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Prince Edward County

  • j

Has anyone recently dined at Prince Edward County restaurants? We are going next weekend for my birthday (staying @ Huff) and will be dining out for 2 casual lunches and 1 special dinner. Really appreciate any recommendations as we have not been to the county for a couple of years.

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  1. Hi there, check out this http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794135 trip report from last summer, it still holds true (special dinner East and Main would still be my best suggestion. Super casual is Schrodeters or anywhere in Picton or wellington or county cide co (great view but on the other side of the county) or Lake on the Mountain (should be open by then but call to find out for sure for both of these options
    )The folks who onw East and Main are opening a new place next door but I have not been yet!
    let me know if you need anything else!

    1. I had a fantastic dinner at East and Main last year.

      And lucky you! You're staying a short walk from Schroedter's Market (at the intersection of HWY 62 and RR 1). Best doughnuts ever! Just one kind -- cake doughnuts tossed in sugar (I can't recall whether there is cinnamon in there as well). I highly recommend going on your first day, so you can decide if you want to go back every day of your trip for fresh doughnuts. :)

      My trip report from last summer:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794135

      1. We stayed at Huff Estates last year on the May long weekend. We had a lovely lunch at Huff (my asparagus and goat cheese salad was spring on a plate) and then dinner at Blumen Garden in Picton. I think it was probably our favourite meal of 2011 so I would highly recommend Blumen Garden for your special dinner.

        1. Lake on the Mountain is nice for lunch or dinner -- casual, nice, but you'll need to drive there. That would work well if you're planning a small car tour of the County.
          I really enjoy Portabella's -- http://www.portabellaonmain.com/direc.... That would work well for a nice dinner out.
          There is a nice sandwich shop (Miss Lily's Cafe) attached to Books and Company on Main Street -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvsMwv...
          This is a good place for a nice sandwich/quick lunch stop.
          If you want a picnic, there is a gourmet picnic place on Main Street as well that will make you a gourmet basket -- you could get one made and take it to Sandbanks for example, for a neat experience.
          The thing about Picton is that it is nice and small, so you can part, walk around, give the smaller places a try. Enjoy!

          1. East and Main is my favourite right now, especially now that Harvest has closed down. It also has a great vibe - the best of all the PEC restos IMHO.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Arcadiaseeker

              I read some poor reviews about Harvest, and the service in particular. I wanted to check it out but it closed before I had a chance to do so. How did you like Harvest -- what were your thoughts/impressions?
              Thanks!
              :)

              1. re: freia

                Thanks so much for all of your responses. We are currently busy looking at menus! Any others that we should consider?

                1. re: jmlh

                  I think you have a pretty good start...PEC is fairly small, and Picton is the largest town and that's where the majority of the tourist/restaurant trade is. Even Lake on the Mountain is fairly close to Picton, so your best food bets would be in the Picton area.
                  One place that looks interesting to me is the Restaurant at the Waupoose Vintners -- like Niagara, there is a trend for the vintners to have restaurants at their vineyards, but as PEC wineries are fairly new, there aren't a whole lot of vineyards/vintners with this option yet. I like Wapoose especially for their apple ciders, and that would be a lovely destination lunch or meal.
                  http://waupooswinery.com/restaurants6...
                  You might do a wine and cheese tour, making sure you hit Black River Cheese Company on the way to Waupoose!
                  http://canadacheeseman.wordpress.com/...
                  You're going to have so much fun!
                  :)

                  1. re: freia

                    ... if you're into cheese, you may want to check out Fifth Town Dairy too http://www.fifthtown.ca/artisan_chees...

                    1. re: CocoTO

                      Sadly Fifth Town Cheese is closing - owner just announced the other day : (

                      1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                        Just over a year since this was announced/happened but I had no idea!

                        I just saw an article in the Wednesday May 22, 2013 Globe and Mail that talked about this a bit more. Sounds like the closure was part because of divorce complications:

                        http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/f...

                        Set to re-open but the dairy part needs to be re-certified/etc.

                2. re: freia

                  I absolutely loved Harvest. IMHO Michael Potters is one of Canada's best chefs and his cooking there was outstanding - he had a hand in every single dish that went out of that kitchen (he was there constantly) -- everything was made in house from pastries to bread etc. All for a fraction of what you'd pay for a similar experience here in Toronto. I am SO sorry it closed. I still miss it every time I go to the County. I never had issues with the food but I have heard that the service could be quite poor (I never had this problem myself). For my money, East and Main is now my go-to County place. Honest, solid cooking with everything house made.

