Kingston Eats

Menu BoardSince I am both “from” Kingston and the editor/publisher of the CheapEats Restaurant Guides, I get asked often where to go in Kingston for good eats cheap.

Since I’m heading down to in Kingston this weekend, I decided to share this email which I wrote for a friend headed down to Kingston for the weekend.  It includes both cheap, and not-so cheap places mostly within walking distance of the waterfront.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and any other recommendations you’d like to add to the pile.


Casa Domenico35 Brock Street – It’s a new find (for me) and not a CheapEat but it’s a place I was delighted to find. Tasty food, good menu and since I was introduced to it by a vinophile, who also happened to run into her friend, a selling to the restaurant, the wine list should be pretty solid. Not a CheapEat. www.casadomenico.com

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Lunch!The Pilot House265 King St Eastthe spot for a pint and fish & chips in K’ton. Enough said. www.pilothousekingston.ca (Not enough for you? Okay, it’s a great little pub which has been around forever, or at least it feels like that. Limited space inside but a big side patio, great beer selection and good food.) www.pilothousekingston.ca

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Kingston Brewing Company34 Clarence Street – solid brewpub with some interesting specials and a pub atmosphere. Lots of great nooks and crannies with a big open space upstairs. One of my standard places to hit when I’m looking for good, reliable eats w/ beer. The Dragons Breath Real Ale is the brew-house fave a Premium Bitter/ESB. On the edge of being a CheapEat www.kingstonbrewing.ca

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Morrison’s318 King Street East – another Kingston tradition. It’s a diner and best for breakfast or lunch (IMHO). If you are from Toronto, you might compare it to Fran’s. If you’re from Ottawa think a cross between Mello’s & the Mayflower. A CheapEat.

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Chez Piggy68-R (rear) Princess Street – one of “the” Kingston restaurants. It’s tucked away in an old-limestone courtyard and it’s patio seating is lovely on a sunny afternoon. Generally and interesting and flavourful menu. Not a CheapEat. www.chezpiggy.com

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The Sleepless Goat91 Princess Street – a BoHo co-op cafe with lots of tables, fair-trade coffee and free WIFI. The food is good, and if you’re looking for a place to grab coffee, breakfast or lunch it’s a good spot to hit. A CheapEat  www.thesleeplessgoat.ca

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Pan Chanco44 Princess St. – originally the bakery for Chez Piggy, it has evolve to a have a nice little bistro-style restaurant tucked in the back. Great breads which translate into good sandwiches and excellent bread basket with anything you have. Not a CheapEat panchancho.com

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Windmills Café184 Princess Street – my mom loves this place and they get attention for being a “foodie’s destination”. I’ve never been overly blown away, but the food is good and solid. (I’ve been known to be a little extra snobby about things at this price point.) Not a CheapEat www.windmills-cafe.com

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Steak  Hoagie!Hoagie House384 Division Street – takeout-only but a Kingston Classic. Kind of like a sub but much better. If you are headed this way a Steak Hoagie is the way to go. Unfortunately the only location left is on Division Street, so it’s a bit of a hike from downtown if you don’t have a car. Totally a CheapEat.

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Star Diner849 Princess Street – not downtown so a bit far if you don’t have a car, but a nice little diner for breakfast or lunch. A CheapEat.

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These are some places with Good Press but I’ve never been.

Lukes264 Princess St. – very young chef who started the restaurant at something like 14 (he’s 18 now) with a focus on French cuisine. Not a CheapEat www.lukesgastronomy.com

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AquaTerra by Clark1 Johnson Street – Clark (no relation) used to run what was often considered the best place to eat in K’ton. Now he runs a place out of hotel. It’s right on the water and has a great view especially at night. I’ve never eaten there but it next on the pile if I don’t just go back to Casa Domenico www.aquaterrabyclark.com  [note – since writing the original email, I have been once for lunch. I think it would be better for dinner. Not a CheapEat]

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There are also a number of Vietnamese spots sprinkled around downtown. I haven’t been to a bad one… though I haven’t been blown away either. Generally I hit Saigon Delights272 Bagot Street

If I were heading up and not planning to cook at all, I’d probably hit:

  • The Pilot for dinner Friday,
  • The Sleepless Goat for a light breakfast Saturday,
  • Hoagie House for lunch Saturday and drive down to the water to eat it,
  • Casa Domenico for dinner.
  • Morrison’s or Star Diner again for Sunday breakfast (or I’d just skip breakfast and go for another Hoagie or hit a Vietnamese place.)

(Note: this may eventually end up posted on either CETOblog.com or or some combination of the two, but I’m too hungry to figure that out now.)

