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Where to Eat in Kingston

64 posts in this topic

I need to travel to Kingston for work for the next 5 days.

My wife and I will be able to eat a good dinner out on Thurs. and Saturday . . . and need informal places to eat lunches and late dinners (after 10 PM) on other days.

We like good food that is not overly pretentious.

So far our plan includes le chein noir for dinner on Thursday.

I have also read good things about woodenheads as a laght night informal dinner spot.

Any other suggstions will be much appreciated.

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Being a university student in Kingston, I don't get out to many restaurants often. When I do (mostly when family visits), we usually end up going to one of two places:

Windmills Cafe (68 Princess St.) or Chez Piggy (184 Princess St.)

Both have excellent service. I'm not sure if they will fit your needs, but I enjoy them immensely.

If you're still unsure, Kingston has a wonderful restaurant directory you can find here

good luck :smile:

edit: spelling


Edited by J_Ozzy (log)

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Whenever in Kingston my stops are Chez Piggy, their affiliated bakery and White Mountain Ice Cream. The food at Chez Piggy is simple but always good and they had a pretty good vegetarian menu. It is very casual, nothing pretentious in Kingston.

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Chein Noir is good, dispite the fact that my friend got food poisoning from the mussels (nothing like ending a nice meal in the emergency room...without ever getting to eat your main course). I'd still give it a try though. One of the best resturants is Casa Dominico (if you feel like Italian). Unfortunately Clark's on King closed down, but Clark is now cooking at Aqua (or Upstream, I forget which), and he's probably the best chef in Kingston. I haven't been to the new restaurant yet though, so I'm hesitant to recommend it, especially since it's not technically his restaurant, so I don't know how much of an influence he's had there.

As for informal lunch, I swear by Luke's they make just about the best chicken ever. It's owned by a couple, and they do everything themselves. They smoke there own bacon and Smoked meat, and l'm pretty sure they were going to try to start growing their own organic produce. Their bread and chicken soup is awesome as well.

If you like Thai and vietnamese food, there are a buch of great places to go.

If you feel like pizza Atomica (right next to Chein Noir) is great, and I like it better then Wooden Head's, but the menu is simpler.

The other poster was right though, there is no resturant in Kingston that is pretentious.

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Woodenheads is nice and informal - big central wood burning oven would pull me in off the street anytime. I think they're open fairly late - at least until midnight on the weekend. Kingston's a student town and most everywhere is informal.

Casa Domenica is a more upscale restaurant run by the same folks (I imagine as they always play the same music and the matchbooks have both restaurants on them). Most of the best meals that i've had out in Kingston were here. Actually, it stands up well to most any Italian restaurant I've been to in Toronto. Everything tastes clean, fresh, and unfussed. Plates are always smartly composed with appropriate veg alongside all the entree's. If I were in Kingston for one night and wanted a great meal I would go here.

I've been to chien noir once and it was a pleasant enough place, nice wine list with enormous selection in the $20-$40 range which impressed me. Nice cheese plate with a very old raw milk cheddar from the ottawa valley when I was last there.

Next door to that is atomica which has a nice selection of thin crust pizza's. It's actually a very impressive menu with a wide variety of meats, cheese, veggies with very little repeated from one preparation to the next. If i'm not mistaken these two restaurants have the same owners.

Clark's is sadly missed, haven't been to either aqua or upstream so I can't comment although people I trust have really enjoyed upstream in the past.

There's spot called Tango on King street, near brock. I haven't been there for more than a year, but I remember it as being a pleasant space. It's more of a cocktail/tapas spot but the kitchen is open late and they're serious about the food that comes out (it isn't just stylized pub grub). Drinks I remember being pricey (for Kingston) but thankfully unwatered down and made with premium booze - in other words justifiably pricey.

Luke's is likely the best brunch consistently. great funky vibe there and they know their way around a chicken (nicely demonstrated in both soup and salad form). Whenever someone visits from out of town this is the only place (along with the market in season) I feel compelled to show them.

