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RESTAURANTS OUTSIDE OF TORONTO

GORDON BIERSCH*****
Whitby, Ontario
905-666-3676

Gordon Biersch is no longer in Whitby

We found another great place to go! Coupons do pay off! We received a $15. off food coupon in the mail for Gordon Biersch but it could only be used from Monday to Wednesdays after 5pm. So being that we don't usually go out on weeknights we figured the monday night before Canada Day would be the best time to try out this fairly new place! We were just going to have a few snacks but decided on a meal and what a good choice. The menu seemed a little pricy for us, but you don't mind if the food is good!

We opted for a booth in the bar area. Being we didn't know what kind of beer to order we were offered a sample of their 4 different brews for .05¢ Not five cents each... five cents for all four. I would of been happy ordering the samples all night hehehe but you only get one per person. We opted for the Golden Export as we are not fans of darker beer or lagers.

I decided on the special of the day, which was a nice big sirlon along with onion straws, french fries, grilled vegetables for $19.99 It also came with a Ceasar salad and chocolate cake which my hubby helped me with. My husband opted for the beef stir fry which came in a huge bowl with rice, and plenty of water chestnuts in it which made him happy for $16.99. The sirlon had a sauce over it, but it seemed to be my favorite secret at home, and that is to smother it with A-1 sauce (before and after cooking) which was their steak sauce of choice. Good Choice! I do miss my A-1 from the states. It is available in Canada, but has a completely different taste than the A-1 in the USA.

While waiting for our meal we decided to go out to the terrace and have a smoke. They asked us if we would like to have our meal out there instead, and since it was a nice warm evening, we said "Yes". We ususally don't like eating outside with the wind, and the heat and bugs, but we did enjoy it this night! All in all, we will definately go back to Gordon Biersch.. Excellent food, drink and a very friendly, knowledgeable staff!



MONTANA'S COOKHOUSE SALOON*****
Whitby, Ontario
905-665-5776

Our visit to Montana's Cookhouse Saloon was an unexpected visit. We planned on going for breakfast at Denny's but it was so crowded, so being that we don't like waiting in lines or screaming kids, we went next door to Montana's which opened at 11am. We were really glad we did as we had a delicious and relaxing breakfast in my kind of atmosphere. The surroundings reminded me of back home in Pennsylvania and how good the food always tastes when your cooking over the campfire.

There was enough to choose from on the breakfast menu, and I am always glad to see a combo where you can get ham, bacon AND sausage along with eggs, pancakes, homefries, and texas toast. Unfortunately I was not that hungry to get all 3 meats so I opted for the scrambled eggs, ham and homefries, which was all cooked to perfection. We had our choice of texas toast or a mini corn bread loaf. I took the cornbread which was very tasty. You also had a choice of baked beans or an apple fritter and I took the fritter as it was too early for beans. (there are certain things I just DON'T eat when I'm out. Beans is one and spagetti is another YUK) My husband had the pancakes which were very good and we asked our hospitable server Adam, for more maple syrup which tasted like the real thing! My husband thinks I'm strange as I like maple syrup on my ham. Adam agreed with me, saying he liked it on bacon! The homefries were great, as they were fresh and not leftover baked potatoes from the night before like you get at some places.

Needless to say we were glad Denny's was full and next time even if they are not busy, we will opt for Montana's! We can't wait to try it for lunch or dinner and look forward to taking our out of town guests there!



THE KEG STEAKHOUSE & BAR****
255 Stevenson Road
Oshawa, Ontario
905-571-3212

The One thing about Keg Restaurants that bothers me is that they don't open till 4pm This restaurant is located in the parking lot of the Oshawa Center (the biggest mall in our area) We tried to go for dinner one Saturday night after Christmas shopping and they were lined out the door. So I called to make a reservation for the friday after Valentines Day and was told there were no reservations it was on a first come first serve basis and they started seating at 4:30. We arrived around 5:30pm and they were filling up fast already. The hostess was seating someone, so the other girl took care of us. I said we would like a table for 2 in the smoking section. She said the place is filling up fast,(I was thinking, does this mean you have a table or not?) so she proceded to take us to the dining room. I had to say,, wait we want a table where we can smoke, so she then said the lounge is getting full too but as we saw there were lots of tables and we found a nice one in the back corner by the fireplace. (I was thinking What part of SMOKING section don't you understand?)

