Top Restaurants for Food, Wine and Fun

restaurant white wine closeHere are the restaurants I love in various cities. I hope you find this a helpful list, and let me know if you enjoy your dining experience at any one of these.

My favorite restaurants in Ottawa, Ontario are Riveria (613-233-6262), Soca Kitchen (613-695-9190), Wellington Gastro Pub (613-729-1315), Fraser Café (613-749-1444), The Shore Club (in The Westin, but not owned by it 613-569-5050), Fauna (613-563-2862),  Taylor Wine Bar (613-730-5672), Sidedoor (613-562-9331), Social (613-789-7355), Eighteen (613-244-1188), Soif Wine Bar (819-600-7643), Earling’s (613-231-8484), The Pomeroy House (613-237-1658), The Albion Rooms in Novatel (613-760-4771), Mena (613-233-6462), Play (613-667-9207), Absinthe (613-761-1138), Navarra (613-241-5500), Atelier (613-321-3537) and Supply and Demand (613-680-2949).

For a casual lunch: SmoqueShak (613-789-4245), Ola Cocina (613-746-6222), Ahora Mexican Cuisine (613-562-2081) and Bazille Bistro in Nordstrom (613-567-7005).

In Almonte (30 minutes west of Ottawa), I like Heirloom Cafe (613-256-9653).

Just across the river in Quebec, I like Soif Wine Bar (819-600-7643), Le Baccara (819-772-6210), Le Tartuffe (819-776-6424) and Les Fougères (819-827-8942).

In the Picton area wine country of Prince Edward County, I like Bluemen (613-476-6841), the Merrill Inn Restaurant (613-476-7451) and for lunch the patio restaurant at Huff Estates Winery (613-393-5802) .

In Toronto, I like One Restaurant (416-961-9600), Nota Bene (416-977-6400), Splendido (416-929-7788), Luma (647-288-4715), George on Queen (416-368-6093), The Chase (647-348-7000), La Societe (416-551-9929), Reds Wine Tavern (416-862-7337), Drake One Fifty (416-363-6150), Cafe Boulud – Four Seasons (416-928-7343), Momofuku (647-253-8000), Diasho (647-253-8000), Origin (416-603-8009), Edulis (416-703-4222), Richmond Station (647-748-1444), Buca (416-865-1600), Oliver & Bonnacini Cafe & Grill, Grano (416-440-1986), Chiado (416- 538-1910), Crush Wine Bar (416-977-1234), Biff’s Bistro (416-860-0086), Scaramouche (416-961-8011), Catch (416-658-0568) and Starfish Oyster Bar (416-366-7827).

Ontario: Niagara: Cave Spring Cellars, On The Twenty: (800-701-8074), Hillebrand Estates Vineyard Café: 800-582-8412), Peller Estates Winery Restaurant: (905-468-4678), Peninsula Ridge, The Restaurant: (905-563-0900), Strewn Winery, Terroir La Cachette: (888-478-7396), Vineland Estates Winery, Winedeck Restaurant: (888-846-3526).

In Montreal: Toqué (514-499-2084), L’Épicier (514-878-2232), Ariel (514-282-9790), Olive + Gourmando, Bouillon Bilk, Maison Boulud, Joe BeefLe Club Chasse et Pêche, Ferreira Café, Les 400 Coups, Pied au Cochon and the bring-your-own-bottle café La Colombe (514-849-8844). I also quite like L’eau a la Bouche (888-828-2991) and Bistro a Champlain (450-228-4988), both in the Laurentian Mountains for northern Quebec.

My favorite Halifax, Nova Scotia restaurants are: The Bicycle Thief (902-425-7993), Gio (902-425-1987), Cut Steakhouse (902-429-5120), ONYX (902-428-5680),  Chives Canadian Bistro (902-420-9626), FID (902-422-9162), Seasons (Atlantica Hotel) (902-423.1161), Saege Bistro (902-422-5870) and DaMaurizio’s (902-423-0859). I like Fleur de Sel in Lunenburg (902-640-2121), Grand Pre Winery Restaurant (902-542-1753) and Front & Central (902-542-0588), both in Annapolis Valley, and Glenora Distillery Restaurant in Cape Breton (800-839-0491).

In the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia: The Sonora Room Restaurant at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery (877-498-0620), The Terrace Restaurant at Mission Hill Winery (250-768-6467) and Old Vines Restaurant at Quail’s Gate Estate Winery (800-420-9463).

In Vancouver: Vij’s, Bishop’s, Bao Bei, MaenamHawksworth, La Quercia, Cioppino’s, Blue Water Café, L’Abattoir and Araxi (Whistler).

For cities not listed here as well as for more restaurants in cities that are, check Maclean’s Magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants in Canada. (I was thrilled to be part of the review team in Ontario.)

In New York City: Per Se (212-823-9335), Cru (212-529-1700), Blue Hill (212-539-1776), Café Boulud (212-772-2600), The Modern (212-333-1220), Craft (212-780-0880), Del Posto (212-497-8090), Jean-Georges (212-299-3900), Eleven Madison Park Restaurant (212-889-0905), Hearth (646-602-1300), Insieme (212-582-1310), Town Restaurant (212-582-4445), Picholine (212-724-8585), The Tasting Room (212-358-7831), Union Square Café (212-243-4020), Landmarc (212-823-6123), A Voce (212-545-8555), L’Ecole run by the students of the French Culinary Institute: 46 Broadway in SoHo (212-219-3300).

In San Francisco, California: Michael Mina (415-397-7000) and Rubicon (415-434-4100).

In the Napa Valley Region: The French Laundry (707-944-2380), Bouchon (707-944-8037), Mustards Grill (707-944-2424).

