Our 10 Best Restaurants In Ontario, Canada is a helpful guide in helping travelers and locals in finding the Best Restaurants In Ontario, Canada.While nothing may seem to beat mom’s signature dishes from home, sometimes there just happens to be that special restaurant somewhere that simply has that certain something about them. When a restaurant establishment features cuisine that catapults traditional meals from ordinary to extraordinary, not only does the place earn good reason to win rave reviews as a restaurant but as something more than just a dining experience. Restaurants that are able to do more than simply cater to the customer’s culinary expectations are usually the locations that stand the test of time. The hospitality industry, especially among eateries, is a highly competitive one where the term “dog eat dog” seems to take on a whole new meaning. Even if it’s a corner diner on a busy street, unless it has the mouthwatering “wow” factor, discerning customers will bypass it in favor for a spot that can consistently do better.
Among restaurants, quality consistency is the key recipe formula to success. While this applies to all business establishments, the necessity for a restaurant to reach and maintain a five-star rating needs more than just good food to make it work. The pudding is also in the customer service. Even if the food is the best in the entire neighborhood, if the serving staff fail to deliver star quality service then the restaurant falls short on being the best possible culinary hangout it can be. This applies to every form of eatery there is, even if it happens to be a favorite food chain that has a flurry of dining locations scattered abroad. In order for a restaurant to earn that star quality rating, it has to excel at absolutely everything it has to offer between what’s on the menu and the attitude of people that customers will pay just as close attention to as the food they’re eating.
According to Taste
With countries like the United States and Canada, because there is such a diversity of people with different cultures and backgrounds, the food industry also shares the vastness of variety as a means to cater to a massive population base. Not everybody has the same taste in everything. When sitting at a table of ten people and the discussion of favorite restaurants come up, there is a good chance no two people are going to come up with the exact same answer. However, should there be two or more people at that same table who do agree on one specific place that is a standout for them, then odds are that restaurant is doing something right. When it comes to reviewing anything of interest, people are not the least bit shy to offer their idea of what deserves honorable mention. They are also every bit as eager to issue warnings of places, including restaurants, that should be avoided.
Since the explosion of the internet, review sites have become just as common as the local town gossip that comes across as someone who knows everything. While everybody has an opinion about something, between ratings sites, review sites, and social media sites, if a restaurant can consistently find itself among the best-favored locations as a dining experience, then that place clearly has all the right ingredients to do more than just stay afloat as a business. Within the province of Ontario, Canada, the competitiveness among eateries to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd isn’t easy to do. It is the most populated province in the country and one of the favorite destinations for visitors due to its size and long list of destinations, getaways, and hangouts. In that list, restaurants play a huge role. Many of the top chefs either hail from or reside in Ontario, including some that have been featured on the Food Network.
When picking that top restaurant, sometimes it’s not because it has a star chef that may have been featured on television. Again, it boils down to the combination of the entire kitchen crew, plus the serving staff, as well as the quality of food itself that serves up the best dining experience a person can have. Sometimes, that best restaurant isn’t some fancy locale that has a menu item sharing the same price as an airline ticket. Quite often, the best places to go out for a bite to eat may very well be some unlikely hangout that cares more about what goes on your plate than how it looks from the view off the street. Picking the top ten restaurants from a full menu of establishments within the province of Ontario that can be just as worthy is not an easy task to do, but since that’s what this article is supposed to be about, let’s go there.
10 Best Restaurants In Ontario, Canada
# 10 – Niko’s Place (Niagara Falls, Ontario)
Once upon a time regarded as the honeymoon capital, Niagara Falls, Ontario, still holds a solid place in the heart of romantics that are in agreement the giant waterfalls make this city one of Canada’s best-known landmarks. Niko’s Place serves up as one of those best restaurants to go for a dining experience to cater to those romantics, as well as anybody who simply wants to have a good meal at an establishment that can be trusted to do the job. This family restaurant was founded in 2005 by Nick Catsioulis, first as a food truck, before establishing a more permanent location due to the burst of word-of-mouth popularity.
This is a family-run business that are also noted hockey fans, especially when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs. You will notice this by the restaurant’s decor, assuming you didn’t catch any of Nick’s jokes and stories about the team. You will not find fancy at Niko’s Place. Even among the romantics, it’s not about the esthetics, it’s about the food and the overall experience. The best time of year to visit Niko’s Place is during the summer so you can enjoy the great outdoors as you devour the food, hopefully taking in some sun and fresh air while you do it.