Anyways the waitress came right over to the table and asked us for our drink order, which I would of liked a little more time to look over the drink menu, but fast service is always better than no service. The drink menu had many good choices, all at reasonable prices. I had a whiskey and diet coke (or Rye as they call it in Canada) If I had more time to look over the menu I'm sure I would of ordered something blue and frozen with an umbrella in it. hehehe Well I don't know if they have umbrellas but there was sure lots to choose from.

I do like the variety on the dinner menu. Its mostly all steaks but thats what we came for. We both decided on the prime-rib. I had the regular size that came with all the trimmings,, huge ceaser salad, baked potato, and mixed vegetables. I like the fresh chives that the Keg puts on their potatos. I have never seen chives that big before. They must use miracle grow to get them that big. My husband had the Queen prime rib that came with garlic mashed potatoes (his favorite) and onion straws. It worked out good, because he ate most of my ceaser salad, and I ate most of his onion straws. The onion straws are very thinly sliced onions, battered and fried. Almost like what you get in the can, only hot and fresh.

The only thing we weren't pleased with was the prime rib.. We both ordered medium,, the waitress told us medium rare was the least you could get it and that medium would be pink,, Well our cuts looked medium rare, but that didn't bother us. It just seemed a slight bit tough, and didn't have the usual prime rib flavor. But like I said it was still edible. And we had enough food to turn down dessert.

The one thing that did impress me was someone going around from table to table passing out samples of a beef dijon sandwich. But we were too full to even have a sample. After the $25. gift certificate we had, the bill came to $32. The music wasn't overbearing although it was quite noisey,, but that was only because of all the people. The atmosphere was nice, and the service was exceptional.



FRANCESCO'S RISTORANTE*****
151 Queen Street
905-982-0200




When you step out the front door of Francesco's Ristorante in downtown Port Perry, you will see Lake Scugog to the left and the quaint little shops of the downtown everywhere else. It is your typical small town. Just like Mooseport. After all the movie Welcome to Mooseport was filmed in Port Perry. Francesco's was transformed into the Pig and Whistle for the movie.



Back in 2003 we decided to keep our boat at the Port Perry Marina for a month. We liked the idea of having all the amenities of the town at our fingertips. That first Friday night we walked up Queen Street and went into this restaurant to have a drink and check out the menu. We told the bartender that we were from Whitby, and she said she was also. I told her what street we lived on, and to our surprise, she lived only 5 houses up from us. Small World! We then met her parents, Franco and Alice, who had recently acquired the restaurant which was formerly Emiel's.



Franco and Alice were considering re-naming the restaurant. My vote was for Alice's Restaruant. After all I was a big fan of the Arlo Guthrie song and movie. But Francesco's Ristorante won out. After all what better name for a great chef. Franco was featured in an article in East of the City. Click here to read about Franco.

There is a dining room, lounge and bar area, and at one time an adjoining coffee shop. What we like most is the coziness of the place. We prefer the tables in the bar area.

There is even a backroom (pictured above) for private parties, or meetings.
As you can see from the snow in some of the photos, not all of our visits to Francesco's Ristorante was in July 2004. We have visited the establishment many times over the years, and always enjoyed walking over for breakfast or dinner while staying on our boat. We even stop for dinner after visiting the Great Blue Heron Casino, as we noticed the food was not as good at the Casino anymore. We found out why, Franco was their previous chef.



