shaw festival notl
i have a couple, depends on what you're looking for, really.
if you want extremely upscale and delicious food, you can't beat Inn on the Twenty, located in Jordan.
directions: take the Jordan exit from the QEW (it's one of the last exits heading south before the turnoff to the highway that goes through st catharines). go straight up, it's on the right hand side of the street in Jordan proper. about 35 minute drive from there to NOTL.
I'd recommend Vineland Estates above all else. Chef Mark Picone is incredible.
I've eaten at the Inn on Twenty as well, but I prefer Vineland.
Regardless, you have a NUMBER of great choices. NOTL is one of the best dining regions in Canada, in my opinion.
Peller Estates has an elegant winery restaurant. You can sit inside or out. Either way you have a view of the vineyards. It is upscale and quite beautifully done. Unlike Vineland and On the Twenty, it is actually in NOTL - you can get a cab, bike or walk (bit long) there.
Vineland Estates has the best view (it is on a hill and looks out over the vineyards to Lake Ontario) but is about a 30 min drive from NOTL - a factor if you will be enjoying their wine! I have been to On the Twenty 3 times and was disappointed with the service every time. Also it has no view. Food at all 3 is very good.
A smaller and more quaint restaurant is The Bench Bistro at EastDell Estates (see link). The whole place has an incredible rustic feel (nowhere near the polish of a Vineland Estates) that gives place a really relaxed and serene feel.
The dining area/sampling room is elevated and overlooks the entire vineyard with the lake in the background (really nice vista) and they have paths throughout the various vineyards, so you can either work up an appetite or work off the wonderful fare they're capable of preparing.
The food isn't of the elite calibre of a Vineland, however, they emphasis local fresh produce, interesting pairing, and very attractive prices. The last time I went, I had a huge serving of mussels (can't remember the sauce they were served in), however, they added sea asparagus (a type of seaweed that resembles asparagus). Very nice touch.
Just wondering: why is it okay to discuss restaurants in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region on the Toronto board, but not Guelph or St. Jacobs? NOTL is as far from Toronto as these two towns are, but the Chowhound moderators have not moved this thread. Could the mods perhaps give us some guidance as to what the boundaries for this board are? Thank you.
re: Ron S.
All reasonable questions. Let me explain.
Did you ever see the episode of I Love Lucy, where Lucy's manning the candy factory quality control line, and it gets faster and faster, with much kookie hilarity? That's our moderators, only without the kookie hilarity.
They're volunteers, and they don't aim to catch 100% of the problems. And, really, we wouldn't want them pointing out every single issue with 100% consistency...the boards would be a total drag of non-stop reprimands. So they catch what they can here and there with sporadic policy announcements read by all, and things stay more or less kinda-sorta on track more or less.
Similarly, we don't aim to set a hard/fast geographical limits on regions. Because we've found that in a large site like this, with constant influx of new people, NOTHING is hard and fast. We COULD draw a precise line, but people won't know/notice/pay attention/remember. This stuff is like herding cats, so we don't go for precision!
Upshot: we'd like conversation restrained to greater Toronto metro, more or less, and to have farther flung destinations discussed on the Canada board. And if we can achieve at least a rough spotty compliance of this hazy request, we'll consider it a major victory toward a more or less focused Toronto resource : )