21 thoughts on “Kingston Eats

  • June 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm
    Permalink

    Mmmmmmmmm. Can’t wait!
    We visit Kingston 4 times each year and faithfully enjoy:
    – Pan Chanchos
    – Windmills
    – Fourno (nice simple thin crust pizza, lots of variety, wine in tumblers, very simple decor!)
    We’ve enjoyed lots of leisurely Tea at a huge tea place Princess and Sydenhame but I’m still searching for a great cup of coffee in Kingston that’s on par with Ottawa’s Wild Oat. Any suggestions??

    Reply
  • June 17, 2009 at 9:38 pm
    Permalink

    I live in Kingston and eat out frequently. The recommendations in this are generally right on, but here are a few further thoughts…
    First, Morrison’s in NOT anywhere near the quality of Fran’s in Toronto. It’s good, and it’s cheap, but Fran’s it is not.
    Secondly, the Star Diner has been under new management for a while and is now open for dinner till 8, not just breaky and lunch. My wife has eaten there and says it’s great (so does Greg Burliuk, the Kingston Whig-Standard restaurant reviewer).
    If you’re looking for a quality restaurant, in addition to Casa Dominica, for Italian try Frankie Pesto’s or, if you’re feeling a bit wealthier, the River Mill is excellent choice.
    Finally, one of the best kept secrets in Kingston for Viet Namese/Thai food is Golden Viet Thai on Wellington Street downtown. The food is excellent and consistent, and if you go, you absolutley MUST have the hot and sour soup appetizer. It is nothing like the gelatinous dishwater from most Chinese restaurants – the flavours in this soup will blow your mind (and your tastebuds)!

    Reply
  • June 17, 2009 at 10:21 pm
    Permalink

    We live in Kingston, too. We mostly eat take-out these days, because the kidlets (6 and 2) tend to be crazy-making in restaurants, and we’ve had a lot of success with Jade Garden for Chinese, Sapporo for Japanese, and Mino’s Take Out for Greek. The Mino’s portions are huge, and come with bread and salad besides, so we need order very few meals to sufficiently suffonsify the lot of us (four), and we always have leftovers. The quality has gone down in recent years, however, and the food tends to be overly salted. Sapporo is pricey but sooooo yummy, and Jade Garden is usually excellent, and very moderately priced. We like the owners at Jade Garden. They have a kid the same age as our youngest, and allow the kids to play a bit in the restaurant (they keep toys there), and they have done lovely things like gift our kids with gigantic apples as we’re on our way out.
    I have heard good things about a new sushi restaurant at the front of the Frontenac Mall on Bath Road (the name escapes me at the moment, sorry). The location is notorious for killing restaurants quickly, but this place seems to be hanging in there.

    Reply
  • June 18, 2009 at 8:59 am
    Permalink

    There are actually TWO Hoagie Houses left!
    You’ve pegged the one most visitors to Kingston would be able to reasonably show up at, but we do have a second.
    It’s located at 708 Front Road, w-a-a-a-y out near the airport. It’s my usual stop when I’m looking for a Hoagie – can only think of one visit to the downtown location in the past 5+years.

    Reply
  • April 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm
    Permalink

    I have to disagree with the Golden Viet Thai Restaurant.
    I recently moved here from Ottawa (a city with a great assortment of Thai restaurants). My spouse and I had been looking for a great location here for Pad Thai. We checked out the Golden Viet Thai Restaurant.
    I have never returned a meal until I ate here. The Pad Thai was swimming in a bloody beef broth-ish soup. It had long boiled white cooking onions mixed in with the undercooked noodles. I tried to stomach it and soldier as they say, but I couldn’t.
    Pad Thai should have a smooth peanut sauce with a bit of spice to it, finely sliced green onions, some egg, shrimp or chicken, tender noodles and some bean sprouts.
    The only place that comes close to a acceptable Pad Thai is Mango’s.

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:03 pm
    Permalink

    Mmmmmmmmm. Can’t wait!
    We visit Kingston 4 times each year and faithfully enjoy:
    – Pan Chanchos
    – Windmills
    – Fourno (nice simple thin crust pizza, lots of variety, wine in tumblers, very simple decor!)
    We’ve enjoyed lots of leisurely Tea at a huge tea place Princess and
    Sydenhame but I’m still searching for a great cup of coffee in Kingston
    that’s on par with Ottawa’s Wild Oat. Any suggestions??

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:04 pm
    Permalink

    I live in Kingston and eat out frequently. The recommendations in this
    are generally right on, but here are a few further thoughts…
    First, Morrison’s in NOT anywhere near the quality of Fran’s in Toronto. It’s good, and it’s cheap, but Fran’s it is not.
    Secondly, the Star Diner has been under new management for a while and
    is now open for dinner till 8, not just breaky and lunch. My wife has
    eaten there and says it’s great (so does Greg Burliuk, the Kingston
    Whig-Standard restaurant reviewer).
    If you’re looking for a quality restaurant, in addition to Casa
    Dominica, for Italian try Frankie Pesto’s or, if you’re feeling a bit
    wealthier, the River Mill is excellent choice.
    Finally, one of the best kept secrets in Kingston for Viet Namese/Thai
    food is Golden Viet Thai on Wellington Street downtown. The food is
    excellent and consistent, and if you go, you absolutley MUST have the
    hot and sour soup appetizer. It is nothing like the gelatinous
    dishwater from most Chinese restaurants – the flavours in this soup will
    blow your mind (and your tastebuds)!

