Photo courtesy Cannery Restaurant
Looking for somewhere great to eat while in the Niagara Region? Contributor Sue Kelly shares her list of the best restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake for a classy dining experience
Updated Dec 8, 2022 / Commissions may be earned from our affiliate partner links
Celebrate the regional flavours of Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) by dining in one of the many and varied culinary hot spots in town. Elevate your dining to a gastronomic event by tasting locally sourced foods and marrying them with amazing selections of regional or international wines.
You will note that a great deal of NOTL’s charm comes from its heritage buildings and historic sites. At the end of the 1700s, in fact, this charming small town was designated as the capital city of Upper Canada.
Known then as Newark, it held this distinction until the colony’s capital was later was moved to Toronto, or York as it was then known. Several restaurants have carefully preserved this historic legacy, which further adds to the ambience (and romance) of your dining experience.
Savour the town’s easy going, down-to-earth vibe. Whether your goal is a romantic dinner, great pub food, Sunday brunch, or take-out service, these restaurants will not disappoint. Maximize your gastronomic journey (and your pocketbook) by visiting the websites of each establishment listed below to learn of special offers. Better still, why not combine your dining adventure with a stay in a luxury hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake, or even a spa treatment or wine tour?
Regardless of the season you choose to visit, this number-one destination-region in Canada has the perfect dining experience to suit your needs. Check out the following best restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake to find out more.
Best Restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Cannery Restaurant – Pillar & Post
Step inside the Pillar and Post, one of the top luxury hotels in Niagara Region, and you’ll find the original post and beam construction throughout the sunlit lobby and the Cannery Restaurant. Built in the 1890s as a canning factory, The Pillar and Post holds a long and proud history of quality dining and accommodations in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The Cannery’s unique value proposition is excellent quality food at reasonable prices. The most popular dish is the slow roasted prime rib, which has been a tradition since 1970. Enjoyed with a baked russet potato, garlic and chive Yorkshire pudding, Niagara’s best locally farmed vegetables and pan drippings, it will become a food memory of gastronomic proportions.
Although the Cannery is first and foremost a steakhouse, seafood, chicken and pasta are favorite choices as well. Top off your meal with unique sweet or savory delights.
There is no doubt that Executive Chef Mark Longster is the reason for Cannery’s success. Born to cook, Chef Mark was named the youngest certified chef in the region in 1994 and has continued to rise through the rank. Be sure to try the restaurant’s seasonal patio service, available from May to October.
Check out their website at www.vintage-hotels.com/pillar-and-post/cannery-restaurant/.
The Noble Restaurant – Prince of Wales Hotel
Located in the heart of old-town NOTL, the grand Prince of Wales Hotel boasts the most photographed entrance of any luxury hotel in the world. Enter these hallowed doors to the resplendent Noble Restaurant, established in 1864. Before dinner, consider a cocktail in the Churchill Lounge, where you can sip and relax amid décor of the 1930s.
Arriving at The Noble, prepare to be delighted with the exceptional service, unparalleled ambiance, and panoramic views of Simcoe Park – all features of its unique value proposition. The Victorian setting of regal Europe will appeal as you view the array of Jean Claude Roy’s artwork displayed throughout the restaurant.
The Noble is one of the best examples of where wine country meets French tradition. One of the most popular entrées is the Magret de Canard (breast of duck) which is both crispy and tender, served with luscious risotto and greens. Beef, chicken, seafood and pasta choices are always available on the menu. Allow renowned sommelier Fred Gamula to guide you through its award-winning wine list, curated from wineries in Niagara and around the world.
What could be more royal than an afternoon tea in Niagara-on-the-Lake – especially if served in the Drawing Room. Consider a To Go Tea Box. This special Chef’s selection includes assorted finger sandwiches, domestic and imported pastries, house-made signature scones with crème fraiche, jam and butter, and your choice of two Sloane organic tea bags (signature black, Earl Grey classic, heavenly cream, classic green or ginger twist). Twenty-four-hour notice is required. Check out their website for further details.
Reviews, Rates, & Reservations: Thinking of adding an overnight stay to your dining experience? Check out our accommodation partner’s dedicated Prince of Wales Hotel page for details, including the best rates and availability.
