Stratford ON for Foodies

Stratford, Ontario, is known for more than just its world-class theater scene. It’s a haven for food lovers like myself and offers a diverse array of dining experiences that cater to every taste. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, here are some must-visit spots in Stratford, ON, for foodies that promise to satisfy your culinary cravings.

Bluebird Restaurant. Photo credit: Jenn Allen

From cozy tea shops and charming bakeries to vibrant taco joints and elegant dining experiences, Stratford has something for every foodie. Here’s a quick guide to some of the town’s best eateries that will leave your taste buds tingling and your heart full. Let’s dive in!

1. Mercer Kitchen | Beer Hall

Let’s kick things off with Mercer Kitchen | Beer Hall. This spot is perfect for those who love a lively atmosphere paired with delicious food and a great selection of beers. The menu is Asian inspired, with plenty of tempting dishes. We feasted like kinds the last time we went and loved every bite!

2. Distinctly Tea

Distinctly Tea.
Distinctly Tea. Photo credit: Jenn Allen

For a more serene experience, Distinctly Tea offers a calm retreat with a staggering variety of teas from around the world. It’s a cozy spot to relax and enjoy a perfectly brewed cup. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and can help you find the perfect tea to suit your taste. Whether you’re a fan of robust black teas or delicate green teas, you’ll find something to love here. I always stock up on teas here, and I love that they have several different sizes of teas to choose from so I can try something new. Plus, their selection of teapots and accessories makes it a great place to pick up a gift for the tea lover in your life.

3. The Painted Baker

The Painted Baker.
The Painted Baker. Photo credit: Jenn Allen

Next, head over to The Painted Baker. This charming bakery is known for its creative and delicious baked goods. The smell of freshly baked bread and pastries will draw you in, but it’s the friendly atmosphere and beautifully decorated treats that will make you stay. When we were there, people were buying breads right off the cooling rack and not even waiting for them to get to the display baskets. Their scones are amazing!

4. Boathouse Riverside Patio

When the weather is nice, the Boathouse Riverside Patio is the place to be. Located right on the Avon River, this spot offers stunning views and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s perfect for a casual meal. The menu features a variety of fresh, seasonal dishes and tasty BBQ options. Feast on a sandwich made with bread crafted by The Painted Baker. Pair your meal with a refreshing cocktail and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Insider tip: Check out their Tuesday ice cream specials!

5. El Cactus Taco Shop

El Cactus Taco Shop.
El Cactus Taco Shop. Photo credit: Jenn Allen

If you’re in the mood for something spicy, El Cactus Taco Shop is a must-visit. This vibrant eatery serves up some of the best Mexican food in town. Their tacos are bursting with flavor, and the margaritas are the perfect accompaniment. The casual, colorful setting makes it a fun spot to enjoy with friends. Be sure to try their fish tacos — they’re a fan favorite! Insider tip: There’s not a lot of room to dine inside, so grab and go or linger on the spacious patio.

6. Bluebird

For a more refined dining experience, Bluebird offers an elegant atmosphere and a menu that showcases the best local ingredients. The chefs at Bluebird are masters of their craft, creating dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious. It’s the perfect place for a special occasion or a date night. The wine list is extensive, and the staff can help you select the perfect pairing for your meal.

7. Scooper’s Ice Cream

No foodie tour of Stratford would be complete without a stop at Scooper’s Ice Cream. This beloved ice cream shop has been serving up creamy, delicious treats for years. With a wide variety of flavors to choose from, there’s something for everyone. On a hot summer day, nothing beats a cone of their homemade ice cream. Try the salted caramel — it’s a crowd-pleaser!

8. The Butcher and The Baker

For those who appreciate artisanal products, The Butcher and The Baker is a gem. This shop offers high-quality meats and freshly baked goods that are perfect for a picnic or a gourmet meal at home. The staff are passionate about their products and can offer great cooking tips and recipe ideas. The sausage rolls and sourdough bread are particularly popular.

9. Rheo Thompson Candies

Sweet tooths, rejoice! Rheo Thompson Candies is a Stratford institution. Known for their famous Mint Smoothies, this candy shop offers a wide range of handmade chocolates and candies. It’s the perfect place to pick up a sweet souvenir or a gift for someone special. The shop itself is charming, and the aroma of chocolate is simply irresistible.

10. Balzac’s Coffee Roasters

Balzac's Coffee Roasters.
Balzac’s Coffee Roasters. Photo credit: Jenn Allen

If you need a caffeine fix, Balzac’s Coffee Roasters is the place to go. This coffee shop, located in a beautiful historic building, serves up some of the best coffee in town. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, making it a great spot to relax with a book or catch up with friends. Their espresso drinks are top-notch, and the pastries are a great accompaniment.

11. Boar’s Head Pub

For a cozy, traditional pub experience, the Boar’s Head Pub is the place to be. Nestled in the heart of Stratford, this pub offers classic British fare with a Canadian twist. Think fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and bangers and mash, all served in a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot for a casual meal with friends or family.

12. The Best Little Pork Shoppe

Just outside Stratford and located in Shakespeare, The Best Little Pork Shoppe lives up to its name, offering a fantastic selection of pork products. From sausages to bacon, everything is high-quality and delicious. The shop also carries a variety of other local products, making it a great place to stock up on unique items. Their friendly service and great selection make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Insider tip: if you go on Saturday you can score a hot pulled pork on a bun or take home hand-crafted pulled pork to enjoy later!

13. Shakespeare Pies

Shakespeare Pies.
Shakespeare Pies. Photo credit: Jenn Allen

Last but certainly not least, Shakespeare Pies is a true gem. Located just a short drive from Stratford, this pie shop is worth the trip. They offer a wide variety of sweet and savory pies, all made with fresh, local ingredients. The flaky crust and rich fillings make these pies a real treat. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic apple pie or a hearty meat pie, you won’t be disappointed. They do regularly sell out especially on weekdays, so head over early and stock up! Their strawberry pies are legendary!

Stratford, Ontario, is truly a food lover’s paradise. From gourmet dining and cozy cafes to sweet shops and artisanal markets, this charming town has something to offer every palate. So, whether you’re a local or a visitor, make sure to explore these fantastic culinary spots and savor the flavors of Stratford. Happy eating!

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