Top 5 Sarnia Restaurants

For those who haven’t seen our top 10 or top 5 lists before, it is not intended to highlight the absolute best Sarnia restaurants, but rather the ones that are most vital to Sarnia right now. It provides options for affordable and interesting dining experiences that locals think are particularly great, and why. From a cool sushi bar to one of the busiest Indian restaurants, there’s also market grub and bowling; we've got a list for locals or visitors in the area to help you decide what to eat and when.

The Qualities Of A Great Restaurant in Sarnia

What qualities should a restaurant have for it to earn “the best” in town? As far as most food critics are concerned, food is the most important things to consider. At the same time, the level of service and the ambiance the restaurants boasts will matter a lot, and should match the quality of what is served. A great wine list, excellent cocktails, and quality beers are also other factors that are considered. Then, there are the less easily quantifiable qualities like consistency, imagination, and personality.

We asked ourselves how our budget, mood, and where we end up eating when hungry would affect the way we vote. Do they incorporate casual or fine dining, or do they offer a lunch menu? Outdoor seating or a sushi bar? Amenities are not only what we expect as restaurant guests. Our wallet and mouth help grade the experience. Is it a place we would recommend to a friend? Is it a place that we would not mind dining if we had just one night in Sarnia?

The Qualities Of A Great Restaurant in Sarnia

What qualities should a restaurant have for it to earn “the best” in town? As far as most food critics are concerned, food is the most important things to consider. At the same time, the level of service and the ambiance the restaurants boasts will matter a lot, and should match the quality of what is served. A great wine list, excellent cocktails, and quality beers are also other factors that are considered. Then, there are the less easily quantifiable qualities like consistency, imagination, and personality.

We asked ourselves how our budget, mood, and where we end up eating when hungry would affect the way we vote. Do they incorporate casual or fine dining, or do they offer a lunch menu? Outdoor seating or a sushi bar? Amenities are not only what we expect as restaurant guests. Our wallet and mouth help grade the experience. Is it a place we would recommend to a friend? Is it a place that we would not mind dining if we had just one night in Sarnia?

How Do We Choose Sarnia's Top Restaurants?

We are a growing community of enthusiasts sharing our knowledge of Sarnia restaurants, shops, and foods. Ours is not the most comprehensive restaurant review site for the city, but it is the most honest. If you are a dedicated lover of Sarnia's food scene we want to hear your recommendations. The below map was created to divide Sarnia into four dining zones: Downtown, Sarnia East, Sarnia North, and Sarnia South.

There’s some new restaurants in town this year. Sarnia has seen a boom in dining options and with recent buildings changing hands. Most of them had face lifts. And most can accommodate dining guests all year round. Sarnia’s First Fridays have been the spark to get most home-bodies out to drink and eat. Warmer weather can also fill up the local watering holes.

Finding The Short List of Restaurants…

By considering these aspects, we ended up shortlisting about 15 restaurants. We then advocated, and debated about each of these restaurants, which range from Southern BBQ to a seafood restaurant, Indian cuisine to Japanese. We surveyed a group of local foodies to help us organize the establishments and rank them.

Choosing Sarnia’s best restaurants increasingly becomes more difficult. The downtown is being revamped and the number of great places to dine continues to grow. Our appreciation of, and interest in, good food increases with every season it seems. The number of exceptional culinary choices continues to grow, with inspired chefs branching into entrepreneurship. As a result, this is making it even harder to rank the city’s best establishments… but at the same time, more intriguing and worthwhile.

Over the years of trying to rank local companies, we have learned to expect feedback about this ranking. Lists of this type are subjective to a certain degree, with locals, tourists, or regular patrons weighing in. Another variable is the frequent change in service and atmosphere. There are seasonal changes to establishments, too.

It is worth noting that there are over 150 restaurants listed on Tripadvisor. That includes fast-casual chains, hiway bowling, fast food restaurants, a pad thai market location, or eateries with good food. Taking such options out of the equation, what we were left with is about 35 eateries that have a shot at earning the best restaurant title. These are the sort of places with enthusiastic patrons who encourage them,
and of course make them profitable.

Qualities and Characteristics of A Good Dining Spot

A great restaurant is distinguished by its qualities. These characteristics help keep the restaurants brimming with satisfied and faithful customers. If you run a restaurant, understanding some of these qualities will increase your chances of earning consistent profits and repeat business.

In today’s competitive climate, restaurants have to work hard to attract patrons for special occasions, dinner with friends or lunch with colleagues. But what is it that makes one restaurant better than another? Do you follow food critics and food guide recommendations and online reviews? Are Google Reviews and Tripadvisor skewed? I tend to go with personal recommendations from my colleagues and friends.