                  1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                    Thanks for sharing your experience. I wish I'd made it there while they were still up and running. We had the chance but DH flinched at the price. Based on your experience, I will make sure I visit East and Main, STAT!
                    :)

                    1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                      Absolutely loved Harvest, and got to meet M.P as well. He gave us a goody bag of sausages to go and i was sniffing the bag all the way back to T.O. It was simply amazing food and service as well.

                3. Try Angelines in Bloomfield.. amazing reviews from friends who live in the county and really know good food. We havent made it yet but next trip.. and Tall Poppy cafe for light lunch really good. Love East & Main good food and atmosphere. You should hit Terroir as great sampling of all the local foods and wines. Not sure when it is this year though.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MiniMom

                    Whatever you do, don't leave out a stop in at Clossen Chase. Great wines and lovely atmosphere. The benches are so comfortable and always some interesting art on the walls. I love stopping in for a glass of wine.

                    1. re: millygirl

                      Yes! There are a number of very talented winemakers in Ontario, but IMO Deborah Paskus is "the master" at putting together a chardonnay ...

                  2. By far the best meal I ever had in PEC was at the Carriage House restaurant in Bloomfield. For your special meal i would definitely go there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: prairie_dog

                      We had a great couple of days in Prince Edward County. We started with lunch at East & Main in Bloomfield. We each had the daily specials - DH the quiche(roasted red peppers/cheese) & salad; I had a fajita (with Greek salad, black olive tempanade & chicken). Both were accompanied by a glass of county white wine & were delicious.
                      We visited a number of wineries with Clossen Chase and Norman Hardy among our favorites.
                      We had a very enjoyable stay @ Huff Estates & enjoyed their included buffet breakfast the next morning - the breakfast tortilla was great!
                      We had dinner at Blumen Garden which was wonderful. We both started with the crab cake appetizer which is wonderful - many different flavors in sauces on the side. For mains, DH had a very tender & perfectly cooked steak and I had the fresh perch. Both dishes were wonderful and enhanced by the included side dishes. A bottle of Norman Hardy pinot was perfect for both dishes. Our only regret was that we had no room for dessert!
                      We intended on trying one of the suggested lunch venues for the following day but after breakfast were too full (we were also sampling cheese, etc. at wineries). But we did stop at the Black River Cheese shop to buy a couple of cheddars to bring home (maple syrup flavored being one) and then dropped into Schroeders to buy cinnamon doughnuts and fresh asparagras.
                      All in all, a very successful couple of days. Many thanks to everyone who made suggestions - much appreciated!!!

                    2. Another thumbs-up for Blumen Garden. Very good food and good value -- prices are not exactly cheap, but the portions are quite generous. Between us we had salad, crab cake, pork tenderloin, lamb and crème brulée. All in all, a very good experience. I'd file it under "casual fine dining"... it's the County, you can relax a bit. One quibble: service seemed a little fast to our Montreal sensibilities, and the bill was brought without our asking for it. A huge faux pas where we're from, but maybe not a big deal in Ontario? (And no, we were not camping out, and there were plenty of available tables, and it was nowhere near closing time, so it wasn't a question of giving the boot to guests who won't take a hint.)

                      Also, soup and sandwiches at Schroedter's: really hits the spot for lunch. Great place. The bean and ham soup is outstanding. However, I have no idea why anyone considers their doughnuts special in any way. Yes, it beats the pants off Tim Horton's, but that's not hard these days.

                      Breakfast at the Picton Harbour Inn: a good classic Canadian breakfast, as always. Spuds maybe a little too salty, but that's as close as I come to a complaint.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Mr F

                        I have one dinner and two lunches in PEC in September. The dinner menu at Blumen Garden sounds fantastic, but I'm staying at Angeline's and they are open only for dinner. Should I choose Angeline's for dinner (which will also be my birthday dinner) and save Blumen Garden for a lunch? I wasn't wowed by their lunch menu online, though. What to do?

                      2. Seems like Pomodoro is the new hoot spot in Wellington. Chef is a former cook at Enoteca Sociale. Homestyle Italian cooking. So far I have only heard positive reviews. Haven't been there myself yet.

                        8 Replies
                          1. re: haggisdragon

                            Pomodoro is owned by the same people who own East and Main. I ate there a few weeks ago. I enjoyed the food which consists mainly of pastas -- my experience there was cut short by childcare issues back home so I can't really review it other than to say what I had was good (although I thought the pasta portion I had seemed kind of small - but it had delicious sausage in it!). I will definitely try it again -- the pasta focus is a nice switch from the more meat based PEC fare out there.

