STONE ROAD GRILLE (sign outside says Rest) www.stoneroadgrille.com
If I lived in Niagara I’d be here a lot. It’s a casual pub/bistro place for topnotch food and wines at reasonable prices – served by intelligent, fun-loving staff. Judging by the amount of wine consumed, everyone seems to be as comfortable as if they were at home. The prices are conducive to trying at least a couple of bottles. Owners Heidi and Perry Johnson deserve an award for creating this rare combination of quality, fun and value.
Chef Ryan Crawford could be cooking at a five star joint. And the service staff are also major players in this production. For fun you must have the beautifully presented charcuterie platter, maybe with Pinot or Gamay. Reserve your table at 905.468.3474
ABOUT THYME BISTRO (Vineland) www.aboutthymebistro.com
Nicely understated small restaurant with a pretty side patio. Ryan Shapiro cooks modern twists on bistro food with emphasis on local ingredients. And partner Donna Thomponson opens reasonably priced local wines. I mean local – Beamsville only.
3457 King Street W. (w. of Victoria Ave), Vineland 905.562.3457
OLD WINERY RESTAURANT (Niagara on the Lake) www.theoldwineryrestaurant.com
Tony Deluca’s new restaurant is modelled on the Italian trattoria – a big room filled with people enjoying affordable food and drink and making a lot of noise. You choose from wood fired pizza, pasta, steak, chicken, chop, or fish – and a wine list with the lowest prices on earth. Large patio too. How can you resist. 2228 Old Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake 905.468.8900
THE RESTAURANT at HILLEBRAND (Virgil) www.hillebrand.com
This has always been a bit of a secret since it’s tucked in behind the winery – overlooking the vineyards. Now with more tables, elegant patio and a smart, Californian atmosphere. And Chef Frank Dodd is happy too that the kitchen has expanded. Taste a few wines, eat well and stroll the grounds. 1249 Niagara Stone Road, Virgil 1.800.582.8412
For lunch, check out the NIAGARA COLLEGE (Glendale Campus) www.niagaracollege.ca/dining A bright, circular room with a view of the escarpment. Try the lunch and wine package. The College makes very good wine which you can purchase next door to the restaurant. (Niagara College is located across from White Oaks Inn. QEW at Glendale Road) 905.641.2252
ON THE TWENTY (Cave Spring) Jordan and JORDAN HOUSE TAVERN www.innonthetwenty.com Eating and staying at On the Twenty delivers a first class all the way. And The Jordan House fills the niche for finding affordable, well-designed accommodation and worthy road house food.
PELLER ESTATES (Niagara-on-the-Lake) www.peller.com
RIVERBEND INN (Niagara-on-the-Lake) lunch on the patio is lovely www.riverbendinn.ca