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With a stunning array of restaurants to delight every possible palate, Stratford’s culinary arts are a world class offering in a small town setting. Not surprising, since the renowned Stratford Chef’s School has been operating in the city since 1983, turning out numerous expert chef de cuisine just waiting to serve you. With well over one hundred restaurants, Stratford caters to every way of life. Vegans don’t just have to choose from one or two menu options, but from several plant-based establishments like The Planet Diner, The Pulp, and Grounded. Meanwhile, hearty carnivores can sink their teeth into juicy steaks, ribs, and burgers at The Hub, Braai House, and Mercer Hall. A variety of gluten free selections are available from York Street Kitchen, Boars Head Pub, Sirkel, and Downie Street Burgers. From the unrivalled food-truck fare of Ken’s Fries to the epicurean delicacies of Revival House and Bijou Restaurant, and literally everything in between, Stratford has something satisfying for absolutely everyone in the family.
Breakfast and Lunch Restaurants in Stratford
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and lunch is not far behind. So start your day off on the right foot with any of these local favourites:
One of the most popular restaurants in town for breakfast, Features has been a Stratford favourite since 1998. A classic diner with old school friendliness, Features serves hearty helpings of all the conventional diner cuisine. Breakfast is served until close at 3pm, all day, every day. Conveniently located on main street in the down town core of the city. Be sure to drop by and see why this diner is a prime Stratford ‘Feature.’
Family owned and operated, with heart as well as hands, Joe’s Diner is all the rage for its friendly staff, exceptional food, and fair pricing. It is no wonder everyone leaves happy when they come from Joe’s, situated in the plaza on Erie Street close to down town. They even offer ‘Grub To Go’—frozen dinner favourites to enjoy any day of the week at home. All home made on site, Joe’s dinners are sure to please.
The Pulp Fresh Bar
Who doesn’t like a fresh smoothie to start the day off right? Relatively new to the scene, The Pulp Fresh Bar opened its doors in 2017, but has quickly garnered rave reviews and quite a following. Serving up deliciously healthy smoothies, cold pressed juices, hot porridge, and fresh bowls served on your choice of rice or quinoa, The Pulp is a plant based paradise! Whenever possible, local ingredients are used in this sustainable eatery located in the heart of Stratford on Downie Street.
Madelyn’s Diner has been the go-to diner of choice since 1985. Their home-style cooking, signature award winning fish and chips, all day breakfasts, and their ‘to die for’ butter tarts are just a small sampling of why locals and home-grown celebs, such as anchorman Lloyd Robertson, keep coming back again and again. Where friends meet over good eats! Located at the west end of Stratford on Huron Street, take out and delivery are available. But of course, that’s only when you don’t want to enjoy your meal in a family friendly atmosphere where smiles and laughter continually reside.
The Planet Diner
Located just down from the Avon Theatre on Downie Street, this little retro diner is serving up plant based perfection! While most restaurants cater to meat and dairy consuming patrons and only provide a small portion for vegans and vegetarians, The Planet Diner has turned the tables. Here there is a small selection of meat options, so if there’s still a carnivore in your plant based crowd everyone can still be happy. But with options like the Planet Burger, Chick’un Parmesan, and the Buffalo Caesar Wrap that make even the heartiest carnivore do a double take… your meat loving friends might just soon understand this vegan craze a little better!
Dining In Restaurants in Stratford
With so many amazing restaurants to choose from, where does one begin?! Whether you’re entertaining company, relaxing with friends, heading out on a date, or just wanting to have someone else serve you for a change, this is the list to start with:
Pazzo Traverna and Pizzeria
Who doesn’t love pizza?! Look no further than Pazzo’s Pizzeria for not just the best made from scratch pizza, but a royal experience to go along with it. Located on the principle corner of Stratford’s main street overlooking the Avon River, Pazzo Pizzeria is truly one of a kind. Since 1997 Pazzo has been serving up authentic thin crust pizzas baked in their in-house pizza oven, house made pastas, and drinks in Stratford’s oldest cellar. Yes, a cellar. But don’t let that throw you, for this is no ordinary basement! With a back door for step-free accessibility and windows to watch the sunset, the Pizzeria is like entering an atmospheric blending of sophistication, fun, and relaxed ambience. Friday’s $6 pizza and $6 pint special is guaranteed to draw the crowds. Reservations are recommended for dinner, but you’re also welcome to drop in if you don’t mind waiting a little bit. The wait is most definitely worth it, rest assured!