Kingston has tons of great indian spots, i really dig curry original down on ontario street. Other people prefer cafe india at princess/barrie. I tend to eat vegetarian at these spots so it's all I can comment on but everything is complex and subtly spiced and with plenty of beer and naan I'm a happy camper.

The brewpub (kingston brewing company) is worth a visit for a more casual environment. I think they're open until 2am, but the kitchen maybe only till midnight. The food and beer have been fantastic at times and underwhelming at others. As a good rule of thumb, I would order the specials - especially for the beers as they will invariably be fresh and interesting. they have an unbelievable single malt selection too. I've been working through it alphabetically and it's taken me 5 years just to get to the letter 'G'. Also, if they're brewing their own root beer when you go it's not to be missed.

I don't get the fuss about Chez Piggy's. I think it's overhyped and while it might have been highly impressive in the late 70's, it seems tired and dull to me. Having been there 4 or 5 times in as many years for lunch and dinner in different seasons I've never had anything to write home about. On the other hand, their associated bakery - pan chancho is well worth a visit. I've only had brunch there once which was enojyable enough but it's their storefront operation that excites me. Their bread and baked goods vary from great to transcendent (lemon currant scones and army rye bread being particular personal highlights). If it's warm out and you have some time in the afternoon I would go get some bread and cheese, maybe one of their foccacia pizzas, whatever tickles your fancy there and walk a few blocks to the waterfront parks to enjoy a picnic. That would qualify as my favourite lunch in Kingston.


"There never was an apple, according to Adam, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it"

-Neil Gaiman

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Wow . . I love this message board!!!!!

Thanks for all the great replies!!!

We now have a ton of great ideas about where we can eat this weekend!!!

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Bistro Stefan (inside Best Western) is incredible. I realize that it isn't commonplace to find a haute cuisine restaurant in a Best Western, but it's true.

Here is a sample menu: http://www.bestwestern.kingston.on.ca/Bist...enu_-11698.html

Gorgeous room, too. Very romantic. Great service. Kingston's best, in my opinion. Far better than Chez Piggy, where I also don't "get" what all the fuss is about.

Cheers!

1217 Princess Street

Kingston, Ontario,

K7M 3E1

800-567-8800

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Shit, double post. My apologies. :wacko:


Edited by sashimi (log)

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I'm reviving this to see if anything has changed in Kingston since last year. Looking for something a bit refined for an upcoming business tip - any suggestions from locals? :unsure:

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I'm reviving this to see if anything has changed in Kingston since last year.  Looking for something a bit refined for an upcoming business tip - any suggestions from locals?  :unsure:

The name of Clark's new resturant is Aqua Terra

I hear it's good, but I've never tried it. Other then that not too many new resturants have opened up recently.

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I hear it's good, but I've never tried it. Other then that not too many new resturants have opened up recently.

I've also only heard good things about it.

Ditto for new restaurants - nothing much new. There is a newish Thai place on princess that I havn't tried (at least I think it's new - either that, or it's an older place that got a makeover), but might be good.


Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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I hear it's good, but I've never tried it. Other then that not too many new restaurants have opened up recently.

I've also only heard good things about it.

Ditto for new restaurants - nothing much new. There is a newish Thai place on princess that I haven't tried (at least I think it's new - either that, or it's an older place that got a makeover), but might be good.

I've heard good things about it. It's called Thai House, and I really want to go, but my friends are addicted to Cambodian Village (or Cambo). Thai house used to be Bangkok Village, but I'm not sure if ownership has changed or if the just did an overhaul.

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I'm keen to check it out too - I love thai, and Kingston hasn't exactly got a wealth of thai cooking. I'll be in Toronto until May though, so I won't be able to investigate for a while (not that I can really complain, there's plenty of good thai around here :biggrin:)


Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Ok i realize I started this post a year ago but here is my report on dining in Kingston.

I have had to spend time in Kingston in April each of the last two years for work, we just got back tonight from this years trip so here is what I found the past two years.

