Food

Some may say Kingston is the craft beer capital in Canada. It’s easy to make that claim when we have 9 breweries in the city. From classic downtown hangouts to new west-end gems, read on to find out the tasty sips we have to offer.

 

1. Stone City Ales

275 Princess Street

This is a place with a definite vibe – there’s lots of natural light along with exposed brick, metal, blackboard menus, and the impressive glassed-in, gleaming stainless-steel brewery. When owner Ron Shore opened the place in August 2014, he was interested in the local food movement, so in addition to craft beers, the menu at Stone City Ales is dedicated to local ingredients.

What to try: OK.NO is a super refreshing, crisp unfiltered Czech Pils. Very drinkable and a perfect patio beer. Pair it with their new Spicy Chicken Sandwich and you’ll be set for the summer.


2. Riverhead Brewing Company

631 Fortune Crescent, Unit 10

The brews available at Riverhead walk the line between traditional and adventurous, with varieties that offer something for everyone’s palate. Seasonal brews round out Riverhead’s offerings, often echoing the local climate as well as the time of the year. The restaurant side is as thoughtfully curated as their beer selections, with every aspect of the eatery reflecting the company slogan, “Adventurously Brewed”.

What to try: the London Porter; based on a 200-year-old recipe found within the pages of a historical document. Pair it with the Old Fashioned Kettle chips with chipotle dipping sauce for a classic pub snack.


3. Spearhead Brewing Company

675 Development Drive

Founded in 2011, Spearhead’s mantra is “Beer without Boundaries” and it’s definitely reflected with their mainstay brews including a Moroccan Brown Ale, Bedrock Lager, Lighter Lager, and a Hawaiian Style Pale Ale. During the year, they play host to tons of events like Comedy Fest, Oyster Fest, Bacon Fest, open mic nights, and art battles. Stop by their recently opened patio for some summer sips with friends.

What to try: the Hawaiian Style Pale Ale; as the name suggests, this bold, hoppy West Coast pale ale is brewed Hawaiian style – with pineapple. It’s naturally carbonated, unfiltered and dry-hopped to provide a delicate carbonation and complex flavour.


4. Santur Brewing Inc.

177 Princess Street

Santur Brewing is the newest kid on the block – an Iberian influenced gastropub with beers brewed on-site. Located in Downtown Kingston on Princess Street, you can expect an animated scene with live music filling the space. Glass fixtures, warm wood features, and an ornate ceiling reflect the delicious food completely.

What to try: the flight of 4 beers for $9. Pair it with the Pulled Pork Tacos braised in Rauchbier and fresh slaw on grilled warm taco shells.



5. Kingston Brewing Company

34 Clarence Street

Housed in an 1800s telegraph office, this place is packed to the rafters with assorted beer memorabilia. It’s best known for its beer, its laid back vibe and the gorgeous, private patio in the old carriageway beside the pub. Established in 1986, the Kingston Brewing Company is Ontario’s oldest brew pub and Canada’s oldest wine-producing pub. The food is pub standard with unique twists and beer used in many of the recipes.

What to try: The Whitetail Cream Ale; golden in colour using malts and hops to make it a clean, crisp, full-bodied ale. Pair it with the KBC Royale with Cheese – a 6oz beef burger with bacon, American cheese, Royale Sauce, lettuce, onions and pickles.



6. King’s Town Beer Company

3-675 Arlington Park Place

Inspired by the beautiful, historic Limestone city and the innovative culture that thrives within it, King’s Town is home to a remarkable, wood-polished tasting bar, 50-year-old reconstructed pews, and bottle shop glowing with natural light. It’s conveniently located in the west-end; you can expect events including Friday Music Nights, Wednesday Happy Hours, and $10 Growler Tuesdays.

What to try: the Third Crossing Series Golden IPA. Made with their signature GPA, Amarillo and Citra Hops, this IPA has a wonderful citrus-peach flavour and is a tribute to a long-time Kingston project.



