Where to Eat, Drink & Shop in Stratford:
Eat & Drink
The Church Restaurant has, for almost forty years, been dedicated to local and organic produce with flawless execution. Modern French cuisine in a unique setting. The only tithes here are for the decadent panoply of flavours before us. Cocktails in the cosmopolitan ambience of The Belfry above; a heavenly Sunday brunch menu; and a seasonal dining menu that put Stratford on the map as a culinary destination.
Keystone Alley was originally a coffee shop, but for the past thirty years it has been one of Stratford’s most important restaurants. Open year-round, the only consistency in the seasonal menu is the high standard for which we’ve come to expect from this long running Stratford destination. The secluded patio is a highly sought after romantic spot during the summer. Ask the chef of which dish he’s most proud, and he replies “all of them.” They also operate an attached cozy B&B.
Pazzo has long been popular for its thin crust pizzas and easy going vibe, as well as for its adjacent bakery. However…the much-anticipated re-opening of its upstairs Taverna will give its downstairs Pizzeria some competition. Casual and rustic with a touch of grandeur, the menu of seafood towers and lobster cannelloni combined with a mozzarella bar, crostini area, and a wide selection of wines from Ontario and Italy invite more extensive dining. Grills and burners keep it dynamic well after curtain call for a NY style post-theatre experience.
Monforte cheese is the pride of Stratford, and is admired for “agriculture practiced on a human scale”. The new osteria serves biodynamic VQA wines from Southbrooke and Featherstone, as well as craft beer and cider to compliment Monforte cheeses, and a simple daily menu of local ingredients, including the crunchiest, most delectable grilled cheese sandwiches. This is a casual atmosphere for wine and cheese, events, music, dining, or a coffee break with a well balanced cappuccino frothed with sheep or water buffalo milk.
Revel Caffé knows that Stratford loves coffee. Sourced from co-operatives in Nicaragua and Rwanda, there is no brewed coffee here—roasted weekly, it is always ground fresh for each cup. There is also growing desire for a fine coffee experience to go with a fine dining experience. Local and seasonal intimate monthly dinners, accompanied by live jazz, raise the bar of coffee during the meal–from the smoky or caramelized notes of coffee in each dish, to pairing with dessert, so that it’s a feature of the course and not just a beverage at the end of the meal.
Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar is run by Canada’s premier tea sommelier who, like an apothecary, stands before her wall of tea and gently assesses the right tea for you. Maintained in dark tins, each tea is steeped and poured into its own distinct porcelain cup. Sip flights, or special tastings like “tea and honey” or “tea and chocolate”. There is also a new series of cooking classes, meditation, chi gung in the garden, and herbal and holistic workshops on stress management, body care, and nutrition (for more info go to: michellestevenson.ca).
Olive Your Favourites is where we can sample a variety of traditional balsamic vinegars and virgin olive oils from California and around the Mediterranean from Italy, to Spain, to Tunisia, as well as an imaginative selection of infused oils like Persian Lime, Blood Orange, and Wild Mushroom and Sage; and vinegars like Thai Lemongrass-Mint, and Cinnamon-Pear. There are also recipes and suggestions on how to apply these newly found elixirs.
Rheo Thompson creamy milk and semi sweet dark chocolate smoothies are as much a symbol of Stratford as the swan and the Bieber. From the moment we enter the doors we are seduced by the aromas of chocolate confections wrapped in the most adorable packaging imaginable. Over 152 flavours of candy include chocolates, brittle, bark, jellies, hard candies, sugar free chocolates, specialty nuts, (and my family’s favourite) nutty pops.
Bradshaws is the place to shop in Stratford for kitchenware, tableware, wine glasses and decanters, home decor, and bath and body products. The vast selection of the best sourced products from around the world includes unique Canadian-designed merchandise. This is where we shop to satisfy and expand our cooking needs, as well as seek gift-ware for holidays, parties and weddings. It’s also where every bride and groom want their registry!
Kitchen Connaisseur is where we shop for specialty food products from sauces, oils, vinegars, rubs and spices to gift baskets and cooking ideas. Savoury sauces like Cajun Spice and Sundried Tomato; dessert sauces like Maple Cappuccino and Sundried Cherry; Morroccan and Spanish spice blends; flavour infused oils; as well as chutneys like pomegranate and mango stimulate our imagination, while samples and recipes stimulate our palates.
The Barkery is a full-scale, all natural bakery for dogs. These freshly baked, nutritious homemade treats provide a healthy alternative for our loved ones. No artificial flavours or colours; only wholesome ingredients from local farmers, including fruits, veggies, seeds, all natural peanut butter, emu, bacon, and cheese. Try doggy brownies, doughnuts, birthday cakes or “postman’s fingers”.