Kingston is tasty! Didn’t you know?! Located just 2.5 hours from Toronto and Ottawa, Kingston’s culinary scene is burgeoning. A surprising statistic: Kingston has more restaurants per capita than almost every other city in Ontario. Perfectly poised for a weekend staycation, Kingston is rich in both history and flavour.
Stone City Ales (soon to be Something in the Water Brewing)
Microbreweries are rife in Kingston, Canada’s historic capital city. Beer is not only plentiful here, it is created with finesse. Stone City (a reference to the architecture of Kingston, famed for its limestone) was created by locals in 2014 and puts its emphasis on small-batch, soul-led beers, created with honesty and passion. With colourful vibes and flights on offer, Stone City is perfectly located downtown for beer enthusiasts and the epi-curious alike.
Order: Unchartered IPA
Located just across the road from Stone City, Miss Bāo, is a delightful restaurant and cocktail bar leading the charge for zero-waste modern dining in the city. Sustainability at its core, Miss Bāo cuts back on food waste by using peels as cocktail bases, for example. With a menu of Asian inspired tapas-style dishes, meat eaters and plant based foodies can sit down together and enjoy a perfectly balanced menu of meat and vegan options. The cocktail bar is nearly in danger of outshining the food offerings; well-balanced, inventive drinks come fresh from an enviably stocked backbar.
Order: Plum Sour and Bao Sampler
From Kingston’s well-regarded Black Dog Hospitality Group, Dianne’s is a family-inspired restaurant, named after the owner’s mom who’s love of a Mexican vacation is still evident today in the vast selection of tequilas on offer behind the bar. Located right near the waterfront in Kingston, Dianne’s original chowder recipe can still be seen on the menu today. Locals rave about the fish and chips, but if fish doesn’t tickle your fancy, Dianne’s also smokes wings, brisket and ribs in-house.
Order: Fish Tacos and a Don Julio Margarita
If you’re looking for an upscale offering, The Everly, focuses on terroir-driven small passionate producers with a seasonally-inspired menu using locally farmed produce. A focused menu of refined dishes also includes fresh-in-house made pasta, classic cocktails and low intervention dynamic and biodynamic wines.
Order: Beef Tartare and a French 75
Kingston’s high heritage, high culture vibe make it a delightful place to enjoy a British-inspired High Tea experience. As a brit myself I can vouch for the experience, which is inspired by the grandeur of the Victorian building it is housed in. Three tiers of house-made sweet and savoury delicacies are presented on beautifully hand-crafted platters alongside your choice of freshly brewed pots of tea. Arrive hungry; this isn’t just a cup of tea situation, this is a gastronomic adventure!
Order: The full High Tea menu plus a glass of sparkling, obviously
An absolute must for all Kingston visitors! Developed from a smaller scale bakery in 1984, Pan Chancho is a licensed cafe that also offers take out dishes, cheeses, meats, cakes, pies and other fresh baked goods and pantry items. Oh, and they have a cracking wine shop bottle selection! If the name Zal Yanovsky means anything to you, you’ll be impressed the homely eatery was created by a member of the Rock n Roll hall of Fame, also behind Kingston’s famed Chez Piggy restaurant. Now run by his daughter Zoë, the new location on Princess Street is often the backdrop to a line-up around the block.
Order: Pudding au Chaumeur
One more beer for the road? Go on then! Kingston Brewing Company is Ontario’s oldest brew pub. Opened in 1984 and located in an 1800s brick-and-stone former telegraph office, the pub has real British drinking hole vibes in the absolute best way. A feast for all the senses, Kingston Brewing Company is playfully decorated in a hilariously large collection of beer memorabilia. The food is unapologetic pub grub, but the beer is where the real magic lays. One of few breweries creating great cask ales in Ontario, Kingston Brewing Company keeps traditional alive. If cask isn’t your ticket, there are also cream ales, IPAs and wheat beers galore. If you’re the designated driver, or just simply fancy a delightful soft drink, house-made soda pops are available too.
Order: Dragon’s Breath Cask Ale
Kingston Food Tours
If planning isn’t your strong point, or you simply want to surrender yourself over to a tasty adventure, Kinston Food Tours is a great way to sample the city as well as learn a little history from a knowledgeable and amiable tour guide. Tours offer four plus stops with tastings and alcoholic beverages spread out over a 1.3 kilometre distance. Well worth it if you’re in the city for a short time!
Kingstonlicious returns in January, offering special prix fixe meals at restaurants across the city. Whether you want a romantic dinner for two or a cozy family meal, Kingstonlicious serves up a variety of options from January to March. One-of-a-kind culinary events will also take place throughout the winter, highlighting the talents of local chefs and producers as well as special guests. Kingstonlicious is an award-winning program presented by Tourism Kingston in partnership with renowned culinary curator Gold & Fife.