Don't take our word for it, we asked Allie Hughes, a food and drink writer from Niagara to head out and try some of the taste menus and so far it appears that they do not disappoint.
We couldn't provide the entire reviews for each restaurant but we will give you a "taste" (I know, so witty) of each and a link to the entire review.
Red Canoe Bistro was first up for my Taste of Burlington adventure, and lets start by saying that things kicked off on a high note. I was greeted by Josie, who is nothing short of all things wonderful. Her hospitality was appreciated and she must be mentioned for being exceptional at her job. We were given a quick intro to the culinary school of thought at Red Canoe Bistro and were delighted to discover the passion and commitment to all things local. Dinner menus change every 2-3 weeks and tasting menus change every few days. An ever evolving menu is indicative of someone who believes in the farmers market: my kind of people.We settled into the corner table and were surrounded by preserves of local fruit and veg, elegantly displayed throughout the dining area. Walls were adorned in creative and travel inspired pieces and tables were set with minimal and modern flare. Easy to feel comfortable and right at home. Dining off of the prix fixe Taste of Burlington menu, my guest and I chose to eat the exact opposite of each other, maximizing the tasting potential. In the meantime we indulged in a glass of wine off of the, Ontario industry supportive, wine list that is expansive at more than several pages long. On this evening, we selected the 2010 Tawse Echoes Chardonnay, with some chicken and trout in store, it only seemed appropriate!
This dish is embodiment of a sweet and savoury balance. With the bright cantaloupe flavours offering a fresh fruitful spin and the aged cheddar performing the balancing act, it really did work beautifully together. The cucumber was julienned and marinated in a vinaigrette with pulled out the delicious fresh basil from the emulsion. All in all, a hit. With two tasters diving in, this was nothing short of a delicious start to the meal.
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As we arrived to The Martini House the rain began to all and as I was racing up to the Martini House I soaked up the exterior which appears to be the spot to enjoy libations on a patio. A big spacious deck with seats aplenty… this is a good place to be. Upon opening the restaurant door, my assumptions were confirmed as good vibes poured out of the place with the ambient sounds of cheerful banter and laughter making us feel welcome and ready to join in! My guest and I sat in the dining room, which is a cozy spot, elegantly dressed with dark walls, beautiful adornments and crisp white linens. There is something about white linen that screams “get ready, you’re in for something good!” And so, we readied ourselves, indulging in some VQA goodness right out of the gate and our ver lovely server Jennifer explained the menu carefully ensuring we were ready to make our decisions. I availed of the Megalomaniac Homegrown Riesling, crisp and off-dry with mouthwatering acidity. My guest dove into a glass of Peninsula Ridge Cabernet, a blend of deep berry flavours and the perfect amount of spice. As I discuss our dinners, the wine choices will make perfect sense! The Taste of Burlington menu at The Martini House boasts selection, and for a prix fixe menu they have gone over and above, offering a plate for each style of taster. So, while I can’t give you the details on each and every, I will discuss the decadent gourmet that we feasted on. And we did indeed feast!
Crisp, fresh, light, flavourful: all words to describe this delicious start to my Martini House experience. The lettuce was mixed greens and sat with mandarin oranges and edamame. Bright green veg flavours were fresh and reminiscent of a summer garden! The vinaigrette packed some citrus punch and was the right amount of sour to work beautifully with the sweet orange. All of this was topped with white and black sesame seeds: not only a winner on the palate, but also on the plate!
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Atmosphere aplenty, Ivy Bar and Kitchen is a feast for the eyes and for the palate. Before I divulge the details on my meal, it must be mentioned how incredible the décor is at this location. Walls are adorned with modern birch trees, sleek black tile, smooth charcoal and rich wood. They have also installed two living walls that pour lush flora… just beautiful. The interior is spectacular, but Ivy Bar and Kitchen has a patio that dreams are made of. Outdoor bars, comfortable and sleek outdoor furniture and so much space. Tip from one who has, like this restaurant on Facebook. They put out great offers and have lots of weekly features that make a trip very easy to justify! Amanda, who gave us the goods on this new Burlington hot spot, which has been open for about four months, was our server. Their Taste of Burlington menu is full of delicious options in a range of culinary styles… something for everyone! Our dining experience started with a glass of California Fume Blanc, and I will note, gently, that the VQA wine supporter in me shed a tear when I noted the presence of impressive international bottles and not much love for the local players. I will also note that I hail from wine country and love a local bottle! My guest ordered a pint of Mill St, and it should be fairly noted that this is a Canadian beer hailing from Toronto, well done Ivy!
Ordered by my guest and generously shared, these are a delicious must-try on the menu. The soft leek flavour inside the pot sticker is unreal and caramelized to perfection inside the ideal crispy exterior. Made even better by the generous slices of roasted Portobello, it is an incredible blend of savoury and earthy topped off by the sweet and salty soy. Each flavour compliments the other and was devoured with smiles all around.
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Walking up to Walkers Fish Market, you quickly realize that this is a destination on theme, and in a very elegant way. Just in the door we were feasting our eyes on an oyster bar, fawning over a wall of wine and soaking up the nautical accents in every direction.
There is an anecdote about our experience that I have to share with you, it put a big smile on my face. The best-dressed couple in the joint were a pair of 70 somethings, she in her floor length coral dress and he in his khakis and navy blue dinner jacket. They were seated and greeted by every member of the Walkers team that walked by, evidently regulars one server stopped and looked at the gentleman delivering a salute which he promptly returned. It was awesome and not rehearsed, but definitely a tradition of sorts. That is the kind of place Walkers Fish Market is, the staff care and a busy dining room was indicative of this. I am, evidently, not the first to notice this. Our meal began with a glass of wine from their expansive wine list; I indulged in a Cabernet Sauvignon, and my guest a beer from Burlington. My guest is a lover of micro-brews and so this was a gold star highlight of his evening… well his evening so far. As I continue you will learn that with each course of night got better!
A cup of creamy goodness, the fresh seafood flavours were undeniable. With bites of lobster and shrimp settling at the bottom of the bowl, we were literally digging in to indulge in each bite. The creamy flavours were balanced with the savoury seafood and a slight sweetness that made this soup a must repeat. One of the most delicious bisques I’ve tried.
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