What are you into and where are you planning to eat? Johns Restaurant or Cromwell Grill always come up when breakfast is mentioned. Sitara Indian Cuisine was a standalone for years until Spice & Ice arrived. London Road has some great spots such as Victory Buffet (sushi bar)or the retro-feel of Ole Country Diner. One direction leads you outside of the city on the London Line, formerly the Golden Mile. Hiway Bowl or more fine dining at Big Fish or Olives Casual Cuisine awaits you there. When you take London Rd and head halfway to the downtown, Hana Japanese Restaurant opened an ambitiously large location. Downtown Sarnia has Waggs Steakhouse or pubgrub at Paddy Flahertys. Brights Grove has seen a remodeling of Huron Oaks’ restaurant. When people visit a new city or town, they tend to choose a place that is busy; which is a good sign that the meals are prepared fresh and taste good.

Tired and drab decor, tightly packed tables, fast food (there’s a lot of fast food!), and blaring background music tend to put people off. Some restaurants are too keen on squeezing in as many people as they can. Have you ever sat so close to another table that you can hear their intimate conversation?

Some High-Quality Food…

All of the top restaurants in Sarnia have a high standard when it comes to a food restaurants quality and do their best to ensure that patrons receive quality meals every time. Being a border city, there is some influence from American restaurants across the river in Michigan. American restaurants are known for their customer retention and inexpensive pricing. Serving your guests quality food will earn you a great reputation and will leave a great impression on your guests, increasing their chances of coming back again. Do they source from the local market? How much of these local marketplace items are incorporated into their dinner or lunch menu? An experienced chef and high-quality ingredients are important when it comes to ensuring that great food is servedconsistently. A good chef works well with the kitchen staff and understands what the guests need to ensure that your meals what you want, and how you want it.

A Good, Overall Experience

Great customer service, a clean environment, and quality food will enhance a customer’s overall experience. It will leave a positive impression on them. The people assigned to interact with customers should be courteous and positive at all time. Servers and waiters should know the menu well and deliver guest’s drinks and food on time. They should be individuals that address any issues with unsatisfied guests. Their staff should keep the establishment clean at all times, including food preparation areas, and most of all the kitchen space. Food supply chain is also important. I’d want to know where and how far the seafood restaurant sourced from?

Need to Stand Out

If you run a restaurant that provides great service and food but is quite similar to others nearby, customers may end up overlooking you when looking for a place to dine. Those are odds when we select a place to dine. As a restaurant owner, those previous characteristics and unique features set you apart from all the other restaurants in town. Outdoor seating in the summer is a must. You could consider ensuring that your restaurant is the one known in town that prepares fresh ingredients on a daily basis. If you’re known for an amazing view or service that no other restaurant in Sarnia has, you are winning. Due to the close location of Brights Grove (10-15 minute drive), we have included a Brights Grove location.

Good Business Management

Great restaurant owners manage every business aspect of their restaurant professionally. This will increase your chances of ensuring that your establishment provides quality services and food without any interruptions. Managing your restaurant professionally will also help boost your profits. It is essential that you manage your restaurant finances properly, and that you keep good records and stay up-to-date with all the regulatory requirements like health inspections and taxes. For instance, paying your vendors and suppliers on time and consistently will reduce your chances of running out of stock and the ingredients needed to make your menu. The above is not incorporated into our consideration, but is sensed by customers and patrons.

Sarnia Restaurants on the Water

Sarnia, Ontario is defined by its location along the picturesque St. Clair river. A mecca for water sports, people watching, or simply enjoying the view, a visit to the waterfront is a must in the summer time, or any time. What better way to enjoy the views than to visit Sarnia restaurants on the water. Restaurants on the water include Paddy Flaherty’s, Stokes Bay Grill & Bar, Purdy’s Fish Market, Gateway Casino. Click here to read more about Restaurants on the Water.

Sarnia Fine Dining Options

Sarnia’s list of fine dining options certainly do not match the fine dining experiences one would find in a larger city like Toronto, however Sarnia’s handful of options will be sure to exceed your expectations, including a list of seafood, French and American fine dining.  Click here to read more

2018 Food Trends For Restaurateurs

In an interview with HuffPost Canada, trend pro Daniel Levine notes that trends rise and fall in a complex, interconnected web. Different trends react with each other, and diverse cultures are big enough to make room for food trends that might seem contradictory. The rising popularity of avocado toast, for example, hasn’t chipped away any of bacon’s popularity.

