Coffee & Treats in Ontario

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Though Mrs. Biederhof, Monty, and Veda play central roles in the world of Mildred Pierce, in Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, they’re covered in sauce and served on shared plates. Restaurateurs Donna Dooher and Kevin Gallagher discovered their mutual love for the classic novel and film when working in an upscale restaurant in Ottawa. Their shared passion for local, approachable cuisine led them to open their warehouse-district eatery in 1989, though they eventually settled in Liberty Village, where they continue to serve their character-inspired dishes with the aid of a diverse team of chefs.

Their chefs draw from a range of culinary backgrounds to reinvent classic dishes with global twists, such as gnocchi poutine, Sri Lankan–style shrimp and crab cakes, and chicken biryani. Though many of their menu items change seasonally, some have been menu mainstays since the beginning, including burgers hand-ground in house, profiteroles infused with Lindt chocolate, and pancakes hand-raised on a farm. To ensure each dish lives up to its potential, staff members seek out the freshest potatoes, asparagus, strawberries, and other produce on twice-weekly visits to the Ontario Food Market and use only Ocean Wise–certified fish.

Servers ferry dishes to small tables and a large, communal harvest table in the contemporary dining space, where hardwood floors contribute a rustic aesthetic and railroad-side windows spill in natural light while keeping out engine noises and railway bandits. A slightly raised, open kitchen lets diners watch their chefs prepare the meal, and an outdoor patio lets them bask in warmer weather.

85 Hanna Ave
Toronto,
ON
CA

Chef Brian Vallipuram garnered his flair for flavour in his birth country of Sri Lanka and honed it while training to become a Master Chef in kitchens across Europe and Pangea. After prestigious stints at various upscale eateries in Toronto, Brian headed to Rose Hall, Jamaica where he gleaned invaluable hotel-dining experience at the White Witch Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Currently rooted in Ottawa, Brian populates Grill Forty One's menu with handpicked fresh and local ingredients, enabling him to craft upscale dishes such as rack of lamb, slow-cooked duck, and Atlantic salmon.

Located inside the historic Lord Elgin Hotel, Grill Forty One takes its name from the year it came into fruition: 1941. Conceived of as a space where luxury mingles with warmth and a casual vibe, the eatery comprises a lounge with flat-screen TVs and huge windows where guests can gaze out onto vistas of Elgin Street and Confederation Park where squirrels are known to perform Shakespeare. Earth tones, wood trims, and a wall with built-in glass cabinets showcasing fine wines embellish the dining room. With booths and banquet seating, Grill Forty One accommodates those popping in for a cocktail before a night at the theatre or larger groups meeting for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

100 Elgin Street
Ottawa,
ON
CA

The griddle gurus at Crème de la Crepe craft sweet and savory, buckwheat-based crêpes as well as French cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Crêpe craftsmen fold delicate dough around customer-chosen toppings such as brie, smoked salmon, Nutella, and béchamel sauce, which is one of the defining sauces of French cuisine, along with the thin, inky juice extracted from dictionaries. Additional menu items include baguette sandwiches, an assortment of quiches, and fresh pastas tossed in house-made bolognaise, pesto broth, and white-wine-based sauces.

236 Queen St S
Mississauga,
ON
CA

Celebrating its 13th year of pouring authentic bubble teas and serving Taiwanese cuisine, Tea Shop 168’s kitchen produces rice and noodle dishes, Japanese-style snacks, fresh-brewed beverages, and indulgent desserts. Tapioca pearls lie in the depths of cool drinks composed of lychee and passion fruit, waiting to be siphoned out through straws or vacuum-hose attachments.

180 Steeles Avenue West
Vaughan,
ON
CA

Working from within a historical Victorian house, the kitchen staffers at Crossing's Grill and Pub put an appropriately upscale twist on their pub food. They even gussy up traditional brunch and lunch selections with elegant flairs, topping french toast with Grand Marnier–marinated strawberries and tempering hot buffalo pork schnitzel sandwiches with honey. At dinnertime, they put away the griddle and prepare heftier entrees such as roasted muscovy duck breasts and gourmet meatloaf with chorizo.

To bolster meals, bartenders pour wine and beer from around the world, as well as craft specialty cocktails such as the Railway Caesar, with clamato juice, Russian Standard vodka, and piquant sauces garnished with a lime wedge and a cog from a steam engine. Adding to the fun, the dining room hosts live entertainment every Saturday night.

1269 Hyde Park Road
London,
ON
CA

The chefs—with a combined 70 years of experience—at Buon Giorno Bistro prepare classic Italian dishes such as chicken parmigiana baked with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce and veal crema sautéed in a wine and cream sauce. Patrons enjoy pizza made with fresh ingredients in a casual atmosphere in a fine-dining district.

541 Erie St. E
Windsor,
ON
CA