Last year, I started to put together a bucket list of eateries I wanted to try out before I graduated: restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs… you name it! I did some digging, and discovered some great places within the Kitchener-Waterloo region, some of which have become my favourite hangout and study spots. Here is a little taste of my list, in no particular order…
1. TWH Social – Downtown Kitchener
This one is truly a hidden gem. Located beneath the Walper Hotel, it is a cozy, rustic-contemporary styled bar and bistro. Their extensive and unique drink list was what initially drew me to this classy social hub, but their food (my favourite is the Queen Street Buddha Bowl) and their delicious seasonal desserts (such as the Bourbon Crème Brûlée during the Spring) were what really kept me going back. Check out TWH Social here!
2. Bao Sandwich Bar – Waterloo
Nested in a student living neighbourhood – behind the Lazaridis Hall Building – this sandwich bar specializes in Vietnamese-style sandwiches (Báhn Mi – a baguette filled with Vietnamese ingredients) as well as steamed buns (Gua Bao – a popular street food in Taiwan), between which customers can choose from. To make things better, they even serve Thai Tea and Kimchi Fries! Check out the Bao Sandwich Bar here for their menu, hours and all the deliciousness they have to offer.
3. Just Love Pie Café – Uptown Waterloo
Source: Just Love Pie Café Facebook Page
Pies baked daily? Count me in! This sweet little pie shop is tucked inside the Atrium in Uptown Waterloo. Choose from a changing selection of freshly baked sweet and savoury pies and tarts to share in-house, or to take home as a nice treat for your roommates. My favourites: sweet – Bumbleberry; savoury – Guinness & Steak. Want to check it out for yourself, visit their website!
4. Settlement Co. – Uptown Waterloo & Downtown Kitchener
Source: Settlement Co. Facebook Page
Ethically sourced and hand-roasted coffees, house-brewed Nitro Cold Brew, and French-pressed loose-leaf teas are among the many things that make this place super hip. Couches, booths, and wireless charging make Settlement Co. the perfect place for casual meetings, studying, or hanging out with friends. They recently opened a new location in Kitchener as well, and I can attest that it takes hipster to a whole new level. Want to see for yourself? Check out Settlement Co. online!
5. [email protected] – Downtown Kitchener
Source: Andrew Coppolino, waterlooregioneats.com
Attached to THEMUSEUM in Kitchener, this quaint bar serves a variety of seasonal alcoholic beverages, small healthy meals, and desserts. Its chill atmosphere makes it a great place for kicking back with friends over great food and drinks. Visit their website for more details!
6. Abe Erb – Uptown Waterloo & Downtown Kitchener
Abe Erb is home to a wide selection of locally brewed delectable beers and beer-inspired foods (if you are adventurous enough, try some of their elk meatloaf). This industrial-style restaurant and brewery is another fantastic choice for late-night hangs and socializing. I highly recommend trying out any of their coffee ales; they are full of rich flavour and all the goodness one could ask for. Want to see what’s on tap and what’s on the menu, visit their website here!
7. Café Pyrus – Downtown Kitchener
Source: Kristy Guthrie-Roth, communityedition.ca
For all of you vegans out there, I got you. This small café is located right across the Charles Street Terminal in downtown Kitchener, and yes, they proclaim themselves to be ‘secretly’ vegan. Everything on their menu uses fair, local, and organic ingredients wrapped up in sustainable packaging – anything to help save the world little by little, right? Interested in this gem? Here’s their website!
8. Kinkaku Izakaya – Downtown Kitchener
Every student in Waterloo who loves Japanese food has heard of Kinkaku. Be prepared to visit on an (almost) empty stomach, because this all-you-can-eat sushi and teriyaki restaurant will have your mouth watering as you try out pretty much everything on their extensive menu. I recommend making a reservation beforehand because it can get pretty busy and fill up quickly – especially during dinnertime. You’ll definitely need this link to their website so you can make that reservation ASAP!
9. The Famous OWL of Minerva – Uptown Waterloo
Korean culture has been taking the world by storm, with its beauty products, entertainment, and cuisine. The Famous OWL of Minerva is somewhere my friends and I like to visit frequently because of: a) decently priced food, b) delicious food, and c) potatoes! It’s closely located to Laurier in Uptown Waterloo which is a bonus as well. Hungry yet? Check them out here.
10. Death Valley’s Little Brother – Uptown Waterloo
Source: Mary Ferguson, blueprintmagazine.ca
Espresso café by day, whisky bar by night. Housed in Uptown Waterloo, DVLB (or ‘Death Valley’s Little Brother’) provides customers with quality coffee – espresso and pour-overs – as well as single malt whiskies from all over the world. Its warm atmosphere makes it another optimal location for some quality studying. Of course, we provided you a link for this amazing cafe as well.
11. Arabella Park Beer Bar – Kitchener
You will have a ball in this bar if you are a big fan of beer. Located within Kitchener’s Belmont Village Food Avenue, Arabella Park Beer Bar features an 18-tap rotating roster of local (and beyond) beer and cider, complete with exclusive bar service and innovative food to pair with your drink of choice. I have yet to visit this bar, but it is on my list to complete this term! Check out their website and let us know what you thought!
My foodie adventures started a little late; do not be like me and get a head start on yours!
What are your go-to eateries in the Kitchener-Waterloo region?