Off-The-Radar and Ridiculously Good Niagara Restaurants
In addition to being home to some of the country’s most buzzed-about wine country and farm-to-table cuisine, Niagara boasts an eclectic collection of off-the-beaten-path restaurants dishing up incredible globally inspired fare. If you find yourself craving flavours from afar on your next Niagara getaway, here are a dozen restaurants guaranteed to deliver!
Craving Authentic Southern Barbeque?
Your nose may be the first thing to notice this unassuming Beamsville gem! Smoke & Moonshine’s inline smoker, affectionately known as Prince Charming, is fed a steady diet of sugar maple to create a sweet smoke that flavours delicious double-smoked brisket (don’t miss the burnt ends), bacon-cured side ribs, and more. Enjoy platter and plate combinations with your choice of authentic Southern-style sides, like cornbread with maple bourbon butter, baked beans, and mac and cheese. Choose from an extensive selection of Niagara wines and beers to sip with all that smokiness! Be sure to save room for a piece of the butter pecan pie.
Craving Latin American Food?
If incredible Latin-inspired food isn’t the first thing that pops into your mind as you cruise the Niagara Wine Route through the charming town of Beamsville, you’re in for a very tasty surprise. The passion project of a dynamic husband and wife team, Fusion Latina fuses favourites with a generous nod to the owners’ Argentinian and Cuban roots. Their Cubano sandwich is one the tastiest in Ontario, complete with Mojo-marinated pork roast, ham, cheese, mustard and pickles. Fried yuccas and plantains are the perfect sides, and a serving of warm churros is the perfect indulgence to end your meal on a sweet note!
Craving Italian Food?
How do you make rustic Italian cuisine taste even more fabulous? Pair it with an incredible list of Niagara wines. In addition to having one of the best locally sourced wine lists in the Niagara Benchlands, Just Cooking Rustic Italian serves freshly made Italian favourites created from scratch in their kitchen with locally sourced ingredients. Stop in for a quick lunch, happy hour wine and Focaccia or to wrap up a Benchlands touring and tasting day with a steaming plate of osso bucco Milanese or handmade gnocchi gorgonzola.
Craving French Food?
While a table for the tasting menu at Restaurant Pearl Morissette can take some magic to secure, there’s a new way to enjoy this buzzed-about winery’s classic French culinary techniques without the wait. In addition to outstanding coffee, breads, pastries and other baked goods, RPM Bakehouse and Bottle Shop in Jordan Village now offers delicious options for seasonally inspired lunch and dinner dining. Dishes on this cozy, approachable café’s ever-changing menu, like quiche, duck leg confit, and tarte tatin, will make you feel like you’ve escaped to the French countryside.
Craving Indian Food?
Located right on the Niagara Wine Route, Touch of India has been a Downtown St. Catharines fixture for three decades. Lunch and dinner specials make it easy and affordable to try a variety of the restaurant’s excellent Northern Indian dishes, including dal soup, shrimp and chicken tandoori, sheesh kabob, samosa, onion bhaji, chicken tikka, and butter chicken. The kitchen staff is happy to accommodate gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan guests, and the Touch of India’s wine list includes a broad selection of options from local wineries.
Craving Mexican Food?
Eh José Taqueria entered the Niagara food scene as a food truck that quickly garnered a passionate following of local foodies. Today, Eh José has a permanent home on James Street in Downtown St. Catharines. Owners, Jesse and José, work tirelessly to recreate the authentic Mexican flavours of their homeland using the highest quality local ingredients in authentic dishes packed with fresh, bright flavours. In addition to an extensive selection of tacos, the menu features quesadillas, tortas, huevos rancheros and more. The beverage menu features tequila and mezcal margaritas, micheladas and palomas, as well as interesting non-alcoholic options like horchata and hibiscus waters.
Craving Greek Food?
If you’d like your Niagara visit to include some delicious Greek food enjoyed while watching a ship make its way along the Welland Canal, add George’s Greek Village to your itinerary. Dig into generous servings of Greek favourites like mousaka, roast lamb, tiropita, dolmades, gyro, spanokopita, and more. With its excellent food, local wine and beer, outstanding view, friendly service and great prices, you’ll quickly discover why George’s Greek Village is recognized as one of Niagara’s best Greek restaurants.
Craving Thai Food?
Sahla Thai, also located right on the Niagara Wine Route, serves up fresh, authentic Thai favourites, like tom kha gai, pad thai, and a broad selection of tasty curries. The restaurant’s well-priced lunch specials are a long-time favourite with locals and are a perfect option for travelers looking to fuel up with a delicious, affordable mid-day meal that will keep them going until dinner time. Sahla Thai’s close proximity to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre also makes it a great option for a pre- or post-matinee meal!
Craving Vietnamese Food?
An unassuming restaurant in Downtown St. Catharines, Pho Dau Bo delivers on its mission of serving delicious, affordable food that guests will want to return to week after week. With close to three dozen varieties of pho on the menu, an extensive selection of other noodle and rice dishes, excellent vegetarian options, and Vietnamese-inspired drinks and milkshakes, deciding what to order can be a challenge!
Craving Spanish Food?
Want an inside tip on how to know if a restaurant’s paella is authentic? Ask how long it will take to get to your table! Port Dalhousie’s Patio Andaluz asks diners to order the massive pan of paella as soon as they arrive, as it can take up to 45 minutes to prepare. The restaurant’s use of time-honoured (and sometimes time-consuming) techniques in the kitchen reflects the owners’ commitment to only serving dishes they would offer proudly to their Spanish and Mexican relatives. A delicious selection of tapas makes any wait for paella a delicious one! In addition to Spanish favourites, Patio Andaluz serves incredible Mexican too, including tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and fajitas.
Craving Korean Food?
At Korean BBQ Town in Downtown St. Catharines, diners are encouraged to become the Grill Masters. In addition to an all-you-can-eat Korean table BBQ experience, the restaurant has a solid a la carte menu featuring Korean-inspired favourites like rice gnocchi, beef bulgogi, fried chicken and kimchi fried rice.
Craving Caribbean Food?
Enjoy treasured Caribbean flavours in classic dishes or with a tasty twist at 7 Mile Bistro in Downtown St. Catharines. Traditionalists can opt for favourites like jerk chicken and curried goat roti, while those looking to broaden their horizons can dig into delicious options like Rasta pasta and oxtail poutine. Excellent breakfast and brunch options and its convenient location right on the Niagara Wine Route make this restaurant a perfect place to fuel up for a day of touring and tasting.