WATERFRONT DINING BISTRO & BAR****
590 Liverpool Road
Pickering, ON
905-420-2020

The Waterfront Dining Bistro & Bar is a popular boating destination. We decided to check it out, and was surprised that at this time of year it was still open. There were a few people at the bar, and a few having lunch. There is fine dining, but yet casual, on the first floor, and from the albums on display, it looks like they host quite a few weddings.


My husband and I went back later in the summer for lunch, and had a nice outdoor table on the second level overlooking the marina and Frenchman's bay. I have heard that their dinner is the better option, and by the looks of the tables and floor outside, it looked like they had a hopping party the night before. I do enjoy the atmosphere.


TORONTO RESTAURANTS

THE KEG MANSION (steakhouse) ***
Jarvis Street
Toronto, Ontario


We took the 30 minute drive into the big city (Toronto) to visit my husbands Mom. She took us out to dinner for my birthday to The Keg. Well I thought we were just going to one of the many Keg Restuarants www.kegsteakhouse.com in the chain, but to my surprise I found this place really charming.

This particular Keg is located on 515 Jarvis Street and is set in the mansion formerly owned by A.M. McMaster and then Hart Massey (grandfather of actor Raymond Massey). It has alot of history to it and is just beautiful inside. Segments of the movie Moonstruck were filmed here and eposides of Hitchcock Presents and it was also featured on "Hauntings"

The only drawback to this fine atmosphere and good food was the loud music we were blasted with as soon as we entered the front door. We asked for a smoking section and were taken to the second floor which was the bar area. It wasn't a huge bar and there were lots of booths and tables which were spread out very nicely. And then MORE loud music. Well I know a bar should have loud music, but that's usually if there is a big bar crowd and then so maybe starting at 10pm not 4pm which was the time we arrived. We even asked the manager to turn it down so we could hear ourselves talk, which he did a slight bit and explained it was company policy to have the music feed at a louder level in the bar area. BULL**** I could understand if the bar was crowded, but the 4 or 5 tables of patrons that were there, were just there for dinner and to converse with their friends. It just took away from the whole ambiance of the beautiful history of the mansion.

I would recommend going to this restaurant, just for the beauty of it, and if the music is too loud, tell them. Maybe they will get the hint. What ever happened to the customer is always right?



TOWN & COUNTRY BUFFET *****
190 Queens Quay East
416-368-8500



Town & Country Buffet is one place in Toronto that we visit quite often. The center area of the restaurant is home to their famous market fresh buffet, with a beef brisket carving station and yorkshire pudding. The seating area is made up of attached train cars which make up private rooms. Its very cozy and the food is good too! They have a fabulous ice cream bar and dessert bar, with creme d'carmel, which I have never tried until my visit here. There is a large salad bar with shrimp. They also have a very good house wine, which we enjoy by the carafe. There is another location in Mississauga, but we have never tried that location. Be sure to try Town & Country, as you won't go away hungry!




LE PAPILLION RESTAURANT
16 Church Street
Toronto, ON
416-363-3773

This month we were looking for a place to celebrate my husbands birthday and my passing of the Canadian Citizenship test. We had planned on Ruth Chris Steakhouse, but the prices were just a little too high for any normal person on earth. $45 for an entree and $7.95 for a potatoe and an additional $7.95 for a vegetable. I did hear they have great food but spending over $60. for food, not including drinks, on a meal I better be celebrating winning the lottery:-)

I checked out the reviews on-line and I found Le Papillon, who offered a filet for $25, including all the trimmings.




It was a bit noisy inside, because it was busy, but a very bright, well lit atmosphere. Which my husband appreciates. (I carry a small flashlight for some restaurants, where he can't see the menu)





Much to our surprise, when I phone for a reservation, they told me they did have a smoking section. COOL! When we were seated in the restaurant, it didn't look like he put us in the smoking section, so he said he would have to take us upstairs. Well upstairs was only about six steps up in the front of the restuarant. It was great, we had the whole room to ourselves at first, then a few others did come in. This will end on June 1st when Ontario imposes more regulations on smokers. Many restaurants had spent a lot of money installing special ventilation for private smoking only rooms, and its sad to see it end. These regulations have forced many bars and restaurants to close.





