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Falling for Niagara's more-than-pleasant meals

No one comes here for fine dining but good food can be found

Richard Ouzounian
Toronto Star

NIAGARA FALLS, ONT.–Let's start with a simple admission: Nobody comes here for the food. It's such a massive short-term tourist destination that every restaurant and fast-food chain known to man has at least one outlet there. But if you're careful, you can actually navigate your way through a series of more-than-pleasant meals. (You'll find two chains on this list, but they're really far above average and I always feel that if you can't lick 'em, join 'em.)


Golden Lotus, Fallsview Casino Resort, 6380 Fallsview Blvd. 1-888-698-3888 The sleekest of all hotels here has a new restaurant dedicated to Chinese food and a recent visit proves it has become incredibly popular since opening this spring. Yes, there is a buffet, but you'd be better off making a reservation and ordering off the menu. That way, you get a glorious view of Horseshoe Falls and close to 150 dishes to choose from. You can order everything from old favourites to haute cuisine and be sure everything will be first-class.


Watermark Restaurant, Hilton Niagara Falls Fallsview, 6361 Fallsview Blvd. 905-353-7138 It's got 5 1/2-metre-tall windows and a spectacular vista of the falls, but it also knows how to serve a first-class buffet breakfast, a rare achievement in this town. The food stays hot and appealing, the waiters keep whizzing by with coffee and whether or not you want to keep with more pedestrian things like pancakes or venture off into the land of Eggs Benedict, you won't be disappointed.


The Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, 6300 Fallsview Blvd., 905-354-5000 Yes, even the original celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck, has brought his franchise to Niagara Falls. No, you won't see him in person, waiting on line to board the Maid of the Mist, but the menu is the same as it is in similar places across North America and that's not a bad thing, because Puck keeps the quality control high. The thin-crust pizzas, artful salads and Kobe beef burgers are all fine luncheon ingredients and you ought to leave satisfied.


Napoli Ristorante and Pizzeria, 5484 Ferry St., 905-356-3345 Would you like to go where the people who actually live in Niagara Falls go out for dinner? This is one of their favourite places, and justifiably so. Its appearance is casual, but don't let that put you off. The food is first-rate. The people behind the stoves here buy the freshest ingredients they can and prepare them with skill. Their ravioli is to die for and their pizzas hold their own with the best anywhere.


The Flying Saucer Drive-In, 6768 Lundy's Lane, 905-356-4553 It's definitely kitschy (bordering on sketchy) and certainly not a gourmet mecca, but this eclectic joint has been fuelling this city's early mornings for some time now. The major draw is the 99-cent breakfast, served between 6 a.m. and noon, consisting of two eggs, hash browns and toast. If you don't like that, there's got to be something on the voluminous menu to interest your palate!


The Keg, Embassy Suites, 6700 Fallsview Blvd., 905-374-5170 Okay, time to admit a secret vice: I like going to The Keg. I often find its cheerfulness and predictability a tonic and even hardened gourmets sing the praises of its prime rib. It also delivers consistency, which can be a blessing in a city like Niagara Falls. As a bonus, this new Keg is on the 9th floor of the Embassy Suites Hotel with a dynamic view of Horseshoe Falls. Make a reservation for a table with a view, come to chow down on the beef and enjoy both.




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