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New to Barrie, seeking advice on where to (and not to) eat...

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I'm moving to Barrie soon, and after living in a small town with 4 restaurants for 30 years, I'm really looking forward to having actual options on where to eat... I'm hoping you all can give me some advice and save me a lot of trial and error on where to go for good food... I go out to eat 2-3 times a week...

Looking for recommendations in the following categories... Any warnings on places to avoid at all costs would be appreciated...

Pizza...
Sushi...
Italian...
Breakfast/Brunch...
Burgers...
Wings...
Chinese...
Seafood...
Steakhouse...

If there's a restaurant that's outside of these categories that is absolutely can't miss, feel free to tell me about it...

I'd also like to know if any of the chain restaurants are worth trying, as most of them are fairly new to me...

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give me...

---Honorarius...

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  1. Perhaps it's easier to state what Barrie doesn't have. There are no decent Japanese restaurants in Barrie any more. Ignore any recommendations. However, considering this, the best in Barrie is Furosato by the Holiday Inn. It will take the edge off any cravings you have until you can get to Newmarket/Toronto.

    Indian food is another problem. There are several Indian restaurants downtown, however when compared to the price/quality/authenticity you can get in northern Toronto, it's not worth my time and money to eat here. If you must, try Tiffin's Curry in a Hurry-pretty decent-good naan.

    You must try Vietnamese. The best Vietnamese in Barrie is Com Pho Asia on Cundles. It holds its own against any of the better Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto. The price can't be beat! You'll find me there at least once a week.

    Again, Chinese is dreadful in Barrie if you're looking for quality. I am comparing to northern Toronto-well there is no comparison. You'll find most people eating at the Mandarin-sad.

    Michael and Marion's is a solid restaurant-never had a bad meal there. You may find it pricey though. A fabulous little place is Painter's Hall-the best duck I've ever had! It's a little pricey as well, but all meals there are innovative and tasty.
    The North has an excellent reputation-very expensive-more of a special occasion destination I feel.
    Orilllia has Era 67-a favourite place of ours-specializes in local ingredients. Duck confit-mmmm.

    For super cheap-try the Italian Bakery on Wellington for their lunches.It's very popular and you can eat well, though not necessarily healthy food-for under $10. Stuffed peppers for $3 are a great deal.

    Johnny's Seafood is the place to get your fresh fish. Holly's across the street is a terrific little bakery that creates tasty amazing pastries and breads. Around the corner on you will find Cravings for prepared foods/catering. Again, rather expensive-but the quality is good. These are all found in the south end.

    Please take the time (20 minutes) to Mexicanada in Bradford. Authentic Mexican-not Tex/Mex, but real Mexican-so fresh, healthy delicious and an excellent price point as well!

    Pizza? Wings? Well, those places are all over the place. Pie Wood Fired Pizza Joint-is not that great. I've tried it several time and have been disappointed more than I've been pleased. When they can't get the bread right-what does that say?

    I hope this is enough to get you started!

    1. for a decent old-school all-day breakfast, try Andy's Place on Hart at Dunlop.

      1. As relative newcomers as well, we are working our way through various eating establishments in Barrie. We just discovered Com Pho Asia and second it - we love pho. Nobody has any recs for Chinese here....and we don't care for Indian. We do go to Mango Thai for laksa soup - yum! As for fine dining, we have tried and recommend Crazy Fox (happen to love their fish dishes), Painter's Hall (service could have been better) and North (oh so creative and good, but pricey). A couple on our "hit list" are Groovy Tuesday and Shirley's Bayside, so can't comment as yet. Almost forgot that we had a delicious dinner at Gio's - Italian food in an intimate setting.
        To satisfy our craving for wings and beer we hit Wild Wing (chain in the south end)...
        We have yet to try Era67 in Orillia, but certainly Sixteen Front in Orillia is worth a visit, as is Country Produce for specialty shopping - with fresh seafood, meats, veggies, baked goods, and lots of gourmet goodies. I wish they'd open up in Barrie! Oh, and one last find is The Lemon Tree bakery on St Vincent....would love your comments as you eat your way around the city!!

        1. As a former Torontoian, I can totally sympathize with what you're about to go through restaurant wise.

          As PPs have said, there are a number of decent options in Barrie. I haven't found too many ethnic restos in Barrie that I prefer over those in Toronto, but there are some solid choices for pretty much every genre you could want.

          I second the "recommendations" for Furosato and Com Pho Asia. I would add Royal Thai on Bayfield.

          I had lunch at Tiffin's Curry-in-a-Hurry last week, and wasn't impressed with the Butter Chicken - although the chana masala was excellent as was the naan. I have yet to find a single place for Chinese that doesn't feature chicken balls as a "chef's specialty" on the menu.

