10 Awesome Places to Eat and Drink in Waterloo Region

10 Awesome Places to Eat and Drink in Waterloo Region
23 Sep 2022

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Waterloo Region is known for many things – it’s home to both the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, is part of the Toronto-Waterloo Tech Corridor (often referred to as Silicon Valley North), is home to Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest (Canada’s largest Bavarian Festival), and is the birthplace of William Lyon Mackenzie King (Canada’s longest serving Prime Minister).

But Waterloo Region is also a great place to do one of my favourite things: find amazing places to eat and drink! There are so many fantastic places to let your inner foodie loose in this tasty slice of Southwestern Ontario.

Here are 10 awesome places to eat and drink in Waterloo Region:

Crowsfoot Smokehaus

The menu at Crowsfoot Smokehaus is inspired by traditional German cuisine and Southern-style smokehouse barbecue. You can get everything from Burnt End Spatzle and Cheese, authentic German Schnitzel, to delicious Smoked Meats, and crispy Fried Chicken.

We had the Smokehaus Platter (3 Meats + 2 Small Sides): House-Made Texas Hot Links, Creekstone Farms Brisket, Ontario St. Louis ribs brushed with barbecue sauce, house-made cheddar & jalapeño cornbread, tater tots, and collard greens. I barely managed to walk out of the place! Oh, and let’s not even talk about the extensive beer selection they have on tap – we’ll be here all day!

There’s also a general store where you can get locally-sourced produce, artisanal products, snacks, and everyday essentials.

Amazing food served with a side of small-town hospitality that will have you coming back again and again. You can’t get much better than that!

Location

Crowsfoot Smokehaus is located at 1872 Sawmill Road in the small, farming village of Conestogo, just outside of Waterloo.  There is plenty of free parking available in their private parking lot.

The Olde Heidelberg Restaurant & Tavern

You can’t go to Waterloo Region and not visit Heidelberg, in the middle of Mennonite country. While there, be sure to visit The Olde Heidelberg Restaurant & Tavern where you’ll find a classic mix of Pennsylvania-Dutch and Canadian cuisine.

You can get Pig Tails, Schnitzel, Ribs, Broasted Chicken, Fish ‘n Chips, and way more. Their specialty is their Smoked Pork Hock Dinner, served with mashed potatoes or french fries, vegetables or sauerkraut, and coleslaw.

If you get too full and can’t walk out, just rent a room The Heidelberg Motel and sleep it off!

Location

The Olde Heidelberg Restaurant & Tavern is located at 3006 Lobsinger Line in Heidelberg, just 5 minutes west of St. Jacobs. Lots of free parking is available in their private parking lot.

Taco Farm

Taco Farm in Waterloo is Mexican-inspired and locally sourced – ingredients are super fresh, and everything is made in-house. There are lots of options for every palette. Chef Sydney Keedwell makes killer Birria Tacos: a traditional dish of addictively sweet and spicy braised beef shank stuffed in three taco shells with cheese and onions that are dipped and fried chewy-crisp in the braising liquid. Served with a bowl of broth for dunking and a side of Mexican rice. So good!

If you aren’t craving tacos, then try their Fried Chicken. You can get it several ways: naked, with Tequila & Wildflower honey glaze, with dry ranch, Gunpowder dry seasoned, with Chocolate chili sauce, or Jesse style (with hot sauce on the side).

Be sure to start off with their fresh tortilla chips and tomato salsa, and wash it all down with a Jarritos soda. Trust me – you won’t be disappointed!

Location

Taco Farm is located at 8 Erb Street West in Waterloo, near the corner of Erb Street West and King Street South (at Dominion Lane). Paid street parking is available nearby.

Wildcraft Grill + Long Bar

One of my favourite eateries in the Waterloo Region is Wildcraft Grill + Long Bar. Here you will find amazing appetizers like Beef Carpaccio, Arrabiata Flatbread, and Bistro Shrimp Tempura. The Caesar Salad is pretty amazing, and the Wild Mushroom Soup is a must-try if you are a fan of the fungi.