Though it’s tricky, the challenge of predicting food trends for 2018 isn’t insurmountable. In some cases, building design trends that were recognized last year can be expected to continue. In other cases, subtle ideas and instincts will combine to create new trends.
Vegetarian and vegan eating maintain their popularity for the time being. Even eaters who haven’t sworn off meat completely can be tempted with plant-based offerings of sufficient novelty and appeal. Food trends are still closely linked to social media activity, and what people share can have effects. Even fast food restaurants have taken to Instagram.

Some trends burst upon the food scene with no warning whatsoever. Witness the brief rise of poke or charcoal ice cream. Levine stressed in his interview that some left-field trends are quite simply impossible to predict in advance.
Thus one of the safest predictions you can make regarding food trends in 2018 is to expect the unexpected. The year will doubtless bring at least a handful of surprise trends. This is inevitable in any creative industry, and creativity is very much a part of the great chef’s portfolio. Levine notes that industry-leading chefs are constant innovators, and predicting what tastes and flavors they will evoke in the next 12 months is difficult. How many chefs in Sarnia will keep their fingers on the pulse?
With all that being said, we’re still confident enough to make a few good guesses about 2018’s food trends. The following topics are poised to attract a significant amount of attention in the food world over the next 12 months:

Plant-Based Eating

Based on data collected from professional chefs by Foodora, a restaurant supplier, plant-centric menus are going to be more popular than ever in 2018, attracting vegans and non-vegans alike.
Vegans and vegetarians are no longer the “weird outlier” chefs and diners have to plan around. Chefs who were originally known strictly for meat dishes are looking to vegetarian alternatives to provide them with new opportunities and new challenges. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are appearing in wildly unexpected places.

Tech In The Food Sphere

Levine says we should expect to see tech innovations make a splash in restaurants in 2018. He predicts that augmented reality menus will become increasingly common by the end of the year.
Phone apps can be used to significantly increase the amount of information presented by menus, enabling diners to check out ingredients, nutritional data, and even preparation videos. Restaurants in China are even exploring the use of facial recognition as a speedy way to complete payments.

Avocado

When Pollock Communications surveyed dietitians in an attempt to predict 2018 food trends, avocado scored the number two slot. 2018 is likely to see more than a few avocado-centric restaurants opening up. Even Dominique Ansel, famed inventor of the Cronut, is experimenting with avocado ice cream.

Instagram

A lot of the biggest splashes in food in 2017 traveled on a wave of Instagram attention. This likely explains why so many of the year’s top food trends (e.g. charcoal ice cream) were ones that make an arresting visual on your phone screen.
Levine expects this trend to continue through 2018. Even the most prestigious chefs are paying more attention to how their foods look when snapshotted via phone. Many restaurants are even adjusting their environments to make it easier for diners to snap great Instagram photos.
The rising trend has been noted by the Culinary Institute of America, which now offers courses on styling food to make a better social media impression.

Root To Stem

Echoing the above-noted surge in the popularity of plant-based cuisine, chefs are looking for vegetable parallels to the past popularity of “nose to tail” eating. An interest in utilizing every edible part of a vegetable may signal a reduction in food waste as well as the exploration of new culinary frontiers. Marketplace items that are sourced locally can help lower this impact. Harju-Westman notes that both diners and chefs are growing more interested in waste reduction and recycling when it comes to food preparation. “Zero waste eating” is likely to emerge as a new challenge for 2018.

Cannabis Cuisine

Recreational marijuana is legal. Its’ powerful position on the food trend map is likely to result in a surge in interest in cannabis cuisine.
You can expect to see marijuana make impacts both large and small, says Levine. From solitary edibles to entire meals planned around specific cannabis strains, 2018 will push cannabis cuisine higher up into the spotlight.

Are there restaurants in Sarnia that deliver?

The simple answers are Foodora and Uber Eats. Sarnia, Ontario has recently adopted the newest trend in ordering your food online and having it show up to your door. Many restaurants in Sarnia are listed on both apps, however a handful of restaurants will also deliver themselves, such as Pizza places and even East Side Marios.

What are the best options for Breakfast in Sarnia?

When looking for a place to grab breakfast, whether you are hungover and need some grease, (don’t lie we’ve all been there!) or looking for somewhere to take the family for brunch, opt for a place to keep everyone happy! Sarnia’s breakfast joints are committed to their loyal customers and are sure to go above and beyond to prove it!

The Short List this Month

Sitara Indian Cuisine
Waggs Steak House
Johns Restaurant – London Line
Olives Casual Cuisine
Victory Buffet – London Road
Hana Japanese Restaurant
Paddy Flahertys
Ole Country Diner – London Rd
Huron Oaks – it is in Brights Grove

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