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Aug 26, 2011 09:58 AM

New to Windsor

Bad news: I'm moving to Windsor to study. Yeah, I know.

I'm not looking for the pity of Torontonian foodies with this post, but rather some help in finding good replacements for the things I've come to love about Toronto. I know many of them probably exist but that they'll be hard to find.

For anyone familiar with this town (and particularly with near-campus food options) I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction for such things as:

-good espresso (without which I cannot function)
-general supermarkets
-ethnic markets
-farmer's markets
-good pubs
-to-go lunch/dinner places
-delivery (e.g. indian, chinese, vietnamese, pizza, etc.)
-destination restaurants (downtown or otherwise)
-food options inside the U of Windsor campus

Any help would be extremely appreciated! I'd also be interested to know if anyone has any thoughts on the restaurants named in this thread:

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  1. Will try to help you, but I don't live in Windsor and it's been several years since I studied there. The food and quality may be different and any of these places...but when I think back, this is one comes to mind:

    My favourite place in Windsor when I studied there was Sam's, which is a close walk from the university. Great pizzeria and coffee bar. I would go there with a crowd, and also alone to study. It's the only place I still miss, and probably some of the best food you can find within walking distance of the school.

    Also for pizza, Terra Cotta

    Bubi's was fun -

    Iguana Sushi has this crazy sesame sauce that everyone went nuts over:

    Rock Bottom was a great bar in Sandwich Town (also close to U of W), and we used to go on weekends for brunch (nothing mind blowing about the food, but sorry, you're in Windsor...).

    I remember there being some ethnic supermarkets along Wyandotte driving towards downtown. You will also find a lot of random Vietnamese, Thai, and Lebanese restaurants everywhere, but I can't give a specific recommendation. I never found good Indian food in Windsor and I searched everywhere, but when I left there was a place that had opened near the school, across from Sam's. I can't say if it's good.

    Good luck!

    Iguana Sushi
    33 Chatham St E, Windsor, ON N9A2W2, CA

    1. Tunnel bbq for delivery. Very unique bbq sauce (the original one). I've ordered the sauce online in the past (I live in TO), but I tried their online store today and it seems to be down.

      1. Try Colasantis nearby in Kingsville. It's very kitchy, but their original Broasted (roasted, then deep fried) Chicken to dip in honey is very addictive. When I lived there, the farmer's market was downtown and had great produce and meats direct from the farmers. Great deals on seafood for some reason. Chinese food used to be surprisingly authentic, some say due to the presence of many Chinese workers in the convention hotels, and there were wonderful Vietnamese places. Lots of local farms selling home made goods, like Cider Mills in Harrow makes amazing apple pies.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mayaishi

          I am a Torontonian who lives in Windsor. There is a lot of poor to mediocre food in Windsor, but a few gems exist. I'm not sure about Asian delivery, as I live outside the range of most decent places, but I can tell you that one thing Windsor can offer is good Vietnamese food. There are a half dozen or more Viet pho joints, the best of which are Pho Nguyen Hoang and Xic Lo, both on Wyandotte. Xic Lo is an easy walk from the University of Windsor. Chinese in Windsor is not authentic, but the best attempts are made at May Wah on University and Jade on Wyandotte (only the dim sum is good, IMHO). If you're a fan of Hong Kong BBQ, there is a place right near the university on Wyandotte that is good. Order what others are having, which is the BBQ stuff on rice or atop wonton mien. For good espresso, I'd say go straight to Erie Street, unless you prefer the Bohemian coffee house vibe at Milk, which is downtown on University. There are a few espresso places along Erie St., but I am fond of Centro, which offers wood oven pizza, decent Italian fare, gelati and great espresso. They also have a dude on hand that does sushi, but I can't wrap my head around sushi and Italian food, so I've never even looked at the sushi menu. I don't think Windsor is great for sushi, but my two go-to places are Hikari and Sushi California (though I only order Korean dishes there). I can't stand Iguana's, but that's just me. There are two of them now. My favourite ethnic grocers are the Vietnamese or Chinese owned shops all along Wyandotte. There is also a good Oriental Market at Dougall and Eugenie. There is an incredible European (read: Polish) deli on Walker, right near the market, which is fine, but not a true farmer's market. Most of the produce is imported, but prices can be really good, especially on the weekends right before closing time. There is a farmer's market downtown in season, but I've never been. I live in LaSalle and there are farm stands not too far from me that occasionally have great stuff. I love the Lafferty corn stands around town. They have two types of corn in the summer. The peaches and cream is awesome. There are pubs downtown, but I find downtown kinda dead during the week and full of drunk American (and Canadian!) college kids screaming until the wee hours, which is why I now live in the burbs! Additionally, I enjoy Marathon Ethiopian, El Mayor for Lebanese (Mazaar is also good), Mezzo for higher end nouveau Italian, Smoke and Spice on Ottawa Street for low and slow BBQ, Armando's on Cabana for pretty good wood oven pizza (though Centro's is good too). Vito's on Wyandotte in Walkerville makes a good pizza as well. There's a Trinidadian roti joint on Wyandotte, east of Goyeau. The goat roti is so tender! A nicer but still casual place (if you have wheels) is Caldwell's Grant in Amherstburg. I've been sorely disappointed with Greek and Indian food in Windsor, which is a shame, because there are good Indian shops all over Windsor. Right near the university are a few bare bones African places that serve huge portions that you can use to make two meals for yourself. There is a good halal butcher, also on Wyandotte. I like La Stella for Italian stuff. It's on Erie Street. If you're looking to spend big bucks, Nero's in Caesar's Windsor is the kind of place where you can get prime rib, a huge steak or lobster. No Jewish deli exists and frankly, deli restaurants in general should be avoided, unless you're into eastern European meats, in which case head straight to the Polish delis. Baled is a great middle Eastern store. It's on Wyadotte, past Glengarry. I don't usually buy fresh pasta, but there's a place on Erie St. near Howard that makes fresh pasta daily. I want to mention Primo's as well, but it's a bit out of the way, on Langlois (I think), near Tecumseh. It's just a small store, but they make their own fresh sausages and cured salume. For that alone, it's worth a visit. For general groceries, I tend to wind up at Zehr's, mostly because it is close by, but Remark is good for some better items, such as freshly squeezed OJ and pink grapefruit juice. Coolwater Fish is in the market, with a second location on Dougall, south of the E.C. Row. They're only okay for variety, but I've had good lobsters, whole bream and pacific salmon from them. You'll find plenty of bars near the u, all with pretty bad pub grub. One last word on Erie St.: there's a really wide range of Italian fare, from red and white checkered tablecloth family style places to higher end places. Work your way along, trying any that are recommended to you. In my 10 years in Windsor (oh God, has it been that long???), I have probably tried about half of the restaurants along Erie. Nico is okay, La Zingara is uber casual but has decent pizza, I liked Mezzo, NOI is pretentious and only meh for me, same for Il Gabbiano, though their menu sounds great on paper. I should give it another try soon. If anyone can heartily recommend other places on Erie Street, I'm all ears.

