The best chefs are uniquely skilled at working with the ingredients at hand to transform them into something tasty. To really see them shine at turning lemons into lemonade, throw a global pandemic in their path! That’s certainly been the case in Niagara, where chefs are embracing the challenge of continuing to wow their guests in a dining environment that’s incredibly different than anything they’ve ever experienced. Here are just a few examples of some favourite Niagara restaurants that are knocking it out of the park in 2020.
The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette’s Le Pré | Jordan Station
Restaurant Pearl Morissette fans are buzzing about the fact that they have a new venue to try this fall. Le Pré is the restaurant’s new open-air terrace. Expect the same beautiful approach to local ingredients and hospitality showcased in a multi-course tasting menu. Abbreviated wine and juice pairings are available upon request, as well as wines by the bottle. Tables are in high demand, so reserve as soon as possible.
Good Earth Food and Wine Co. | Beamsville
This fall, Good Earth brings back its beloved cooking classes with a 2020 twist. Bring Your Own Bubble Cooking Classes allow groups of up to eight people to enjoy the fun of a Good Earth class in a safe and socially distanced way. A collection of some of Niagara’s best chefs is on board to host the two-hour classes that include a generous serving of wine, laughter, a themed menu, as well as recipes, tips and tricks to reproduce the meal at home. Class themes include Going Whole Hog, Tame the Game, Vintage Spreads, Cast Iron Crazy and French Lessons.
Odd Bird and Odd Bar| St. Catharines
When COVID hit, Odd Bird, a wildly popular downtown St. Catharines restaurant, pressed pause to focus efforts on its just-opened pizza joint, Odd Bar. The approachable menu there, including out-of-this-world pizza, wings, sandwiches and a killer craft beer selection, definitely struck a chord! After reopening for takeout in May and adding patio service in July, Odd Bird is back and better than ever. With open access to the family garden, fall is the perfect time to taste the fresh take this team puts on farm-to-table cooking in an ever-changing menu.
Wellington Court | St. Catharines
What’s a chef to do when the fresh, locally inspired cuisine that diners have been raving about for decades can’t be enjoyed inside the restaurant? Build a bigger patio! Diners can enjoy Wellington Court’s perennial favourites like housemade paté, fresh salads, juicy ribeye steaks and more with a side of fresh air on the patio or pick them up to enjoy at home. Through Thanksgiving weekend, Wellington Court is also serving up delectable winery lunches at The Coach House at Henry of Pelham.
Dispatch | St. Catharines
Named as one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants in 2019 by enRoute Magazine, Dispatch did its part to help flatten the curve this summer by closing their dining room and offering customers a selection of small plates and meze options via their takeout window and patio. A fantastic portfolio of products that can be enjoyed at home has bubbled up as a result, including cocktail kits, signature spice blends, sauces and snacks. We can’t wait to see what this creative crew brings to the table in the months ahead. Stay tuned to their Instagram feed for the latest updates!
Patio Andaluz | Port Dalhousie
Getting through your first year as a restaurant is hard enough, throw in a COVID curveball, and the task at hand might seem insurmountable. Patio Andaluz, however, celebrated its first birthday this past June. This husband and wife team’s success is due in no small part to their steadfast commitment to only serving up plates that they would be proud to place in front of their own mother and grandmother. For Alejandra Lopez, who grew up in Mexico, and Antonio Bueno, who great up in Spain, Patio Andaluz is a reflection of their roots. Whether diners are enjoying the secret-recipe Sangria, paella, tacos, Spanish tortilla or Mexican corn cake, if the smiles on their faces are any indication, Mom and Grandma would be proud.
The Twisted Pig | Port Dalhousie
The Twisted Pig is a new addition to the Port Dalhousie dining scene offering classic Italian with a twist. What does that twist taste like? Housemade potato gnocchi swimming in gorgonzola cream sauce gets an unexpected hit of wildflower honey from Rosewood Estates. Flavourful fall tomatoes get the royal treatment in a Caprese salad with burrata. This new kid on the block in Port Dalhousie is definitely worth checking out!
Bolete | St. Catharines
In addition to the fact that the delicious things happening in the Bolete kitchen are now spilling onto the street for an extended patio season, the restaurant now offers diners a creative selection of market items to enjoy at home. Stock up on homemade sauces, meatballs, chutneys, locally smoked meats, Niagara wines and more.
Vineland Estates | Vineland
What’s even better than Vineland Estate’s killer patio views? The restaurant’s seasonal menu releases. Vineland’s culinary team makes local produce sing, and their estate-made gelatos and sorbets are a perfect way to wrap up your meal on a sweet note.
Are you having trouble narrowing down these dining options to just one meal? Take advantage of this awesome Stay One Night, Get One Night Free promotion and spend a few days digging into Niagara’s exciting food, wine and beer scenes.
Round out your stay with additional restaurant, winery, shopping and activity suggestions from Tourism St. Catharines and Shop Lincoln. You can also read our latest blog posts on finding new Niagara Escarpment waterfalls, fall cycling in Niagara and exploring the Town of Lincoln for more trip inspiration.
To help protect the health of yourself and others, please remember to bring and wear your face mask, wash and sanitize your hands regularly and practice physical distancing of at least 2 m / 6 ft. Contacting the places you wish to visit in advance is recommended to check to see if reservations are required.