For mains, I highly recommend the Thurston Howell: charbroiled 7oz beef tenderloin, two broiled tiger prawns, black truffle mashed Yukon potatoes, buttered asparagus, shallot + cab jus. It will keep you full, even when stranded on a tropical island nest! Oh, and if you don’t know who Thurston Howell is, you need to go on a 3-hour cruise with Gilligan and the Skipper!

Other highlights are the Braised Boneless Short Rib, Sumac Spiced Atlantic Salmon, and the Seared Scallop and Prawn Risotto.

Location

Wildcraft Grill + Long Bar is located at 425 King Street North in Waterloo, between Weber Street North and Conestoga Parkway. There is plenty of free parking available in their large parking lot.

The Bauer Kitchen

Right on King Street in Waterloo, The Bauer Kitchen is an up-market bistro in an old SoHo-inspired restored felt factory. The combination of custom lighting, industrial steel, concrete floors, and reclaimed wood make this unique space a warm and unique dining atmosphere.

For an amazing appetizer, try the Confit Duck Wings (ginger honey garlic glaze, sesame seeds, cilantro OR peperoncini sauce, Parmesan, crispy shallots), Tempura Veggie Maki Rolls (avocado, sweet potato, pickled carrot, daikon, chili aioli, hoisin), or the Classic Caesar (romaine hearts, radicchio, bacon lardon, Parmesan, croutons, house Caesar dressing).

For main, I suggest one of their wood-fired pizzas like the Fire Starter (house-made Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, pickled jalapeño, grana Padano, fresh chilies, tomato sauce) or the classic Margherita (fior di latte, Nona’s tomato sauce, basil). Ooohhh yeah!

They also have burgers, sandwiches, chicken, seafood, and steak entrees, as well as shareable dishes like sweet potato wedges and truffle parm frites.

Location

The Bauer Kitchen is located at 187 King Street South, Unit #102, in Waterloo. There are paid parking lots nearby.

Puddicombe House Restaurant

Built in 1868, the Puddicombe House occupies a beautiful Italianate mansion in the heart of New Hamburg. It’s a bed and breakfast that includes a spa and hair salon, a restaurant, and a banquet hall that can accommodate up to 250 guests.

Open for lunch and dinner, Puddicombe House serves up some really amazing dishes!

Appetizers include Deep Fried Ravioli, Beet and Grapefruit Salad, Wild Mushroom Arancini, and House-made Focaccia.

Main dishes include Chorizo Creste Di Gallo, Truffle & Balsamic Spaghetti, Frenched Pork Chop, Grilled Cornish Hen, Pan Seared Pike Perch, and Wood Fire Pizzas like their Puddicombe “Za” (Italian Genoa Salami, Ground Chorizo Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Double Smoked Bacon, Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, Apple Butter Mustard).

For meatatarians like me, they have a beauty 16oz AAA Ribeye Steak, 6oz AAA Tenderloin Steak, and Braised Beef Short Ribs.

You can’t go wrong with this menu!

Location

The Puddicombe House Restaurant is located at 145 Peel Street in New Hamburg, about 25 minutes west of Downtown Kitchener along Highway 8. There is parking in their lot and on the street.

Charcoal Steak House

If you are looking for an elevated dining experience, check out Charcoal Steak House in Kitchener. Quality ingredients are locally sourced, with a menu that is sure to please even the pickiest of appetites.

Start your meal off with one of the many delicious appetizers, including Wonton Nachos, Classic Shrimp Cocktail, Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Petite Beef Wellingtons, or Caribbean Crab Cakes.

Moving on to your main course, the selection is extensive! There are many different varieties of steak, including Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Ribeye a La Plancha, and Fresh Carved Prime Rib. They also have Tataki Glazed Salmon, Chicken Mushroom Marsala, Miso Mahi-Mahi Mahi, and Pasta Limón.

They also have a decent plant-based menu that includes Cauliflower Wings, Sesame Seared Tofu Bowl, Tempura Vegetables, Roasted Beet Salad, and a Cauliflower Sweet Potato Soup.

If you want the ultimate shareable meal, try the 40oz Flintstone Tomahawk: 40 oz USDA Prime paired with chimichurri, peppercorn sauce, traditional mashed potatoes, caesar salads, daily vegetables, and maitre d’hotel butter.