We started off with the french onion soup which I thought was the best I ever had. My husband didn't care for it, but then they used swiss cheese which he don't like. We both had the Steak au Poivre which is a prime cut of aged Filet Mignon seared to perfection and coated with a superb Brandy, Dijon and black peppercorn cream sauce. It came with asparagus, which is our favorite, and mashed potatoes. We opted for frites, which I imagine is the french word for fries. I was going to ask for Freedom Fries, but I didn't think they would get my humor.
My mother in-law, who has been to Le Papillon many times, opted for the Tourtière which is an authentic Québécois meat pie, baked with seasoned pork, veal and beef. Served with house chutney and all the trimmings. In the past she has had the crepes, but really enjoyed the Tourtiere and the private room, even though she don't smoke. Le Papillon had great service and food and we will visit there again.

KINGSTON REVIEWS APRIL 2005- Mino's Place Restaurant, Lone Star Texas Grill and Howard Johnsons Confederation Place Hotel


Mino's on the left, S&R department store in the background, Howard Johnson right front and behind that is Lone Star Texas Grill with the flag on top.


HOWARD JOHNSON CONFEDERATION HOTEL*****
237 Ontario Street
613-549-6300
www.hojo.ca


The Howard Johnson Confederation Hotel is centrally located in downtown Kingston, overlooking the waterfront and Confederation Basin Marina and Park. There is an on-site restaurant and lounge, WJ's which is now featuring a seafood buffet on the third Friday of every month, with live entertainment. They have a seasonal out-door pool and we did notice a nice indoor whirlpool. The service was fantastic, rooms were clean and our stay was enjoyable. I am sure we would have enjoyed it more, had it been summer.

LONE STAR TEXAS GRILL*****

After arriving Friday night, we decided to go next door to the Lone Star Texas Grill. There was a line-up out the door. They said we could go to the upstairs lounge and wait, but we were hungry. It was very noisy, and we just wanted a quiet dinner, so we went across the street to Mino's. Saturday we went back to the Lone Star Texas Grill. It was a little less crowded and after a brief wait at the bar, we got a table. We both enjoyed a sirloin steak sandwich, with all the trimmings. Despite the noisy atmosphere, it was one of the best we ever had.

MINOS PLACE RESTAURANT - DOWNTOWN*****


Photo credit: www.Minos1.com


Mino's downtown Restaurant was a pleasant surpise. We have now found our all time favorite place in the province of Ontario.In fact we had dinner here both nights, as it was so good. We had noticed the sign they had out front listing their daily specials. I'm always a big fan of surf and turf, and both nights they had some great specials. I had prime rib and lobster the first night, and steak and shrimp the next. Mino's specializes in Greek Cusine. The caesar salad was one of the best, and my husband enjoyed the pork souvlaki one night, and bacon wrapped filet, the next. He was sorry he didn't get to try their special lamb chops.
Mino's has 3 locations in Kingston. Mino's Place, downtown, Mino's Village Uptown (catering facilities) and Mino's Village Uptown for take-out. The downtown facility also offers takeout and even sells uncooked meats to take home and BBQ. You can also purchase a cup of their house or ceasar salad dressing. Both of which are really, really good!


1000 ISLAND AREA RESTAURANTS

Restaurant Reviews in Gananoque
MACNEIL'S LANDING*****
790 King Street
Gananoque, Ontario
1-613-382-5131

Gananoque is one of our favorite little towns, thus our excuse to spend a night while passing through on a trip back to the states. On my big move to Canada from the states, MacNeil's Landing was the restaurant we had dinner at the night my husband and I got engaged, so it has always been a favorite of ours. That was the first time I realized the difference between Canada and the USA. Canadian made A-1 steaksauce has a completely different taste than that made in the states. The Canadain favorite is called HP Sauce, which I am getting accustomed to.



