Barrie is the gateway to Cottage Country and is also home to a growing food and wine bar and scene for every occasion. Here’s our guide to some of the best Barrie restaurants to eat and drink in Barrie, Ontario.
Hugging the western curve of Lake Simcoe, Barrie is often thought of as ‘just’ a bedroom community for the nearby metropolis of Toronto, but that is to do this fast-growing city a disservice. In recent decades Barrie has become a vibrant, bustling place to live and work in its own right, with a booming tourist industry – thanks in part to the fantastic waterfront on Kempenfelt Bay – and a whole host of dining experiences designed to satisfy even the most demanding of palates.
Barrie now offers hundreds of exciting eateries, from old names that have been serving family favourites for years to funky new ethnic restaurant experiences, as well as a huge selection of impressive fine dining establishments, steakhouses, pubs and hidden gems that cater for any and all diets in what is a relaxed and inviting Ontarian city. Here we look at some of the best Barrie restaurants to get your taste buds tingling.
Table of Contents
- Fine Dining & A Little Romance
- Go Casual
- Italian Restaurants in Barrie
- Indian Restaurants
- Chinese, Japanese, Thai & Sushi Spots in Barrie
- Patios On and Around Barrie’s Waterfront
- Sports Bars & Pubs in Barrie
- Healthy Eats
- Dessert & Coffee
- Barrie Nightclubs & Late Night Bites
- Barrie Breakfast Spots
Fine Dining & A Little Romance
Like most modern cities, Barrie is home to a wide selection of restaurants offering something a little more upmarket in terms of amazing food, excellent service, ambience and even understated opulence.
- Michael & Marion’s – a warm, intimate atmosphere with perfect lighting and a roaring fireplace add to the sense of elegance and occasion in this downtown Barrie staple. Michael & Marion’s boasts an extensive menu in upscale surroundings and is perfect for a romantic evening with a loved one.
- The North Restaurant – Within spitting distance of the city’s marina, The North restaurant is cosy and classy and serves delicious, creative food with an emphasis on seafood, steaks and smaller taster plates.
- Urban Dish Grill & Wine Bar – located south of the bay, the Urban Dish Grill is an upmarket yet inviting space resplendent with dark woods and cream decor, creating a relaxing ambience for patrons as they dine on some excellent local fare with perfect wine pairings and the freshest ingredients.
Fancy a meal with friends or family in relaxed surroundings where the service is great and the food is uniformly excellent? Take a look at amazing food made at these places:
- Grilled Cheese Social Eatery – small, colourful, funky and dishing up some seriously good comfort food, the Grilled Cheese Social Eatery has – for its size – an extensive menu of wittily named sandwiches along with sides, soups, salads and ice cream floats, and is always a massive hit for anyone who decides to stop by and enjoy an hour or two.
- Kenzington Burger Bar – For over a decade, Kenzington has served the people of Barrie mouth-watering gourmet burger combos, bar appetisers and specials. So popular they have branched out into other locations across the city – and beyond to Orillia and Bradford now, with a food truck coming to you if you can’t make it to them!
- Grillicious Gourmet Tap & Grill – so close to the bay you could fall into it if you’re not careful, the Grillicious Gourmet Tap & Grill is a casual, smart, yet effortlessly relaxed eatery rammed with exposed brick and dark wood, while its menu is packed with crowd-pleasers – everything from jalapeno cream cheese poppers to locally farmed smoked trout can be enjoyed at Grillicious.
- Symposium Café Restaurant and Lounge – located on the northern fringe of Barrie, Symposium Barrie is a casual, upscale eatery in the style of a European Cafe, as it opens from breakfast until late and serves everything from early morning omelettes and waffles to burgers, steaks and seafood; along with a licensed cocktail lounge and dedicated late-night full menu offerings. There’s something for everybody here, no matter the time of day.
- The Works – there are burgers, then The Work’s gourmet burgers – 100% Canadian fresh hand-pressed patties designed to make you drool. The Works is relaxed and inviting and has a menu bursting at the seams with choices of burger patties, sides and poutines, along with shakes, beers and ‘drunken grapes’.
- The Speakcheasy – evoking a 20s-era speakeasy with its décor and ambience, the Speakcheasy – no groans at the back – is a brilliant basement eatery beneath Barrie’s J’adore Fine Cheese and Chocolate store. Dishes here are heavily cheese-focused, with an array of platters, baguettes and tasting plates, a well-stocked bar, and a selection of drinks.