                            1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                              Any other reviews on Pomodoro? We're heading out to the County for a midweek visit - have one dinner rezzie at Blumen and pondering Pomodoro (or somewhere else) for our second evening (East & Main and Norm Hardie's pizza oven are closed that night). It needn't be a fancy spot - just yummy food and a lovely setting. Thanks!

                              1. re: peppermint pate

                                Nothing new to report on Pomodoro but there is another new place in Bloomfield called Agrarian which is a cheese and wine oriented place from what I can tell. I am also headed to the County and plan to drop in and see what it's about - it just opened a few weeks ago.

                                1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                                  We stopped in to Agrarian and hubby had a fantastic grilled cheese sammie. They had just opened and didn't have the liquer license as yet. The couple were very nice too! The girls went shopping while the guys snarfed down the grilled cheese and they both loved it. Although it's not somewhere I'd want to go for dinner, it was perfect for lunch.

                                  1. re: millygirl

                                    Thank you both - sounds lovely. Any outdoor seating?

                                      1. re: millygirl

                                        Didn't end up going to Agrarian (my small kids would not have fit in) but we did head to Williams Family Diner in Picton -- it is a gem. The space has been totally renovated and there is a kids' play area at the back. It's bright and spacious and the food is made from scratch. Had fish tacos which were very good -- salads were also solid, with homemade takes on classic dressings like thousand island and french. I wish they had a place like this in Toronto -- simple and well-prepared food in a kid-friendly environment.

                          2. Spent the day in the County and ate way too much food. Lunch at East and Main was nice and a good casual spot that is for sure family friendly with a decent menu. I had the panko crusted perch sandwich and the bf had the burger. We enjoyed both.

                            We continued to crazy for the rest of the day enjoying a couple of Buddha dogs of the day, campfire and rhubarb and ginger ice cream from Slickers and a little pastry from the Marshmallow bakery.

                            All in all a lovely day in PEC and we came home with lots of farm fresh veggies and very full bellies.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: JennaBean

                              May have to try lunch at East and Main since it's closed on the evenings we're there, though I wasn't planning on any "big" lunches.

                              Any thoughts on Portabella in Picton? It gets lots of love on other boards but not too many mentions here. Fish tacos sound good.

                              1. re: peppermint pate

                                My sandwich with a side was $13 and I believe that the burger with cheese and a side was $15. They have some lighter options as well but I think it is a solid option. I've never been to Portabella so I can't comment.

                            2. Recently returned from my visit to the County - wow, what a gorgeous little pocket of land and a lovely place to unwind amidst wide open green space, rolling hills, beautiful vistas, art studios, farm-fresh veggies, exceptionally warm and friendly people and, of course, yummy food. Highlights for us included lunch at County Cider (pizzas in their outdoor wood burning oven + great salad + cider served outdoors by the vineyards), dinner at Blumen, a visit to Vickie's Veggies, lunch and great coffees at Tall Poppy in Wellington and a visit to Closson Chase (Hillier and area is a particularly beautiful corner of the County). For those that haven't ventured out there, or haven't been lately, it's a perfect little getaway from Toronto. I'm already planning a return visit (or two). Thanks for the various recs on this and TorontoJo's trip report thread.

                              1. thanks to everyone who recommended east and main on this thread and others. had dinner there last night and it was wonderful... the food, the portion size, the service, the drinks! all were well executed. it took awhile to get our main though but we were forewarned and were not in any sort of hurry anyway (toronto impatience, be gone!). instead, we munched on some of the most delicious tasting frites (with lemon aioli) i have ever had (only $4?!), and i sipped on my very perfectly spiced and boozed bloody mary. i had the vegetarian main (vegetable napolean) and my friend had the duck dish (i forget the name) along with a pairing of red wine from sandbanks winery. we sat on the patio and it was too dark to see our food but it sure tasted good. :)

                                also grabbed some lunch (i had the apple and brie sandwich with a few flimsy baby spinach leaves on it, and i think they forgot the apple spread + the quinoa salad) to go from miss lily's cafe in picton (underwhelming.. just average) for lunch on saturday and ate at sandbanks beach. however, i think it would be a nice place to sit and have a coffee or tea or juice and a casual lunch since the place is cosy and nice.

                                we also grabbed lunch to go today from the carriage house in bloomfield. my friend enjoyed her smoked salmon sandwich, and i did enjoy my quiche but for $6.50, the slice was really tiny.. at least include some salad with it or something please, or give me a fair sized slice for the price! i also got the blueberry and almond tart which was pretty good. i actually asked for a slice of pecan pie (the label in front of the pie said you can get a slice or buy the whole pie), but the man told me he would rather sell the whole pie than just a slice (since there were no slices out of it yet). i told him i understood and ordered the tart instead.. but come on, if you don't want to sell people slices of pie, then don't advertise that it's available and then tell them you don't actually want to sell it to them!

