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Peterborough nice dinner for young couple

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I know this has been discussed before. And I have looked at all the recent Peterborough/Kawartha recommendations but I've not found what I'm looking for. Need a nice-ish restaurant for a young couple to celebrate their 3rd anniversary. Food can be any style, well prepared and not insanely overpriced (which I've noticed is the thing about anything other than basic grub in Peterborough). They're omnivores so everything goes.

I live in the area but to be honest, so very rarely go out to eat that I just don't know what's good in town anymore. And I'd prefer Peterborough - not further north. I see Riverhouse mentioned a lot but if there's something comparably good in town (or south of) it would be ideal. Thanks.

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  1. I recently ate at Karma Cafe on Hunter Street. It's casual, but very pleasant inside and the servers are friendly, but not intrusive. Dishes are vaguely Thai/Tibetan/Nepalese/Indian, but nothing is intimidating. There's plenty that can be shared. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike will be happy.

    I highly recommend Riverhouse Co., for food, service and even ambiance, but if you really want to keep to Peterborough proper, I haven't yet found a place that compares. I've been by Cassis Bistro a number of times, but the menu just seems so 80s in style.

    You mentioned "not too overpriced" food, and I have to comment that I find food in Peterborough to be overpriced for what it is, for the most part. I thought prices were high at Karma Cafe for what we got, but I felt the same way at St. Veronus just down the street and the other restaurants along Hunter. Only at Riverhouse Co., did I feel that the prices were justified, as a result of ingredient quality and the care and finesse involved in preparation and execution of dishes, not to mention service.

    2 Replies
    1. re: 1sweetpea

      That's what I meant about overpriced. As soon as a restaurant offers something that isn't pub food, they seem to feel they can charge insane prices for what would, in Toronto, be pretty mundane food. I don't mind paying if it's worth it, but it usually isn't.

      1. re: Nyleve

        I don't know many Peterborough restos, but lack of competition in smaller cities invariably results in mid-level restaurants with inflated prices - and lousy value. But I do know Riverhouse Co. Good food, solid service, charming setting, and (perhaps) somewhat pricey, but - I'm willing to bet - better value than you'll find elsewhere at that level around Peterborough. Its menu is online - though, annoyingly, without prices. I don't know why many restaurants don't list their prices on their website - it's almost as if they're afraid that baldly listing their prices might scare away potential customers. Still, I'm sure that if you phone, they'll rhyme off their prices for you - and maybe it'll give them the idea that, to better inform their guests, their website should include price information.

    2. Riverhouse is a gem. Two can split an appetizer, have 2 entres (but you must get different ones and share!), modest but tasty bottle of wine, and share a dessert for a 100 and some change. You will be talking and thinking about it for weeks.

      Otherwise the only place I would go for a nice but casual celebration in Peterborough is Cosmic Charlie's. Nice cozy place, nice vibe, but what brings me back are the varios Thai inspired noodle dishes and dumpling appetizers. The other main dishes have been hit and miss so beware.

      1. St. Veronus on Hunter St. W. is nice for Belgian food, and with an excellent Belgian beer selection.

        7 Replies
        1. re: VitalForce

          its a bit of a drive, but eganridge up on sturgeon lake is very nice, and very reasonable. i'd make the drive for the atmosphere and stop into bobcaygeon for a beer on the patio at the red tomato (bobcaygeon inn).

          happy 3rd!!

          1. re: torontochris

            Your young couple should go somewhere special that they will thoroughly enjoy so much they will plan to return to it for years. They can be frugal in other things for the rest of the year. Their romance needs to be nourished.

            In considering the potentially lasting "costs" of a spoiled anniversary celebration, I second Riverhouse with its competently prepared fresh ingredients, carefully served in a comfortable setting. The best restaurants in smaller centres have higher costs that need to be recovered to stay in business.

            They should go and thoroughly enjoy the experience and then share the details here.

            1. re: iamafoodie

              Well, it depends what “nice-ish” means. I’ve never eaten at Riverhouse, though it does sound quite good, and somewhat expensive. But Nyleve mentions that it is out of the way for them, and they’re looking for something nice but reasonably priced and in town.

              With St. Veronus, it’s not fancy or high-end, but it does have a comfortable atmosphere with good food and unique drinks based on medieval brewing traditions. (If they are exclusively wine aficionados, then it may not be the best choice.) Although Belgian is an interesting cuisine, I understand that there are precisely ‘0’ Belgian restaurants in Toronto, making the restaurant unusual in Ontario, if not Canada. It has set-aside booths for some privacy, which I consider a plus.

              So, it depends what they’re looking for—generic higher end and well prepared, or unique good food and drink with a relaxed atmosphere.

              1. re: VitalForce

                Wow. There's nothing generic about Riverhouse. I have dined twice at St. Veronus and 3 times at Riverhouse. I can honestly say that while I enjoyed the ambiance and beers at St. Veronus, the food was average, at best, both times. I would not say the same of Riverhouse. The worst comment I could muster is that the garnishes on plates are similar from one to the next (snow pea sprouts abound). Between my husband and I, one entree of the six we've enjoyed was a bit underseasoned and not that exciting (it was a pasta). All other items, including the warm bread, were delicious.

                I think the staff and service at a restaurant makes a huge difference and can elevate a good meal to a great one. The people working there are knowledgeable, accommodating, helpful, efficient and cheerful, even while trotting up and down the stairs all evening during a heat wave.

                1. re: 1sweetpea

                  For what it's worth the young couple are going to have dinner at Riverhouse this evening. I will definitely report back when I hear how it all went. Stay tuned.

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    Well, I'm too late for this particular event but for the future, I could recommend Le Petit Bar, a charcuterie restaurant adjacent to (and owned by) St. Veronus. Given the size of Peterborough, this is a nice addition. Delicious meats and cheeses and helpful and friendly servers. It's just charctuerie so best not to go on an empty stomach (unless you have deep pockets.) It was quiet on a Friday evening until about 9, after which it lived up to its name.

                    I could also recommend Elements. It's a very nice space with decent food; delicious tapas. It does border on the overpriced but it's far superior to many places in the city.

                    1. re: Nyleve

                      Oops - totally forgot to report back. The anniversary celebrants had a very lovely dinner at Riverhouse Co. They didn't give me a detailed deconstruction of the meal but one of them had the beef tenderloin and the other had the black cod. They both said the food was delicious and everything was very nicely presented. Oh also they had the peach pie (I think) and something else for dessert - both of which they enjoyed. Without appetizers, they didn't break the piggy bank. So thank you all for your very helpful suggestions. That was one place I would never have thought of.