My partner and I dined here with friends before our 8 p.m. theatre show, and we were all blown away by the dinner experience. We could not afford Rundles, so, we decided to try their less expensive venue, Sophisto-Bistro. The dining room is nicely done, designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects. Decor is off-the-wall, eclectic, and fun. We loved the painted bread boxes, cement wall fixtures featuring funny faces, and minimal table settings. The service was very accomplished, and the waiter knew a lot about the menu. Their bistro wine is great value, under $40 a bottle, and all locally sourced from Ontario. They were busy the night we visited, but, they got us all nicely fed, filled, billed, and out the door in good time for us to walk to the main Festival Theatre, about twenty minutes or so walk through the park along the river.
Favorite Dish: I really liked the beet salad, heirloom tomato salad as starters. For mains, my wife and I ordered the shared grilled rib eye of beef with grilled vegetables drizzled with a chimmichuri-like sauce (very fresh and lively addition). For dessert, the glazed lemon tart and sorbet was amazing, as well as the delightfully simple combination of fresh strawberries with vanilla ice cream. Yummy, yummy, yummy! P.S.: I forgot to mention their sourdough bread was awesome, as well as their homemade butter.
Since the mid-1970s, we've generally eaten one meal at The Church (I have never visited The Belfry, which is a newer and less fancy incarnation under the same roof) each time we came to Stratford. It is a quiet and elegant restaurant, as befits an eating establishment tucked into the deconsecrated shell of an actual church with stained glass intact. The menu changes seasonally, but there is an emphasis on locally-sourced meats and vegetables.
Reservations are a must. If you have theatre tickets at 8:00, The Church suggests a dinner hour of 5:00 PM so that you can fully enjoy the ambience and the exquisite food. Service is excellent, though, and I think you'd be fine with 5:30 or so.
Pan Tapas main attraction is their use of local food, but they failed the Older Single Woman Diner test. Despite making a reservation, there was clearly no table set aside for me when I arrived and I was quickly shuffled to an uncomfrtable wooden table and chair directly in line with the open kitchen door, by the front door, across from the bar....busy area! The 'real' tables inside the dining looked quite comfortable with faux leather upholstery. Given that each tapas plate is the size of a regular appetizer, I asked if chef could do a mixed plate for a single diner and was told (as was the family next to me when they requested simply fresh fruit for dessert) that "chef doesn't do variations". My first of two tapas plates arrived before my drink. The food was very good, all locally sourced, but I found the service condescending. You would need four poeple to share these plates to make this a worthwhile experience, and there are plenty of good retaurants in the area that are willing to accomodate and welcome single diners. I wouldn't reccommend this one.
Favorite Dish: None yet
This is the best restaurant in North America, hands down...
Every detail matters here, from their inventive cuisine, to off-beat yet solid wine list, to the minimalist decor and haute couture fashions worn by staff members.
I love this place!
Favorite Dish: Appetizer: Chilled Shrimp, Dungeness Crab and Cucumber Rolls.
Main Dish: Crispy Duck Confit with Aubergine and Dashi Sauce.
Dessert: Glazed Lemon Tart, with Orange Sorbet.
We had heard about this restaurant residing in a former church. Normally, this type of restaurant is way beyond our price range. We like eating, but eating at restaurants like this would mean we would have to balance them with quite a few picnics or McDonalds meals.
But as we walked by, the heavens opened and it started raining cats and dogs. As it was a September Sunday evening, the restaurant was quiet, so we asked if we could come in for dessert and coffee.
We had scoped out the menu, and found that the four plate menu was $90 and they had one special on the menu - a locally grown menu for $59.
Favorite Dish: After checking out the menu (you can do so in the web site below), we determined that we would share a dessert, soak up the ambiance and be on our way. I have to grant that the dessert was very good. Tasty and light. Probably just perfect as the fourth course in an evening.
It seems that restaurants in Stratford are a bit pricey. You can always bring a picnic. We passed many picnic tables near Lake Victoria in downtown Stratford.
Of course, if you are having a picnic, you might have unexpected visitors. We visited Stratford in September, and wasps are ever-present, but we appeased them by giving them their own place at our table, and that worked.
This is pub fare with a tinge of class. The food was good and the menu varied. The service was beyond excellent, and the atmosphere is great.