Tiara Restaurant – Queen’s Landing Hotel
One of the best restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake is The Tiara, located along the scenic Niagara River and Lake Ontario and close to the happenings of historic downtown. You will feel like royalty as you sip and savour the 5-star farm-to-table flavours and award-winning regional wines which are the hallmark of this innovative restaurant located in the Queen’s Landing Hotel.
A sought-after dish here is the beef tenderloin with mini-potatoes, king oyster mushrooms and pickled cabbage with a Béarnaise sauce. Linguine Nero is another seasonal favourite. But if you like to indulge in chocolate, the decadent Chocolate Taste Plate is available all year long and includes samples of chocolate hazelnut mousse, brownie, chocolate macaroons and truffles. If chocolate doesn’t hit your sweet spot, the Crème Brule is sure to delight – peaches and cream or banana foster are appealing sensations.
The Tiara has created unique partnerships, advancing the calibre of food for its guests. It has acquired a Feast ON certificate, which means that 70 per cent of all food and wine is sourced within 100 kms of NOTL.
Their Oceanwise certificate ensures that all seafood is sustainably obtained, and it participates in Food Day Canada, an event for Canadians to join hands in one massive celebration in praise of our farmers and fishers. Last year, Tiara’s Executive Chef Marc won the Good Food Innovation Award.
For further details, visit the Tiara Restaurant’s website here.
Reviews, Rates, & Reservations: For great rates and reviews of this top-notch Niagara-on-the-Lake hotel, visit our accommodation partner’s dedicated Queen’s Landing Hotel page for details.
Restaurant Oban Inn
Since its beginning in 1824, the long tradition of The Oban Inn dining experience has been enjoyed by generation after generation. It is open daily for lunch and dinner. Dine in the delightful sunroom overlooking lush English gardens, the cozy historic Shaw’s Corner, or in the chic elegance of the fireside dining room.
Culinary artistry comes alive when you taste one of the unique creations of this unique historic NOTL restaurant. Enjoy a roasted beet salad, a savoury bowl of butternut-squash soup, sous vide pork tenderloin, or confit duck leg complemented with apple mash, fresh brussels sprouts, and a coriander reduction while savouring a sommelier-selected Niagara wine. Top off your meal with a memorable dark chocolate mousse.
A highlight of a visit here is relishing the incredible views of Lake Ontario and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Course. Check out their website for further details.
Reviews, Rates, & Reservations: For accommodation rates and reviews, check out our hotel partner’s dedicated Oban Inn page.
Zees Grill – Shaw Club Hotel
When you’re exploring downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake or planning a trip to the Shaw Festival Theatre, there’s only one logical and convenient choice for modern casual dining. Zees Grill boasts the prime spot opposite one of Ontario’s best theatres, but that’s far from the only reason to visit. Pick your perfect spot on the patio (the largest in town), at the bar or around a table for a meal which is sure to impress family, friends or business acquaintances.
The award-winning chef has created an array of dishes that are as delicious as they are inventive. Whether you like classic nostalgic food, or a meal updated with a whimsical twist, expect the unexpected at Zees. Be sure to taste their Crispy Pork Belly, braised in cider and served with an incredible carrot puree or the ever-popular Surf ‘N Turf, or Pesto Panko Crusted Bone-in-Chicken, heirloom carrots, roasted garlic mash and mushroom port cream sauce.
Customer service is bar none as the staff will make you the centre of attention and cater to your every wish. Click here for menu details.
Reviews, Rates, & Reservations: Thinking of also booking a stay at the Shaw Club Hotel? Check out our preferred accommodation partners for Shaw Club rates and reviews.
LIV Restaurant – White Oaks Resort
LIV Restaurant is the award-winning, unforgettable jewel located at White Oaks Resort and Conference Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The locally inspired wine list and ambiance provide a fantastic backdrop to a spectacular dining experience.
The management at LIV strive to create an experience like none other. To begin, a complementary amuse bouche tantalizes your taste buds and encourages you to relax, allowing the aura of LIV to wash over you. Choose from a bounteous menu, with lamb, duck, and mussels just a few of the favorites. And for dessert? Consider the ever-popular chocolate fondue with homemade marshmallows and other succulent dipping nibbles.