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:04 pm
    Permalink

    We live in Kingston, too. We mostly eat take-out these days, because
    the kidlets (6 and 2) tend to be crazy-making in restaurants, and we’ve
    had a lot of success with Jade Garden for Chinese, Sapporo for Japanese,
    and Mino’s Take Out for Greek. The Mino’s portions are huge, and come
    with bread and salad besides, so we need order very few meals to
    sufficiently suffonsify the lot of us (four), and we always have
    leftovers. The quality has gone down in recent years, however, and the
    food tends to be overly salted. Sapporo is pricey but sooooo yummy, and
    Jade Garden is usually excellent, and very moderately priced. We like
    the owners at Jade Garden. They have a kid the same age as our youngest,
    and allow the kids to play a bit in the restaurant (they keep toys
    there), and they have done lovely things like gift our kids with
    gigantic apples as we’re on our way out.
    I have heard good things about a new sushi restaurant at the front of
    the Frontenac Mall on Bath Road (the name escapes me at the moment,
    sorry). The location is notorious for killing restaurants quickly, but
    this place seems to be hanging in there.

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm
    Permalink

    There are actually TWO Hoagie Houses left!
    You’ve pegged the one most visitors to Kingston would be able to reasonably show up at, but we do have a second.
    It’s located at 708 Front Road, w-a-a-a-y out near the airport. It’s my
    usual stop when I’m looking for a Hoagie – can only think of one visit
    to the downtown location in the past 5+years.

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm
    Permalink

    I have to disagree with the Golden Viet Thai Restaurant.
    I recently moved here from Ottawa (a city with a great assortment of
    Thai restaurants). My spouse and I had been looking for a great location
    here for Pad Thai. We checked out the Golden Viet Thai Restaurant.
    I have never returned a meal until I ate here. The Pad Thai was
    swimming in a bloody beef broth-ish soup. It had long boiled white
    cooking onions mixed in with the undercooked noodles. I tried to stomach
    it and soldier as they say, but I couldn’t.
    Pad Thai should have a smooth peanut sauce with a bit of spice to it,
    finely sliced green onions, some egg, shrimp or chicken, tender noodles
    and some bean sprouts.
    The only place that comes close to a acceptable Pad Thai is Mango’s.

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm
    Permalink

    Would love to hear your recommendations for any restaurants in Kingston that are must tries.  

    My evesdropping over lunch today caused me to write this link on a piece of paper and hand it over to a group talking about “good places to eat in Kingston” and I was dishearted to hear “Jack Astors, Milestones, Greco’s”  Not that they aren’t fine, but they aren’t Kingston local restaurants and with some many great places to eat in town, I’d love to see people break away from the non-local chains when visiting new cities and towns. 

    So what is your favourite local Kingston restaurant?

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm
    Permalink

    note: this comment had to be manually transferred due to a hiccup so the date stamp is wrong. Sorry @Drew

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm
    Permalink

    @Tommy Vallier note: your comment had to be manually transferred due to a hiccup so the date stamp is wrong. Sorry Tommy.

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm
    Permalink

    @Liana Finucan note: your comment had to be manually transferred due to a hiccup so the date stamp is wrong. Sorry Liana

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:37 pm
    Permalink

    @Dave note: your comment had to be manually transferred due to a hiccup so the date stamp is wrong. Sorry Dave

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm
    Permalink

    Mmmmmmmmm. Can’t wait!
    We visit Kingston 4 times each year and faithfully enjoy:
    – Pan Chanchos
    – Windmills
    – Fourno (nice simple thin crust pizza, lots of variety, wine in tumblers, very simple decor!)
    We’ve enjoyed lots of leisurely Tea at a huge tea place Princess and
    Sydenhame but I’m still searching for a great cup of coffee in Kingston
    that’s on par with Ottawa’s Wild Oat. Any suggestions??

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 4:42 pm
    Permalink

    @Andrea Ross note: your comment had to be manually transferred due to a hiccup so the date stamp is wrong. Sorry

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 7:07 pm
    Permalink

    So many to choose from. Shall I list the ones I worked at first?!?

    Reply
  • April 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm
    Permalink

    Only if they are still good after you left them.

    Reply
  • April 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm
    Permalink

    AlexaClark  Hands down the best food in Kingston is a little whole in the wall, next to the strip club, called wok-in.  To this day I still dream about #13.  Absolutely delicious and made with love!  And in case I forgot to mention super cheap!

    Reply
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