Your recs for Niagara Falls
June 12, 2012 9:35 AM   Subscribe

Favorite places to eat, drink, or entertain yourselves in Niagara Falls? We'll be there in July; we will have a car and passports; arriving and leaving through upstate New York, but staying in a hotel in Canada. The last Ask.Me about eating in Niagara Falls is from 2005, so I figured I'd ask again.

The Guy is a vegetarian; I am not. We both really love fancy cocktails. We're planning to do the Maid of the Mist and the butterfly garden, but other suggestions are welcome.
posted by crush-onastick to Travel & Transportation around Niagara Falls, ON (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
If theatre, fine dining, cafes, and boutiques are your thing, definitely check out Niagara-on-the-Lake, a short scenic drive away. It's home to the Shaw Festival. Bunch of different plays to choose from, and you can get discount rush tickets the day of. It's also beautiful!
posted by yawper at 9:43 AM on June 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Queen Street in Niagara Falls has seen some recent revitalization the past few years. Niagara Taps Brewery is a great place to drink some microbrew beer and right next door is a glass factory, it's kind of nerdy but it's cool to watch them blow glass.

I second Niagara-on-the-Lake but make sure your wallet is full. As you travel along the Niagara Parkway from Niagara Falls towards Niagara on the Lake you're going to pass some wonderful vineyards and a fruit-basket country. It's a very scenic and beautiful drive. Peller Estates & Hillebrand Winery are both stand out places. In Niagara on the Lake, my favourite restaurant is Pillar & Post. Enjoy your stay.
posted by Fizz at 9:57 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you make it to Buffalo? It's a short drive, more than a few things to do around town.
posted by Blake at 11:15 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's a chain, but I love The Keg. If you can get a table with a view of the falls, it's pretty cool.
posted by Frasermoo at 12:26 PM on June 12, 2012

We had lunch in the cafe right at the main tourist place (the viewing platform). It was not completely ridiculous for price, and the bison burger was awesome. But not fine dining.
posted by jb at 12:40 PM on June 12, 2012

We ate at the restaurant in the Skylon Tower and did the buffet option. We were initially disappointed that the buffet section did not rotate, but then we realized we got a good view of the falls the whole time instead of just half the time, so it worked out well. I would rate the food as 8/10 considering the price, and the tables were kept well stocked. Reservations are recommended.
posted by soelo at 12:42 PM on June 12, 2012

Best answer: Now for the non-restaurant recommendations, in Canada, do Behind the Falls and in America, do the Cave of the Winds. In both cases, bring a waterproof camera (there are disposable ones), or put your phone or camera in a zippered sandwich bag. You'd be surprised how well the pictures turn out if you hold the plastic against the lens. At Cave of the Winds, there were nesting gulls near the walkway when we there in late May, so keep an eye out for the babies that are so grey you might miss them.
posted by soelo at 12:47 PM on June 12, 2012

Niagara Glen is a short, nice, mostly shaded hike, down the road from the Butterfly Conservatory.
posted by backwards guitar at 1:14 PM on June 12, 2012

Best answer: My then seven year old and I spent almost a week on the Canadian side a couple summers ago and found good food surprisingly hard to find. It seemed to be mostly over-priced chains of medium quality (Tony Romas, TGIFridays, Macaroni Grill*, etc.) and I found it really hard to get fruit or vegetables! It was kind of weird.

The best meal we had, hands down, was at Elements on the Falls. The view is unbeatable and the food was delicious, reasonably priced and full of fresh produce. I had avoided it all week because I assumed it was going to be horrible and over-priced and finally broke down on the last day. I really wish we had eaten there all week.

Second best meal was sushi at Taki. A friend travels to Niagara Falls regularly for work and he recommended it. It wasn't cheap, but it was excellent food and lovely service. The area it's in is a little grim--not dangerous or anything, just kind of nowhere--but the restaurant itself is very nice.

We had the brunch at the Skylon because it seemed like the math made sense, but didn't end up thinking it was worth the money, especially once we'd been to Elements which had a view ten times what the Skylon was.

We did basically everything related to the falls that could be done (did I mention we were there five days?) and the favourites were: Journey Behind the Falls, Maid of the Mist, the Skywheel, and the butterfly conservatory. We bought the Adventure Pass, which was good value for the money, because it also gave us a discount on other attractions, use of the people mover and I think the funicular.

To summarize: if I were doing it again, I would eat all my meals at Elements on the Falls, go behind the falls, take a trip on the Maid of the Mist, ride the Skywheel and skip the Skylon.

* Most jaw-dropping moment of the trip was at the Macaroni Grill. I'd ordered some kind of boozy slushy drink. When it came I noticed there were a lot of seeds in it, I figured there were fresh strawberries. But then when I looked closer I realized it was, in fact, full of fruit flies. FULL. When I pointed it out to the waitress, she said "Oh my! I guess they forgot to strain it! It's just buzzing with fruit flies back there." And then a few minutes later she gave me what I can only assume was the exact same drink, now strained of its protein. So, uh, anti-recommendation there.
posted by looli at 6:41 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I fit is open (they close for part of the summer) you have to order pizza from Pizza Oven. You have to pick it up, there is nowhere to eat inside, but it is the best pizza I have ever tasted. (I'm originally from Niagara Falls, NY and my Mom worked at Pizza Oven in the late 70s/early 80s)

If they are closed, Buzzy's is a pretty good second best.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:26 PM on June 12, 2012

Enjoy Niagara Falls as a destination of things to do. If you want to eat. Head to Niagara on the Lake or travel 15 minutes up the highway and look for restaurants in down-town St. Catharines. (Anything on St. Paul Street). Lots of bars, cafes, coffee-shops, and ethnic foodie type places. It's a university town and you won't be paying tourist dollars for crap food. Good luck.
posted by Fizz at 8:56 AM on June 17, 2012

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