Getting out of the bustling downtown metropolis of Toronto and heading to Niagara Wine Country is a must do for any lover of fine wine and food. Make the adventure even more memorable by staying overnight, and dining at a few of the incredible wineries that are in the area.
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Having grown up in Niagara, I’ve been lucky enough to work at a couple of these winery restaurants. Now, living in Toronto, I return over and over again to experiences that have exceptional service, incredible food, amazing wine and offer an overall highly memorable experience. I have had the luxury of traveling and dining at each of the below wineries recently and highly recommend making reservations to experience a true culinary experience.
Here are 6 Niagara Winery Restaurants you Need to Visit
The greatest gastronomic adventure in the region. With a jaw-dropping dining room located in a large modern barn, with an open concept kitchen you’ll think you’re somewhere else in the world altogether. This winery offers a true farm to fork culinary experience that is truly Michelin star worthy. The large regenerative farm at the winery powers the culinary creativity on each and every plate of the tasting menu. The extremely talented executive Chef duo Daniel Hadida (hailing from Toronto’s Edulis) and Eric Robertson and team are vibrant, exceptional, and outstanding in every way, shape and form. The unique Pearl Morissette wines and the exceptionally designed plates are a true definition of out-of-the-box pairings that both compliment, contrast and will awe even the harshest of critics. A real gem to have in Niagara and I would go as far to say one of the best I have ever had.
Many of the Pearl Morissette staff left the downtown Toronto restaurant scene to come to Niagara to redefine and re-energize the wine and culinary scene. You’ll need to make a reservation very far in advance as there is a strong cult following for this one-of-a-kind experience.
With gorgeous vineyard views from any seat in the restaurant, Peller Estates Winery Restaurant never disappoints. I was fortunate enough to have worked in this restaurant for five years right and now, I go back whenever I can to revel in Chef Jason Parsons exceptional vine to table craftsmanship. Taking an artisanal and gourmet approach, his dishes always make me swoon (especially the current menu item, the Icewine poached lobster linguine). Whether it’s freshly picked veggies from his own kitchen garden, eggs from local farmers, or just-butchered beef that’s grazed in Niagara pastures, each plate that leaves the kitchen celebrates the bounty of the region.
The exquisite talent of chef Parsons and his team are evident in every dish that surprises and delights. Not to mention, there is not a bad seat in the house. Pair your lunch or dinner menu items with Peller Estates wine pairings made by rockstar winemaker Katie Dickison. You’ll truly enjoy and savour every single second of this white table cloth experience and want to come back over and over again. Take someone from out of town for a truly impressive example of what Niagara can offer.
Vineland Estates has been on the top of my list for close to two decades. With a view of the Toronto skyline from the stunning outdoor patio, this winery restaurant is one of the original and first to define culinary culture in Niagara. From the sourdough bread and incredible charcuterie platters to the stellar staff – this is a winery stop you need to add to your list. Be prepared to be swept away by undulating vineyards, great tasting wine and a memorable experience. Executive Chef, George Ward was born and raised in Niagara and became sous chef in 2011 and then executive chef in 2019. He focuses on creating innovative dishes, and continues to strengthen his relationships with local farmers and purveyors to create regionally sourced menus. Order a bottle of the St. Urban or Dry Riesling and dine amongst the Riesling vines in a quiet and rural wine country setting. Truly an enchanting dining and winery experience.
From the second you drive up the majestic Two Sisters Winery driveway, you’ll feel like you’re in Italy. This magnificently constructed and welcoming winery boasts a wonderfully sized tasting room, a beautiful cellar and simply stunning patio and restaurant. Dine amongst the vines at Kitchen 76 that serves up Italian inspired cuisine served with a local flare. Paired with award winning Two Sisters Vineyards VQA wines this experience is heartfelt and welcoming. Elevated Italian dishes such as pizza and pasta are paired with produce from local farmers, as well as seasonal produce from right on property. Dishes are elegant, rustic and down-right delicious. This is a must stop when you’re in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Start with a glass of Margo Rosé or the extremely unique Blanc de Franc Sparkling.
Take yourself down the wine route to Good Earth Winery and Cooking School. The ambience at this elegant, charming and rustic winery is warm and friendly. The menu at the Bistro is locally inspired and the serving sizes are ideal if you’re touring around all day. With a comforting menu, the chef’s sharing board is ideal for a party of two or four. Main courses include; fish and chips, Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich, Soy Marinated Striploin, and the Miso Glazed Atlantic Cod. You’ll definitely leave with a smile on your face and I highly recommend tasting the Viognier.
Chef Frank Dodd will captivate your senses with multi-course tasting menus that showcase truly elevated wine country cuisine. With themed dining events that include blind tasting dinners and cooking classes, enthusiasts can learn about food and wine in creative, exciting and enjoyable ways. After you’ve experienced the Trius Bubbly Tour (which includes many Instagram worthy moments and a sabering showcase), sit down in the gorgeous dining room at the restaurant. Whether for lunch or dinner this restaurant serves exceptional dishes using local ingredients. Chef Frank Dodd works with local farmers, growers and producers to create dishes that charm and captivate. Relax in the modern and warm dining room or soak in the beautiful vineyard views from a table in the outdoor seasonal Wine Garden. A must stop for any culinary enthusiast. Start with a glass of Trius Brut for the perfect wine country Cheers.