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dining in Stratford, 2011 season

  • prima May 21, 2011 09:47 PM
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Lots of changes in Stratford this year.

Downie St Burgers (which sells upscale burgers) has replaced the former tapas place that was a schnitzel place before that. http://downiestreetburgers.com/

http://twitter.com/#!/DownieStBurgers

Simple Fish & Chips (which uses sustainable fish) is another new addition to Downie Street http://www.simplefishandchips.ca/

Taj (Indian that might give Raja a run for its $) is another new addition to Downie St, but I haven't heard anything about it as of yet.

Eleanor Kane sold The Old Prune in the spring, and it is now owned by the same people who currently own The Parlour ( http://dining.theparlour.ca/Menus/Din... ). http://twitter.com/#!/The_Prune_

http://travel.ca.msn.com/canadianpres...

Savour Stratford webpage with menu links: http://www.welcometostratford.com/tem...

Savour Stratford Culinary Guide: http://www.welcometostratford.com/cul...

I started my 2011 season with a 3 course dinner at Bijou. Started with an asparagus and pickled mushroom salad in brown butter vinaigrette, followed by ribeye with fiddleheads and fried potatoes. Tried the banana souffle with caramel rum sauce for dessert. Other dishes included a sake and soy marinated trout with jicama and ceviche vinaigrette, a halibut with wild leek sauce, crispy duck leg with Korean BBQ sauce, and venison with a szechan pepper gremolata. The menu had more Mexican and Japanese influences than I've seen in the past, but the menu changes frequently, so that might change considerably. Somewhat loud atmosphere, as it's been in the past. $46 for 2 courses, $53 for 3 courses.

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Old Prune
151 Albert St, Stratford, ON N5A3K5, CA

Bijou
105 Erie St, Stratford, ON N5A2M5, CA

The Parlour
101 Wellington St, Stratford, ON N5A2L4, CA

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  1. Adding links.

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    Downie Street Burgers
    107 Downie St, Stratford, ON , CA

    Simple Fish & Chips
    118 Downie St, Stratford, ON N5A 1X4, CA

    1. Interesting to see that the Old Prune's menu now offers a la carte in addition to the 2- or 3-course prix fixe. My last meal there 2 summers ago was very disappointing so I am curious to find out if the new ownership will restore them to their former glory.

      1 Reply
      1. re: caviartothegeneral

        I'm also curious about the Old Prune. Has anyone dined there recently?

        http://www.oldprune.on.ca/index.php?o...

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        Old Prune
        151 Albert St, Stratford, ON N5A3K5, CA

      2. Had an excellent bout of dining during Stratford's opening week.

        Best news is that The Church and The Belfry have abandoned their fling with molecular gastronomy and have returned to some of the dishes that made them famous: rack of lamb, cold lobster, pavlova, etc.

        Also became addicted to Simple and ate there numerous times. The cod and chips is a fave, but the lobster mac-cheese is pretty impressive and a special one day of a sea scallop and asparagus risotto for $14 blew me away.

        Downie Street Burgers is a nice place with friendly service and quality "fixins", but they dont grind their own meat so you can't get a burger with any pink in it, alas.

        Dinner at Bijou remained a highlight, as always.

        Pizza at Pazzo always pleases. But I wasn't all that impressed with their new bakery next door.
        Can a croissant be TOO buttery? Theirs are.

        Haven't tried the new management at The Old Prune yet. Next time!

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        Old Prune
        151 Albert St, Stratford, ON N5A3K5, CA

        Pazzo
        70 Ontario St, Stratford, ON N5A, CA

        Downie Street Burgers
        107 Downie St, Stratford, ON , CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: rsvp7777

          Good to hear the Church has returned to its roots. Might have to return this season. I had taken it off my rounds after a meal a few years back, after a disappointing and skimpy meal.

          How do you compare the burgers at Downie Street Burgers to better burgers in TO?

          Is there a pizza you recommend the most at Pazzo? Pazzo is the one upscale resto in Stratford that's been around for a long time, but I've never visited.

