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Jul 7, 2014 03:34 PM

Best Ontario Food Cities--Beyond Toronto?

Hello All,

So I am a Brooklynite with a love for road trips to Canada. Every summer for the past 3 years, we have driven from NYC to explore Canada. Last year, we went to Toronto and fell in love with your food scene, among so much more--and I would love to explore -- via roadtrip--more of Ontario...but am ISO of a great food scene---and enough other things to do to keep a tween occupied... Are there other cities in Ontario that fit the bill? (fwiw, we also went to Montreal and Quebec City and loved both) But what's left? One of these days, we really want to get to Vancouver, but for now, need to stick with road trips from NY.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Ottawa, bonus of lots of stuff to occupy the tweens

    Stratford and the surrounding area stretching to Kitchener/Waterloo and the small towns around it.

    Prince Edward County, wine centric maybe not so much for the kids.


    1. Collingwood and Blue Mountains area.

      1. Although with a slight one-dimensional bias towards relatively fine dining featuring a 'local ingredient' twist, I think the NOTL and surrounding Niagara Wine region should be in one's consideration. Peller Estates, Hillebrand, Vineland Estates, Treadwell.... all offer innovative top notch food incorporating local ingredients! Fun wine pairing using local Niagara wines made them further stand outs!

        1. St. Jacobs, about an hour and a half north west of Toronto has a large farmer's market with many Old Order Mennonite vendors.

          Picard`s Peanuts is nearby, there`s a brewery in town and you could head east to Elora and walk in the gorge.

          South of the city, probably on your way up from NY there`s Niagara-on-the-Lake for winery tours, the Shaw festival and a few good restaurants.

          9 Replies
          1. re: hal2010

            But is there anywhere good to eat? my experiences with the dining options on the main drag were less than stellar..

            1. re: pourboi

              Treadwell is now located on the main drag in NOTL. That whole region requires a car regardless so never stick to tourist trap main streets anywhere.

              1. re: Food Tourist

                Right BUT where should one eat in St Jacobs?

                1. re: pourboi

                  Ah, I misread that thinking you were responding to the latter part of the post re NOTL.

                  Sadly, I haven't had a chance to visit or eat in St. Jacob's village since I left Waterloo 10 years ago. Back then I loved Vidalia's.

                  1. re: pourboi

                    not fancy, and nothing like Vidalia's, but the Crazy Canuck is doing some good eats by the St. Jacobs market, FYI...

                    1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                      I checked out their menu and it seems like just generic pub food, while that can be good I do not see that as a destination restaurant for the OP to travel from New York to experience.

                      1. re: pourboi

                        not suggesting it as a destination for the OP, as that would be simply foolish. It is a dinerish place with some good homemade eats.

                        I believe you asked the question:
                        Right BUT where should one eat in St Jacobs?

                        My posting was simply in response to your question specifically, and while I don't consider KW to be a destination of any sort (except perhaps, Oktoberfest?) I did point out to the OP in an earlier posting re: the merits of using it as a base for various day trips that others suggested.

                        1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                          Ok since my question has not been answered and it seems the people here need everything spelled out...

                          Where would one eat in St Jacobs if they are looking for more than just tourist food, burgers, fries, pizza, fast food, frozen groceries store food, gas station fare etc.. but instead are looking for something unique, local, that you cannot get in Toronto whether it be standard fare but in a beautiful country setting or something even more exciting culinary wise that is worth driving 2 hours for?

                          Is that better?

                          1. re: pourboi

                            Fair enough.

                            answer: nowhere, IMO.

                            St. Jacobs is fine for the market (a bit touristy for my tastes, but...) however, I wouldn't bother eating there, especially if you're looking for a "foodie destination", if you just want some eats before/after/during shopping, Crazy Canuck has simple food (fresh cut fries, sandwiches, etc.) mostly made in-house from what I gather. A whole lot better than fast food, but NOT a destination.

                            There are a few decent spots in KW (MPC Kitchen, Red House) as someone pointed out earlier, but nothing you can't get in T.O. or vicinity, with the exception of some good German fare perhaps and BBQ, which I understand is somewhat lacking in T.O. (Buster and Stockyards notwithstanding). I have been thinking about trying Langdon Hall (which some say is a foodie destination), but with all the lukewarm reviews I've read, it really has not been a priority.

                            I wouldn't call KW and area a foodie mecca by any stretch. It's taken me years just to find a few good local faves. That being said, it might work geographically as a base for the OP's roadtrip, since it is pretty central to almost all the suggestions in this thread.

            2. If you're doing a road trip you could combine Kingston with Prince Edward county for a good variety of sights and food. Kingston is a beautiful old university town with unique Cambodian food and other great local centric places. Here's a thread on Kingston:

              Prince Edward county is a gorgeous area with breath taking beaches and a blossoming food scene. Here's a thread:


              From NY State cross the border at 1000 Island Bridge for a nice drive along the 1000 Island Parkway and then take the old route 2 to Kingston. If you follow the Loyalist Parkway out of Kingston you can take the short free car ferry at Glenora. It's a really nice drive and the ferry is fun. Or stay on route 2 out of Kingston and stay on land. OR take the 401 at any point and suffer with the rest of us :
              )There are tons of food related events and festivals in the summer so check out area listings and let that set your itinerary.

              1 Reply