# 9 – The WhiskeyJack Restaurant and Tavern (Perrault Falls, Ontario)
The WhiskeyJack Restaurant and Tavern has so much going for it than just good food. Located in Perrault Falls, Ontario, this hangout is an absolute must. Located just south of Ear Falls on Highway 105, WhiskeyJack is surrounded by a number of lodges and places to sleep, which is a good thing because it’s in the Sunset Country region of Northwest Ontario. It almost takes twenty hours to drive up to Perrault Falls from Toronto but is just over four hours east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. However, speaking as someone who has visited this region often who enjoys the ruggedness of the region and what WhiskeyJack offers, it is worth it.
What’s awesome about WhiskeyJack is the service is every bit as delicious as the food itself. You won’t find fancy here but you will find fantastic food that is often accompanied with amazing entertainment. As far as picking that favorite dish goes, there’s really no such thing as a bad one.
#8 – Springwater Restaurant (Dryden, Ontario)
When traveling along the Trans Canada Highway through the province of Ontario, passing through the community of Dryden, Ontario is easy enough to do. What isn’t easy is passing up Springwater Restaurant. This is a favorite local hangout for a reason, as well as a choice destination among travelers who will literally bypass other options just to eat here. The menu offers a good selection of options and the food is amazing. You won’t find any fancy dishes here but you will find everyday favorites.
A place like Springwater even takes the importance of serving up a plate of french fries as serious business. What makes this quaint spot so special is the amount of care that seems to go into each meal. If you want a place that’s as close to homestyle cooking, along with the feel of neighborly service, Springwater Restaurant is definitely it. If you happen to be a fish fan, pairing it up with the fries is the closest thing to culinary heaven it gets.
#7 – Radical Gardens (Timmins, Ontario)
Fans of Shania Twain are likely to know she grew up in Timmins, Ontario. What is lesser known is Radical Gardens is yet another crown jewel that belongs to the small city as one of the best eateries to go to. Not only is it a local favorite, but when travelers go over review sites of best restaurants in the area, Radical Gardens is among the highest rated. This is an award-winning restaurant and bakery that offers a wide selection of awesome culinary delights that keeps people coming back for more. This is home to the “Naughty Cookie” where apparently it is too inappropriate to just show it off on the website’s home page.
If you want to have more insight about that cookie, then you will have to take that daring step to click into a territory that may cause the socially sensitive to have an optical meltdown. Hey, this place doesn’t call itself Radical Gardens just because the name sounds good. Aside from the “don’t show the kids” cookies, there are 100% kid-friendly options as this is more than just a restaurant. It is also a bakery. Each week, Radical Gardens changes up the menu, which encourages the locals to keep coming back to see what’s new. Be sure when you’re there to check out its Farm Store, especially if you happen to have a fondness for mushrooms.
#6 – Giorg Cucina e barra (Thunder Bay, Ontario)
If you’ve never been to the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, you are missing out. This is a beautiful city that’s surrounded with beautiful scenery. Some of the best tourist destinations Ontario has to offer are all within an hour’s drive from Thunder Bay in any given direction. It is considered the closest thing to the big city for Northwest Ontario as it is the most populous in the region. As far as restaurants go, Giorg Cucina e barra is the standout favorite in a city that has a healthy collection of eateries that aren’t so bad either.
However, what makes Giorg Cucina e barra a favorite sees co-owners Bianca Garofala and Katrina Oostveen focus so much on offering top-notch food and service. If you’re into a culinary experience that’s Greco-Italian oriented, this is the place to go. The chefs here love to use seasonal and local ingredients when it comes to food preparation, along with a dash of creativity. One word of advice should you choose Giorg Cucina e barra as a restaurant destination, please make room for dessert as they are made in-house. Again, speaking from personal experience, I didn’t care I looked like the cartoon cat, Garfield, when devouring the tiramisu.
#5 – Canoe (Toronto, Ontario)
It’s swanky and located on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower at 66 Wellington Street West. If cost is no object and you want a spectacular view of Toronto, Ontario, to go with your food, Canoe is the place to go. Canoe is one of the best examples to the popular cliche, “you get what you pay for.”
For that romantic dinner for two, it’ perfect. If it is a fine dining experience for the family or a celebration among peers, what Canoe offers is a lavish blend of culinary perfection between the creative dishes served and the “to die for” cocktails. In a city as large as Toronto that features an impressive collection of five-star dining experiences designed for all budgets, the ability to reach the top of its food chain, so to speak, is a remarkable feat in itself. However, to stay there as the competition continues to scramble for such an honor is another. Canoe has remained as a solid favorite for locals and visitors for over twenty-five years. If you happen to be into lamb, the Beverly Creek Lamb Saddle is nothing short of remarkable. It may not be the least expensive item on the menu but it is definitely worth it.
