Top 5 Unique Restaurants in Oakville

It’s easy to tire of eating the same old menu items (with tried and true recipes) in Oakville. If you're looking to kick things up a notch and step outside of your culinary comfort zone, check out these exquisite restaurants which boast their own special flair right here in town. Here are our top 5 unique restaurants.

5. Celadon House

This Filipino fusion restaurant delivers Asian comfort food with personality. My favourite dish was the most labour-intensive. The Coconut Beef Curry, which comes with melt-in-your-mouth tendon chunks, is cooked for five hours and dry braised with 26 traditional spices. (Yes, 26 -- that isn't a typo!) The owner describes it as 'rendang,' an Indonesian or Malaysian dish. While you’re here, also try the Chicken Adobo. The service at Celadon is very friendly, with many regular customers who are known by name.

4. Solasta

Solasta is a plant-based restaurant which recently opened in Kerr Village (in the former Karmah location). Its menu has hints of Indian influence (turns out the owner has some travel stories). The carrot orange fennel juice is sensational, along with the black bean & shiitake burger, which is dressed with tamarillo ketchup, plantain mustard, and crunchy basil relish. The burger is tender and served with a side of greens, sprinkled with watermelon radish and pomegranate seeds which make for a refreshing accompaniment. The dish is incredibly filling and satisfying. Dessert offerings include vegan carrot cake and brownies. Items are also gluten-free and vegetarian (obviously!) friendly.

3. Julia's (Ristorante Julia)

Boasting beautiful decor with plenty of natural light, Julia's (run by long-time Oakville restaurateur Julia Hanna, of Cafe Galleria, Paradiso, and Ritorono fame) is home to a gorgeous bar, dramatic red chandeliers and excellent food and service. Julia's features a blend of Italian and Latin cuisine dubbed 'Lataliano.’ They offer paella, Spain's national dish, which includes chorizo sausage, tiger shrimp, mussels, sweet peas, oven roasted roma potatoes and sofrito rice. To start, the moist and flavourful complimentary cornbread gives you something to nibble on while awaiting your appetizers and/or main dish. The only main dish I wanted was gnocchi (with bolognese), made in-house by a nonna named Caterina, who has worked alongside Julia for 34 years. It never fails to send me home happy. The ingredients at Julia's are high-quality, including locally-produced meat, dairy and produce. Just go already.

2. Machu Picchu

This Peruvian/Latin fusion gem has lots of menu items that are a delight to taste. But I'm a devotee of the yellow sauce (it's called huancaina and made with cheese, potatoes, spices, and hot Peruvian yellow peppers). Between delicious cassava fries dipped in this mouth-watering sauce, tender beef hearts with roasted potatoes and corn kernels, and tamale on a plantain leaf, our dining experience was off to a great start. The ceviche was fantastic! Our mains included chicken stew (with yellow sauce!), beef stew (it's incredibly juicy and reminds me of my south Indian mom's goat curry), and mahi mahi topped with calamari and shrimp (it was good but not as tasty as anything with the yellow sauce). For dessert, the crispy yet soft shortbread cake came with a drizzle of dulce de leche. Overall, it's a delightful dining experience. Encore!

1. Yolanda's Spuntino Casa

This rustic modern Tuscan farmhouse in Bronte Harbour is gorgeous, with a mix of marble tables, pendant lighting ,sconces and a retractable roof on the patio! (The heritage home is from 1843 ... one look at the beautiful patio and I know where I'll be parked all summer!) Created by the Mercanti family of Hamilton, the menu highlights sustainable seafood and classic italian spuntino (snacks or bites). Yolanda's - home to coastal Italian fare - offers the best appetizer I've had in years. Simply put, the Zucchini Fritto was amazing. Vegetables are paper-thin (not breaded!) and topped with honey, Buffalo ricotta cheese, and Parma Ham (fancy bacon, if you will) and fresh mint. It's an absolute must-have! The grilled calamari was another delicious starter, while the gnocchi, made in-house, was incredible, featuring truffle cream. The charcuterie board comes with two cheese selections and salumi, alongside a delectable oil and balsamic reduction. The knotted bread is to die for! I could eat those everyday for the rest of my life. For dessert, the tiramisu was light and fresh, and reminiscent of pudding. Service is stellar. Run, don't walk, to Yolanda’s and buy me a drink on the patio!

What’s your favourite unique place to eat in Oakville?


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