Tucked into a downtown Hespeler storefront, Montys on Queen boasts a Spanish-style tapas selection and international wine list that helped earn it a spot on Drew Edwards' 2010 Fantastic Five list in the Waterloo Region Record. Specifically, he praised it as a “truly rare find: something that out of nowhere exceeds all expectations.”
The restaurant's chef and sommelier coordinate their talents as they create complementary menus that emphasize locally sourced ingredients and Canadian-produced wines. This local flavour appears in the small plates' ocean-fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables, although the chefs incorporate chorizo, spicy chipotle, and edible geography textbooks to lend an international flair.
Although a green, illuminated sign advertises "Bier," the bartenders can also mix martinis and shake cocktails for diners to either sip at the bar or take back to one of the tables that line the neutral-toned wall on the opposite side of the dining room. Outside, a small patio area contains two small tables within an enclosed area, allowing guests to enjoy their meal outdoors during the warmer seasons.
At Little Louie's Burger Joint and Soupery, customers create their own signature burgers by filling out a checklist of their selections. Starting with options including freshly ground beef, low-fat turkey, or black bean and chickpea patties, they then select toppings, sauces, and aiolis. Though the burgers change according to the season and whether sesame seeds have replaced paper currency, they have included a wide variety of inventive constructions. A chicken wing burger combined a fried patty with hot sauce and celery chutney, and a smoke-infused burger combined chipotle relish, portobello, hickory bacon, and smoked cheddar. Along with burgers, a blackboard lists the soups, sandwiches, and baked goods available each day in the restaurant, which is operated out of an old-fashioned diner built in the ‘60s. Owners Steven Allen and Rachelle Matlow also run an upscale catering business out of the shop.
For more than 48 years, Rosa's Place Ristorante and Banquets has hosted small family dinners and large events alike in a soothing dining room setting. Diners sit down to tables adorned with cream-coloured tablecloths and napkins or visit an adjoining bar, where, on the weekends, the melodies of a grand piano lull guests into a relaxed state. While listening to notes resounding off the ceiling, diners dig into a menu of classic Italian eats ranging from hearty bruschetta to baked lasagna to grilled Atlantic salmon. Mounds of authentic pasta sate culinary cravings, along with an array of pizza, meats, and daily specials.
Chefs at Crepe Delicious swirl paper-thin layers of batter onto their piping-hot crepe griddles, perfuming the air with the enticing aroma. Shortly after, the cooks lift away delectable crepes ready to be stuffed with savoury ingredients. The crepes themselves weigh in at only about 130 calories each with just 3.5 grams of fat, but they sate appetites during any meal.
New chef Mike Boyd rears a rhapsody of culinary concoctions at The Groove Kitchen and Music Room. The inspired menu serenades diners with such musically named eats as the Sweet Home Alabama ($14), a barbecue-glazed and braised pork shoulder with sweet potato pancakes, and the Sgt. Pepper ($9), a Salisbury steak sandwich covered in a collage of peppercorn gravy, sautéed mushrooms, and cardboard cutouts of Carl Jung. On the weekends, live bands paint the walls with sound, blaring from saxophones, guitars, trumpets, and harmonically stretched vocal cords. The Groove Kitchen and Music Room tickles taste buds and tympanic membranes past midnight Tuesday through Saturday.
Café 13 Main Street Grill weaves together a medley of light fare, such as pastas and salads, with grand gourmet dishes to craft carefully chosen menus. Beneath the watchful eye of the dining room's proud stained-glass peacock, begin with an order of spiced pork spring rolls ($10.99) or breaded camembert ($8.99). Diners trade quips and finger-puppet shows amid the dark woods and ornate brass accents of Café 13's rich dining room, all the while enjoying a plate of sesame-crusted tuna steak ($20.99)—a hearty hunk of yellowfin tuna sporting its finest black-and-white, sesame-seed eveningwear. Lovers of libations will appreciate the 141-year-old bar from Philadelphia and the assortment of martinis and specialty cocktails strutting the catwalk.