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Mar 30, 2012 04:25 PM

Good spots in Guelph

any good places?

Not looking for a specific type of food just good places

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  1. Hi

    It has been a very long time since I lived in Guelph however we do make it out there a couple times of year and head to Wok's Taste for chinese. Very good.

    8 Replies
    1. re: juliewong

      I enjoyed the new Baker St Station. Its more of a gastro pub than a bar, lots of local beers on tap and great food. if you're going on a weekend, reservations are a must.

      Other good places are Bin 23, Babel Fish Bistro, La Cucina, all of which are located downtown.

      1. re: Jab05

        I will check out all these places, ive heard good things about the last 3 things Jab05 mentioned specifically.

        Also, Im looking for small hotspots or hidden gems, like any good sandwich places for ex.? I found a small fish and chip place called Goldens which I plan on hitting up..

        1. re: darkstar.

          Babel fish is good, there's a lot of good stuff downtown. I'm more of a beer hound so I'd go to the Woolwich Arms. Decent British pub style food but great selection of Ontario/Craft beers and numerous scotches.

          1. re: GHM

            Sorry to bump an old reply- Babel fish is consistently the best Bistro level restaurant downtown IMO- Try the ribs. I haven't had a bad meal there ever.

            Bin 23 has been very good the last couple of times I have been there and is at close to the same price point as Babel Fish- I'll be back shortly for sure.

            Baker St. station is the best gourmet pub food in town- frankly some of the best overall food in the downtown period. It's definitely my go to spot currently.

            Salsateria- Very tasty reasonably priced South American food with a sit down part in van goghs now. Try the Tempeh thali- I am a huge fan. Also the jerk chicken burrito isn't spicy enough but is very flavorful.

            I'd avoid woolwich- They used to be great but I think there's been a case of resting on laurels over the last year or so- I've had 3 below average meals the last 3 visits. Everyone I dined with agreed.

            Avoid La Cucina as well- the most expensive food in the downtown and my last 3 visits have been unbearably slow with service that was trying but seemed to lack experience / training. The food was under seasoned, and not memorable at all. It was great when it first opened, but again... over the last year or so I haven't had a decent meal there. Everyone I dined with agreed on this too and we haven't returned.

            Right below Cucina is Atmosphere Cafe- quite good value- I've had some great dishes (also some average ones but never anything "bad") and the prices are lower than expected for the quality. I specifically remember an $18.00 (might have been less even..) chicken a la king that was just fantastic...

            Albion- hit or miss and the hit is good, not great. Their Albion burger, when hit is very very good (I find the garlic mayo a touch strong so I get mine on the side- but that is just a matter of taste). Baker street has a better burger consistently if that is what you are after.

            "The works burger" isn't my fave. Been only once, felt the burger was good but not as good as albion or baker street. The choices seem overwhelming and the sides are priced way too high for the quality / quantity.

            Friends in our kitchen- Never had a meal I enjoyed thoroughly there despite loving how everything on the menu sounded. The service is good, just some of the flavor profiles weren't appealing to me personally each time I've gone.

            Anyone had dinner at The Joint? The happy Traveler (used to be Carden st cafe)? or at the new locations of Artisanale? Know of any new finds in Guelph at all?

            1. re: newtothegame

              I've had good meals at Diwa Classic Indian Cuisine (although the service is extremely slow) and, most recently, had an lovely dinner at Delhi Street Bistro. Planning to visit Artisanale in its new location shortly.

              We tried The Works once and were appalled by the overcooked, tasteless burger. Had a light lunch at The Joint; it was okay. Have tried Atmosphere Cafe a couple of times and found it lacking. Was not impressed by either Babel Fish or Bin 23 the one time we were there.

              Does anyone know what's opening in the space vacated by Artisanale (ex Bookshelf Cafe)?

              If you're willing to drive a bit out of town, Enver's of Morriston is excellent.

              1. re: Tatai

                Y'all are psychic! I'm moving to guelph in a few months, and was going to ask if there were any updates for this thread. For what it's worth, my local sources like Cornerstone and Atmosphere, but I haven't been to either. But I sure appreciate the timeliness of this thread - thanks!

                1. re: Tatai

                  Rumour has it it's going to be a gourmet pizza and casual fare place by the folks that run Ouderkirk & Taylor -
                  The only evidence I have is of the "I heard from a friend of someone at O&T mentioning this" type so it could be totally off base.

                  1. re: newtothegame

                    I also heard, from a reliable source, that it would be a casual place run by the O & T folks. Hope it's better than the Cornerstone!

      2. Just to update you all on Artisanale at its new location on Woolwich St. In the past couple of weeks, I've had both lunch and dinner there and was very pleased with my meals. The service was excellent, albeit a bit slow for what Ontarians are used to (but which is the way it's done in France, and this is a "French country" restaurant). I certainly don't mind a bit of a breather between courses.

        Artisanale offers "hors" (or bites), in addition to sides at lunch and dinner and other appetizers at dinner. These 2-serving mouthfuls are quite delicious. At $3 to $6 per 2-bites, I think they're perfect for sharing. You get quite a mouthful of flavour in one of these bites (or shots of soup/gazpacho).

