While Niagara is known for its fabulous wine country cuisine, navigating from winery to winery on foot can be a challenge.
Fortunately for foodies, there’s a Niagara destination with an amazing collection of culinary gems, all located within an easy walk of each other. Downtown St. Catharines’ red-hot restaurant scene makes it a perfect place to park the car and enjoy a gourmet galivant on foot. Convenient daily GO Train service to St. Catharines from the GTA means it’s also easy to set out on this tasty tour without any wheels at all!
Plan to arrive in St. Catharines for brunch at Incoho. Don’t let this friendly restaurant’s promise of a humble dining experience fool you. Incoho’s vibe may be relaxed, but the culinary team’s dedication to sourcing and preparing local ingredients in creative ways will wow you. Incoho’s revamped spring brunch menu blends traditional breakfast favourites like Farmer’s Hash with fresh takes like a Spring Market Bowl built around tender shredded ribeye. Be sure to leave room for a freshly baked dessert from the restaurant’s patisserie section. Incoho has also recently introduced the return of its signature seven-course family-style dinner series, another delicious option if you’d like to wrap up your tour here instead.
Photo Courtesy of Incoho Restaurant
Next, spend some time exploring the shops of Downtown St. Catharines. If you’re visiting on a Thursday or Saturday, swing by the St. Catharines Farmers Market to browse stall after stall of spring’s freshest farm-to-table flavours.
Reward yourself for the steps you’ve acquired so far with a light lunch stop at Wellington Court. If it’s a sunny afternoon, score a seat on the patio. Enjoy a bottle of Niagara wine paired with a selection of outstanding appetizers, like Chef Erik Peacock’s famous chicken liver paté, old-school Oysters Rockefeller or fresh focaccia topped with roasted garlic, caramelized smoked onion butter and sundried tomato olive yuzu tapenade.
Photo Courtesy of Wellington Court
With no drive to deal with or traffic to fight, the afternoon is yours to enjoy as you please. Browse the impressive collection of bottles at Archives Wine and Spirit Merchants. Treat yourself to a traditional barbershop experience with the bonus of an exceptionally well-stocked bar at Frontier Barbers & Company. Taste your way through a flight of craft beer at Merchant Ale House. Have a game of pool at Pool City Billiards, or enjoy some friendly competition at Ludology Boardgame Café.
When you hear the neighbourhood church bells chime four o’clock, take it as your signal to head to oddBird for happy hour. This spring, oddBird’s talented bartending team is having fun with a Ship of Theseus-inspired cocktail called Drink of Theseus and switching up one key ingredient each week.
The restaurant’s ever-changing chalkboard of delicious small plates will make leaving some room for dinner difficult!
When you can finally tear yourself away from the one-of-a-kind vibe at oddBird, make your way down St. Paul Street for a warm welcome from the friendly team at Bolete. Chef Andrew McLeod wows diners with modern Canadian cuisine prepared in his open kitchen. If you’re visiting on a Wednesday or Thursday, consider the competitively priced mid-week prix fixe menu, which includes your choice of appetizer, main and dessert for just $65.
For after-dinner fun, consider timing your trip with one of the many spring concerts or independent film screenings at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Other great options taking place this spring within walking distance of Bolete include the Pride Niagara Kick-Off Party featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race royalty, Detox, and a wide range of independent bands performing at Warehouse Concert Hall.
After dinner or your show, squeeze in one final stop at Pharmacii. The carefully curated cocktail list here received a spectacular spring makeover inspired by the staff’s childhood memories. Treat yourself to a Banana Bread Cocktail, made with bourbon, amaro, smoked banana syrup and a beautiful banana brulee and raise a glass to one delicious day!
Do you have a Downtown St. Catharines restaurant that would make a great addition to this itinerary? Tag #lovestc in a post with your foodie faves, so we can share the love on our Facebook and Instagram feeds.