First and foremost, Casa Dominico. This place is UNBELIEVABLY good for the price point. We ate there last year and this year and I can tell you these guys are making some seriously good food.

From the complimentary spiced olive oil and bread to the deserts this is great food, but the mains are just so good I can't even put it in words.

The price is reasonable, the staff friendly and knowledgable, the ambiance great!!

I just can't say enough good things about this restaurant.

We also ate quite a few late meals at woodenheads pizza and again for the price point this is good food (although it was a little loud for us.

We also really loved Morrison's diner for breakfast! This place is a real diner!!

I was a little dissapointed with chez piggy and with pan chacho bakery, everything at these places was fine . . but certainly nothing special.

If you do have the chance check out casa dominco though . . you definitely wont regret it

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We are going to be in Kingston in a week or so to help the eldest daughter move in to start school. The food scene looks like it might be limited. Any updates to the advice already posted here? We need dinners and lunches for 3 days.


Cheers,

Karole

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in addition to what's been said (and i should be clear, i haven't been to kingston for over a year)

luke's for breakfast (it's easy to walk by, funky looking place on princess, across from indigo) it might not open until 11 or so. i think i would walk back to kingston for their chicken salad.

kingston brewing company (on clarence, a block north of king) the food can be spotty but when it's on it's really good. They also have an enormous scotch selection and of course their own beers. With food and beer we always found their regular options to be uninspired, but without fail the specials were always great.

luigina's restaurant (my first kitchen job, but i've long since lost all contact with them) was always a bit stuffy but served really good italian food. they were moving when we were last there, i think they're on ontario street now and if the new space is not as stuck in the 80's they might do very well. pastas are all handmade, sauces are uniformly delicious, but i'm a little embarassed by the boiled carrots and green beans served with meat mains (though the meat will make up for it)

atomica and chien noir (side by side on brock, same owners.) are worth checking out too. atomica is a pizza joint and they were in the process of becoming more of a wine bar, chien noir is more french bistro.


"There never was an apple, according to Adam, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it"

-Neil Gaiman

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Back in Vancouver after setting up our daughter in her apartment at Queens and enriching many of the local businesses in the process.

We ended up having a very mere appetizer on the patio at Chez Piggy. So insipid that it really doesn't deserve to be mentioned other than the quite acceptable Cab Franc from the Niagara pennisula. Unfortunately the name of the winery is totally lost. But the wine was quite restorative after spending the day in a shopping frenzy.

All of our other meals were eaten at Casa Domenico (35 Brock Street). This is a truly wonderful restaurant in alll regards and certainly rivals many of the fine dining restos in Vancouver.

We sampled several dishes, all of which were absolutely perfect in all regards. The mixture of textures and flavours was superb and all the ingredients were absolutely fresh and of top quality. Casa Domenico has to be one of the best restaurants I have eaten in all year. The wine list is small but focused and well atuned to the food. Service is friendly without being obtrusive and the room is lovely.

We had the following appetizers (not all at one meal!):

Gamberoni Albicocche - tiger shrimp in a spicy apricot curry cream sauce topped with crispy leeks - paired with the Pierre Sparr Gewurzt.

Carpaccio di manzo - paired with the Ravenswood Zinfandel

Anatra con Fico - Roasted sweet and spicy duck breast, mission figs, mache and pecorino - paired with a local Pinot Noir

Calamari - pan seared with fresh tomatoes, chilies, capers, arugula and bagna cauda vinagrette - Ravenswood Zin

Salad:

Caprino Pistachio: Pistacchio crusted chevre, honey roasted tomatoes, crisp proscuitto and mixed greens with balsamic vinagrette NZ Sauvignon Blanc

Pastas:

Spaghetti con pollo affumicato: spaghetti with smoked chicken, spinach, roasted red peppers and gorgonzola cream sauce - Local Chard (not a hit), Ravenswood Zin (much better). This was so good we had it 2 days in a row!

Orechchiette con salsiccia anatra: orecchiette with duck sausage, broccolini, crushed chilies and roasted yellow peppers in a garlic olive oil sauce (Italian Montelcino?)