LIV is a perfect venue to celebrate special events such as graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries. Be sure to let the staff know because they want to join in the celebrations by offering a complementary glass of sparkling wine.
Visit their website’s dining section here for further details.
Reviews, Rates, & Reservations: For room rates and reviews, visit our accommodation partner’s dedicated White Oaks Inn page.
HOB NOB Restaurant – The Charles Hotel
To hob nob means to associate familiarly, which is a perfect name for this fine dining restaurant. Set in an elegant 1832 manor house, Hob Nob Restaurant overlooks the renowned Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club.
The name of the game is laidback but be prepared for exquisite indulgence whether you are visiting the dining room, charming lounge, or fully licensed patio. Enjoy a wide range of delicacies accompanied by a vast selection of Niagara wines.
Whether you come for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you’ll be impressed with the contemporary French cuisine mingled with regional flare. Hob Nob has achieved the art of perfect portions – you will never be too full or want for more. Try the delicious duck or rainbow trout, cooked to perfection and perfectly seasoned. It seems that ‘perfect’ is another word that intermingles throughout this intimate eatery.
A perfect meal might start with tuna ceviche, followed by halibut with a papaya ginger mango salad topped with alfalfa sprouts. And, of course, a decadent dessert tray will complete your dining experience.
The professional and knowledgeable staff with their friendly demeanor is a perfect touch when you’re hobnobbing at one of the best restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Check out their website at www.niagarasfinest.com/restaurants/hobnob/.
Reviews, Rates, & Reservations: Thinking of adding a night (or two) stay to your dining experience? Check out the official LuxuryNiagara accommodation partner page at The Charles Hotel for rates and reviews.
Masaki Sushi – Moffat Inn
The Masaki Sushi Restaurant located in the charming Moffat Inn is an innovative addition to NOTL’s culinary scene. The serene setting and atmosphere at Masaki are the perfect complement to the Chef’s creations. Each dish is a work of gastronomic art.
Masaki is renowned for the finest seafood that comes directly from Japan. The Executive Chef provides authentic yet modern Japanese cuisine that rivals the Sushi restaurants of Tokyo.
Visit https://masakisushi.ca for more info.
Queenston Heights Restaurant
The Queenston Heights Restaurant is halfway between NOTL and Niagara Falls at the foot of Brock’s Monument. It is perched on a hill overlooking the Niagara River with stunning views of vineyards and walking trails below.
Known for its Sunday Brunch, plan to come early to secure a table with a phenomenal view. By selecting this restaurant you will be participating in the ‘Feast ON’ program, which is part of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance that certifies restaurants who are champions of Ontario food and drink. You will be supporting the many growers, producers and craftspeople that make up the province’s strong food and agricultural sectors.
Open seasonally, the restaurant is only open when Queenston Heights Park is open to the public. Click here for further details.
Ginger Restaurant – Orchid Inn
This hidden gem is just off the main street of NOTL and serves up creative dishes with fusion flare. Although the Ginger Restaurant dining room is understated, the cozy and intimate atmosphere allows you to relax and succumb to the excellent service, par none.
This family-run restaurant provides gracious hospitality, from the moment you enter. Expect to be greeted by the matriarch of the family, one son serves, and the other son, Chef Than, creates fresh and flavorful food.
Some of the house specialties include: the ginger and carrot soup with layers of flavour, perfect balance and a silky texture that melts in your mouths; lamb shanks with spring rolls, Thai coconut curry and crab cakes. And like many of the restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the vanilla Crème Brulee is a delightful way to finish off your meal.
Reservations are always recommended, and the Ginger Restaurant is happy to cater to large lunch or dinner parties and private off-site functions.
Learn more at www.gingerrestaurant.ca/ginger/.
Reviews, Rates, & Reservations: To check out current rates and reviews, visit our official accommodation partner’s Orchid Inn page.
Contributor Sue Kelly is a frequent visitor to the island paradise of St Martin and St Maarten. She’s also a radio host, educator and author of Still Sexy After Sixty (www.stillsexyafter60.com)
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