
    http://www.downthestreet.ca/

    I like Bijou the best out of the splurge restaurants- I think 3 courses was $50 this past summer.
    http://www.bijourestaurant.com/menus....

    I like stopping at Balzac's for a coffee and snack, too.
    http://www.shopbalzacs.com/contact_us...

    1. I like York Street Kitchen for sandwiches. It overlooks the river.

      Do yourself a favor though and drive to London and check out The only on King. Way better than anything in Stratford.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Calipoutine

        Thinking that London would be a pretty far drive for good chow. I have always had quite a bit of luck in that town.

        Second York Street Kitchen. Their sandwiches are excellent. I actually had a really nice dinner there as well.

        1. re: Otonabee

          Agree that London is a little too far for dinner if you're visiting Stratford- it would be at least an hour's drive to the Only on King in downtown London. I like the Only on King, but I wouldn't drive an hour out of my way for it;)

          Another option for lunch that's closer to Stratford is the Westover Inn in St.Mary's- a 20 minute drive from Stratford. Lunch mains are usually under $14. Dinner mains might be in the mid $20s. Woolfy's is another upscale option on Hwy 7, near St. Mary's.

          Bijou is better than most restaurants in London, and I know people who drive from St. Mary's to dine at Bijou regularly.

          Uptown 21 is a restaurant in Waterloo that is similar to The Only on King, and that would be closer to a 30 minute drive from Stratford, but really, if you're visiting Stratford, you might as well dine in Stratford. The prices at The Only and Uptown 21 are similar to the prices at Down the Street in Stratford.

          Stratford has had a hard year with the recession, and with American tourists staying home, Stratford needs your business.

          1. re: Otonabee

            I third York Street.

            1. re: torontofoodiegirl

              4th York Street. Do they still do the Mennonite sandwich?

              1. re: sloweater

                I'm pretty sure they do.

                1. re: Calipoutine

                  York St. makes good solid sandwiches from local ingredients, but I find them a little boring. The Mennonite is a good combo; the veggie one, not so much. I prefer the nearby County Food Co. Their schnitzel sammy is very nice (though it needs more seasoning), and most of their choices are some tasty riverside eats: the salad bar, pot pies, etc.

        2. So York Street is a for sure then. Sounds great, and definitely in my price range.

          I'm not interested in driving to London/Waterloo for food, I don't want to spend that much time driving, and really, I'm there to experience Stratford as I have not been before.

          Will look at Woofy's and Westover Inn, thanks for the suggestions!

          3 Replies
          1. re: ms. cornbread

            We had a terrific meal this summer at Rene's Bistro. and recommend it highly.

            1. re: ms. cornbread

              I went to Woolfy's last year and the food was well-executed, tasty - just not terribly memorable. I found that with the pricier 'established' restos, too. I have to agree with Phoenikia that Bijou is your best bet for a splurge dinner. Interesting dishes, well-plated, excellent service. That was the only restaurant I returned to on the same trip.

              Agree re: the York Street Kitchen for lunchtime sandwiches (didn't love their breakfast offerings). For a cheap 'n' cheerful brekkie, try Let Them Eat Cake on Wellington St.

              1. re: ghoti

                Totally agree with the recommendations for York Street for a moderately priced, delicious sandwich. We visit there every time we're in Stratford.

                Bijou is also a good find though I would not call it a splurge dinner. Although not inexpensive, their price point is far less than some of the true high end restos like The Old Prune or Rundles. IMHO - Bijou is much better anyway. We also enjoyed a meal at Renes Bistro this past summer, however between the two, I would pick Bijou.

            2. From a former Stratford resident:

              Bijou is terrific. Changing blackboard menu with a pretty good wine list.
              Woolfys is fabulous. Warm room, friendly service, extremely well executed dishes.
              Pazzo downstairs is excellent for pizzas, pastas or a more casual dinner. Very warm room and effective service
              York Street is not what it used to be. New management and sandwich quality has declined but try if you want a quick lunch.
              Down the Street is great for dinner or an after theatre drink and snacks. Lively scene, great bar and drink list.
              Old English Parlour is good for a burger or fish and chips with a good pint.
              Don't go to London. Drive is almost an hour. Not worth is.
              Check out Balzacs on main street for great coffee and the like.

              1. We had dinner at Foster's and it was good but not really memorable. The bar eats are good for late night after a show but don't think we'd return for dinner.

                We had a great homestyle Italian meal at Trattoria Fabrizio. The chicken parm is one of the best I've ever had. Requested extra bread to avoid licking the plate clean, the sauce was out of this world. Menu and wine are limited but at a good price point. Friends mention that this place can be inconsistant but looking forward to heading back for more chicken parm. The desserts were outstanding as well.

                Lots has been said about Pazzo already. We've had two meals there and the food and service are top notch and very reasonably priced.

                1. What is average cost of a main at Bijou? The menu looks wonderful, but there are no prices posted.

                  Am intrigued by Pazzo - boyfriend and I don't normally like to go for Italian, since we are Italian and have terribly high expectations, unless it is for pizza. Is this of the thin crust variety? Because if so, I'm there!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ms. cornbread

                    Pizza at Pazzo is most definitely thin crust. Mussels are also worth trying.

                    Bijou is a fixed price menu that changes constantly. Would guess average price would be high 30s-low 40s for two courses and mid-high 40s for 3. Haven't been since last summer so I don't remember too well.

                    1. re: ms. cornbread

                      At Bijou, there are 2 price levels of prix fixe each night- $44 for the 2 course prix fixe (with either a 1st and 2nd course or a 2nd course and dessert), and $50 for a 3 course prix fixe. Individual courses are not sold separately, as far as I know.
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617780

                    2. So tell us where you ended up?