What do you get when you combine the appetite of university students, the artisan desires of young tech-professionals and the bounty of local farmers all in one place? A booming, diverse foodie scene that is as local as it is eclectic. This is the food spectrum of Kitchener Waterloo. Although the two cities are often lumped together, their restaurants are quiet diverse, with Waterloo catering to students, while Kitchener meets the cravings of its tech hub residents.
The Bauer Kitchen
A great lunch spot with a diverse menu, The Bauer Kitchen bakes a lot of their own breads and feature local ingredients in classic dishes that make sure anyone can find something to get excited about. We especially love their salmon dish.
The Lancaster Smokehouse
Owner Chris Corrigan has traveled throughout southwestern United States and Florida studying the art of Southern BBQ to influence his dishes. One of the best places for ribs in KW, The Lancaster Smokehouse is a must try.
Korner Kitchen Breakfast & Lunch Eatery
Serving traditional home-style dishes in a friendly, comfortable, and modern atmosphere, Korner Kitchen Breakfast & Lunch Eatery is a must-try family-owned and operated diner in Waterloo.
Borealis Grille & Bar
Local, sustainable food with gluten-friendly and vegetarian options, Borealis Grille & Bar can tell you everything about their ingredients and the local KW farmers who grow them. They are pioneers in the Ontario farm-to-table movement, and are happy to give patrons a real, local education while eating there.
A downtown Kitchener staple for many years, Ellison’s Bistro offers soul food with Caribbean, European and urban finesse. Chef Elvis Ellison has French training and applies it to his Caribbean food, bringing a new flavour profile to the region.
Trio Restaurant aspires to create a unique dining experience, from the delicious cuisine to the ever-expanding wine list and unique cocktails. Perfect for a night out or celebration, dinner seating starts at 5:30 PM from Tuesday through Saturday.
Watami Sushi and Sake Bar
A go-to for most locals, Watami Sushi and Sake Bar offers a selection of quality of fish and classic Japanese dishes with presentation that is absolutely Instagram worthy.
Some of the best pizza in the region, Bread Heads is known for carefully choosing each ingredient from the mozzarella to the dough to create a fresh, delicious and often locally sourced pie.
Princess Cafe is the perfect family-run spot to put on your radar, whether you’re in the mood for a crisp sandwich or grabbing a beer with a friend. In a hurry? You can order delivery or visit their walk-up window.
Public Kitchen & Bar
Tapas restaurant Public Kitchen & Bar offers a great atmosphere and a wide variety of foods and flavours to choose from. Best experienced with a larger group, you’ll want to order one of everything. Make sure to plan ahead with this place however, as they tend to book up in advance.
Cafe 22 is a one-of-a-kind European-style cafe where guests can enjoy mouthwatering lunch, delicious coffee and rich dessert with friends.
The Bent Elbow
The Bent Elbow is where KW’s rich beer culture finds its home. Offering a wide selection of beer and beer related fair, including a homemade ketchup beer, owner Harold Kroeker has also crafted a perfectly paired menu to accompany the hundreds upon hundreds of beers to choose from.
For all-you-can-eat, you can’t do better than Kinkaku Izakaya. With great service and an even better sushi rolls, the owner’s and chef’s knowledge of how to prepare Japanese food, came from their time in Japan. A must try is the Crabmeat Tempura Roll.
Looking for more restaurants to try in Ontario? Explore the best local GTA eats and what’s new on King Street West.