- Cocina Mexicana is a Mexican restaurant located near Allandale Waterfront. Open afternoons and evenings, they have a traditional Mexican menu, including desserts. They also have a Sunday brunch with pancakes.
By the way, if you’re looking for the best restaurant for a good burger in Barrie, we’ve written a Barrie burger guide here.
Italian Restaurants in Barrie
Italian eateries are omnipresent nowadays, and it is often easy to overlook them when choosing a place to eat – but you can’t miss these Italian Barrie restaurants because they are some of the best of the best Italian cuisine in the city:
- Il Buco Ristorante – an eatery so classy it could have comfortably sat in the fine dining section above, Il Buco is not just one of Barrie’s best contemporary Italian restaurants, and it is one of the city’s best restaurants overall. Lake views, excellent pasta and seafood, and a charming atmosphere mean Il buco is a cut above the rest.
- Casa Mia Restaurant – a stone’s throw from the marina, Casa Mia screams romance: low lights, casual yet classy, it is warm and inviting, and the food is excellent. Italian favourites and specialities are served alongside several Greek dishes.
- One Forty-Seven Italian – modern and stylish with a lashing of redbrick and dark leather seating, the One Forty-Seven sits on Dunlop Street and offers a relaxed dining experience with some seriously tasty Italian cuisine. The menu isn’t huge, but this restaurant has a clear case of quality over quantity.
- PIE Wood Fired Pizza Joint – just across the road from Centennial Beach, PIE is a colourful, bustling pizza parlour where good food and plenty of fun is the name of the game. A staggering choice of pies is available alongside plates of pasta, salads and a raft of starters. They have plenty of outdoor seating during the summer. PIE has deleloped real mastery of classic pizza for the whole family.
- Two East Side Marios. With two locations in Barrie, East Side Mario’s offers a menu of favourite Italian classics, including pasta dishes, pizzas, soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts for the whole family. There are daily specials. Take-out and delivery are also available.
Always a firm favourite amongst diners, Indian food offers both great service and a fantastic choice of dishes and flavours, and these Barrie hotspots never fail to deliver on both counts:
- Taj Bistro – just across the way from Heritage Park and with awesome views of the bay, the Taj boasts chic décor and bountiful dishes of what the owners describe as East Indian cuisine with a ‘tsunami of delicious Indian taste.’
- Tiffins Curry in a Hurry – small but perfectly formed, Tiffins is cosy and welcoming and serves a wide choice of Indian classics. With its relaxed vibe and walls decked out in authentic ethnic art, the restaurant is often packed – and once you’ve tasted the food, it’ll be easy to see why.
- Tara Indian Cuisine – another restaurant jostling for space near the waterfront, but its owners need not worry about the competition: Tara is an award-winning eatery and ‘palatial experience’, according to the brothers who co-own and run the establishment. Eighteen years old and still going strong, Tara is one of the best restaurants in the city.
If you’re looking for places open late, here’s our list of places to find late-night Indian food in Barrie.
Chinese, Japanese, Thai & Sushi Spots in Barrie
There are a host of amazing experience of Chinese, Japanese, Thai and other Asian or Southeast Asian restaurants and takeaway in Barrie, but we’ve selected some of the best restaurants in Barrie for you to enjoy first visit:
- Noble Cuisine – a little bit out in the ‘burbs but still worth the short trip, Noble Cuisine has an array of tasty Thai and Japanese sushi dishes on offer, usually for set prices, making it excellent value for money and ideal for a group night out.
- Sakana House – another out-of-the-way gem, Sakana House, sits on Big Bay Point Road to the southwest of Kempenfelt Bay. Make your way here to find Japanese décor with a modern twist and an a la carte menu full of favourites or an all-you-can-eat option that will guarantee you leave the place feeling full.
- Pho Mekong – Simple, warm and welcoming, the Pho Mekong restaurant offers – no surprise here – pho dishes, a host of other excellent Vietnamese cuisines, like lemongrass chicken, and a smattering of Thai offerings.
- Mandarin Restaurant – big and bold, the Mandarin is a huge block of a building sitting southwest of the bay near Highway 400. Popular for years, this restaurant with an extensive menu and all-you-can-eat options, this is the place to go if you want generous portions with plenty of flavours at a reasonable price. Take out is available too.
