Any time you have to decide on a place to eat, you try and think through all your options. Stressful, isn’t it? Well, we’ve gone ahead and taken the stress out of this process by breaking down the options for you. Everything from upscale to casual experiences, you’ll find your next dine out decision much easier thanks to this quick guide.

CASUAL COMFORT

Bring a couple of friends and make a few new ones at these casual dining spots. In Welland, The Black Sheep Lounge is a walk in and order a cup of the finest gourmet coffee kind of place. They are sustainable in their practices and support all genres of local musicians, poets and artists. Ridgeway’s Brimstone Brewery, housed in a re-imagined 20th century church, is producing locally crafted beer using all-natural, high-quality ingredients. Located canalside at the old train station in Port Colborne, The Smokin’ Buddha highlights comfort food from around the world. Cooking up both spicy and savoury options, explore global eats with a Niagara twist at this homey, laidback establishment.

FAMILY FEASTS

The whole family is invited to grab a seat, loosen up and make happy memories at these popular feasting spots. Just a short drive from the U.S. border, The Barrel Restaurant on Garrison Road in Fort Erie has been serving authentic Italian-American classics since 1970. To keep the good times going, stop at M.T. Bellies or Ye Olde Squire in Welland, where the menus are as big as the portions. Special mentions are also due to South Coast Cookhouse in Crystal Beach and Port Colborne’s Canalside Restaurant. The two offer a casual sit-down atmosphere with unbeatable views of our cherished shoreline.

BELOVED BISTROS

Overlooking iconic Bridge 13 and the Welland Canal, Taris on the Water serves exquisite dishes inspired by French hospitality. Unique to this experience is the beauty of listening to live music on the waterfront patio while savouring delicacies like grilled beef tenderloin or smoked duck breast. A short detour to Port Colborne will take you straight to the Flying Squirrel Bistro, a small upscale restaurant with a creative take on everyday favourites. Their pan-fried perch is simply presented but expertly cooked. Speaking of fresh, it doesn’t get any better than the pastas and sauces at San Marco’s Ristorante.

HISTORIC RESTAURANTS

Satisfying visitors and the Welland community since 1915, The Rex Hotel was one of the first of its kind in Ontario to serve pizza and it still attracts a loyal following for their old-school Italian fare. Further south on King Street, there’s no missing the landmark Blue Star Restaurant. Visited by Prime Ministers and politicians, their claim to fame is the signature broaster chicken, pierogies and homemade pies. Beginning as a hot dog stand in 1977, eating at DJ’s Roadhouse in the Long Beach area of Wainfleet is a tradition. The same goes for Minor Fisheries Restaurant on Port Colborne’s historic West Street. Both have been appealing to seafood lovers for over 45 years and are famous for their Lake Erie pickerel.

Dining culture in Niagara’s South Coast is as eclectic as it is abundant. Now that we’ve covered off a range of restaurants, you’re ready to work your way through the options one by one. Eventually when you have tried them all, there will always be more to sink your teeth into.

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