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  • Alison Golding

Where to Eat and Drink in Stratford Ontario

Updated: Jan 16

Stratford Ontario is one of my favourite Ontario locations for a “staycation”. Although it is primarily known for its theatre scene, it is also a notable culinary destination. With many restaurants drawing on the seasonal offerings of local farms, and so much culinary talent being turned out of the famous Stratford Chef school, it's no wonder the restaurants in this small town rival many larger cities, making it a foodie’s dream. From casual, to find dining, to cafes and other unique finds, there’s something on the list for everyone!



Old Man Stratford


Let's start the day with breakfast. Old Man Stratford, located in "Whatever 75", is one of my breakfast or brunch go-to’s. in Everything I’ve tried on this menu has been A++ and the servings are very generous. Whether you have dietary restrictions, are looking for a classic brunch or something unique, they have it all. If you’re a brunch lover visiting the Stratford area, be sure to check out this spot for some great eats!


The Livery Yard


If you’re in the mood for a quick pastry and beverage in the morning, The Livery Yard is a great option. With beautiful décor and frequent live music on weekends, this is one of my favourite spots for a quick caffeine stop in Downtown Stratford.


Brch & Wyn


Brch & Wyn is another amazing spot for a morning caffeine fix, mid day soup, salad or sandwich or evening charcuterie and wine. Whatever the time of day, this spot has a bit of everything! With stunning décor, friendly service, great food and drinks, this spot is the stuff that Instagram photo dreams are made of. Be sure to add this spot to your “must try” list next time you’re in Stratford.



Lady Glaze


Lady Glaze Donuts is a small local chain with locations in Stratford, Kitchener, Guelph and Cambridge. They serve unique donuts made with real ingredients that include some pop-up seasonal flavours like the Movember donut pictured here, with proceeds going to support the prevention of men's cancers and mental health. I often pick up a few of their fun flavours on my way home to enjoy after my visit.


Revival House


One of my favourite spots for lunch in Stratford is Revival House, a stunning historic church featuring a patio surrounded with thriving gardens and blooms aplenty, creating an atmosphere that transports you to another time and place. The main dining room is truly a sight to behold. They have quite a varied menu with something for everyone, but it’s worth going just to see the stunning space they have created here.


The Common


The Common is a lovely spot with an eclectically stylish interior and cosy patio. They describe their cuisine as a mix of comfort food from around the world, with a motto, “Eat without Borders”. They take pride in blending traditional with the contemporary and using fresh, local and responsibly sourced ingredients. During my last visit, our group shared a number of apps, which was a fun way to sample different menu items.



Elizabeth


Elizabeth. is an elevated neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of downtown Stratford offering a seasonally driven menu of items, many of which come from as close to the restaurant as possible. They offer a variety of interesting and internationally inspired dishes that are great for enjoying as a meal or sharing with a group. They also have a fun cocktail list that is worth sampling.


Braai House

The food on the South African themed menu at Braai House (located on the upper floor of The Alley), draws on locally sourced ingredients, with much of it being cooked over an open flame (or braai). This is another spot with both excellent food and cocktails. If you’re looking for a particularly unique experience, be sure to request a spot at the chef's table overlooking the kitchen where you will have an opportunity to interact with chef Julian and watch how the kitchen team runs like a well-oiled machine.


Rockwell


Rockwell Lounge an upscale lounge and wine bar in downtown Stratford and a fantastic choice for both dinner and drinks. Not only is the food excellent, but they take cocktails to a whole new level so be sure to check out their beverage menu.



Mercer Kitchen | Beer Hall


Mercer Hall is another one of my favourite spots in Stratford, with a lively, casual atmosphere. It’s a great location with a fantastic selection of beer and an approachable and fun Asian Inspired menu that offers something for everyone. Open for lunch and dinner, they now also offer a snack menu from 3-4:30pm, with first come first serve patio seating. Whether you’re a beer lover, or a food lover, or both, this is the spot for you!


