Top 5 Best Restaurants in Downtown Burlington

Whether you eat to live or eat to live, chances are you’ve consumed a meal in downtown Burlington. And if you haven’t, then you should get on that ASAP. With its lovely waterfront and selection of great eats, Brant St. and surrounding areas area favourite destination for all things foodie. It could be a casual bite involving nachos, a straight up mission for comfort food, or something involving libations (and lots of ‘em!). All of these restaurants are top-notch and should absolutely be on your must-try list (we know we'll be returning!). Here are our top 5 best downtown Burlington restaurants.


5. Paradiso

The dress code is casual, however, the food is anything but. This Pine St. resto has been pleasing Halton residents who love them a good Seafood Stew, Roasted Vegetable Spanakopita, or Crab Ravioli. And just like the original downtown Oakville location, the salads are ever popular. The kale and apple salad, topped with roasted trout (you can also get grilled sirloin), features Tuscan kale and baby arugula. It's served with quinoa and finished with shaved green apple and a lemon-herb vinaigrette. Yum!


4. Downtown Bistro & Grill

It’s a great little hidden gem with fabulous service and a flashy orange door, which is what drew us in. The bistro is known for its salads and crepes - Seafood or Chicken - and so it began … The Greens and Berries Salad is so fresh and light and lovely. It features mixed greens, fresh seasonal berries (I had strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries) with a yummy vinegar-heavy mission fig dressing and roasted pecans. The dish is technically served with blue cheese but staff were happy to sub goat cheese instead. (Mental note to eat here when I’ve got a business meeting booked right before the gym). The Chicken Crepe is also served with goat cheese, plus sauteed spinach and a house-smoked chicken breast in a tangy rose sauce. I’m a fan of crispier crepes but the sauce had me going back for more even though I was stuffed. The fries are amazing! And for dessert - they’re all made in-house, too - get the carrot cake … it has pineapple.


3. Culaccino Bar & Kitchen

This hip Italian bar-slash-gastropub is one of the newest along Brant St., taking over the former Eatalia spot. I found this place while strolling downtown … the stunning aesthetic caught my eye so I went in to find out more, quickly realizing it’s Burlington’s best-kept burger secret. Just order The Burger and wait for it to arrive. Take in the glorious horseshoe-shaped bar and industrial light fixtures and wooden chairs with colourful legs. Try not to drool over the food or decor. Decked out between a bun with black-and-white sesame seeds you’ll find a thick grilled patty made in-house, like everything on the curated menu. It’s wrapped in prosciutto and drowned in melted Gorgonzola and served with frites and house-made ketchup, which tastes so healthy it feels as if I’m eating clean for just a split second. A few bites in, I had to put The Burger down and just nod at it to convey appreciation and respect. The friendly owner, Jerod, and staff work hard to provide a stellar experience. Oh, and by the way, they’ve got craft beer on beer on beer on beer! Dozens … close to 100 varieties. Culaccino opened around summer 2016 and weekends are fully booked. Check out this stunning restaurant and experience the best burger in Burlington!


2. The Express

Downtown Burlington’s food scene just got a boost, Italian-style. The Express Italian Eatery has opened along Lakeshore Rd. at Brant St. and it’s serving up pizza, pasta, steak and seafood. The new restaurant opened last month in the former Salvatore’s spot. It's from Hamilton -- there's a location by McMaster University and another on Grays Rd. closer to Stoney Creek. Burlington is the third location. The Express is named after the train in Italy which weaved through Bolzano, Milano, Florence, Bologna, Rome, Calabria and Sicily. The menu represents a fusion of northern, central and southern Italian cuisine. What's in store? Made to order wood fire pizzas, fresh in- house pasta and hand tossed gourmet salads. You'll really want to get the Ravioli al Brasato di Manzo. Why? Pillows are stuffed with braised beef then topped with sauteed red onions and mushrooms. It's comfort food that's flavoured impeccably (and reminds me of my university roommate Tania’s pot roast ... gone Italian). The Gnocchi, made in-house, arrives in a dreamy, creamy Rose sauce. It's topped with fried sweet potato chips for a layer of texture. If you're into sharing, you'll want to order the Venetian pizza ($16). It's got a thin crust plus asiago, soppressata, fresh rapini and pepperoncino, made in-house. It's fantastic and perfectly crispy. Service is great, and here's something special for the ladies: They give out blankets on the patio if you’re cold (or inside when the A/C is blasting.


1. Martini House

This tiny-fine dining restaurant provides an array of gourmet, chef-made menu items (and libations, obviously). The Hand-Made Gnudi is created in-house and stands out as a star dish, featuring lemon-thyme ricotta, roasted pearl onions, mushrooms, and walnut pesto. It’s equal parts light yet addictive. Popular items include the delicious Mushroom Pizza, with buttered leeks and truffle oil, and Braised Beef Yorkies, which is oh-so-comforting on any given day. So’s the cornbread served under the Crab Cakes. And the Chicken Florentine Crepe is something to write home about. Menu changes are kicking in as of spring 2018, so that only means there will be more new dishes to sample!

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