- Chaopaya Thai Restaurant – another of several Thai restaurants in barrie that has a long history in Barrie. Located at 168 Dunlop Street, Chaopaya thai restaurant is open seven days a week.
If you’re looking for more Asian restaurants in Barrie, we have a guide to Asian restaurants in Barrie here.
Sometimes a big slab of red meat with all the trimmings is the only thing that’s going to hit the taste buds on the spot, so here are three of our top tips for Barrie’s carnivores:
- The Keg Steakhouse & Bar – on the city’s fringes amongst a host of car parking lots and shopping malls, The Keg is a real gem and worth the trip south on the 400. Casual, enjoyable and with frequently excellent food, the emphasis here is on aged beef sirloin, prime rib, lobster tail and shellfish, and they never disappoint.
- Baton Rouge Steakhouse & Bar – north of the Kempenfelt on Bayfield Street, the Baton Rouge restaurant has been banging out top-notch meat dishes since 1992, so it’s fair to say they know their onions. Sharp, modern décor and a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere make the ‘BR’ – as they like to be called – a firm favourite in the city.
- Town & Country Steakhouse – a steak and seafood specialist, the Town & Country boasts a sleek and invitingly elegant interior of dark woods and long banquettes, while its food – served for forty-five years and counting – is superb. The original ‘authentic steakhouse’ in Barrie, the restaurant is one for the ‘must visit’ list.
Patios On and Around Barrie’s Waterfront
The streets around Kempenfelt Bay and the Spirit Catcher – especially to the west and north of the water – are bristling with bars, romantic restaurants, pubs, romantic restaurants and eateries of all shapes and sizes, so there’s more than enough choice for you to enjoy lunch or an evening meal while enjoying some of the best views the city has to offer.
- Hooligans – a sports bar, but not just a sports bar, Hooligans’ motto is ‘Eat, Drink, Cheer’, and they certainly have plenty to cheer about with their rooftop patio offers the best view of the city and the waterfront you can find in Barrie. Throw in great beers and bar meals, televisions playing the latest sports games, and frequently boisterous, fun-loving crowds, Hooligans is a great night out.
- The Farmhouse Restaurant – is one of the top twenty best restaurants in the city, according to TripAdvisor. The Farmhouse is a glorious converted multi-storey redbrick century home serving farm-fresh food since 2013. The icing on an already tasty cake are the two exterior patios for dining on as you gaze out at the water.
- Donaleigh’s Irish Public House – an Irish pub with live music, solid grub and a banging atmosphere. What more could you want? Oh yes, there are patios out front and back, meaning the fun and games can spill out into the street for all to enjoy.
- Flying Monkeys – just off the water and a few hundred metres from Heritage Park, Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery offers craft beers brewed on-site, tours of the premises, good food and even the option to take home your choice of beverages. Excellent staff, occasional live music, and a fabulous atmosphere where it seems like you’re amongst a room full of friends mean this gem is not to be missed.
- North Country – Just east of the Five Points in downtown Barrie, North Country has a full menu of comfort food, cocktails and a large selection of beers. While you’re enjoying your perfectly cooked meal or brew, you can catch some live music and events as well. Take out is also available.
Sports Bars & Pubs in Barrie
Fun, relaxing, sometimes loud and boisterous, yet always enjoyable, great food and sports bars and pubs dot the cityscape of Barrie and offer a fantastic space to wind down after a gruelling week at work. Here are three of the best in the city:
- The Locker Room – Unfussy but great fun for a few hours, The Locker Room Sports Bar and Grill does what it says on the tin, but does it very well. There are no airs and graces here, but the beer is plentiful and the food selection wide and flavourful, making it a favourite amongst Barrie patrons looking for a relaxed evening out.
- Barnstormer Brewing & Distilling Co. – Award-winning and with a brewpub restaurant named in the top 150 in Canada and the best in Barrie itself, the Barnstormer offers house-brewed beers and ales, as well as a selection of pub grub, favourites to please the punters.
Look for more places to grab a pint. See our guide to bars in Barrie here.
Healthier foods are increasingly popular, and Barrie is no different from any other cosmopolitan city when it comes to boasting a great choice of eateries that offer something a little better for your body. Here are three of our favourites:
- The Vegan Pantry – no ordinary vegan cafe, offers a tasty, healthy range of scratch-made and home-cooked dishes from fresh ingredients. Everything that can be made fresh is made, making the place extremely popular.