But Pazzo isn’t just a Pizzeria. Upstairs is the Pazzo Traverna, an upscale dining room and patio serving gourmet Italian cuisine at its finest. With delicately stunning décor and a depth of ambience, Pazzo Traverna is the exemplary epicurean establishment.
Pazzo will never disappoint, whichever venue meets your fancy.
It may be the new kid on the block having opened in 2018, but don’t let that deter you. Hand crafted, made from scratch creations are the order of the day at this ‘purely plant based café.’ Located at Stratford’s main intersection on Erie Street, Grounded is quickly becoming a smash hit with everyone who has darkened its doors. Enjoy epicurean delights at a price that’s right for any pocketbook. Vegans and non vegans alike will be taken aback by the quality, flavour, and pristine presentation of every Grounded dish. A definite spot to visit again and again.
Tucked between two buildings in the heart of Stratford is a little covered alleyway oasis of dining tables, umbrellas, lush vegetation and lights waiting to transport you to another world. Formerly known as Keystone Alley, this quintessential restaurant is in a class all its own. Heaters enable comfortable outdoor dining even in winter months for a truly unforgettable experience. As a micro brewery and gastro pub, The Alley’s menu is distinct and innovative, offering fine dining far with heaping helpings of creativity and class. Located on Brunswick Street across from the legendary Rheo Thompson Candies, The Alley is one of the city’s treasures.
Bentley’s Bar Inn and Restaurant
An English style pub, Bentley’s is the favourite hangout for locals and visitors alike. Whether you relax to enjoy the scene of main street from the patio or sit inside to catch up with friends in a booth or at the bar, Bentley’s caters to all. Serving up comfort food and all the expected pub fare at reasonable rates, Bentley’s has been a Stratford favourite for more than 37 years strong. You cannot help but take notice of Bentley’s on Ontario Street.
For 21 years Bijou has been offering a farm to table menu, a pioneer leader in the way of sustainable food fare, garnering a variety of ingredients from several local sources. A masterful French Canadian cuisine plated in gourmet perfection is the norm at this exquisite establishment. People come from near and far just to dine at Bijou. If you want some of the best Stratford has to offer, Bijou has a table reserved for you. Located just down from City Hall on Wellington Street.
Take Out and Delivery Restaurants in Stratford
While most, if not all of Stratford’s restaurants offer take out, here is a list that offers a wide variety of choices, styles, and flavours to enjoy without having to do the dishes:
Demetre’s Family Eatery
Demetre’s entire menu is available for take out. But it is also a relaxed family dining room open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Serving up Canadian/American and Greek fare at the east end of the city across the street from the Festival Marketplace. Stratfordites and visitors have been enjoying Demetre’s cozy atmosphere, friendly service, and daily specials since 1996. Monday’s all you can eat fish and chips is always a hit. Reservations are recommended for dine-in dinner.
Located right across from City Hall, The Hub is a restaurant, a pub, and Stratford’s only three season roof top patio. Where else can you enjoy your meal or drink overlooking the city’s sights from a roof top terrace?! Sporting modern industrial decor, The Hub offers live sports on 17 flat screens and a massive 120 inch screen for game days to make you feel as if you are right in the midst of the action. With usual pub fare and a few unexpected delights, as well as 54 draughts on tap, The Hub is not surprisingly ‘the hub’ of activity in Stratford!
Gilly’s entire menu is available for take out and delivery. Or you could just dine in! With a lively atmosphere, fully opened front in the summer months, game tables in the back, a family friendly setting and mouth watering eats – who could ask for more?! Except maybe a Justin Bieber sighting, as Gilly’s has been one of his favourite hangouts. Situated directly across from the Avon Theatre, Gilly’s featured daily specials – like the ever popular half priced burgers on Thursdays – are sure to be a hit!
