Travelling offers us an awesome opportunity to try new restaurants and discover some amazing (and sometimes a bit weird) new dishes. We went and tasted just a sampling of some of the best and most delicious offerings in Northeastern Ontario and rounded up some of the must-try meals for your next trip. Luckily, there is a world of outdoor adventure waiting for you wherever you go in Northeastern Ontario, so you can get some exercise after indulging at these yummy spots to grab a bite!
Opera Bakery Cafe
Located in the heart of downtown North Bay inside a former watchmaker’s store, the Opera Bakery Café is the place to grab lunch and satisfy your sweet tooth after some area sightseeing. This all-purpose café offers homemade soups, wraps, salads, and sandwiches in addition to sweet treats (including gluten free options like gluten-free seed breads and date squares). Owner and baker Kiara Hardie recommends her classic Nanaimo bars as a must-try and says customers also love her sneaky chocolate peanut butter squares. If you have time to call ahead for a special order, however, my money is on the 6” Triple Chocolate Cake.
Cecil’s Brewhouse and Kitchen
Did someone say brewhouse? Okay, so beer isn’t exactly one of the four food groups—but luckily Cecil’s Brewhouse and Kitchen in downtown North Bay offers diners some delicious fare alongside its own branded ales. For a real treat, try their Memphis Meatloaf alongside a tasty pint brewed in house. This is a traditional meatloaf stuffed with Canadian marble cheddar cheese, rolled in bacon, and glazed with a Memphis BBQ sauce. The menu also includes a massive burger selection as well as lighter options like seafood, salads, and a gluten-free section. (Or just do yourself a favour and order the Deep Fried Buttertart).
Sky Ranch Restaurant
One word: Poutine. This is the place to go for the Sky Ranch Diner’s famous “Mess.” This a mound of thick-cut fries, ground beef, turkey, wieners, and gravy. Need something a bit more filling? Order the State which comes with added cheese and onion! The owners are from the East Coast and bring a welcoming, small-town hospitality to this must-stop Moosonee spot.
The Dinner Bell Restaurant and Motel
The Dinner Bell Restaurant in Bonfield is one of those classic gems you can only find while road tripping up North. This is your stop for classic, homemade grub the way your grandmother used to make. In fact, the restaurant is run by the original owner’s granddaughter! Stop here (or stay overnight at the motel) and enjoy a big 3-egg breakfast or chow down on some fish and chips, some liver and onions, or head straight for the homemade dessert on display. Plus, visitors can enjoy the fact that James Cagney once stopped by the original location for a bite while filming at nearby Trout Lake.
Tiny Italy‘s cozy kitchen with an outdoor patio in Callander (outside of North Bay) features homemade pastas and gelatos made fresh daily. The fan favourite here is the biscotti—if you’re lucky you’ll get yours served warm, fresh out of the oven. Enjoy one with a good strong espresso or cappuccino at the end of your delicious meal (you ordered the pasta, right?). Diners take note: this place is cash only so be sure to hit up a bank machine before stopping in.
Valois’ Hotel and Restaurant
Valois’ Hotel and Restaurant is a beloved Mattawa rest stop between Ottawa and North Bay on the banks of the Ottawa River has been welcoming visitors since 1934. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner this full service restaurant is known for their original hearty soups (Loaded Baked Potato Soup, anyone?) as well as their bottomless coffee and stick-to-your-ribs traditional dinner offerings. The Valois (pronounced “Val-Wawz”) is a must-stop spot no matter what time you drive by.
Meldrum Bay Inn and Restaurant
Fresh local trout is what you’re after here at the idyllic Meldrum Bay Inn and Restaurant on the shores of Manitoulin Island. The smoked trout starter with a selection of cheeses is a good place to start or try the Smoked Trout Fettuccini or Lake Trout Almondine. The fish is caught locally of course and you can enjoy your meal on the veranda overlooking the bay.