          In terms of a steakhouse, I've enjoyed The North as well as the Crazy Fox. I've also been to the side door at MIchael & Marians and I thought it was good as well.

          As midhurst1 has said, The Italian Bakery on Wellington West is excellent for a quick lunch - they also have some specialty Italian foods, including an unbelievable selection of dried pastas, and some gluten-free options too (both corn and rice). The girls at my office rave about the fresh bakery items there - the bread is a winner as are the infamous cupcakes - and for $2 a cupcake, you can't go wrong!

          In terms of pizza, I recommend Topper's. Before I get flammed, yes, it's a "northern ontario" (read that with an eye roll) chain, but it's great and the ingredients are quality. A family favourite is the Pizza Fiesta, which features chicken, roasted red peppers, red onions, feta and hot sauce. Sounds horrible, but it's really good.

          I would also encourage you to take the 45 minute drive to Collingwood/Blue Mountain once and a while. There are some really, really solid options in Collingwood that make the back-country road drive in the middle of winter worth it. Try Tesoro, Azzura and Brunello's for solid Italian. Good greek can be found at Tholos at Blue Mountain, and the Huron Club has really homey food, including a week day 5x7 special that includes favorites like "meatloaf Monday", complete with excellent live music.

          2 Replies
          1. re: NicoleJones

            ..and the mulligatawny at Duncan's Cafe in Collingwood..

            1. re: Wiley1

              Yum...or basically any soup at Duncan's!

          2. For seafood you can go to Oscar's, they have lobster Sundays and also a fresh oyster bar as well as many fish dishes. Its right at 5 points on the northside on bayfield.

            I just went to Chaopaya for thai last night, its on dunlop street east i guess, just east of mulcaster, it was pretty decent for what I tried.

            I will try to add more soon, just stepping out

            1 Reply
            1. re: TeRReT

              I have also enjoyed Chaopaya. What I like about this place (besides the atmosphere) is that they do not use your typical cheap vegetables for filler. Each dish is a unique flavour and the vegetables are nicely prepared-this is often overlooked in cheaper establishments.

            2. As one who used to visit Barrie frequently about 30 years ago, I was wondering if Maude Koury's Steak House was still in operation. That was Barrie's only "haute cuisine" in 1979. Anyone remember it or is it still open?
              CP

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chefpaulo

                I arrived in '92 and don't recall anything by that name. Thank goodness Barrie has evolved somewhat and has options now!

              2. I agree with most of what has been said but we often go to Il Buco downtown. It is a great Italian restaurant with overlooking the lake. A bit pricey perhaps but definately worth it.
                Royal Thai has great lunch specials. Skip the chains.

                1. I didn't want to start a new thread but I am looking for advice on Barrie - from what I have been able to find, mostly in this thread, I have compiled the following list - please let me know what you think and if anything is missing.

                  Big Chris BBQ
                  Spice
                  Michael and Marions
                  Si Senor
                  Com Pho Asia
                  The Sweet Oven Butter Tarts (have tried them once and can't wait to get more)
                  Johnny’s Seafood
                  Crazy Fox
                  Painter’s Hall
                  Gio’s
                  Italian Bakery

                  1. Era 67 is a big thumbs up -- used this thread to figure out where to go in Orillia, and had a wonderful meal there. I have to give a particular shoutout for the pickerel with smoked orzo. FANTASTIC

                    Prices are what you'd expect for a locally-sourced upscale bistro. For me, definitely a special meal, and a place I'd return to

                    1. If you like fish and chips and don't mind a quick trip to Thornton drive to the Thornton Crossing Plaza (4171 Innisfil Beach Road) and eat at Sirenis Fish and Chips. Order from their regular or Gluten-free menu. Fish and chips, chicken strips, or baked/roasted fish ie. almond encrusted, chili lime, cajun or coconut macadamia fish. I'm not on a gluten free diet but as far as I remember they have a separate fryer etc. Family sized appetizers and salads, sweet potato fries, wings, soups and various platters round out a nicely varied menu. They also have specials like Wednesday ACE haddock and fries, coleslaw $13.95 (check to see if this promo is still on). The food is served hot, not greasy, fries are fresh cut and I believe local, everything is hand battered. Pleasant service and atmosphere. They might have desserts too (gluten free I wonder) but we like to stop at the ice cream parlour a bit south on Hwy 27.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dory

                        Thanks for the fish and chips rec - we checked it out on Friday night and everything was delicious, and, you're absolutely right - nothing seemed greasy.

                        We had the seafood sampler (friend shrimp, calamari and scallops). It was all very tasty and perfectly cooked. We tried the chicken strips, haddock and halibut as well. Everything was great - breaded and cooked fresh. Much better than the frozen from a box stuff you get served at a lot of fish and chip restaurants.

                        I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in the area, visiting the area or just passing through.