5 Cuisines Missing in Oakville, Burlington, and Milton

 

Halton’s burgeoning food scene - particularly in Oakville and Burlington - is a topic often broached by just about anyone who’s grabbing a bite in town. Lunchtime worker bees polled say they’re often mindlessly hitting up the same lunch spots, while homeowners say they’ll search online and come up empty when it comes to specialty cuisine, thereby forced to leave the region. Many of them are already head downtown Toronto for work anyway, and say they’d rather eat there than trek back to their mansions and be uninspired by what’s on their plate. There’s a plethora of fine dining options in Oakville, but what’s missing? Here are a handful.


5) American Barbecue

Memphis BBQ & Wicked Wings in Milton has had it on lock from time — but if you live near Lakeshore, it’s sooooo far up north. This spot brings out the carnivores in droves, looking for a hearty, finger-licking brisket, ribs, or mac and cheese. Anyone who sits down to dine watches a stream of locals trickling in for a pickup order.

We think Oakville is slightly undernourished in the meat department. Although Luigi’s (so good but also a trek!) is helping diners get their meat fix, it would be nice to see a few more BBQ options scattered throughout the area.


4) Indian

Ask anyone in Oakville for an Indian resto reco and they’ll tell you Coriander Green. Ask for another … they’ll come up empty and sheepishly grin. indian food hits the spot, whether it’s a 2 a.m. craving or a harried 1 p.m. lunch in the car. (Curry in a Hurry, as they call it at the Firehall).

But Halton peeps shouldn’t have to trek to Mississauga or Brampton to sample a mouthwatering range of flavourful, hearty options, from baingan to biriyani with mint chutney to south Indian masala dosa.


3) Mexican

Search for taco places and you’ll find an array of franchises.

Where’s the authenticity, y’all? Maracaz Cantinerie was the go-to spot in Burlington but it’s shut down for good (along with its sister resto, Curdz Poutinerie). Certainly, Halton can handle a little friendly competition. Gym rats expend so much energy looking for lighter fare and with all of its fresh produce and black beans, Mexican grub is always a yes!

We highly doubt diners would sigh at the notion of more Mexican options — especially if they’re set up outside of the downtown core.


2) Tapas

Less is more…except if you’re looking to eat at a tapas place in Halton. Tapas is incredibly hot right now (Barra Fion, anyone?!) and for good reason—share plates are awesome. There’s also something uniquely sexy and cool about tapas joints, especially since such restos tend to pair their on-trend Spanish-style offerings with mood lighting (and sangria!). All tapas joints make good after-work and date hotspots, so it would be excellent to see a few more in the area.


1) African Cuisine

Halton is entirely devoid of African cuisine (or so Google tells us), and African offerings - particularly Ethiopian dining - is a worthwhile experience you can make a night of. We know there’s a couple of places in the Hammer, and think we’d benefit from some earthy, coffee-scented Ethiopian joints offering exotic injera (think of a savory pancake), share plates topped with kitfo and tibs (beef prepared rare and well-done, respectively) and flavourful vegetarian purees. Ethiopian food is an experience. It requires a good attitude, a love of chickpeas and lentils, a partiality for primary colours and the willingness to pair viscous, pungent coffee with air-popped popcorn. It’ an experience that’s high in fun and fibre.


BONUS: Korean BBQ

There’s nothing better than barbequing your own meat right at the dinner table so you can prepare it to your liking. For those who don’t know, Korean barbecue involves roasting beef, pork, chicken or even duck or seafood. Such dishes are often prepared at the diner’s table on built-in gas or charcoal grills. It’s a great place for a date because you actually get to work together on the BBQ or see someone take control of it (which is always hot!). Either way, you get to know each other on another level (you can decide whether their grilling skills are love-inducing, basically) and you both smell like Korean BBQ for the rest of the night.

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