7. Skeleton Park Brewery

Available on-tap at select locations and LCBO’s

Skeleton Park Brewery’s owner and brewmaster comes from a family of brewers and bootleggers that goes back three generations. The current generation of brothers have over 45 years of brewing experience. The name and playful dog logo pays homage and brings together the past and the future of Kingston’s Skelton Park. Their brews are based on tradition and reflect Canadian history.

What to try: the Amber 6.6; a well-balanced European-style amber ale. Reminiscent of our time as an early nation, this style of big bodied, high ABV ale was popular among the hard-working men and women who helped Canada become what it is today.



8. MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Company

Available on-tap at select locations and LCBO’s

Just down the road in historic Bath, the MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Company conduct tastings and beer sales on the 1400 acre farm which has been in the family since 1784. Brothers Ivan and Daniel renovated century old barns to house the equipment and planted hops and malting barley in the surrounding fields. The character and history of the place shines through in every glass. In the summer, they host the popular festival Back to the Farm; a day long celebration with beer, food trucks, and live music!

What to try: The Red Fox Summer Ale; an easy drinking ale with a distinct colour and flavour from the addition of beets. Citra hops deliver a foxy, citrus bitterness.



Stay Tuned: Daft Brewing

768 Princess Street

Opening Spring(ish) 2019, the Daft Brewing team started this project with the hope of creating something great – transforming an old car garage into a West-coast style tap room/brewery. Its mission is to create an ever-changing array of beer, maintain a steady stream of collaborations, and to showcase a tap featuring the best beer that Kingston’s homebrew club, Kingston Area Brewers of Beer, has to offer.

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Food

It’s thought that Kingston has the most restaurants per capita than anywhere else in Canada, and whether that’s true or not, anyone who’s been hungry here can at least agree that K-town is packed with delicious eats no matter what your taste. There are over 100 eateries within a nine-block area of downtown alone, and when you get out of downtown that number grows exponentially.

The only problem, of course, is which restaurant to choose. To help narrow it down, I tracked down three chefs who know this city’s restos well: Marc Halverson, the Executive Chef at Woodenheads; Clark Day, Executive Chef at Bayview Farms Restaurant; and James Atkinson, a cook at Atomica. Here are their current faves, and details about a few recent food experiences that knocked their socks off.

 

Marc Halverson, Woodenheads


Q: What are your go-to restaurants right now, Marc?

I have a couple of favourites. I go to Casa quite often because it’s just always good. It’s fine food, it’s really good and it’s friendly. I order different stuff all the time there because I like the adventure; they have a great range every time I go in. I like Curry Original quite a bit as well. I always mix it up when I go there, too, and I’m always with different people there, so I’m willing to check out a lot of different dishes.


Q: Have you had a recent rest restaurant experience that still sticks out in your mind?

I had a great experience at Days on Front not that long ago. I took my family, and I know Matt Day, so we went there and he looked after us real good. I had the short ribs, and they were just delicious.

 

Clark Day, Bayview Farms


Q: What are a few of your favourite restaurants?

East Side Village, a Chinese place is one which is just amazing. The spicy mango vegetable dish there is one of my favourites for sure. Days on Front is another favourite, of course. For pizza, I like Atomica, and I move around with my pizzas there. I like Tango Nuevo as well; it’s just great.

Q: Did you have any restaurant experiences over the holidays that really wowed you?

Yes. Before Christmas, we did a thing at East Side Village, where we had a great blow out, a big meal with the family. There were some great choices, and there’s so much available there. The owners are Vietnamese and Cambodian, I believe, so you have all kinds of different influences, and we had a really great time there.

 

 

James Atkinson, Atomica


Q: What are you favourite Kingston restaurants?

It’s pretty variable actually. Dianne’s is one of my favourite places to go to, and I’m a huge Thai and Cambodian, and Royal Angkor is my go-to. Their Pad Thai is great. For Italian, I’d have to say right here at Atomica.

