Food & Drink

The best restaurants in central Ontario... that aren't in Toronto

Published On 05/28/2014 Published On 05/28/2014
The Craftsman Restaurant
Memphis Fire Barbeque Company
Frijoles Fresh Mex Burritos
Era 67 Restaurant & Lounge
That Little Place By The Lights
Big Chris BBQ Smokehouse
Hot Belly Mama's
Soulyve Caribbean Kitchen
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1. The Craftsman Restaurant 27965 Hwy 28 South at Paudash, Bancroft, K0L 1C0

This Bancroft eatery has been around since 1955 and they've never lost their traditional old-school charm, with a pleasant dining room complete with a fireplace and special menu items every night like Cajun-style blackened catfish, maple-stuffed roast pork, and grilled rainbow trout.

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2. Memphis Fire Barbeque Company 1091 King's Highway #8, Winona, L8E 1L6

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all on the menu here and the Sneaky Cheeseburger has developed a loyal fan following, unsurprisingly, considering it consists of fresh ground beef from local farms, dressed with ranch, lettuce, tomatoes, dill, and caramelized onions, and it's topped with a smoked cheddar spread.

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3. Frijoles Fresh Mex Burritos 3465 Portage Rd, Niagara Falls, L2J 2K5

You’ll find classic Mexican eats at this tasty Niagara Falls spot, including tacos, burritos, and quesadillas -- and without any of the unnecessary frills. Just. Good. Mexican. Food.

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4. Era 67 Restaurant & Lounge 64 Mississaga St W, Orillia, L3V 3A8

This Orilla haunt is all about high-quality, fresh, local food. Executive Chef Ian Thompson insists on it, so that dishes like the 14oz AAA Angus Reserve Alberta Beef Ribeye, and the Wild Mushroom Duxelle Goats Cheese and Aged Cheddar Ravioli are as fresh as possible.

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5. That Little Place By The Lights 76 Main St, Huntsville, P1H 2B8

This tiny Italian Huntsville establishment is family-run and everything they serve is and tastes homemade. Pro tip: try the Linguine Puttanesca with black and green olives, capers, garlic, hot peppers, and anchovies in tomato sauce.

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6. ll Buco Ristorante 31 Dunlop St E, Barrie, L4M 1A3

This Barrie gem serves up Old World Italian fare, like their highly lauded Veal Contadina, which is veal scaloppini sautéed in a roasted garlic jus with zucchini, mushrooms, and red peppers. And don't forget to sample some wine from their extensive list.

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7. Big Chris BBQ Smokehouse 110 Anne St S, Barrie, L4N 2E3

This is the perfect place to go to watch some sports, drink some beer and eat artery-choking deliciousness in a laid-back setting. And when we say artery-choking, we're referring to the Ultimate Dirty Burger Challenge, which comes with SIX 8oz patties, each topped with bacon and cheese, and there’s also two 2lbs of pulled pork piled in there, and some poutine for good measure.

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8. Lion City Restaurant 1177 Central Parkway W, Mississauga, L5C 4P3

This Mississauga institution serves authentic Sing-Malay food, cooked up by chef and owner Lilian Ow. Try the beef rendang curry and the rojak, a green mango, pineapple, and cucumber salad that’s tossed with dried jellyfish, peanuts, and fermented shrimp paste. It’ll push you outside your comfort zone and it’s so, so worth it.

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9. Hot Belly Mama's 380 George St N, Peterborough, K9H 3R3

This Peterborough resto brings all the fun (music, flavors, and style) of New Orleans to Ontario with its pleasant and relaxed atmosphere and extensive menu.

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10. Soulyve Caribbean Kitchen 19 Mill St, Orangeville, L9W 2M3

You can dine in or eat out at this Orangeville Caribbean spot, which doles out classic dishes like jerk chicken, jerk pork, sweet BBQ chicken, or cornmeal catfish. You won't be disappointed.