The beautiful district of Muskoka, Ontario is home to nearly 1,600 lakes, and is a short two-hour drive from Canada’s
largest city, Toronto. Its proximity to the city and picturesque landscapes make Muskoka an extremely popular destination for tourists and cottagers alike. It has flourished into a haven of country clubs, golf courses, lakeside resorts, and excellent dining experiences. Here’s our guide to 10 of the best restaurants in Muskoka.
Restaurant, French, Canadian, Italian, $$$
Loondocks has a spacious waterfront patio overlooking the Indian River, and a chef committed to providing local cuisine with unique flair, making this casual fine-dining venue the perfect place for an evening out. Its eclectic menu offers a unique blend of French, Canadian and Italian items, and a spectacular collection of house-made desserts. Chef and owner Kevin Dynstee suggests the venison tartar, accompanied by wild Muskoka leeks, poached quail egg, prosciutto and taro root. Loondocks also boasts a diverse wine list that offers well-priced bottles from Canada and abroad. Be sure to make a reservation as this restaurant is very popular.
Loondocks, 98 Joseph St, Port Carling, ON, Canada, +1 705 765 5191
Set up in a rustic, re-purposed church on the lakeside, Abbey’s Bakehouse is a not only a great place to grab a pastry, but also a visual and historical wonder. Set in a 19th century church the bakery offers time-tested favorites like butter tarts, cinnamon buns and chocolate chip cookies, it also offers savory breakfasts and sandwiches as well as an excellent collection of teas, coffees and other beverages. Abbey’s Bakehouse is a great way to start your morning, especially if you have a use for the slips it offers for locals to dock their jet skis. It’s also a short walk away from both the JW Marriott and Cleveland’s House Resort.
Abbey’s Bakehouse, Huddhaven Road, Minett, ON, Canada, +1 705 765 7603
One Fifty Five
Although its quaint red-bricked exterior and charming window planters are rather unassuming impression, don’t let its down-to-earth appearance fool you; One Fifty Five has been voted the ‘Best Fine Dining in Muskoka.’ Not only is it an award-winning restaurant, but also a well-established catering service that often provides food for weddings and parties. Its menu consists of locally sourced, crafted and seasonal dishes with a European flair that’s sure to impress all those who decide to stop by. Try the crispy panko-crusted goat’s cheese and herb-roasted crostini which comes highly recommended by the locals.
One Fifty Five, 155 Manitoba St, Bracebridge, ON, Canada, +1 705 645 1935
That Little Place by the Lights
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
That Little Place by the Lights
That Little Place by the Lights, which has appeared on The Food Network, is famous for its lasagne, gnocchi and pizza. Staying true to its tagline, ‘with a taste of Italy,’ this small restaurant in Huntsville serves traditional Italian delicacies in a friendly and comfortable environment. Chef Annie’s mantra is ‘you cook with your heart’, and it shows in the quality of food served here. While this quintessential family restaurant specializes in pastas and pizzas, be sure to try some of their homemade gelato which is adored by many of the locals. Arrange a reservation for any party bigger than four, as there’s limited space available.
That Little Place by the Lights, 76 Main St. E, Huntsville, ON, Canada, +1 705 789 2536
Spencer’s Tall Trees
Restaurant, European, Thai, $$$
Spencer’s Tall Trees
Although a multi-award-winning wine list is by no means the only reason to visit Spencer’s Tall Trees, it certainly helps. This restaurant, set in a century-old house overlooking Hunter’s Bay, also offers a relaxed dining experience that prides itself on its spectacular service and diverse menu. Whether you feel like steak, poutine, escargot or even Thai food, Spencer’s Tall Trees has a little bit of everything. Also widely acclaimed for his three-course table d’hôte, chef and owner Randy Spencer is a culinary genius with a talent for creating memorable and unique meals that attract a loyal band of regulars.
Spencer’s Tall Trees, 87 Main St. W, Huntsville, ON, Canada, +1 705 789 9769
Barlett Lodge Dining Room
Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, Canadian
Barlett Lodge Dining Room
The Bartlett Lodge restaurant is known for its locally sourced food and impeccable service in the heart of Algonquin Provincial Park – Canada’s oldest provincial park. This experience begins at a pick-up point on Cache Lake where you are transported to the lodge by a motorized canoe or solar-powered pontoon boat, depending on the weather. The rustic dining room, which uses woods indigenous to the area, offers an excellent view of the lake and park. Dinner here is a five-course, prix fixe meal, prepared by executive chef David Fortune. Fortune prefers to use herbs from the Bartlett Lodge garden and fish from the lake, giving his food a distinctive freshness and local taste. Although the Bartlett Lodge dining room does not have a liquor license, guests are welcome to bring their own wine bottles for the staff to uncork free of charge.
Bartlett Lodge, Huntsville, ON, Canada, +1 705 633 5543
Bistro, Diner, Restaurant, Canadian, Vegetarian, $$$
Winner of the Open Table ‘Diner’s Choice Award,’ The Norsemen is an excellent place to experience some of that ‘Old Muskoka’ charm. Built in 1970 as part of the Walker Lake Resort, The Norsemen is the result of a partnership between two Scandinavian families. Offering dinner on its screened patio overlooking the lake or in its historic lodge equipped with stone fireplaces and wood-beamed ceilings, either experience is sure to be unforgettable. This bistro is a carnivore’s paradise specializing in steak, seafood and game meats, including duck, venison and bison.
Norsemen Restaurant, 1040 Walker Lake Dr, Huntsville, ON, Canada, +1 705 635 2473
Bistro, Deli, Restaurant, Canadian
R & L’s Bistro is a family-run business in Bracebridge, Muskoka. Founded in 1992 by father and son Leo and Rick Peltomacki, it was originally a low-key bistro serving fresh pasta dishes and a selection of imported cheese and deli meats. Now, still family-run, the restaurant offers an impressive, extensive and well-priced menu. With its elegant and tasteful decor, relaxing ambience, large windows and renowned eggs Benedict, this restaurant is the perfect place for a Sunday morning brunch.
R&L’s Bistro, 193 Manitoba St, Bracebridge, ON, Canada, +1 705 646 2237
No trip to the Muskoka area is complete without a stop at the Crossroads Restaurant overlooking Lake Rosseau. Their philosophy is ‘Pure, Simple and Delicious’, and the seasonal menus reflect the availability of ingredients. This commitment to providing fresh and local food also prompted them to keep customers updated with menu changes and new offers through their e-newsletter. This location is the perfect summer destination to enjoy a refreshing gourmet cocktail or craft beer on the patio while listening to great live music.
Crossroads Restaurant, 2 Cardwell Rd, Rosseau, ON, Canada, +1 705 732 4343
Deli, Restaurant, Salad Bar
Rated the best restaurant in Gravenhurst, Well-fed Inc. offers a unique style of dining. This restaurant specializes in comfort foods which is made obvious by their menu of classics like shepherd’s pie, homemade soups, meat pies, baked mac & cheese and homemade desserts like cookies, tarts, pies, and muffins. While they do have inside and outside seating, one of their most popular options is the ‘build your own boxed lunch’ for takeaway. This option consists of a deli-style sandwich, a choice between salad or root vegetable chips, as well as some fruit or vegetables on the side. These on-the-go lunches are the perfect choice for picnic-goers and you can even claim a free cookie if you re-use your box!
Well-fed Inc., 150 Hotchkiss St, Gravenhurst, ON, Canada, +1 705 684 9355