Q: Have you had any memorable meals or dishes recently at a Kingston restaurant?

I’d have to say a recent one was at Dianne’s, where I had their tequila shrimp appetizer. It’s a pretty standard go-to dish for me. It’s like a spicy tequila Pomodoro sauce with blue tiger shrimp that are sautéed and brought out to you on a skillet. That’s the one that sticks out for me.

 

 
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Food

The best part of being a foodie in Kingston is the access to independently owned restaurants that prepare thoughtfully curated dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

Being close to an abundance of rural land gives our community easy access to farmers. The philosophy of eating fresh and local seems trendy, but Kingston chefs have been relying on local farmers since before Netflix foodie documentaries like Chef’s Table.

Burger night at Bella BistroBurger night at Bella Bistro

I take a seat on the patio of local hotspot Juniper Cafe to have a chat about local food with Bella Bistro co-owner Kevin Lapeer. If anyone knows the importance of the farm-to-table movement – it’s him. Lapeer and his colleague Paul Muller do everything they can to support local farmers, featuring their produce and proteins in a long list of specials, daily.

And there’s no better place to discuss eating local than at Juniper where owners Amber Thom and Jamie Hodges provide locally-sourced ingredients as much as they can.

Short ribs at Casa Domenico.Short ribs at Casa Domenico.

Salmon Risotto from Bayview Farm.Salmon Risotto from Bayview Farm.

Lapeer explains while admiring Juniper’s waterfront view, “They [Juniper Cafe] do a great job with as much local as possible. The food is great, homemade and fresh which keeps the philosophy.”

Lapeer is passionate about sourcing local ingredients for many reasons. “As an owner of an independent restaurant with people that rely on us to pay their bills, I feel it’s necessary to help other local small vendors do the same thing – it’s good for the economy, it’s healthier, it’s better for the environment.” And best of all, local ingredients enhance the flavour of any dish. One taste of a Bella Bistro special and you won’t question it.

Rainbow Trout from Bayview Farm.Rainbow Trout from Bayview Farm.

Charcuterie Board courtesy of Red House.Charcuterie Board courtesy of Red House.

I discover there is one thing many restaurants that support local farmers have in common, they use Wendy’s Mobile Market. Run by Wendy Banks and Rick Trudeau, this dream team can be credited for these establishments’ fresh farm-to-table meals.

“They source local, small independent farms and they provide us with a weekly list of what’s available through the local farms,” says Lapeer.

Le Chien Noir’s Rack of Lamb.
Le Chien Noir’s Rack of Lamb.

Wendy’s works with more than 70 producers and being farmers themselves, they understand the priorities and significance of the job. “It is important for us to connect the farmers to restaurants to help keep the farming community sustainable and vibrant. This will help our farming community grow again,” says Banks.

“It gives us food security and assurance that our area will have healthy local food that we can trust. In turn, we can provide the restaurants with great tasting food. It helps them source local food easily,” she adds.

Gokhan Cifci, owner of Tango Nuevo raves about the service.”It’s very difficult in the restaurant business to get a local farmer’s produce and vegetables – consistency is very important but Wendy’s does that perfectly,” he says.

Mela a Brie pizza by Atomica.
Mela a Brie pizza by Atomica.

If you’re on the hunt for a locally-sourced meal, look no further than the restaurants Wendy’s serves:
The Ivy Lea, Riva, Rivermill, Juniper Cafe, Red House West, Red House, Old Farm, John’s Deli, The Elm Cafe, The Grizzly Grill, Amadeus Cafe, Olivea, Casa, Tango Nuevo, Stone City Ale, Atomica, Chien Noir, The Yacht Club, Aqua Terra, Woodenheads, Days on Front, Bella Bistro, Bayview Farm, PanChancho and Pasta Genoa.

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