The town of Gananoque comes to life in the summer, but is still a charming place to visit in the winter, even though a few of the businesses are seasonal. Many times in the past, we were dissapointed to find MacNeil's Landing had closed early. We were thrilled to find out that beginning in 2006, MacNeil's is under new management with many changes being planned.


We enjoyed the new and improved MacNeil's Landing and were treated royaly by the new owner Cliff Edwards (pictured above left) and our friendly server, Kelly (above right). The menu has many options to choose from, including steaks, seafood and much more. Prime Rib has always been my favorite, and now is even better with the sizzling prime rib platter. This very tasty prime rib is served to you on a sizzling platter, smothered with onions and mushrooms, along with a potato and vegetable. The food is superb and the service is great. Unfortunaly we didn't have room for the fantastic looking desserts.

The 40 item salad bar is a big plus to any meal! MacNeil's Landing is open 7 days a week with early bird specials and an "all you can eat" Roast Beef Buffet on Friday nights from 5 pm to 9 pm, which I have heard is well worth the visit. Every Sunday is a Brunch buffet served from 10:30 am until 2 pm. Entertainment and dancing will be coming soon!

There are three dining rooms with availability for meetings, private parties or special events. There is a separate Bar/Lounge area adjoining to a front patio with an extensive selection of wines and liquors.
So next time you are in Gananaoque or just passing through, make it a point to treat yourself to a wonderful meal in a warm friendly atmosphere. We are looking forward to our next visit to MacNeil's Landing Restaurant.

http://www.gananoque.com/macneilslanding/index.html





LOBSTER TRAP **
650 King Street
Gananoque, Ontario


The Comfort Inn gave us a $1. off coupon for the Lobster Trap. My husband is not a fan of seafood, but since I love seafood, he said lets try it. It was exactly 8:30 pm when we arrived at the Lobster Trap, which was a short walk down King Street from MacNeil's. My family always makes a visit to the Lobster Trap when they are in Gananoque, but they did say it wasn't as good as it usually was the last time they were here. This was my first time. The Lobster Trap is adjacent to the Quality Inn. The Quality Inn used to be the Days Inn. This was where we stayed back in 1999 and the pipes rattled all night. I hope since the Quality Inn took over and did major renovations that they solved this problem! It does look like they improved alot!

Update: We have since stayed at the Quality Inn a few times, and they have made major improvements since it was the Days Inn. We even enjoy the free breakfast they give us with a stay at the Lobster Trap!




The waitress was very friendly and my husband ordered a strip steak, and asked her to tell the chef to please cut off the strip of fat, as he always orders it this way. He ordered the rice, and I ordered the fried seafood combo with a baked potato. His dinner arrived with a very fatty steak and a baked potato. I mentioned that he ordered rice, and the waitress grabbed his whole plate and took it back, instead of saying "I'll bring your rice right out" Anyways she did bring the plate back out (by this time the steak was cold) with the potato still on it and said the rice will be awhile and my husband said, it really don't matter, so we heard her tell the chef to forget the rice.

My seafood was good, my potato was piping hot, but hard in the middle. The waitress was super friendly, but just doing so looking for a good tip (which she was lucky she got the $3 we left her) and not concerned about her customers. She didn't bring us the desert tray as she did the other tables. She should of apoligized for screwing up the rice and should of said eat the potato if you would like until I bring out the rice you ordered. She should have noticed that the so called piece of steak (FAT) was still on my husbands plate. The whole thing was all gristle, even I could see that the chef never even cut the strip of fat off. People might say, well you don't order steak at a seafood restaurant, but I say if they can't cook a decent steak, then why have it on the menu.

Our bill was over $60 which included a $6.95 frozen marguerita which was the best thing on the menu. I don't mind paying alot for a decent meal, but in my opinion we would of had a better meal at Long John Silvers for $10.

Although we won't be going back anytime soon for dinner, we do love their breakfast.


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