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Eatdrink #65 May/June 2017

The LOCAL food and drink magazine serving London, Stratford & Southwestern Ontario since 2007

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14 | May/June 2017 Restaurants Al Fresco! Dining & Drinking in the Great Outdoors eatdrink.ca |@eatdrinkmag By BRYAN LAVERY It is the launch of al fresco season and we’ve gathered a selection of some of the more interesting regional dining and people-watching venues. Sip a coffee, quaff a craft beer or enjoy a nosh or a full meal at a sidewalk café, in a private garden or secluded courtyard setting, under a pergola or gazebo, on a roof-top patio, or on a charming side-street terrace. Here is my short list of recommendations — not exclusive and in no particular order — for refreshing al fresco dining and drinking inspiration this season. The Lake Huron Shore In Sarnia, Alternate Grounds Dockside affords the best view of the city and the only water-top patio on the Canadian side of the St. Clair River. Open seasonally, April 1–September 30, at Sarnia Bay Marina. agdockside.com Smackwater Jack’s Taphouse features a patio that literally hangs over the river in Grand Bend, where it empties into Lake Huron. Always a popular spot for boat watching and sunset views, they recently added a wood burning pizza oven to the multitiered patio. smackwaterjacks.ca Located between Grand Bend and Bayfield outside the lakeside village of St. Joseph, Hessenland Country Inn honours German culinary traditions. The Ihrig family relaunches their legendary al fresco Mongolian Grill nights in the summer on their outdoor patio with its great views of the bucolic grounds and fledgling vineyard. hessenland.com Alternate Grounds Dockside, Sarnia Smackwater Jack’s, Grand Bend London Looking for something different? How about trying a bistro-themed restaurant for plane spotters and aeronautical aficionados with its patio located next to the London airport Idlewyld Inn, London tarmac? Katana Kafe & Grill may be off the beaten path, but it offers a spectacular view of air traffic and Chef Chris Morrison’s cuisine receives rave reviews. katanakafe.ca The Early Bird, a diner with casual farmto-table cooking, has a retro charm and a 26-seat seasonal patio placed across the sidewalk for outdoor dining. theearlybird.ca The close proximity to Budweiser Gardens makes both Waldo’s On King (waldos.on.ca) and Olive R Twists Food and Beverage House (olivertwists.ca) at the Covent Garden Market a desirable choice on event nights. Both restaurants overlook King Street’s restaurant

The LOCAL Food & Drink Magazine May/June 2017 | 15 Black Trumpet, London row and are perfectly placed for relaxing and watching the passing scene. For vegan diners, Glassroots (glassrootslondon.com) has a 14-seat elevated patio overlooking Richmond Row, and Plant Matter Kitchen (plantmatterkitchen.com) in Wortley Village also has street-side seating. Wolfe of Wortley is a compact 24-seat restaurant which is complemented by a 14-seat patio. This is casual but sophisticated dining focusing on curing, pickling, fermenting, and preserving, featuring craft cocktails and a compact wine list. wolfeofwortley.com The Springs, at 310 Springbank Drive, is one of London’s premier culinary hot spots. A beautifully appointed raised patio seats 40. Chef Geoff Tew features locally grown ingredients from farms specializing in sustainable agriculture, organic growing practices, and ethically raised livestock. thespringsrestaurant.com Idlewyld Inn & Spa is a grand Victorian mansion nestled at 36 Grand Avenue in a quiet Old South neighbourhood. Here the passion for food translates into updated classic cuisine showcasing local and seasonal products. The manicured grounds and elegant ambiance of the gracious front porch and hidden forty-seat “Garden Courtyard” create a welcome retreat for diners. idlewyldinn.com Black Trumpet is a prestige spot for al fresco dining in its beautifully appointed British colonial Indonesian-style courtyard garden. This secluded oasis on Richmond St. The Church Key, London Fresh flavours everyday Proud to celebrate our 1st Anniversary serving only our finest dishes with fresh, local ingredients. Restaurant & Bar 226 658 0999 soloportstanley.com