Oshawa may not be particularly well known for its restaurant scene, but an increasing number of places in this Toronto suburb are rising to the demands of local foodies. From old favorites, to new independent restaurants, here are the best 10 places to try.
Spicy Affairs Indian Cuisine is a family-owned restaurant that specializes in contemporary Indian cuisine. The menu features a selection of tandoori breads, rice, soup, and curries made with chicken, lamb, beef, seafood or veggies. Go for the Gosht Saag, a meat curry made with fresh spinach and a special blend of spices. The meat is halal, there are plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans, and the staff are happy to accommodate substitution requests. Almost always crowded with customers, the interior is decorated with atmospheric Indian artwork. Prices are reasonable and service is quick and friendly.
Known for its delicious gluten-free dishes, Cocoa & Joe offers a light menu of baked goods, soups, bagels, and sandwiches, along with organic juices and smoothies. Dishes include a spicy avocado and tomato sandwich served on Redman’s gluten-free bread; and roasted red pepper and black bean soup. Owner Sharon Jones studied nutrition for more than 30 years before opening the cafe in response to the city’s growing demand for tasty, gluten-free food. The majority of the menu is gluten-free, and many dishes are also suitable for vegans and diabetics. The cafe also has a liquor license, attracting customers in the evening with live music and exhibitions by local artists.
Operated by the same family since 1958, Rainbow Family Restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Canada’sDurham Region. The decor is appropriately retro, with dark wood paneling, an open kitchen, and counter seating on spinning stools. Portions are large and the prices have barely raised in decades. It’s not uncommon to see a line-up out the door on weekends, with customers willing to wait in order to enjoy the restaurant’s big breakfast of fresh eggs, pancakes, house-made peameal bacon, farmer’s sausage and home fries.
Fazio’s Restaurant & Wine Experience is a favorite of those seeking an upscale yet unpretentious fine dining experience. The restaurant’s atmosphere is inspired by the owner’s childhood memoirs of family dinners in his Sicilian hometown. An Oshawa mainstay for more than 30 years, the menu includes pastas and a variety of other Italian classics. However, fine cuts of beef are the restaurant’s specialty. Fazio’s also offers an exceptional selection of wines, with more than 15,000 bottles housed in the on-site wine cellar. Guests seeking a particularly intimate dining experience even have the option of dining in this cosy cellar.
Teddy’s Restaurant & Deli is an Oshawa institution, regularly attracting line-ups during lunch and dinner hour. The interior is homely and old-fashioned with Toronto Maple Leafs memorabilia, kitschy curios, and comfortable booths. The menu features large portions of classic comfort food, including thick deli sandwiches, burgers, and breakfast specials, as well as chicken and beef dishes. Meat lovers should go for the ‘Teddy’s Mixed Grill’, a platter of 7oz New York steak, 7oz burger, 4oz chicken breast, peameal bacon and fried mushrooms. With kid-friendly menus and coloring pages, the restaurant is a popular spot for families.
Berry Hill Food Company serves up a menu of made-from-scratch salads, soups, pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches, including plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Expect fresh, creative yet simple dishes, such as sweet chili sesame crusted salmon on a baby spinach salad with crispy noodles and a sweet ginger-balsamic dressing. The cafe’s serene patio, which has been voted the best in Durham, is a pleasant place to dine in the warmer months, shaded by a large maple tree in the center. Alternatively, you can grab some healthy take-away dishes to enjoy at home.
As the name suggests, Viva Burritos specializes in hearty burritos. Customers choose chicken, steak, veggie, or chorizo filling; and then select a variety of fresh toppings to add, including homemade cilantro sauce. Mexican-native owner Jesus Pena is a vegetarian, and always willing to accommodate the needs of other vegetarians and vegans. Aside from burritos, the menu includes tacos, quesadillas, and other Mexican favorites. Although the burritos are an excellent takeaway option for a quick lunch, this laid-back restaurant also offers a small seating area with large windows overlooking Centre Street.
Cyrus Persian Restaurant serves up traditional Persian food, prepared by Iranian owners Cyrus and Denene Amini. The restaurant’s shawarma is particularly popular. Also offered on the menu are a variety of meat dishes served alongside fresh salad, basmati rice, and Persian tea. The meat is halal, and the dishes emphasize the classic herbs of Persian cuisine like saffron and parsley. The restaurant’s decor is mainly composed of furnishings gathering by the owners on trips back to Iran. Outside, there’s a pleasant patio out front where diners can enjoy their meal in the summer, or even smoke hookah.
The Table emphasizes made-from-scratch, hyper-local foods, with many of the ingredients sourced from owner Carol Cavallari’s own garden. The menu is primarily vegetarian, offering a diverse mix of soups, salads, sandwiches, quiches, and crepes. Expect crepes filled with eggs, pesto, roasted tomatoes and old cheddar; and veggie-based burgers like portebello and black bean, or quinoa and cashew. The restaurant’s main seating area is a long central table, composed of a number of smaller tables pushed together. There are also comfortable chairs separate from this main table for those who prefer a little more privacy.
Chef Tommy’s is touted as serving up some of the region’s most authentic Greek cuisine. The menu includes souvlaki filled pork, chicken, lamb, or beef; as well as a variety of traditional Greek dinners served with pita, oven-roasted veggies, rice, roast potatoes, and a choice of Greek salad or soup. The home-style dishes are prepared in-house with fresh herbs and organic veggies. Owned by Greek-native Chef Tommy and his wife, the restaurant’s interior is warm and welcoming, with traditional Greek music setting the tone.