There are so many good places for lunch or dinner in the Niagara Region that sometimes it’s hard to choose. Niagara-on-the-Lake has numerous popular restaurants, and all throughout wine country, there are culinary gems. But some are better than others, and some suit your travel plans more accurately. If you are touring the Niagara-on-the-Lake wine appellation area, or if you have plans for either an afternoon or evening performance at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, DeLuca’s is a superb choice.
It’s close enough to NOTL that you can be at the theatre fifteen minutes after you finish dessert, and it’s smack in the centre of the appellation. The bistro is intimate and welcoming, prices are reasonable and the food is consistently wonderful.
Anyone who has been around Niagara for a while knows Chef Tony DeLuca. All of his food initiatives have been stellar, but this new restaurant, DeLuca’s Wine Country Bistro, is one of his best. The small, artfully decorated resto is just outside of NOTL, right across from Jackson-Triggs Winery. The decor is warm and inviting, the food innovative without being overwhelming.
For a recent lunch, Tony was offering his market inspired baked egg special, which varies often. This day it was topped with smoked salmon and accompanied by an asparagus and rocket salad and fresh crostini. ($11)
His Mac’N’ Cheese is a heart-warming riff on this childhood favourite, with brussel sprouts, Niagara Gold cheese and chorizo sausage topped with shitake crumbs.($9)
This classic Shepherd’s pie is a real new twist – made with braised pork shoulder and spring vegetables, and horseradish infused cheddar mash piped on top. Rich but delicious, and not too large a portion for lunch. ($16)
Brown Bag Salmon comes in – a brown paper bag! – perfectly steamed, with a maple glaze, wild rice and spring greens. (($18)
The sandwich was a house smoked brisket sandwich served with aged cheddar, cracked mustard, cabernet pear relish and napa slaw. (($14)
Desserts change with the season, and there are many lovely Niagara wines, by the bottle or the glass, to enjoy with your lunch.
This is one of my favourite places to dine in Niagara, either as a special destination meal, or a great lunch stop on the way to the Shaw Festival.
DeLuca’s Wine Country Restaurant
111C Garrison Village Drive
(across from Jackson-Triggs and Stratus on Highway 55, Niagara Stone Road)