In a 1930s-era walk-in vault that once guarded diamonds, The City Grill now stores ruby-hued merlots and cabernet sauvignons. The vault is a relic of McCreery’s Diamond Store, whose art-deco aesthetic has been revived by The City Grill, setting the perfect backdrop for feasts of upscale culinary creations.
The restaurant’s carefully designed atmosphere relies on illuminated globes, exposed brick, and black-and-white photomurals depicting the days in Windsor’s past when even robots had to get around by horse-drawn carriages. A spacious patio invites guests to soak in the fresh air and sip libations that range from Chilean syrahs to signature dessert drinks such as an espresso martini.
The drinks pair with globally inspired food dreamt up by Executive Chef Shawn McKerness, who previously captained the seafaring kitchens of the luxurious Holland America Line cruises. McKerness combines fresh ingredients from local sources for a menu of contemporary food that, like the moon’s wardrobe, changes seasonally. Diners might slice into a horseradish-encrusted tenderloin, Maui-style ahi tuna, or red snapper lounging under exotic fruit salsa.
If Bubi’s Awesome Eats were a planet, Bubi sauce would be its sun. Nearly every dish on the menu dons generous dollops of the garlicky housemade condiment. Chefs serve it with sweet-potato fries, drizzle it on wraps, and slather it on hamburger buns. The sauce’s coveted, taste-bud-wooing recipe is one of the reasons Bubi’s Awesome Eats earned screen time on the Food Network's You Gotta Eat Here! in 2012.
Bubi’s chefs continue the theme of made-from-scratch cooking throughout their menu, which includes tenderized chicken breast that they marinate in milk and eggs, bake with housemade garlic butter, and then deep-fry to a crisp. They also hand shape hamburger patties before accessorizing them with off-the-wall ingredients such as almond pesto and gravy. Diners in search of a burger large enough to dress in baby clothes can behold Bubi’s 8-pound Big V8 burger. If they can eat the entire burger in one sitting, they not only win bragging rights, but also $1,000. Be warned: not even Canada’s tallest man could finish it.
On New Year's Eve of 2007, brothers Dan and Anthony Ferriolo—both graduates of the culinary arts program at St. Clair College—banded together to open Ristorante Avanti, channeling their shared passion for great food and their Italian heritage into a gustatory labour of love. The New Year's Eve kickoff would prove to be the start of seven years of upholding and building upon their original goals of infusing traditional Italian dining with their own creative flair and service-based perfectionism. Amid percolating bubbles floating up from boiling pasta and the sizzle of sautéing scallops in the kitchen, Anthony helms a team of chefs who meticulously construct dishes from ingredients such as littleneck clams and fresh tomato sauce. With his brother commanding the kitchen, Dan lets his friendly disposition steer the front of the house, making everyone feel welcome. The feeling of warmth he puts out is extended by the dining room’s rustic-chic ambience brought about by gold- and brown-toned decor and gleaming copper accents on candelabra-style lighting.
Pastry pasha and eponymous epicurean Renee Pratt-Snively leads a team of chefs that craft gourmet cakes and cupcakes within the cute café confines of Renee's Fine Cakes. Baking bravado and attention to detail characterize the delicacies that hop out of Renee's oven, and the responsive staff caters to the dietary and culinary desires of customers. Dairy-free cupcakes get the lactose intolerant and indifferent into the fold, while sugar-shirking customers can get their dozen delights unencumbered by sucrose, fructose, glucose, or hippopotamusose. Soft pink walls, traditional pastry shop décor, and sweet-smelling stacks of fresh baked goods make Renee's a perfect place to munch on mini-masterpieces with friends or enjoy a quiet cappuccino.
Hikari Japanese Steakhouse's thespian chefs grill Japanese-inflected steakhouse fare in breathtaking tableside performances as rice artisans craft fresh maki and nigiri from an open-air sushi bar. Cuts of steak, shrimp, and lobster dance on sizzling grills situated in the middle of each dining table, where chefs chop, flip, and ignite each luscious morsel in a more theatrical culinary display than Hamlet's famous TV-dinner scene. The full bar decants cocktails, beers, and an exotic sake and plum wine fusion to patrons 21 and older, whereas children 10 and younger can sup on kids’-menu items tailored to simpler palates.
The Bull n’ Barrel preserves rustic country pleasures in a restaurant reminiscent of an old-fashioned saloon. Servers shuttle plates of smokehouse cuisine around an indoor dining room adorned with antlers, red brick, and two central bars that pour ice-cold brews into mason jars. Southern flair also permeates the menu, which offers classic dishes alongside straightforward burgers, and sandwiches. A large indoor dance floor hosts live music and events, and the eatery’s namesake feature—a mechanical bull—bucks any rider who neglects to first feed it a cube of sugar.