Waterloo Food Tour

The Region of Waterloo is home to many regions that inspire start-ups (such as Thalmic Labs), housing, and of course many restaurants. The Region is developing and propelling a movement alike many urban areas, by bringing innovative ideas and talented people together, whilst keeping the scenic and spacious rural landscape. Andrew Coppolino of www.waterlooregioneats.com (@WatRegionEats on Twitter) gave us a tour on behalf of Waterloo Region Tourism, with 4 set destinations in mind for the day.

** Article and Pictures by Janey Tso. Visit her Instagram and Twitter to check out her feeds ** 

One of these regions was Downtown Kitchener , located in the heart of downtown Kitchener. Although many restaurants incorporate diversity from different cultures, the ingredients are primarily local from Ontario. Our very first stop was B@TheMuseum, a gastropub connected to the city’s prominent landmarks - the Kitchener Museum. They’re known for their local craft beers and entertainment nights – including vinyl nights and live performances - and their ambiance “intrigues curiosity and welcomes comfort”, which attracts customers of all ages. Andrew and the waitresses informed us of some of the restaurant as well as recommendations for nearby restaurants. 

 Steam Buns (2 for $8) –  a light shareable appetizer with pulled duck, hoisin, sriracha, cilantro, scallions

Chow Dumplings  ($11) – popular menu item featuring vegetarian or pork dumplings in a sesame soy dip (I loved this appetizer)

B@TheMuseum stays true to their roots by using traditional cooking methods – induction burners, baking – over deep frying since there are no hood vents. The lack of oil brings out the flavours in their food. Of course we had to try their beers as well, including their personal favourite – Railway City’s Honey Elixir – and their top-selling flagship starter – Four Fathers.

4 oz flight tasters – Pommies’ Cranberry Cider (sweetest), Railway City’s Honey Elixir, Block 3 St. Jacob’s Cheap Gold Golden strong ale, Four Fathers’ Starter Session IPA (hoppy in flavour), Elora’s Three Fields

 The next restaurant was next-door, called The Berlin. The atmosphere was inviting, yet high-class. They’re matched with some of the country’s most influential chefs, who’ve had experience cooking at fine-dining restaurants. Even their kitchen is an open concept, where one can smell and see their meals come to life. Alike B@TheMuseum, The Berlin places an emphasis on using quality ingredients from local farmers. Many of the dishes are cooked over a coal-burning fire, adding a European flare. With so much variety, it is no surprise that their menu is always changing, along with what’s in season, so there is always a chance to try something new and refreshing. None of the dishes were disappointing; it was hard to pick a favourite because the flavours and spices were so unique in each dish. 

Open-concept Kitchen

Queen Elizabeth has stayed at the Walper Hotel, their partnered hotel next-door.

Beef Pancetta with Arugula from Stratford

Pork head with Foie Gras Terrine in a Toasted Seed Vinaigrette Dressing 

Scallop and Asian Pear Skewer Garnished with Pickled Basil

Charred Carrots in an Aniseedy Spiced Emulsion using Carrot Juice as Vinegar 

Daisy Bay Oysters over Mustard Greens and Topped with Grapefruit Jelly 

Trout cooked slowly over coals until 60% done, crispy skin, charred onions marinated in Riesling vinegar to order 

 Steak Served with a Foie Gras Parfait and Wild Chives

Duck Prosciutto and Beet Salad

Champagne AgraPart & Fils Terroirs Extra Bruit Blanc de Blancs Aged Oak Wine Not Found in LCBO

We drove to Uptown Waterloo afterwards, with Abe Erb as our next destination, a brew house in itself. Large metal vessels are aligned along the second level of the brewery, which validates the authenticity of providing fresh beer. They craft cocktails, whiskeys, and also serve small craft beers, wine, and non-spirited options. We had quite a meal prior to this, so we opted for a flight to sample taps from Ontario. 

(right to left) Erb Street Organic 

1857 Kölsch – a light, crisp, gold ale that recently made its way to the LCBO
Das Spritzhaus Hefeweizen  - medium bodied wheat beer “notes of banana with hints of clove”. It was pouring straight down the line that day, hence the freshest
British Mild – tastes like toffee

Our last restaurant was Taco Farm, a collaboration between 2 restaurateurs of nearby restaurants - Chainsaw and Uptown 21 to be exact. These gluten-free tacos have been featured on “You Gotta Eat Here”, and the restaurant carries a large variety of tequila, wherein one can learn about the process of making it and its different types in their “Tequila Schools”. Being a part of the tour, we were able to catch a glimpse into the taco-making equipment before diving into our meal.

Fresh Tortilla Chips with Salsa (complimentary) 

Chicken Pibil ($5) – citrus, achiote, banana leaf stewed chicken, pickled onion, guacamole

Fried Fish ($5) – crispy fried cod, cabbage crudito, farm sauce, cilantro, Jake’s chili-garlic sauce (My favorite of the three)

Grilled Cheese & Mushroom Quesadilla ($6.50) – melted 3 queso blend, smoked mushrooms, mole poblano, salsa verde

Exploring Waterloo’s Food Boroughs opened our eyes to the food scene in this wonderful Region. We were surprised as to that all of the restaurants we visited supported local farms, and satisfied our palates beyond our expectations. Like Downtown Toronto, many of the businesses are close to one another, but the atmosphere is refreshing, clean, and comfortable, with spacious areas to lounge around. If you want to take a mini road-trip with approximately a 2-hour drive, Waterloo is a great place to check out for their restaurants.

** Article and Pictures by Janey Tso. Visit her Instagram and Twitter to check out her feeds ** 

Disclaimer: The tour/food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

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