In Healdsburg, Sonoma: Cyrus Restaurant (707-433-3311) and Barndiva (707-431-0100).

At Disneyworld in Orlando, my top picks in priority order are: Jiko, Victoria & Albert’s, California Grill, Narcoossee’s and Corel Reef. For all Disney dining reservations, call 407-939-3463. See my article on this in the articles section.

In Naples, Florida, I like: Bleu Provence (239-261-8239).

In Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona: Mosaic (480-563-9600), Mary Elaine’s (800-888-8234 or 480-941-8200), See Saw Tapanese Cuisine (480-481-9463) and Rancho Pinot Grill (480-367-8030).

In Las Vegas, I like: Aureole At the Madalay Bay Resort(702-632-7401) and Picasso at the Bellagio Hotel (877-234-6358).

In London, England: River Café (44 20 77366296), Gordon Ramsay (44 20 7352 4441), St. John (44 20 7251 0848) and Bibendum (44 20 7581 5817).

In Rome, Italy: La Pergola (39 06 35091), Il Pagliaccio (06 68 809595), Agata e Romeo (39 06 4466115), Trito Antica Trattoria (06 6798181) and Via Antonio Serra (39 06 3337192).

In Athens, Greece: Spondi Relais and Chateaux (30 210 7564021)

In Barbados, I like the following (in priority order): Calbaza (246-424-4557), The Cliff (246-432-1922)and The Tides (246-432-8356)

In Turks & Caicos: Amanyara (649-941-8133), Le Bagatelle at Gansevoort (649-941-7555), Coyaba Restaurant (649-946-5186) and Coco Bistro (649-946-5369).

In Australia, try these Sydney restaurants: Rockpool (02 9252 1888), Bill’s (612 9360 9631), Icebergs Restaurant and Bar (612 9365 9000), Guillaume at Bennelong Sydney Opera House (612 9241 1999), Forty One Chifley Tower (612 9221 2500),

In the Hunter Valley: Robert’s Restaurant (612 4998 7330) and Shakey Tables, Hunter Valley Lodge (612 4938 1744).

In Adelaide: Magille Estate Restaurant at Penfolds Winery (618 8301 5551). In the Barossa Valley: The Peppers Louise (08 8562 4144). In Melbourne: Vue de Monde (613 9691 3888), Taxi (613 9654 8808), MoVida Bar de Tapas (03 9663 3038), Seagrass (03 9696 7655) and for breakfast Melba in the Langham Hotel (613 8696 8888).

Other than that, your best bet is to do a web search or to consult a restaurant guide.

35 thoughts on “Top Restaurants for Food, Wine and Fun

  1. In Napa, we are enjoying the Oxbow Public Market which includes Hog Island Oysters, Oxbow wine Merchant, C Casa (1 star already!), and many other vendors. Morimoto is a new hot spot which should become a classic. Downtown Napa is hopping!

  2. Hi Natalie, My partner and i are travelling to Europe in September… Barcelona, Venice and Paris….
    Can you recommend, suggest… any restaurants ,cafes in these cites that we should try… love food and wine..


    1. Thanks Tony! I’ll add my fav restos in Paris to this list, but I haven’t been to the other cities. I’ve asked on FB if anyone has suggestion so we’ll see what we come up with!

  3. Halifax – Seven (in an old firehall)
    Montreal – Le Local and Le Salle a Manger
    Ottawa – Domus and Play
    Toronto – Ki on Bay, Chiado on College and Frank’s at the AGO
    Calgary – Catch and Teatro
    Vancouver – Chambar and Medina
    Paris – Le Chateaubriand, Studio 117, Le Dauphin and Le Baratin
    All AMAZING restos!

  4. If you are ever in Chicago, check out Cafe 28, on Irving Park Road, it is a family-owned, Cuban and Mexican style restaurant. The Honey Jalapeño Pork Chops are fantastic!

  5. Not sure how many readers will get the chance, but here are some recommendations of great BYOW restaurants in Guatemala:

    Guatemala City: Passerelle, Splendido (no corkage here!)

    Antigua Guatemala: Casa Santo Domingo, Convent de Capucines (no corkage, view of tow volcanos from the rooftop patio)

    Panajachel: Chez Alex

  6. The Hearth in NYC is fantastic.
    Set aside an hour to read the wine list

    The Quay in Sydney Australia is also fantastic. Great food and an enchanting harbour view.

    Any recomendations for Abu DHabi or Dubai?

    1. Ray, if you like the best steak try West 14th on the Palm Jumeira. Myself and many of our friends make it our regular eatery. They have a website. Cheera

  7. Would add two…in Montreal I would add Queue de Cheval. Then I know you have no listings for Miami, FL but I would absolutely list Michael’s Genuine in there!

  8. In New Orleans we like The Court of Two Sisters jazz brunch…excellent. In San Antonio we enjoyed the fun atmosphere at Jack’s on the Riverwalk…food and wine are good too. In Ingonish, Nova Scotia the Main Street Cafe is an excellent choice for lunch.

  9. In Toronto, I recommend George Restaurant at 111 Queen Street East. Fabulous food and a great Sommelier who features wines direct from the Vintner.

  10. In Toronto, we absolutely love Cava. Be sure to try the cheese & chocolate “flight” for dessert, it’s absolute friggin’ magic! In NYC, Terence Brennan’s Artisanal is another casual-but-excellent cheese-lovers’ mecca.

  11. The chef/owner of the lovely Harvest restaurant in Picton, ON is now at Angeline’s in Bloomfield, ON. I believe that the Picton restaurant closed.
    Very fond of Blumen in Picton.

  12. Great resource and list of restaurants Natalie.

    We will be in Naples, FL in a few weeks and will check out “Bleu Provence”. I just looked over their wine list and am very impressed already.

    Will let you know how it goes.


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