From hotdogs to flatbread, Burlington has tons to offer in term of delicious dining options. But you already know that, silly. Unique doesn’t necessarily denote quirky, gimmicky, or outlandish. Sometimes it’s about a resto that’s steeped in history or tradition (such as, say, being THE after-hours spot for generations to come!) Here are the top 5 unique restaurants in Burlington.
It’s an unpretentious haven near Mount Nemo. You’re not going here for the decor or to post pretty pics on your Insta feed … unless those pics are for your bonafide foodie following. The menu at this low-key farm-to-table resto is created by a holistic nutritionist, Philippe St-Cyr, who’s created an extensive selection. Start by reading the medley of beverages, ranging from a beet-apple-lime concoction (which I downed in 1.3 seconds) to ginger kombucha. Then there are shots — with standard wheatgrass to items such as Indian gooseberry, or Amla. Not sure what that is? Ask the servers, who know the menu inside-out and clearly care about customizing options. (They convinced me to try the Wundeba Caesar salad with avocado garlic dressing — yum!). Wundeba features weekly specials, in addition to steak, sandwiches, and breakfast. Sundays offer yoga on the patio, followed by brunch. They’ve also got herbal concoctions such as astragalus and cat’s claw — Katherine and Jane, my acupuncturists, would approve.
What to order: Cacao Avocado Mousse.
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Who needs Montreal or New York City when there’s JC’s? Their bagels are baked fresh daily, and sold out, all the time, really … which is remarkable considering there’s a Tim’s next door. JC’s has been hitting that carb-craving since March 1996. Fair-trade coffee is served alongside options such as the Ham and Egg sandwich, and my favourite Everything Bagel with Smoked Salmon and Spinach Cream Cheese (finished off with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and sprouts). Bagels are also sold by the baker’s dozen (go on Wednesdays!) and include favourites such as cheddar and poppyseed. And we can’t talk about J.C.’s without mentioning their handmade cream cheese, which is also sold by the tub. The cookies by the cash register are also unbelievably scrumptious. Basically, wear stretchy pants when you go. You’ll find it in the Roseland Plaza on New St.
What to order: Bacon and Egg Sandwich
This long-time favourite sandwich spot in the Roseland Plaza serves up chicken shawarma with a few simple ingredients: lettuce, turnips, and garlic sauce. It’s brimming with meat and tastes exceptional. Some may say the portion is small compared to conventional shawarma servings, but I’d contend Sammy’s shawarma isn’t filled with 89 other ingredients to overcompensate for a stingy portion of chicken. I was feeling carnivorous, and returned to try their legendary Donair (a Turkish dish, staff explained) with fresh ground beef shaved from a vertical rotisserie. Oh. My. Goodness. It’s unbelievably messy and the sauce is downright hedonistic. But man, does it ever hit the spot! Surprisingly, I didn’t request hot sauce or hot peppers. The verdict: Don’t mess with perfection. Remember to bring cash.
What to order: Donair
This claustrophobic yet classic/legendary greasy spoon on Lakeshore Rd. offers eight booths and a solid burger. It’s been around for about 45 years and customers are known by name. But let’s talk about the burger: This grilled, frozen patty is topped with whatever I want, just like Harvey’s. Ours came with signature sautéed onions – mixed with special ingredients – (the onions were highly recommended by a regular who’s known by name) in addition to lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, banana peppers, ketchup, mayo and mustard. There’s a reason they’ve been open for-basically-ever! It’s one of many amazing burger joints in town.
What to order: Cheeseburger, Chicken Salad, or Poutine with homemade gravy.
This Aldershot institution is obviously the champ … you can’t mess with the best. Easterbrooks has an endless stream of loyal customers to remind you of such legen-dairy (you knew it was coming!) status. While you’re waiting for an ice cream cone, look around — the shop’s ceiling and walls are covered in business cards collected over the years. Records, newspaper clippings, and an arcade game will keep you entertained (and thanking Mable Easterbrook for switching over to hot dogs after four years — she opened shop in 1926 as a tea house!). Since 1930, they’ve served more than 1,653 miles of hot dogs and more than 533 tonnes of ice cream. The good stuff – Central Smith Ice Cream – comes from Peterborough. Flavours include Algonquin Canoe, Maple Walnut, Salted Caramel, Black Raspberry Cheesecake, and Tiger Tail. I stepped out of my comfort zone and went with Black Cherry … it was divine. You can choose from waffle cones to sugar cones or sundaes, and if you’re really craving a treat, get a milkshake. They now have malted shakes which taste like Maltesers candy (my sister will love this news!). Keep in mind, it’s debit or cash only.
What to order: Wonder Dog, onion rings.