Thank goodness we no longer have to hunt for our food, I don’t even know where tacos live.
The only thing I like more than talking about food, is eating food. I never want to look back on my life and think “I could have eaten that!”. Luckily for me, Collingwood is great place for outstanding dining options. Even better, many of the restaurants participate in the 100-mile rule (which means all ingredients are sourced within 100 miles of the area).
For me it is hard to pick the BEST place to eat because there are so many choices. I thought it would be better if I broke my choices down by categories.
The most important meal of the day
Breakfast is clutch. Your day can really get off on the wrong foot by eating something bland and blah. There are two outstanding places that are on my roster for the best breakfast in town. First, The Pottery Restaurant at Blue Mountain has the best breakfast buffet EVER. You can get eggs benedict, French toast, fresh fruit, hash browns, bacon, sausage and yogurt parfaits (why someone would ever get that when there is Eggs Benedict is beyond me). Those are just a few of the mouth-watering delights they offer. The great thing about the pottery is you can also have a plated breakfast, so if you’re feeling like a greasy spoon without the greasy atmosphere, they have you covered. If you’d like something a little fancier, they have that too. My ‘treat yourself‘ breakfast is either Eggs Benedict or the Belgian waffles, because calories don’t count on weekends!
Honorable Mention: The Tremont Café. I prefer to indulge there for a Sunday brunch. Their mimosas are 10/10 – the key factor is the fresh squeezed juice. They always have fresh squeezed orange juice, but often have a fresh grapefruit as well, which is a nice spin on the traditional bubbly beverage. They offer more of a gourmet breakfast and everything has a unique twist, like the mushroom benedict that is served on a crispy polenta rosti.
As the wise Fred Penner once said – “Sandwiches are beautiful, sandwiches are fine -I like sandwiches, I eat them all the time!”
The Ravenna Country Market makes the BEST sandwiches, hands down. I will fight anyone who disagrees. Freshly made hot deli sandwiches are prepared as you wait. Pair one of them with a cup of soup and you’ll probably never want to eat a sandwich anywhere else. I remember the first time I took a bite. It was as if the sky opened up to let the sun shine down on me and at that moment, I understood what true happiness was. As a bonus, you’ll want to pick up a butter tart as a treat for the ride home.
Honorable Mention: Prefer a smaller, cozier spot? Then make sure to visit The Curly Willow, Collingwood’s hidden gem! It has delicious lunch specials every weekday, prepared deliciously and served gracefully. The black bean and veggie burger is a must in my books, which is saying a lot as I never pick the veggie option. It has so much flavor, I am not sure I’d ever venture away from this option. I’ve also been told the Lobster Grilled Cheese is 💯💯. With only ten tables inside and 6 outside, it’s best to make reservations so you can guarantee your spot in this unique and charming locally owned restaurant.
Carbs make everyone happy
There is a reason why every big dinner scene in movie history centres around a giant Italian meal – because carbs make everyone happy. Tesoro Restaurant is always 10 out of 10, “would recommend again” in my books. I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad meal there and often leave with the top button of my pants unbuttoned (NO SHAME PEOPLE!) That only happened the first two times I ate there. I soon realized that wearing non- stretch pants to dinner at Tesoro is a rookie mistake. I adore their classic spaghetti with meatballs but have dabbled in most of their pasta dishes and always left happy. They also have fantastic fresh seafood and fish options that my fellow feasters rave about, but I am a strictly “Fish are friends, not food” type of person.
Honorable Mention: Prepare to teleport to Italy without leaving Collingwood. Yes you read that correctly because you can visit Brunello for dinner. The enchanting house provides the perfect atmosphere for an authentic Italian trattoria. The service is outstanding, and the food is out of this world delicious! To give it a final magic touch, ask for a glass of limoncello. Trust me, you will not regret it 😉
For those of you who are looking for a healthy but mouthwatering option, Sol Kitchen is the place to be. Right at the heart of Collingwood’s downtown area, it has a large and modern environment, filled with joyful and colorful pictures from local artists. This restaurant can fill both your belly and your sol. The menu is filled with all local and organic food, prepared fresh for every dish. It gives you a feeling of eating right out of your own garden, but with the help of a professional chef’s hand. All of your yogi, vegan, natural loving friends will have some serious FOMO for not joining you here.
Honorable Mention: Press Juice Co. Don’t be fooled by the name, they do a whole lot more than juices. Their organic and vegan wraps and salad/bowls are unreal. My personal favourite is the pressed grilled cheese. The cheese is so sharp and the fresh bread they serve it on is made of pure happiness and joy. I never leave without a getting little treat from Bad Vegan, which supplies all the treats at Press Juice Co. I had zero clue that the chocolate peanut butter cupcake I inhaled was vegan, as all I tasted was deliciousness.
Nacho Nacho Man! I want to be a Nacho Man!