Stratford Thai Cuisine
When it comes to Thai food, absolutely no one does it as well as Stratford Thai Cuisine. Garnering rave reviews from near and far, this jewel of the orient has been serving up affordable authentic Thai dishes with friendly efficient hospitality since 2012. Stratford Thai Cuisine is a keepsake that is worth visiting over and over again. Mouth watering meals in the center of the city square. Located on Wellington Street just a stone’s throw from City Hall, Stratford Thai Cuisine offers full dining-in service as well as take out.
Boathouse Riverside Patio
Stratford’s exclusive riverside dining is located just below the Tourist Info Building on lower York Street. While it is operational only in the warmer months, the Boathouse Riverside Patio is sheer delight encompassed by a picturesque panorama. Food is self serve at the provided tables under an attractive pergola. Enjoy your meal with the surrounding scene: the river just feet away, paddleboaters feeding mute swans, the encircling florals and blossoms, and the serenading sounds from the Stratford Summer Music floating barge just up the river. While their menu is concise, it is varied, appealing, and very well executed. Offering tasty sandwiches, bowls, wraps, and grilled dishes, the Boathouse packs a tasty lunch! It’s also home to the $1 cone, perfect for a treat while strolling along the banks of the Avon after dinner.
Desserts, Cafes, and Snacks Restaurants in Stratford
Looking for a quick bite, a special treat, or a relaxing cup of joe? Look no further than these exceptional establishments that make Stratford truly one of a kind!
Revel is certainly not your typical coffee shop. Located right behind City Hall, Revel is an absolute gem in the city’s down town core. Step inside to a distinctively cozy yet unique setting where bakery and barista blend in utter perfection. As your eyes begin to take in the quaint yet modern rustic surroundings, you are hit with the mouth watering aromas that carry you forward and beckon you to order a delectable delight. It’s sensory overload at its finest! This is one ‘coffee shop’ that you can truly ‘Revel’ in!
Balzac’s Coffee Roasters
It is apparent the flagship Balzac’s shop has been heavily influenced by Paris’ cafes along the world renowned Champs-Elysees. With its authentic vintage interior and its outdoor patios, this coffee roaster is the perfect spot to kick back, relax, and enjoy a sip while watching all the activity of main street. A ‘certified green restaurant,’ Balzac’s is Canada’s very first coffee company to be authorized by the third party certification program L.E.A.F. There’s always a crowd at Balzac’s – and for good reason.
Jenn and Larry’s
Overlooking the Avon River up on historic York Street, is a little shop called Jenn and Larry’s, and it is always a hub of activity. Established in 2010, it did not take long to become a top favourite of locals and tourists alike. Serving up hand spun milk shakes, ice cream, and a variety of brittles, this nostalgic ice cream parlour will take you back in time and deliver a guaranteed smile. There is always a line up for frozen treats to enjoy while walking along the river with the family.
For the sweet tooth in all of us, look no further than Kandy Cakes. Situated right beside Jenn and Larry’s on York Street, this deliciously unique store is easy to spot with its big one of a kind iced cupcake canopy over the front window. But Kandy offers more than ‘just’ cupcakes. With a wide assortment of cakes, cookies, and cake pops in the usual to gourmet flavours, everyone is sure to get the perfect sugar hit gauged to each individual taste. Custom made to order cakes are also available. Kandy Cakes is a scrumptious treat to both see and taste.
Ken’s French Fries
It may seem strange to mention a food truck, but for over 60 years, anyone who has ever tasted Ken’s French Fries will tell you unequivocally they are simply ‘the BEST.’ Fresh spuds hand punched on the spot are served with salt and generous amounts of vinegar enclosed in a brown paper bag. It’s a tradition held by generations. There is always a line up at Ken’s for good reason. Located at both ends of the city, Ken’s can be enjoyed in the Canadian Tire parking lot at the Festival Marketplace and in the KW Surplus parking lot in the west end of town.