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Niagara Falls _ Frugal Eats

Petememphis May 22, 2013 11:47 AM

Hello all,

Im planning a trip to Niagara Falls in June and I was looking for a few places to eat that aren't tourist traps and that wont break the bank. Any local ideas for good eats at fair prices?

Also, are there any good steak houses nearby that are reasonable?


  1. j
    Jar May 24, 2013 07:15 PM

    If any tourist area restaurant offers a menu,ask for the local menu, for a 20 to 30 per difference, an approximate ,,, Niagara Falls works well due to tourism, or go for bust, --- did i miss your disount coupons, ask if they have discounts at different days/hours! A three to five minute drive from the extortion area, ask locals, and do better!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jar
      TorontoJo May 25, 2013 09:16 AM

      I've never heard of separate menus for locals, though that doesn't mean they don't exist.

      What *does* exist, however, is a 3% "Destination Marketing Fee" or what most people would call a tourist tax. This is charged at many, if not most, restaurants and hotels in the main tourist areas of the Falls. The important thing to know is that fee is totally optional and you can choose NOT to pay it (which at an expensive restaurant or hotel, can mean a decent savings!).

    2. d
      durianlover May 24, 2013 06:46 PM

      Some places that I think "it's worth it"

      -Pho Xyclo (Dunn St): Their standard and 'satay' pho are great, comparable to the standard in GTA.

      -Al Mac's Buffet: Despite all the complaint, it's a great value for $6.99. Don't forget NOT to order any drink from them, it's a rip off for the drink.

      -"Lotus Garden" (near Clifton Hill): Huge portion for their Canadian-Chinese take-out.

      -Most of the standard fast food franchise in Lundy's Lane are not tourist traps since they can't really increase the price, such as BK, Popeye's, etc.

      -Eat as much as possible during breakfast in your hotel if you stay overnight there.

      Places to avoid

      -Lai's Restaurant (4497 Drummond Rd): Their lunch special looked like a great value (about $4-5), however they really overcharged us for the Chinese tea ($3.50).

      -Keg's and other similar places. Even in Toronto, they're not good bargains.

      1. vil May 23, 2013 06:30 PM

        Just came back from a trip to the area the past weekend. We liked The Syndicate on Lundy's Lane. It is not within walking distance from the tourist area, but I would definitely go there again.

        Cozy/upscale decor, nice patio, good selection of local beer, warm service. I double checked their website, extra points for the farm-to-table concept:


        1. Theniagaralocal May 23, 2013 04:20 PM

          We haven't covered it yet, but Betty's on the far side of the falls (by Chippawa) is a local institution for affordable home-cooking. http://www.bettysrestaurant.com/

          The Blue Line Diner is also good. Super casual and friendly. http://www.theniagaralocal.com/review...

          1. TorontoJo May 22, 2013 12:13 PM

            And you might want to peruse the listings on http://www.theniagaralocal.com/

            Not exhaustive, but a good start.

            1. TorontoJo May 22, 2013 12:12 PM

              The Regal Diner on Main St, near Lundy's Lane is just a bit off the tourist path and great stop for a casual breakfast or lunch. Diner food made with a lot of love -- all breads, jams, sauces and sausage are made in house. Organic and local ingredients wherever possible. Service can be slow when they are busy, but it's worth the wait.

              Open 8-4, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

              Taps on Queen is the pub that locals go to. I have no idea what the food quality is like, though.

              My friends love Kohinoor for Indian food, though, once again, I haven't been there.

              I like Pho Vietnam 999 on Thorold Stone Road, though you definitely need a car to get there. Huge menu, decent quality, big portions, very inexpensive.

              I get my falafel or shawarma fix at Sahara, also on Thorold Stone Road, a bit closer to the tourist area.

              3 Replies
              1. re: TorontoJo
                TorontoJo May 23, 2013 04:28 PM

                BTW, I've just heard a report that Sahara has gone downhill, so scratch that one for now!

                1. re: TorontoJo
                  msprnt May 24, 2013 12:33 PM

                  i checked out the regal diner this past sunday. got there just after 11am and the place was quite full. there was only one waitress, so it took a while for her to get around to pouring coffee, taking orders, and bringing out the food. i'd say that we sat around without coffee for 15+ minutes and without ordering for around 30 minutes. we were lucky enough to get our food before others who had ordered before we even sat down.

                  nonetheless, food was great diner breakfast food and they do their own bacon as well!

                  1. re: msprnt
                    TorontoJo May 24, 2013 03:30 PM

                    Oh yeah, apparently Sunday was their single busiest day ever. The biggest drawback with The Regal is that when they get busy, they get slow. It is literally a 2-person show: husband in kitchen, wife in front. I'm ok with waiting 'cause I know it's a small business, but I could totally see how it could be really frustrating.

                    If you were there at 11, you may have seen me at the counter with a huge group of people. :o)

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