The Best Ontario Restaurants Outside of Toronto
Home to over 13.5 million people, it’s not surprising that Ontario is chock-full of awesome restaurants and amazing culinary experiences. Though Toronto-based locales often top the “best of” lists, we know this diverse province has beautiful food in every corner. After surveying the land, here are a few of the top restaurants around Ontario — from Ottawa to Thunder Bay.
Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar
Known for tasty drinks and share plates, this Asian meets baja Mexican restaurant is home to a beautiful dining room and fine eats. In this bright space, you’ll be treated to everything from tacos (try the ancho pulled pork) to dim sum. There’s also a variety of desserts to share, including a vegan option.
Supply and Demand
One of the top 10 new restaurants as voted by enRoute in 2013, this neighbourhood restaurant turns it up a notch with fine dining plates. With an ever-changing small menu, you can try something fresh and local every time you visit. The chef focuses on top quality ingredients so each bite is perfect in its own right.
North & Navy
Drawn to the similarities between north-eastern Italy and eastern Ontario, North & Navy focuses on simple yet satiating northern Italian fare. Located in a cute little house, you’ll love the ambiance as much as the food. If you’re looking for a quick bite before a festival or event, stop by their Bacaro, a casual space in the back of the restaurant specifically for small bites and sips.
Beckta Dining & Wine
Canadian ingredients are at the forefront of this Diamond Award-winning restaurant. Located in the historic Grant House on Elgin Street, expect excellent service alongside your three-course prix-fixe meal or your five-course chef’s tasting menu. Expect premium presentation, a divine wine list and even better pairings.
Allium is the epitome of casual and refined. With a focus on new Canadian cuisine, the menu changes monthly and is accompanied by a well-curated wine list. The space is infused with a good dose of romance for the perfect date night.
Love food and science? Then you’ve probably heard of molecular gastronomy, showcased by Atelier in each and every plate. Chef Marc Lepine, winner of the Canadian Culinary Championships in 2016, allows great ingredients and his own personal genius to dictate the food he crafts. This means there’s no set menu. Instead, you’ll be asked your dietary preferences and restrictions, and a perfect meal will be crafted for you. You might even get to enjoy an edible helium balloon!
Using ingredients grown on their own private farm, you can bet that Backhouse focuses on sustainable food. Known for delicious fresh-baked bread and a great selection of local wines (you’re in wine country after all!), enjoy an extra special meal at the Chef’s table. Bon appetit!
Farm-to-table is everywhere, but Treadwell practiced this type of cuisine before it was a trend. In addition to their fresh-first cuisine, they pair local ingredients with beautiful plating, a lovely patio, and a cosy atmosphere. Bonus, the chef loves to talk about the food that’s been prepared, meaning you’ll be let in on all sorts of foodie secrets.
Prince Edward County
Another farm-to-table favourite, this restaurant boasts one of the most beautiful spaces on this list. An extension of the Drake Hotel in Toronto, the space is A-frame in style, lined with fir wood, making it the perfect airy companion to a lake view. Sit on the porch on a warm day, enjoy a well-crafted cocktail, and then enjoy a fresh brunch or dinner. Perfect lake day indeed.
An unassuming gem, this spot at Angeline’s Inn is truly delicious. Part pub, part fancy fare, you can select seafood and charcuterie from an abundant menu. The drinks are inventive, the service is swift and charming, and the patio is the cherry on top.
Fresh, fresh, fresh. Enjoy Italian food in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. With daily fish, pasta, and entree features, you’ll begin to understand why this restaurant won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence from 2013-2015. Perfect for a relaxed lunch after exploring London, give the potato gnocchi with braised local rabbit or steamed PEI mussels a try.
The Church Key Bistro-Pub
Not your typical burger and fries, The Church Key serves up pub food with flair. Situated in a heritage building across from the Grand Theatre, this place is a great spot for a pre-show meal. Enjoy a unique beer selection, a fresh menu, and delicious complimentary pretzel bread. If you’re visiting during the summer, grab a drink on the patio and enjoy a spot of people watching.
AquaTerra, with a beautiful water view and even more gorgeous food, has stood the test of time. Showcasing excellent service to complement their inventive plates, you’ll love this fine dining experience. Looking for something a bit less formal? Stop by for lunch.
The Sovereign Room
The Northern Ontario city of Thunder Bay, a 15-hour drive from Toronto, might not be synonymous with fine cuisine, but The Sovereign Room is here to bust any misconceptions. A local favourite gastropub, this room focuses on tasty flavour combinations (like the prosciutto and fig pizza) and local and regional beers, many of which are on tap. Enjoy the live music and, as clichéd as it sounds, a darn good poutine.
A delightful space in a renovated church, Revival House has a seasonal menu that prides itself on using as many house-made ingredients as possible. Picture eating a perfect meal (may we suggest the warm beets and pickerel croquettes?), in a heritage building beneath stained-glass. A lovely way to unwind after seeing a show or touring local vineyards.
With both a taverna and pizzeria, choose your own Italian adventure at this restaurant. Spotlighting simple ingredients in flavourful dishes, Pazzo serves up tasty pizzas and pastas in a New York neighbourhood-style space. Take advantage of half-price pizza on Fridays after 7:30pm.
Let Ontario’s diverse culinary scene shape your trip and don’t forget to ask a local for their recommendations too.