        At our lunch visit, my guest and I had, between us, 3 hors, a croque madame, a quiche, a side of frites, and two delicious desserts. The lunch main dishes come with a lovely green salad. Very enjoyable.

        For dinner, there's a nice choice of appetizers. My husband and I had a grilled tongue salad and a goat-cheese-brebis dish. Both were very good.

        The mains are lovely, ranging from quiches and croques at lunch to beautifully presented, nicely sized portions of a few varieties of proteins at dinner (and one vegetarian offering), including rabbit fricasee (which I had and which was delicious), pickerel (my husband had this; very good), lamb, steak, etc. All mains are served with expertly cooked local vegetables, in season.

        I find the atmosphere at the new location (2 intimate rooms in an old house) to be superior to that of the old location. And there's a small parking lot alongside the building, as well as ample free street parking.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tatai

          Great review- Artisanale is a short walk from my house so I'll definitely drop in soon.

        2. Have had several lovely lunches at Artisanale, incl exceptional house-made desserts.
          Also good beef pie & beer selection at Woolwich Arms.

          4 Replies
          1. re: beach_cook

            If you are looking for a somewhat different experience, Artisanale is presenting their 7-course Fall Harvest Table with everything cooked over charcoal and hardwood this Thursday, Sept. 13, at 7 P.M.

            1. re: iamafoodie

              Ate at Artisanale for an early dinner on Friday. I started with a couple of Mini Apps, grilled octopus and muscles eascabiche- both nicely cooked and the octopus "broth" was great. I had lamb two ways for sinner but it wasn't prepared two ways, just two different cuts of lamb over white beans and some seasonal veg and a delicious sauce. The lamb was great overall, tender, not overpowering in flavor and matched the side nicely.
              My brother stated with Mesclun salad with warm goat cheese that was lightly dusted and fried. The cheese was a highlight- just perfectly molten on the inside with the crispy texture, but not overwhelming flavor on the outer. He had steak- Entrecote. It was a perfect medium rare as ordered and lightly spiced, great cut of flavorful beef with a delicious sauce. Good wine list if you know your french wines, not outrageously priced but not many available by the glass. That being said with my apps I had theVina Esmeralda 2010 and loved it. I struggled to not just keep ordering more.
              Overall- some of the better food I've ever had in the downtown area in a really nice warm, very french, style and atmosphere- If you've country dined in many parts of french it lets you reminisce at least a tiny bit. The only negative I take away at all is comparable quality dishes can be had at say, envers for a few bucks less an entree.

              1. re: newtothegame

                Interesting that you mention Enver's of Morriston. Enver's and Artisanale are my favourite restaurants in the Guelph area. (Morriston is about 15 minutes south of Guelph.) Although the quality of the food is comparable, I find the execution at each restaurant to be totally unique and the atmosphere and general experience to be quite different from each other.

                1. re: Tatai

                  They are compltely different. I really like the atmosphere at Artisanale- it reminds me of eating when I backpacked around France and stumbled into a country type resto. It's very warm and cosy.
                  They also have a Mon & Tuesday 3 courses for $25.00 on at the moment which is a steal for that quality of food. I have yet to get in there any try it but will soon.

          2. Bumping an old thread to see what other people have tried in Guelph Recently. I've listed the newer places I can think of.
            I've eaten at 39 Carden a couple of times. The duck wings and steamed buns are so SO good. Everyone I've gone with has enjoyed their meals immensely. Very decent selection wines especially at ~$30 a bottle for anything. I'd say it's the best value for money food in a bistro style setting anywhere in town. Also- Best brunch in the downtown by far. Thick cut bacon, amazing little potatoes...

            Ox- I wish I could love this place... but it's always been Meh for me overall.. Great atmosphere but the food just isn't there. has some great 1/2 price pizza specials certain day of the week that make it superb value as they are good.. But I can't say great.

            Buon Gusto- the pizza is very good, it's wood fired after all.. but it's missing something. I've had significantly better. Awesome new patio and it's a nice place but the food just isn't quite there either.

            Artisanale is top notch and their new location is so comfy. It's fairly expensive but I haven't ever had anything but a wonderful meal there.

            La Cuchina- under new management. I had a weekday meal there and it was very good, and fairly reasonable in price.. That being said my parents just ate there on a saturday and came out with a terrible review- albeit they sat next to a birthdays with 15 women at one table.. so maybe it was just a case of a kitchen in the weeds.

            To recap on places that have been around a while: Baker st. is still the best pub in town by far. Great food, awesome beer selection, a few decent scotches. My favorite place in Guelph overall.

            I have yet to try either of the raw vegan places- one of which i think shut down. Anyone comment on either of them?

            Anyone know of anything else that has opened up worth a try anywhere in town or vicinity?

            1. We had dinner with a bunch of my finacees friends from Guelph a couple weeks ago, a "jazz club pizza joint" called Manhattan's, definitely not my kind of scene but the grub wasn't too bad