Cafe Bouffon


If you’re looking for an elegant and striking dining room and French cuisine, Café Bouffon is the spot for you! Serving brunch, lunch and dinner, items like croque Madame, duck confit, crepes and steak tartare will make you feel like you have been transported to France. They also offer a lovely selection of traditional French brunch pastries which should not be missed!


Pazzo


Located on the lower level of Café Bouffon, Pazzo is another one of my go-to’s for lunch in Stratford, serving an affordable Italian menu of pizza, pasta and more. With locally sourced meats, meat locally McIntosh Farms, you can really taste the quality of their ingredients.



The Bruce


If you’re looking for a high-end location to celebrate a special event or just to treat yourself to an elegant meal, the award winning restaurant at The Bruce is the place for you. Located in the iconic Bruce hotel, their restaurant serves breakfast, brunch and dinner, as well as afternoon tea. With white glove service, their staff serve the best that Perth County has to offer, with local ingredients and stunning presentation.


Junction 56 Distillery


If you’re feeling a little thirsty after all of that eating, be sure to pay a visit to Junction 56 Distillery, a proudly local grain to glass distillery. Their gin, vodka, whisky and liqueurs use only all-natural colours and flavours and they source all of their ingredients within a 100km radius from their Stratford location. They also grow, mill and mash their grains themselves. If you’re planning a visit, I recommend booking their guided tasting experience, but if you’re just stopping in for a quick peek in the store, be sure to check out their unique flavours like their mint smoothie, gingerbread and pumpkin spice liqueurs and butter tart flavoured vodka which are smooth and flavourful but not overly sweet. Cheers!


Lovage


Lovage is a new spot in Stratford offering bistro fare with a focus on the bounty of the season. They serve a menu that rotates slightly each day, with a lots of options for sharing. It's a great spot for a meal or even just a snack and a glass of wine or a cocktail.


Alley Cat Cafe


One of my favourite, unique spots in town is Alley Cat Cat Cafe. During a visit you can enjoy a beverage and pay a small fee to visit their kitty lounge for 30 or 60 minutes. It’s a cat lovers dream come true! You can even pick up kitty themed treats like cupcakes and cookies. The mission of this cafe is to find the purrfect home for their rescue cats. Whether you are  looking for a calm, cozy space to simply unwind or you want to help cats in need, they offer a space for cat lovers of all ages to interact, get some purrr-therapy and meet with cats that are looking for their fur-ever home while learning about cat rescue and care.



Chocolate Barr's Candies


Chocolate Barr's is a confectionary store owned by the Barr family for almost 20 years. They offer a great selection of chocolates, candies and other treats. A must visit for any sweet tooth!


Bijou


Bijou is a farm to table restaurant that has been a Stratford staple for over 20 years. Showcasing the amazing produce and culinary artisans from the region, the menu is small but delicious. If you are a group of 6-8, they also offer tasting menus with wine pairings with a week notice.


Rheo Thompson


Rheo Thompson is another Stratford landmark, serving over 150 house-made chocolate and confections since 1969. If you haven't tried their "Mint Smoothies" yet, they are a must on your next Stratford visit!



The Stratford Chocolate Trail


Chocolate lovers, this one is for you! The Stratford Chocolate Trail is a self-guided tour where participants purchase a set of 6 tickets to redeem at one of 23 chocolate themed stops. Options include traditional baked goods, chocolate coffee beans, drinks, candles, chocolate honey and much much more.


Madelyn's Diner


Madelyn's Diner has been a Stratford breakfast staple since 1985, serving homestyle cooking (including their famous buttertarts) with a smile. They also sell Birch Bark Coffee, an Indigenous owned coffee roaster and social enterprise that is committed to bring clean water to all Canadians so be sure to stock up when you visit.


The Stratford Bacon and Ale Trail


Stratford also offers a second culinary trail, this time for beer and bacon lovers. The Bacon and Ale Trail is a self-guided tour where participants purchase a set of 5 tickets to redeem at one of 16 themed stops. Options include beer flights, bacon burgers, a half pound bacon butter tart, scented candles, coasters and more.

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