Linguine neri con Gamberi: Black linguine, tiger shrimp, zucchini, roasted yellow pwppers and SD tomatoes with a shrimp bisque sauce (Wine for sure - but can't remember which)

This restaurant is reason enough to visit our daughter again very soon.

We found reasonable coffee at the Coffee and Company cafe on Princess and Wellington but the pastries were just OK.

On the drive back to Ottawa to catch our flight home we had a perfectly delightful lunch in Merrickville in the garden at Sam Jakes Inn. We shared an absolutely heavenly smoked tomato gazpacho and then I had the grilled salmon and mango spinach salad and my husband had the BLAT - bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich. Both were wonderful and held us through the foodless 5 hour flight home.

Although I must say, I quite like the fact there there isn't food on the West Jet flight. I realize that the smell of the food service was actually what must have always made me vaguely ill on flights and I rarely if ever ate the food, preferring to bring my own.

We didn't get a chance to try any of the other restaurants in the area. I can't recommend Casa Domenico highly enough and can't warn you strongly enough to avoid Chez Piggy - it isn't even suitable for the porcine crowd.


Cheers,

Karole

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Yeah Chez Piggy has descended in quality as of late, and is coasting on reputation, and student discounts. The courtyard is quite nice though.

Casa Dominico is definitely one of the best restaurants in Kingston, especially since Clark's on King has closed down. Glad you liked it, and hopefully your daughter will like it at Queen's.

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I'm a Kingstonian, and I'm not surprised that you had a bad experience at Chez Piggy... but there are many more restaurants in Kingston than Casa Dominica. It's a bit insulting to the rest of the establishments that you would go there multiple times in a short visit.

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I disagree!!

Although there are many fine restaurants in Kingston . . when you find a gem like Casa you want to enjoy it as much as you can in the short time you are there.

Also eating out as a tourist can be hit or miss at the best of times so I know when my wife and I HIT . . we usually stick with it as well

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We found reasonable coffee at the Coffee and Company cafe on Princess and Wellington but the pastries were just OK.

I really wish the Italian Pastry Shop hadn't closed. Any other Kingstonians remember this place? Good coffee, homemade gelato and pastries, and when I was little, the owner would occasionally bring me free desserts :biggrin:


Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Was that by Vanderhoortens??? I remember a Swiss Pastry shop...but maybe it was actually Italian. It was definitely awhile ago.

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I just moved here from Halifax, and wanted to say that I am finding this board very useful. Keep it coming! Perhaps off topic a bit, but where does one get good pork in Kingston (pref. organic)? There's good beef at the Farmer's market, and organic free-range chicken pops up here and there, but I haven't yet found a good pork source.

Thanks,

Martin


Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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I just moved here from Halifax, and wanted to say that I am finding this board very useful. Keep it coming! Perhaps off topic a bit, but where does one get good pork in Kingston (pref. organic)? There's good beef at the Farmer's market, and organic free-range chicken pops up here and there, but I haven't yet found a good pork source.

Thanks,

Martin

I haven't shopped for meat in Kingston for a while, but ...

Try John's Deli at 507 Princess, or The Hind Quarter, nearby at 637 Princess. There are also a number of farmers and outlying meat markets that sell local meat. We used to get our lamb, chicken and beef from a farm out at Lemoine's point, all wonderful and 'free-range' (to use an urban cliche) ... but that farm didn't have pork. It's worth asking at the Farmer's market about which farms sell pork direct.

Just my two cents.


Edited by Dukeofyork (log)

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Another vote for Hind Quarter, or Bearance's Grocery (map, address, telephone no.) - they're always very helpful. It seems to me that the market used to sell a lot more in the way of meat products than it does now - it's mostly been fruit & veg the last few times I've been down there.

The Italian Pastry Shop was across the street from the Princess St Second Cup - next to the Copper Penny. Come to think of it, that may not have been it's real name - that could just be what my family called it.


Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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