#4 – Dianne’s Fish Shack & Smokehouse (Kingston, Ontario)
With a near-perfect rating from over one thousand happy reviews from customers that know Dianne’s Fich Shack & Smokehouse well, there is good reason why this favorite hangout in Kingston, Ontario earned this honor. If fish isn’t your thing, don’t worry about it. I will admit, however, when I was there the “crazy cat lady” in me couldn’t resist the fish as I broke down and devoured that for lunch when I was there in 2019. I returned that same day for a late supper and had every intention to just share a plate of wings with my dinner companion. As it turned out, another two plates were ordered when we turned into a pair of savages that couldn’t get enough.
In addition to the awesome food and the awesome service, the clean and colorful layout of Dianne’s made the place feel like a tourist attraction as well. This is a good thing as it adds to the appeal of the place that extends beyond the aromatic splendor. Dianne’s Fish Shack & Smokehouse is owned by the Black Dog Hospitality Group. This is a team located in Kingston’s Historic Farmer’s Market District that has a collection of locally-owned and operated restaurants in the heart of the community. The high standard of using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients whenever available is what makes a place like Dianne’s a huge favorite for locals and visitors alike.
#3 – Lake House Restaurant (Vineland Station, Ontario)
Just an hour south of Toronto, Ontario, is the community of Vineland Station, Ontario. Situated just off Queen Elizabeth Highway, Lake House Restaurant does more than just hone up to its name as a lakefront landmark of beauty. If you’re in the mood for good food at a locale that’s out of the way but not too far out, this is it. Reservations are always recommended for this place due to its overwhelming popularity. The reason why it is so popular is the genius blend of scenery that’s perfect for wedding-style photo opportunities, and culinary perfection that can leave an everlasting impression. It is a big favorite for Sunday brunches, especially if it’s that special day for mothers where celebrating the occasion happens to be at the Lake House Restaurant.
The amount of dietary options is great, especially among diners that may not to have something fishy. With a near-perfect rating by reviewers from Google and other rank-related sites, the Lake House Restaurant often finds its name within the top ten favorites. This beautiful location is owned by Joseph Nahman and his wife, Hanne Oleson-Nahman. Prior to the ownership of this establishment, Hanne became a top-ranking chef and restaurant manager at some of the best-known restaurants in the Greater Toronto area. Opting for a quieter pace than the hustle of Toronto, Vineland Station was perfect. It’s far enough to not feel the city beat but not too far, which is also great for city-dwellers wanting to get away and have a good bite to eat but not too far away.
#2 – Foolish Chicken (Ottawa, Ontario)
Don’t let the name Foolish Chicken fool you. The name may sound funny, but the food is enough for the diner to shout out “Cluck, Yeah!” Since June 2007, the proud owners, Rick Boland and Natalie Aucoin, have served up food that has become so popular that it has been known to make local customers and travelers from afar perform funky chicken dances because it’s so good. The location of Foolish Chicken is inside the charming neighborhood of Hintonbur, which is just a drumstick’s throw away to the west from Downtown Ottawa.
Just two years after “Baker” Boland and “Brainy” Aucoin opened their doors to the public, the dynamic duo made names for themselves for serving up star-quality food and service. In 2020, Foolish Chicken was voted as Ottawa’s Best Chicken or Wings by Ottawa Life Magazine. Are you on a gluten-free diet by chance? If so, the 2021 vote as Ottawa’s Best Gluten Free Menu by Faces Magazine should be more than enough reason to chicken dance your way over and see what all the big cluck is about. Another fantastic features Foolish Chicken has going for itself is the display of local artworks that are available for buyers that want to do more than just fill up their bellies.
#1 – Richmond Station (Toronto, Ontario)
With over two thousand positive reviews on Google’s review system alone, plus continually earning honorable mention in publications that rate restaurants, Richmond Station of Toronto, Ontario, is among the names mentioned most often as an all-time favorite. Located in the heart of Toronto’s downtown core, this favorite stop is under the ownership and management of award-winning chefs that refuse to accept anything less than the best when it comes to freshness and quality as chosen ingredients that go into each dish prepared for the customer.
In addition to serving Toronto as one of the best restaurants in the business, Richmond Station is also noted as a top-notch chocolatier. In addition to earning the Canada’s National World Chocolate Master title, Richmond Station’s immensely talented Nishant Amin is so good at his craft that he’s gearing up to compete in Paris, France, in October 2022. Should he win, he will become World Chocolate Master. Needless to say, making room for a chocolate dessert after devouring one of Richmond Station’s works of culinary art, is a must. If you’re concerned about special dietary concerns, dishes like the Organic Chicken Ballotine also happens to be a gluten-free dish of yumminess. For vegetarians, the Grilled Leek & Chickpea Burger remains as a solid favorite that can also cater to gluten-free diets with its options.
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