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Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

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Murrells Inlet, SC
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Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

My husband & I are planning our 1st visit to NOTL in May to celebrate his birthday. He happens to be a chef, thus the main emphasis of our trip will be on food & wine. He is interested in "current" food, &, by that, I mean chefs that are progressive, & innovative, using the freshest of local ingredients from nearby farms, etc. Also, he is a wine collector, & would be interested in visiting the wineries that are producing the finest wine in the region, either on a large or small scale. So often, the places that are recommended in the travel books are not for us! We will be staying @ the Harbour House for 3 nights & want to make the most of our food & beverage experiences. Please help--we would welcome any unbiased opinions that would be right for us!

London, Canada
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1. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

Hello corrine and welcome to the forum!

You have chosen a perfect spot to enjoy food and wine, particularly if you are visiting on a May weekend:

FIVE WEEKENDS IN MAY

Discover the wonderful connection between wine and herbs during this annual spring celebration. Tour the 21 Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake where each stop will feature a different herb-themed food pairing matched to a premium VQA wine selected to highlight the flavour and aroma of the herb.

www.wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/events.php

If you are visiting mid-week then you are still fortunate.

The restaurants most recommended in the region are those associated with wineries----Peller, Hillebrand and Strewn near Niagara on the Lake. They offer fine dining as well as lovely vineyard views. Also recommended are Vineland Estates and On the Twenty in the Twenty Valley area. All of the kitchens use local and mostly organic ingredients in season and strive to be innovative.

http://www.twentyvalley.ca/

http://www.peller.com/niagara/homepage.php

A small gem of a spot for either lunch or dinner is the Stone Road Grille which is a bistro with exceptional offerings. I would rank that among the finest Niagara has to offer in terms of food, though it is in a rather unassuming strip mall.

http://www.stoneroadgrille.com/

For wines, you may be more interested in some of the smaller wineries such as Tawse, Stratus and Flat Rock Cellars although you can find interesting wines at some of the larger wineries too. The reds are usually lacking, but the whites, icewines, and specialty wines are quite well known. We tend to avoid those wineries with busloads of people but a quick visit for icewine tastings is recommended at Peller.

http://www.tawsewinery.ca/

http://www.stratuswines.com/

http://www.flatrockcellars.com/

You might even enjoy a very intimate winery with award winning wines with the tasting room located in a small house along King St. outside of Beamsville. People were buying wines by the case when we visited and Daniel knows the region well.

http://www.daniellenko.com/

Not far from there we really enjoy the variety and tastings at Peninsula Ridge as well. Artisanal cheeses are regularly paired with the wines for tasting.

http://www.peninsularidge.com/

You will no doubt get many other recommendations, and I would also suggest you look at some of the past posts on this forum for help too.

Hope this gets you started with the planning. :)

Murrells Inlet, SC
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2. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

Tobie,

Many thanks! You have gone above & beyond the call of duty! I have a couple more questions. What about the food @ the Charles Inn? It seems to be highly recommended by every one. Also, what is the appropriate dress for lunch & dinner @ these restaurants? Are reservations necessary before we arrive? We will be there May 1 thru May 4 (Fri. thru Mon.)

Kelowna, Canada
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3. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

If you feel like dressing up you can do so and won't appear odd. But my wife and I have regularly dined at top of the line placed in NOTL wearing track shoes, cords and sweaters. If you don't like being dressy, as we don't, think also about the lounges in some of the better hotels (Vintage Inn group mainly) which are more comfortable than the dinning rooms but with the food coming out of the same kitchens. Reservations for Friday and Saturday nights are a good idea; it couldn't hurt for other times but you're much less likely to be turned away. The Charles Inn is, by NOTL standards, okay. But not in the same category as the Inn on the Twenty or Stone Road Grille.

Have a great time -- and trust everything that Tobie says.

London, Canada
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4. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

Thanks CanProf. :)

corrine~ With the May weekends busy with the wine events, and the Shaw Festival beginning, CP is correct (as usual) about making reservations, especially if you only have 3 days and a short list of "must dos".

Not sure if you enjoy the theatre, but here's the site for the 2009 productions. Harbour House is a short stroll to the Festival Theatre.

http://www.shawfest.com/

Murrells Inlet, SC
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5. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

You two are great--the advice is so appreciated! Here's my final question (for today, at least!): What would your top 3 restaurant choices be for dinner & top 4 choices be for lunch? I, honestly, don't think we'll be returning any time soon, as there are so many other travel plans on our agenda, & I SO want to make the most of this trip! By the way, it's also our 1st time to visit Canada!

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

Hi Corrine48,

Fellow poster TOBIE has given you some excellent info. As I am also a Food & Wine Lover, I will follow up by PM with some "wine notes" from a recent Ontario Wine Tasting (too long to put here).

Overall you and your Hubby should have a great time Dining & Drinking throughout the Niagara Region.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

London, Canada
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7. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

Wine42----how about posting here? I really would be interested...an abridged version perhaps?

corrine~ I would probably recommend the same places for lunch and dinner. :) but to maximize your experience of Niagara on the Lake I will offer different options. Look at the menus and you can decide.

Top 4 Lunch

Angels Gate Winery (tapas on the terrace)

*Check dates of opening

Strewn Winery (La Cachette)

Riverbend Inn

Stone Road Grille

Top 3 Dinner

Vineland Estates Winery

Peller Estates Winery

On the Twenty

or if you liked Stone Road for lunch, a dinner there!

********

http://www.lacachette.com/

http://www.innonthetwenty.com/dining.html

http://riverbendinn.ca/dining/

http://angelsgatewinery.com/index.html

ontario
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8. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

I highly recommend Daniel Lenko wineries - both for the wine AND the unique experience. I won't say more ;)

Vancouver, BC
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9. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

Yes, Wine42 - was about to send you a PM, but think lots of us would enjoy your suggestions! I am coming to NOTL with 3 friends in June.

thanks

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: Best Restaurants & Wineries for a Chef!

If you get a chance and need some sweet treats, try Willow Cakes and Pastries on the corner of Mary and Mississauga across from the Tim Hortons. You won't be disappointed.

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