Don’t forget to save room for dessert – the Belgian Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Pistachio Cake are amazing!

Location

Charcoal Steak House is located at 2980 King Street East in Kitchener. There is lots of parking available in their lot. Reservations are recommended.

 

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Lancaster Smokehouse

If you haven’t had enough meat, then head over to the Lancaster Smokehouse in Kitchener. This is one of my favourite places to get me some good ‘ole Southern barbecue.

You can get an assortment of meats cooked low and slow on hickory hardwood. The menu includes ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken wings and thighs, and andouille sausage. The meats are mouth-watering!

They also feature classic Cajun dishes like Jambalaya and Gumbo, and Nashville Hot Chicken (fried chicken dipped in spicy oil) served up with cornbread and pickles. Extra yum!

But at Lancaster, it’s not just about the meats. Best to grab a takeout container so you have room for dessert because the Lanc’s Mississippi Mud Pie is fantastic!

Location

The Lancaster Smokehouse is located at 574 Lancaster Street West in Kitchener. Lots of parking is available in their lot. Reservations are highly recommended for groups with more than 6 guests.

Thirteen Food & Beverage

Don’t forget to make Cambridge part of your food and drink tour, because you definitely don’t want to miss Thirteen Food & Beverage on the Grand River.

They have a slammin’ drinks menu that includes personal faves like Kentucky Mule, Classic Caesar, Amaretto Sour, and the Bourbon Apple Cider.

For eats, you can’t go wrong with any one of their burgers or sammies. Try the Dirty Burger: chipotle mayo, jalapeño, onion ring, Havarti cheese, lettuce and tomato, served with fries.

In the mood for Detroit Pan Pizza? You’re in the right place! Meat Lovers, Chicken Pesto, Pickle Pizza, Summer Veg & Goat Cheese, and a classic Pepperoni and Cheese.

They also have a tasty Poutine, which you can get traditional (fresh cut fries, curds, gravy) or Nashville Hot Chicken style (with fried chicken, Nashville hot sauce, and a ranch drizzle).

Location

Thirteen Food & Beverage is located at 13 Main Street in Cambridge. There is a paid parking lot just south of the restaurant.

Blackshop Restaurant & Wine Bar

A Cambridge landmark, Blackshop Restaurant & Wine Bar is a great place for comfort food in a casual, yet elegant setting. They also have a great patio if you prefer to dine al fresco.

They have an extensive weekend brunch menu, including a Smoked Salmon Benedict, and Fried Chicken and Waffles.

To get your dinner started with a bang, go for the Scallops appetizer: celeriac and parsnip puree, pickled apple, bacon, and sorrel. If you are looking for a shareable appetizer, the Charcuterie Board is a great choice: cured meat, artisan cheese, and accompaniments.

For your main course, I highly recommend the Grilled Nagano Pork Tomahawk: Prosciutto, Brussel sprouts, roasted fingerling potatoes, shallot and baby spinach hash, honey mustard glaze, served with vanilla and apple puree. It’s a work of art!

Another great choice is the Blackshop Schnitzel: Black forest ham, smoked provolone, fingerling potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and Dijon Cream. So good!

Location

Blackshop Restaurant & Wine Bar is located at 595 Hespeler Road in Cambridge. Free parking is available in their large parking lot.

Dine Your Way Through Waterloo Region

This list is just some of my favourites, and should help keep you filled with great eats while you’re visiting the sights in Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, and the surrounding countryside communities. Let us know if you visit any of these awesome establishments, and how your culinary tour went!

Cheers,
Big Daddy

If you are a PR agency or brand and would like me to review a travel destination, vehicle, restaurant, product or service, please send me an email.


Craig Silva

Craig is a husband, a father, team leader, travel and food writer, senior youth group coordinator, designer, brander, community builder, volunteer, and social media strategist. Craig likes to travel, go camping, go on road trips, watch movies, build stuff, operate the grill, and sing with his band. Craig is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada. In June 2017, PR firm Cision identified Craig as one of Canada’s top 10 most popular male bloggers in the parents and family space.

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