Thinking about a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake in the New Year and not quite sure where to stay, eat and sip? After years of visiting, I’ve narrowed down my favourite places. They’re a little bit different than the usual hot spots but that’s what I love and they definitely make the list every year.
WHERE TO STAY
124 on Queen Hotel and Spa – I absolutely love this place! Located in the heart of the main strip, this is my favourite hotel in NOTL. It’s luxurious without being pretentious. With a spa located right on site, it’s the perfect way to start our long weekend. The staff are amazing and are great at offering suggestions that are a bit off the beaten path. Ask for tasting coupons and they can usually offer a few free tastings. Bonus: there’s a shuttle that can drive you to-and-from local wineries.
Shaw Club Hotel – The Shaw Club Hotel has also been another one of our favourites. It’s located towards the end of the strip near the Shaw Theatre, which makes it perfect for strolling along to check out all the shops. Rooms are lovely and staff are great. Breakfast is included with your stay and served at Zees Grill. The French Toast is a must! You won’t be disappointed. This hotel also offers tasting coupons and shuttle services, so be sure to take advantage of it!
WHERE TO EAT
Ravine Vineyard – You’ll see Ravine makes my list twice, the first reason is for the food. We schedule lunch here every visit. Be sure to have the soup. Doesn’t matter what kind they have made that day, have it! It’s always amazing. The offer items from fresh oysters to burgers to a fab frittata. No matter what you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
The Backhouse – This was one of those amazing little recommendations from the Staff at Q124. Don’t be fooled by the location. When you get dropped off at a little strip mall you’ll definitely wonder what i’m talking about, but as soon as you enter, you’ll get it. The tasting menu is a must! Add the wine pairings and sit up at the chef’s table to get the full experience. You’re able to watch as the chef cooks over an open fire and presents each dish as a work of art.
The Garrison House – Gourmet pub food. If you’ve done The Backhouse the night before, you may want to give your wallet a bit of a break and this is the perfect place to do that. The atmosphere is laid back and the food is delicious! Try the fried chicken sandwich. I promise, it’s amazing.
Kitchen 76 – This restaurant is located at the Two Sister’s vineyard, a quick drive from the main strip of NOTL. The food is delicious, ambiance is beautiful and pizza is to die for! As any menu goes, there can be seasonal changes, but if you get the opportunity to try the pizza with truffles, do it! One of my faves.
WHERE TO SIP
Ravine – And cue Ravine’s second time making the list. Not only is the food amazing but the wine is lovely too! We typically venture over to the tasting room after lunch. Tip: If you purchase a few bottles of wine, the tasting flight is free! They have a great wine club that you can sign up for. There’s a few different options but essentially every month you’ll get a few bottle delivered to your house. You can’t find this vineyard at the LCBO, so this is a great way to keep it in your rotation.
Stratus – We love this place! Be sure you ask for Adam to host your tasting. He’s amazingly knowledgeable (as they all are), but he’s a pleasure to chat with. You’re also able to schedule a private tasting in the back room. A great option if you have a larger group or prefer more of a personalized experience.
Big Head – Surprisingly, it’s not often that you’re served cheese and crackers with your tasting, but schedule to do the the Biggest Tasting and it’s a regular! It’s $25 per person and well worth it. You’re served a large slab of Pecorino cheese and crackers with your 10 flight blind tasting. You’re given a pad of paper to write down your guesses or notes about each wine. It’s not at all pretentious, just a fun way to experience the tasting. Ask for Jacob. He’s the son of the owner of the Vineyard and super chatty.