                                1. We just got back from a mini vacation in PEC spent dining, visiting wineries, antiquing and one fabulous beach. Everyone was nice, showed a sense of pride in their community, and even when the food was not amazing, at least I got a sense that care went into the preparation.

                                  In Wellington we ate at East and Main for dinner. If this was in Toronto it would be a popular neighbourhood bistro but nothing worth driving across town for. Our server was fun and engaging. My app was four small mushroom stuffed raviolis which tasted of nothing except the leek cream sauce on top. My duck main course was a generous portion with one crispy leg of duck confit, vegetables, braised cabbage and what they called ancient grains which was a medley of lentils with root vegetables. Everything was fine and properly seasoned, but the cabbage was quite vinegary and the "ancient grains" were aggressively spiced with coriander seed. Drinking wine with this dish meant all I tasted was coriander seed. We shared a competent vanilla creme brûlée ,which like most restaurants, was cold from coming out of a fridge. Dinner with a $60 bottle of wine was about $70 pp minus tip.
                                  In Wellington we also had lunch at Tall Poppy which is a casual cafe with wraps, sandwiches, baked goods and coffee. It was what you imagine, a good place to fuel up, reasonably price, but nothing special.
                                  Wellington is also where The Drake is setting up an outpost. We were told it will now be an eleven room accommodation with a floating patio on the water. Judging by the state of the reno, it will be ready for next summer.
                                  In Picton we had dinner at Blumen Garden Bistro. This was on the edge of Picton. My spinach ravioli app was bigger than East and Main's, with thinner pasta and a filling that tasted as it should, spinach. The tomato sauce had merguez sausages and because of the bigger flavour became the focal point. I ordered the ribsteak as my main and no size was listed on the menu. When it arrived the size was almost grotesque. It took up the whole plate and had a medley of vegetables and potatoes under it, with a creamy jus with bacon and the steak was topped with a compound herb butter. That I wiped the plate clean is a testament of the deliciousness of the dish. Easily one of the better steaks I have had in a while. Again we shared dessert which was a very competent chocolate cheesecake. The bill with a bottle of wine was about $70 pp. I would happily return.

                                  We payed a visit to County Cider for lunch and cider. Their Waupoos cider is nice and easy, but the Tortured Path cider is the thing to get, like a european style dry cider. My burger was nice with enough care and toppings to almost justify the $17 price.

                                  We had two meals in Bloomfield. The first was at Saylor House for lunch. Again this was a sandwich and fresh baked goods cafe. Everything was stellar. My BAT sandwich was on nice bread, of good size, with ample filling. Cake was moist and rich. I would go back.

                                  Ou final meal was at the Hubb which was the restaurant at our accommodations, Angeline's. Much like our accommodations their was an emphasis on design and detail. Rather than the store bought baguette we got at the other restaurants, they brought a box with polenta parmesan rosemary crisps and bite size chewy breads they called "Hubb Nubs". An amuse of goat cheese, white asparagus and rhubarb was sent out to start. I ordered 3 oyster for myself, the iceberg lettuce wedge, and the lamb crepinette as a main. Everything was artfully presented with micro greens and garnishes. The food was good, hot and properly seasoned. It didn't have the rib sticking, comfort and depth of Blumen but I think they are trying for something more like casual fine dining. In look, feel and execution this would fit right in a neighbourhood like Ossington and Dundas and it would be one of the more popular spots. Add a dessert each, a nice Gruner at $45, a cocktail and a beer, for the $150 total minus tip I thought it was very fairly priced. I would easily go back to the restaurant or to stay at Angeline's.

                                  One of the locals mentioned the best dining in the area is Merill Inn and according to the website, Michael Sullivan from the Fifth, Opus and Auberge is the chef. Maybe worth trying next time.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: dubchild

                                    Thanks Dubchild. Sounds like a nice getaway.

                                    We're also planning a few nights in The County and wondered for those that know, which is the better of the two - East and Main or Pomodoro?

                                    1. re: millygirl

                                      I had an amazing meal at Pomodoro in November and chose to go back there for our anniversary in July over E&M - Matty deMille in the kitchen, hearty portions, and more consistent service than my previous E&M experience.

                                      1. re: millygirl

                                        They're both quite different - Pomodoro is focused on pastas and it has a more casual vibe. East and Main has a more varied menu -- it would be my first choice for a special meal out over the two.