The sound of honking horns, chattering pedestrians, and singing puppets fades away when diners duck into Wine on Third’s dimly lit dining rooms. Here, the din of Third Street is replaced with soft music and tinkling wine glasses. Diners perch along a lengthy wooden bar sipping red, white, and sparkling selections from the eatery’s comprehensive wine list, which was awarded the Award of Distinction from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Small plates of tuna sashimi, assorted cheeses, and greek dips flood tables throughout a spacious dining area flanked by vibrant local artwork where guests linger over last bites of New York–style cheesecake and final sips of sweet martinis. Branching out beyond satiating taste buds, the elegant eatery plays host to special events including art shows and live music throughout the month.
Rated #1 three years running in the Zagat National Chains Survey for best steak, Outback Steakhouse specializes in dispensing classic menu items such as seafood, steak, and pasta. The restaurant draws inspiration from the continent of Australia, alluding to its namesake outback with seared prime rib and lobster tails, grilled meats such as chicken and salmon, and juicy, marbled rib-eye steaks. A menu for kids lets youths sample morsels from the upside-down part of the world while right-side up, and creative desserts and generous cocktails round out the offerings.
Skylon Tower may have two restaurants, a shopping mall, an entertainment center, and a theater, but at 775 feet above the roar of Niagara Falls, perhaps its best feature is its view. Visitors ascend the tower in just 52 seconds aboard a glass-enclosed exterior elevator, which gently dispenses them at the top to take in views of the Falls, the Great Gorge, the Niagara wine district, and two city skylines—in different countries—atop the observation deck.
The spectacular sights don’t stop during dinner. In the Summit Suite Buffet Dining Room, ample windows complement a smorgasbord of salads, seafood, and freshly carved meats, each regularly replenished to ensure freshness. For more upscale environs, the glass-lined Revolving Dining Room—named for its once-hourly silent rotation above the Falls—treats palates to gourmet racks of lamb, seared sea scallops, and surf ‘n’ turf platters of filet mignon and lobster tail as diners take in the view, which only becomes more awe-inspiring as the sun sets and illuminates the water in shades of pink, blue, and yellow.
Away from the aromas of steak and seafood, the Skylon Family Fun Center entertains families with rides, interactive games, and carnival-inspired amusements. Afterward, groups can venture over to the 3-D theatre, where they slap on goggles and learn about the history of Niagara Falls, including the evolution of the Great Lakes Basin, the formation of the Falls, and the people who went over the edge in a barrel in order to search for their spouses’ dropped wedding bands.
Jeff Taylor just can’t seem to stay out of the restaurant business. For someone who started in food service back in 1979, serving his versions local favorites to customers is just a part of him now. Things changed temporarily in 2012, when he decided to make a career change and sold the previous incarnation of Justin Tyme. But the restaurant business drew him back in: he missed the work so much that he opened his current location less than a year later.
Perhaps attributed to his long experience in the industry, it’s Jeff’s culinary creations that keep his customers coming back year after year. In 2005, his beef on weck won a Niagara Reader’s Choice award and continues to be in demand on his menu. It’s also joined by other home-style customer favorites such as pot roast, a variety of Friday fish-fry platters, and burgers that boast up to a pound of meat. On weekends, breakfasts of corned beef hash and omelets greet crowds who sit in the dining room or in the bar area under the glow of flat-screen TVs.
A hand-built pizza oven stands in the kitchen at Johnny Peppers Italian Grill, the wood-stoked flames dancing to the chatter of conversation and clinking glasses. It crisps the crusts of Neapolitan-style pizzas crafted from dough made in-house daily and covered with arugula, bufala cheese, and pancetta like the front row of the crowd at a Puccini opera. Wreaths of steam rise from plates on the way to the dining room, curling around linguini with grilled tuna, veal parmesan, and gnocchi dumplings with pecorino cheese. Bites of those Italian-influenced dishes punctuate shouts for requests launched at dueling piano players, who fill the adjoining piano bar with the songs of Billy Joel, The Who, and other classic rock tunes every Friday and Saturday night.
New Whistle Pig proudly carries the torch lit by its predecessor, the original Whistle Pig, and together, the two establishments have been a Niagara Falls staple since 1939. The restaurant's modern incarnation harkens back to old-fashioned American diners of the 1950s and '60s, right down to its homemade milk shakes and glass-bottled soda. The menu also conjures simpler times with its straightforward, no frills cheeseburgers and fresh-cut fries, which stand in contrast to the more complicated "The Whistle Pig," a skinless hot dog wrapped in bacon and smothered in cheese sauce. Throwback themes are especially evident on Friday nights, when classic-car owners park outside and compare all the weird places their vintage vehicles are starting to grow hair.