- Avocobar – offering ‘guilt-free fast food’, Avocobar is a self-described custom salad shop whose sole mission is to ‘make healthy eating a piece of cake’. Fun, apple-fresh and funky interiors welcome you inside, while the menu offers countless wrap and salad options, soups, fruit drinks and more great food.
Dessert & Coffee
It’s not all stuffing yourself with burgers or sharing combo platters as you stare out over the bay – sometimes, it’s just nice to take yourself out to unwind over a coffee and slice of absolutely phenomenal cake as the world slips by. Barrie has lots of wonderful food and fabulous cafés where you can kick back for an hour.
- Casa Cappuccino – (update: sadly, Casa closed in April 2023) in the heart of downtown and a short walk from Kempenfelt Bay and the Spirit Catcher, Casa Cappuccino is a relaxed and relaxing environment of creams and browns to match the large selection of coffees available. Add in specialist tea choices, a raft of desserts such as biscotti, muffins, cakes and tarts, occasional live music, open mic nights and a waterfront view, and Casa Cappuccino is the perfect spot for a lazy, friendly afternoon.
- Chillz Lounge and Swirleez – a dedicated ‘dessert lounge’, Chillz boasts a sleek, ultra-hip interior and offers upscale desserts for your sweet tooth, drinks and hors d’ oeuvres making it perfect for a good date night or post-cinema stop-off when you don’t want the evening to end just yet.
- Chavo Crepes – if crepes are your thing, Chavo on Dunlop Street East is the restaurant to go. Compact and frequently busy, its menu offers everything from breakfast specialities such as ham and eggs to an impressive array of sweet and savoury offerings.
- Bohemia Café – not far from the lakeshore, this hidden gem delivers great food with modern twists on old-fashioned recipes and delivers them very well indeed. The restaurant is smart and funky, while the menu offers breakfasts, brunches, Paninis and wraps, desserts and a large selection of hot and cold drinks, all to be enjoyed in a casual, very relaxing atmosphere.
Barrie Nightclubs & Late Night Bites
The sun has set, and you’re not ready to end the day yet, so where to go in Barrie after dark? Take a look at these places, five top local restaurants in Barrie, which are guaranteed to keep you fed and entertained into the small hours:
- The Ranch – if you want to just let your hair down for a few unpretentious hours, The Ranch will not disappoint. Leave any misgivings at the door and go with it inside a vast country and western bar, crammed with people on an enormous dance floor beneath a ceiling adorned with various flags and other memorabilia. Loud crowds, louder music, a mechanical bull ride, and great times to be had late into the night.
- Queens Nightclub – one of the city’s most popular haunts for late-night lovers for thirty years, Queens is a fun, down-to-earth spot with excellent DJs, fine food and plenty of drinks split over two bars, the ‘Dance’ side and ‘Sports’ side.
If you’re looking for more places to get some late-night eats, we’ve got a list of late-night eats in Barrie here.
Barrie Breakfast Spots
Whether it’s a morning-after-the-night-before hangover cure you’re after or just a relaxing early morning grazing session as you catch up with a friend, try some of Barrie’s best breakfast restaurants:
- Lazy Tulip Café – hip and colourful with a lovely relaxed vibe, the Lazy Tulip Café offers eco-friendly fare in a decorated yet wonderfully welcoming space. Sit and chat with friends over breakfast tacos, huevos rancheros or just a latte and veggie focaccia.
- Stacked Pancake & Breakfast House – a fast-growing name in the local breakfast business – is opening new branches across Simcoe County – Stacked Pancake does things incredibly well. Breakfasts and lunches combine excellent quality food with quality service, with a huge choice of dishes and drinks to wash it down.
- Cora’s Breakfast and Lunch – a bright and cheerful interior provides an inviting space for Cora’s patrons to enjoy the superb breakfasts (and lunches, burgers and wraps!) made with fresh ingredients as well as comfort food like a chicken club and home fries. Something of a local institution, Cora’s has been serving in various guises since 1987 when the owner, Cora Mussely Tsouflidou, opened her first restaurant in Montreal.
- Dunlop Street Diner – located in downtown Barrie, Dunlop Street Diner is a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch with a hearty menu. Definately some of the best food you can get for breakfast.
Next time you’re in Barrie, try some of these Barrie restaurants if you haven’t been there before, or revisit an old favourite.