          Sorry if I jumped all over the place, but I've tried to cover everything you requested. I like Toscana, down near the 401 on Dougall, but it may be off your radar. I'd like to try Zaatar and Zeit in the Lebanese part of Wyandotte, but haven't yet. Ditto for Mi Casita, which does Salvadorean Papusas, apparently. It never looks busy when I drive by, though. I'm apprehensive. One place that intrigues me is Rico's (look it up on It's in a house on a side street near downtown. It used to be a pub that had a bed and breakfast above it. I believe Rico has changing daily menus that he posts on the website each day. I'd like to try it out but it's lunch only (and possibly snacks in the afternoon).

          Windsor seems to specialize in large wings, which are meaty and tasty. I like the wings at Cramdon's on Dougall, now near the E.C. Row, but Smoke & Spice does smoked (not fried) wings that are excellent, as are the ribs. Bubi's does good wings as well, though I usually order the Serbian options, such as the Serbian salad, cevapcici and the super garlicky bubi's sauce. Bubi's has a huge menu, but most of the food is unremarkable, aside from the enormous portion sizes.

          Okay, I'm out of gas. I may have forgotten something, but I haven't mentioned most of the places already listed above because they are either not my cup of tea or else I haven't tried them. Good luck!

          3891 Dougall Ave, Windsor, ON N9G1X3, CA

          Caldwell's Grant
          269 Dalhousie St, Amherstburg, ON N9V1W8, CA

          3208 Dougall Ave, Windsor, ON N9E1S6, CA

          Pho Nguyen Hoang
          510 Wyandotte St E, Windsor, ON N9A3H9, CA

          1. re: 1sweetpea

            chinese delivery .. not alot of options but the best one is probably Dragon's Inn.
            Chinese Takeout near downtown.. go to Jade.
            Iguana is bastardized japanese food... they have the 'Iguana Sauce' that ppl wet their pants over which is really soya sauce mixed with mayo... embarrassing!
            i concur ... asian grocery stores... wyandotte... hoa viet and international (assuming they're still in biz)
            Jed.. if u're still in windsor .. go to the costco and you can get the 1litre of the bbq sauces in either mild or hot for a cheaper price than their online store.
            near campus.. if u're in the mood for bar wings near campus... hurricanes bar/pub is 'ok' for windsor standards its not a duff's type of caliber tho.
            if u have a vehicle a quick run over the border and u have mega selection of mexican and a greek town thats quality of food is sure to rival our danforth.
            Michael Symons Roast restaurant in detroit is also another decent restaurant for windsor standards.

        2. i didnt' repeat some of the restaurants i mentioned in this thread.. its a good read for you as well....

          1. thanks everyone for the responses thus far. lots of really good leads here that i'm going to check out ASAP.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ThreeEm

              Ooh, defintely Hoa Viet and International Market for all things Asian, especially Vietnamese. The Hong Kong BBQ place is called Sun Hong.

              I had a nice dinner at Taza is Fresh on Cabana, near Howard. It is Mediterranean (primarily Lebanese), and while it doesn't compare to the Lebanese offerings in Dearborn, Michigan, it was pretty good in its own right.

              I fully concur with everything Plug said about Iguana's. That sauce is a joke and the 4-bite maki are impossible to eat, only mediocre tasting and woefully overpriced for the quality. For a real Japanese sushi experience, go to West Bloomfield to Sharaku Sushidokoro. I haven't been for years, but when I was there all of the staff and most of the patrons were Japanese. Prices were high, but the food was authentic. Cherry Blossom in Novi is pretty good too, but the staff are mostly locals who don't pronounce the menu items with any accuracy. If you can get past the fact that the ambiance is simply a very large restaurant in a strip mall, the menu can deliver a wide variety of Japanese options that are solid.