Eat Like a Local

Few things give you the flavour of a community – and unforgettable tastes – than the hidden eateries and unpretentious but long-standing restaurants that locals enjoy.

Barrie’s downtown features an incredible choice of restaurants, locally owned and incredibly creative and tasty.

Town & Country

One of the best lunch deals around during the week is at the Town and Country Steakhouse. Served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the deals that start at $9.95 include soup of the day and homemade sesame-seed garlic bread.  The lunch menu includes an array of burgers – what would you expect from a steakhouse – as well as souvlaki on a pita, steak on a bun and ribs. Everything is served with the house’s signature Greek salad! It’s located on Dunlop Street West, between Mary and Toronto streets.

For a Middle Eastern flavour, Lucy has been cooking up some of the best lunch and dinner deals at Arabesque Family Restaurant. Kefta kabob, chicken kebab and falafel plates cost about $14. Arabesque is located on Maple Avenue, just north of Dunlop Street.


Donaleigh’s Irish Public House
is known for its Barrie take on Irish pub fare, as well as good quality dishes. If you’re hankering for some shepherd’s pie, head to Donaleigh’s, but there’s so much more there. It’s a great place for salads, with the roasted beet and goat cheese salad being a local favourite. On the sandwich board, try the Grilled Steak and Brie – an open-faced strip-loin steak covered with melted brie, sautéed mushrooms and onion crisps. Top your meal off with the Bailey’s Irish cheesecake – or just go straight for desert and enjoy!


Downtown Barrie features a lot of other choices: Casa Mia, the Local Gastropub, Made in Mexico – and if you’re looking for burgers, consider Boon Burger (tasty and creative meatless alternatives), Kensington and The Works. All locally owned, each one takes pride in offering customers something unique and at a good price.

Dunlop Street Diner Barrie

If you’re a breakfast aficionado, the Dunlop Street Diner is the newest of Barrie’s all-day breakfast joints. By contrast, the Midway Diner on Essa Road (not far from the waterfront via Victoria Street) is one of the longest-serving go-to places for breakfast.

For 15 years, Little D’s Family Restaurant has been serving up breakfasts, as well as offering Greek dishes and serving up a fabulous banquet burger deal on Wednesdays. If you can’t decide between breakfast and lunch, try the egg-swiss-spinach wrap! It’s located in the Wellington Plaza, just off of Anne Street. Little D’s offers daily specials and non-stop coffee refills!

If you’re looking for take-out to enjoy in the park or at the beach, there are even more options close to downtown.

Parkside Market

Chef Jim Garraway opened Parkside’s Corner Market. Located near Queen’s Park on the corner of Parkside and Park streets, this hidden gem serves up some of the tastiest food in the city. It can be easier to find if he’s smoking up some ribs or chicken outside! Garraway’s shepherd’s pie quickly sells out. Each day’s menu includes features that he’s inspired to create that day.

Fox’s Bakery and Deli is a go-to if you enjoy a freshly made deli sandwich. You can choose your bread or bun – onion? Sesame? A bagel? – then ask the staff to slice up your choice(s) of meats and cheese. Located a short walk from the waterfront at 96 Victoria St., Fox’s also has sausage bagels (a sausage wrapped in freshly baked cheese bagel) as well as sausage rolls – both which you’ll be biting into eagerly as they’re served warm.

Locals also know that the Italian Bakery has more than just pies, cookies and sweets. It has a hot lunch counter. It also has a frozen food section so you can take home ready-made meals. But what is most fun is the journey along the lunch counter, as you can customize your meal with vegetable choices, potatoes or rice. The stuffed meatballs are incredibly filling and the stuffed peppers a good choice for vegetarians. Also on the menu are chicken and fish, as well as pasta dishes. It’s located on Wellington Street, just off of Anne Street.

In the mood for pizza? Go beyond the chains and visit Pizzeria Italia, located on Mulcaster Street, just down from City Hall. The family-owned restaurant has been serving up some of the best pizza in the city since 1966, as well as incredible meatball sandwiches. The menu includes personal pizzas as well as the overstuffed and satisfying panzerottis and pasta dishes and specials.

These are just some of the mouth-watering options in the downtown area, within walking distance of the beach or a short drive away. Perhaps go for a walk and a swim – and indulge guilt-free!

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