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          Pazzo
          70 Ontario St, Stratford, ON N5A, CA

          Downie Street Burgers
          107 Downie St, Stratford, ON , CA

        2. Enjoyed a lovely meal at Rundles Restaurant, the more formal dining option offered by Rundles in their front dining room.

          Started with an amuse bouche of a cod croquette, served with pickled onion and Belgian endive. Today's breads were baguette and sourdough with black olive.

          For my first course, I had the beetroot terrine with horseradish sauce, and my friends had the grilled sardines. Also had a chance to try the lightly smoked tuna with a buttermilk chive sauce, which was very nice.

          For the second course, I ordered the duck confit, which was served with eggplant and edamame. Also tried a bite of the lamb loin that was cooked sous vide, and served with a poblano lamb sausage, and a fresh cheese made by Monforte.

          For dessert, we tried the Apricot brioche bread pudding with cajeta and ginger ice cream, a chocolate praline cream with zabaglione, espresso granita and a chocolate tuile, and the armagnac and plum parfait. I was tempted by the strawberry dessert, which included a strawberry granita. I hope to try that before Ontario strawberry season has finished. It was nice to see a dairy-free dessert option on the menu.

          After the desserts and coffee, a tray of small sweets, including hazelnut financiers, tuiles, fruit jellies and bite-sized buttertarts arrived at the table.

          Found the food to be interesting and innovative, and beautifully plated. Service was courteous and professional. Looking forward to another visit later this season.

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          Rundles Restaurant
          9 Cobourg St, Stratford, ON N5A3E4, CA

          5 Replies
          1. re: prima

            I'm a huge Rundles fan.

            Service is second-to-none... really it is stellar... puts much of TO to shame.

            I was there last year, and the food was very good.

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/20066223...

            I would imagine that the menu has changed since then though.

            Simple Fish and Chips is worth a visit too.

            Coming from Scotland, I have had my fair share of good fish and chips, and Simply ticked all the boxes for me, and then some.

            Excellent.

            If you are taking the train then I'd also recommend a quick pint and wings just across the tracks from the station... I cannot remember the name right now... and it's a bit Roadhouse... but it is actually rather good.

            Just watch your timing with the train...

            I almost missed it!

            1. re: Non Doctor

              Yes, Rundles Restaurant's menu has some new additions, in addition to some of Chef Baxter's classics, such as the beetroot terrine and double lemon tart. If you visit this summer, I recommend trying the cold-smoked albacore tuna.

              http://www.rundlesrestaurant.com/Rest...

              Photos of the beetroot terrine and duck confit: http://rundlesrestaurant.wordpress.co...

              Photo of the cold-smoked albacore tuna: http://rundlesrestaurant.wordpress.co...

              I'm hoping to try Simple Fish and Chips soon. Thanks for mentioning you liked it.

              1. re: Non Doctor

                Had a chance to try Simple Fish and Chips. Cute place, full house on a Thursday at 6 pm. The fish and chips at other tables looked amazing, and they offer perch, as well as cod, haddock and halibut.

                But I broke the Cardinal rule- I didn't Keep It Simple, which was Stupid on my part. Being a fish taco fanatic, I impulsively ordered the daily special of grilled haddock fish tacos (at a reasonable, especially for Stratford, price of $12), which turned out to look and taste more like 2 BBQ sauce drizzled grilled haddock filled cold tortilla wraps. Couldn't find the guac that was mentioned on the daily special chalkboard. Not what I was expecting. Innovative, yes. Fresh fish, yes. Taco, no.

                Thanks for recommending this place, NonDoctor. I'm serious- I really like it, and the people were super-friendly.

                The Fish and Chips looked amazing, and I'll be back soon to try the Battered Fishes.

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                Simple Fish & Chips
                118 Downie St, Stratford, ON N5A 1X4, CA

                1. re: prima

                  I'm pretty sure the Simple Fish and Chips folks were behind the Simple Eats booth at the food truck festival. Their mini lobster rolls and generous catfish tacos were among the highlights of the day for me.

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    I just looked up Simple Fish and Chips, since we will be going to Stratford in late June, and they have closed. I will have to find other options for dinner/lunch.