Grab your bros (or your gals) and head to Jozo’s Original Après for nachos, wings and beer! There was one tragic summer where they removed their famous nachos from the menu and I almost flipped a table in outrage. I don’t know what makes their nachos so great, but it could be the layers upon layers of chips, cheeses and toppings. One order can seriously feed a party of 6! I have seen many a person try to eat a single order themselves and leave in defeat. Jozo’s wings are always saucy and they let you mix and match your flavours. And the beer – well it’s ALWAYS served up ice cold. The icing on the cake is the serious Cheers vibe where “everybody knows your name”. Carolyn and crew know how to treat their customers.
Honorable Mention: For cold beer and great shareables, check out Northwinds Brewhouse. All their beers are made in house and I believe that if everyone consumed the beer pretzels, the world would be a happier place. The menu changes with the seasons so that fresh ingredients can be continually sourced from the local area.
Can you feel the love tonight?
Looking to set the mood for date night? The Cabin Bistro offers the perfect atmosphere to delight your senses in a cozy environment. It’s located on Collingwood’s main street and while the restaurant looks tiny in size, it is big in flavour! With an open kitchen concept, you can watch as the chef prepares your meal with care and technique worthy of the Iron Chef title. You don’t want to miss out on this experience!
Honorable Mention: C&A Steakhouse. The steakhouse atmosphere is a perfect place to wine and dine your special someone. They have an outstanding wine list to choose from and their Canadian AAA Steaks can be cut with a butter knife as they are so tender. My choice is the filet mignon.
Get in my belly, I want my baby back baby back ribs!
Mr. Oliver and Bonacini know a thing or two about flavour sensations. I always thought ribs should come from some sort of steak house or Texas branded place but to my surprise O & B Café Grill at Blue Mountain is the hands down winner with their baby back pork ribs. They are served with all the fixings you could ever want, with home-made coleslaw, baked beans and cornbread on the side. I think the “difference maker” here is that everything is made from scratch in-house, right down to smoking the meat on their patio smoker year-round. The BBQ sauce is sweet and tangy and compliments the meat to perfection. It is a true full rack which guarantees big bang for your buck – leftovers anyone?
Honorable Mention: The Smoke. This is the kind of place where you’d expect great ribs. Everything is smoked in house and you can choose your flavour out of their five signature sauces. The portions are MASSIVE, and everything comes with multiple sides that you pick. You can tickle all your taste buds from savoury to sweet with one meal.
Sip, Sip, Hurray!
Let’s be honest, a liquid meal needs to be included in this menu. If it’s cocktails you’re after, Twist Martini Bar is the go-to place. They have a menu of over 100 martinis, cocktails and wines combined. My personal favourite is the Mountain Blast cocktail, as it’s refreshing without being too sweet. The inside has been renovated with a cool speakeasy vibe. Grab your girlfriends and head there for some classy cocktails.
Honorable Mention: Bruce Wine Bar. Wine, Cheeses, Pizzas Oh My! Bruce Wine Bar has the biggest wine list I have ever seen and by far some of the best charcuterie boards that compliment said wine for a flavor infusion.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
Listen up people! I take ice cream VERY SERIOUSLY! It is not something to joke around with, so when the Grand Central Lodge brought in a new line of ice cream, I was first in line with our official taste testers to make sure it passed the grade. McFadden’s Gourmet ice cream is honestly the BEST ice cream I have ever tasted in my entire life.
Big claim right? Their flavours well surpass your basic vanilla scoops. The strawberry ice cream has actual chunks of strawberry! I have also taken a gamble on the coconut flavour, as it was getting some serious buzz. Upon the first taste, I was transported to a better place. It felt like I was eating what a vacation feels like. Their cookies and cream contains giant chunks of Oreo cookies and their peanut butter and chocolate royal puts Reese’s to shame. If you do one thing this summer, try McFadden’s Gourmet Ice Cream.
Honorable Mention: The Collingwood Sweet Shop. Why do you ask? Because they also serve McFadden’s Ice Cream. Just try it, ok!
Pizza is the best friend anyone could have. It’s there when you move, at every important birthday party, it comforts you in the bad times and improves any Friday work party!
It is no surprise that the best pizza in town comes from a food truck, since they have become all the rage. SoCo Catering and Food truck serves up some serious ‘za. In the summer months, their food truck is located on the Collingwood Pier, so as a bonus you can enjoy delicious pizza by the beautiful waterfront. Their wood oven pizzas are served with the freshest ingredients and have a gourmet twist on the classics. Get yourself a SoCo pizza STAT!
Honorable Mention: Firehall Pizza Co. Great selection, great taste, great price! All the key factors in making a great pizza. Added bonus: they have a fantastic location that overlooks the hustle and bustle of the Blue Mountain Village Plaza on one side and the quiet and peaceful Millpond on the other
In other words – Collingwood is loaded with outstanding restaurants that cross many cuisines. For someone who doesn’t eat anything from the ocean, I am sure I have missed some key restaurants with some pretty fantastic dishes. One thing is for sure – you won’t leave Collingwood and surrounding area hungry.