Cambridge, Ontario, is conveniently located just minutes from several major cities and US border crossings, but that isn’t all the city has to offer. Cambridge is a modern city that maintains a small-town feel, and local restaurateurs and businesses work together to keep the city thriving. Visit these ten great restaurants next time you’re in town.
Restaurant, Canadian, $$$
Located in a beautifully restored 19th-century mill with stunning river views, Cambridge Mill serves classic Canadian dishes with a modern flair. The restaurant’s stone walls make the dining area feel warm even with the large glass windows there to give panoramic views of the water. The chefs use high-quality, farm-to-table ingredients to create excellent dishes. For lunch, try one of the wood-oven pizzas or gourmet burgers. The dinner menu is full of craft-cut steaks, fish dishes, and more.
Enjoy some of the most authentic Indian cuisine in the area at Grain of Salt. The lunch portions are generous and reasonably priced, and each dish is filled with traditional spices and flavors and made with quality ingredients. The food is consistently great, and the service is helpful and welcoming. Try the restaurant’s special chicken chaat, sliced grilled chicken in a special masala with a hint of mango, with an order of garlic naan for an unforgettable meal. The spice level is taken seriously here, so take care when ordering your dish.
Visit Little Louie’s Burger Joint & Soupery for excellent burgers and homemade soups. With changing specials like the Piggy Back, a beef patty stuffed with bacon wrapped water chestnuts and topped with garlic buttered mushrooms, lettuce, roasted peppers, and spicy ‘sambal oelek’ teriyaki sauce. The gourmet burgers are plump and juicy, and the retro atmosphere of the small restaurant is reminiscent of a hole-in-the-wall diner. Step into this burger joint for a great, fun meal.
Blackshop is well-known to Cambridge’s locals. The restuarant specializes in both classic and imaginative European dishes, made with high-quality ingredients and served in a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere. The menu has plenty of vegetarian dishes in addition to fresh fish and meat. For dinner, try the gnocchi made with caramelized onions, black olives, leeks, and goat cheese or the roasted rack of Australian lamb made with a Dijon and herb crust and served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and Madeira jus.
Café 13 Main Street Grill is located on the Grand River in downtown Cambridge. The interior is cozy, with the feel of an old-fashioned pub. Order a burger, salad, or meat entrée for lunch or dinner. Try the oven-baked salmon, topped with Hollandaise sauce and served on a bed of quinoa and collard greens and bacon; the smoked Ontario pork chop grilled and brushed with craft beer and maple glaze; or the daily special pasta. The dishes change by the season to accommodate the freshest vegetables. The bar has a large selection of craft beers.
An excellent choice for Indian cuisine is Mango Chutney, a restaurant that opened in 2010 to provide healthy, fresh food options with a small, ever-changing menu. The chefs like to experiment with their curries while using the least amount of oil and salt and avoiding heavy creams. The cuisine is authentic but imaginative, with options for non-vegetarian, vegetarian, or vegan meals. Mango Chutney also has a food truck, which evokes the traditional street-food sold in India. Find the food truck’s current location on Facebook or Twitter.
Grab a quick lunch or a snack at this food stand that specializes in gourmet hot dogs. Order a glass of cool and refreshing lemonade, a side dish of loaded fries, and try to decide on just one or two savory hot dogs. Options for toppings include chili and cheese, sauerkraut, blue cheese, and much more. LA Franks is also a great spot to enjoy a milkshake, ice cream, or poutine, a classic Canadian dish. This restaurant is located in a park that runs along the river and is open seasonally, so check the website for the summer dates.
For excellent smoked meats, visit Q BBQ, the first smokehouse barbecue in Cambridge. This restaurant creates truly authentic BBQ by smoking its meats low and slow on apple wood and hickory for the best flavor and juicy bite. Try the St. Louis side ribs, the Texas beef brisket, or the pulled pork platter to taste some of the restaurant’s finest offerings. Q BBQ also offers authentically Southern side dishes like cornbread, beans, or coleslaw. The menu is extensive and will have something for every meat lover.
Old Marina Restaurant and Gift House serves home-style food from a cottage with a view of the Puslinch Lake. You’ve got to try the restaurant’s famous Puslinch Burger, a patty topped with bacon and a two-cheese blend, melted over the top of the burger and grilled until it forms a crust which flares out like a crispy, cheesy halo. Other food options include Old Marina Restaurant meatloaf, steak, or seafood dishes like fish and chips or maple-baked salmon. This scenic restaurant is open for lunch and dinner year round.