Okay, so I’m not a true local in that I wasn’t born in Waterloo. However I was a member of the co-op program at the University of Waterloo, so I lived in the city on-and-off from 2009 to 2014. Over the years I found some delicious little places to eat, and as many people travel to the city for conferences, events, etc – this is my two cents at where you should get some grub! It’s where I go to make my belly happy!
Pick One: Vegetarian Fast Food
Yes I know the name is a little strange, but it’s one of my favourite places in the city! I was luckily introduced to this place in my first year and whenever I was on campus I would go their at least once a week. The staff is absolutely wonderful and all of the food is home-cooked in a small kitchen you can see. This place is a must-stop for me every time I’m in the city. My go-to is always the vegetarian pad thai and I love it so much I refuse to get the pad thai anywhere else! It’s not like your typical pad thai that’s super peanut-y, but everyone I’ve introduced it to has loved it. Their other dishes are delicious too! Not sure if you’ll like it – try their lunch buffet during the week (on Thursdays their delicious pad thai is an option!). You can also get it non-veggie too for the carnivores out there.
Pick Two: Metro
I unfortunately only found this place during my final term in Waterloo, but better late than never! This authentic German restaurant makes everything from scratch and has a variety of dishes including schnitzel, goulash, and cabbage rolls. They have a variety of schnitzels (both stuffed and topped with various ingredients), but my suggestion is the Parisian Schnitzel – lightly breaded and topped with copious amounts of cheese and fresh mushrooms. At lunch, you have the option of your choice of type of potato (homemade, mashed, or fries), and veggie (coleslaw, sauerkraut, pickled red cabbage, carrots, apple sauce or salad). Lunch you get to have all of the above plus a salad or soup and garlic bread. Dinner is a little bit pricey, but with the amount of food you get it’s easy to make two meals out of it!
Pick Three: Abe Erb
This awesome little brew pub in the heart of Uptown Waterloo just opened in this past September, and it’s been a huge hit! Every time I’ve been there’s been tons of people, yet my food and drinks have still come out in a timely fashion. They have four of their own craft brews on tap with six other guest taps. All of these change every so often, meaning there’s always something new to try! Not a fan of beer? That’s okay – they have wine and cocktails too! Their food is also amazing. I recently had the Lamb Sausage which comes with a Moroccan chickpea and barley salad and a warm pita. The savoury spices in the lamb sausage were brought out by the salad, and the cumin mint yogurt which accompanies the pita makes for a refreshing complement. I’ve also had the Korean Pork Belly Tacos, and despite their size they are surprisingly filling! A little more on the sweet side, they’re also a bit spicy with a bit of crunch! I’d suggest both of these dishes, hands down! Also, if you fall in love with their beer, they have growlers you can purchase and keep bringing back for refills!
Pick Four: Thai Bistro
My friend introduced me to this little gem in the heart of Belmont Village this weekend, and it’s another that I wish I knew about. I actually wish I knew about this whole area – it’s absolutely adorable! So many little restaurants in a quiet little nook about 5min away from the bustle of Uptown Waterloo – it’s a gem! I digress, back to the deliciousness at hand! I had their chicken green curry, which has to be the best curry I’ve had in a very long time… maybe even ever! And the portions are insane! All I had to do was add a few more veggies to this dish and I had two meals. It was a little on the spicy side, so if you’re not a fan you might want to dodge this dish, but they have plenty of other choices for eat-in and take-out! I’d definitely suggest checking it out if you have a chance!
Pick Five: Suki Sushi
So after a Google scare of telling me it’s predecessor Tomu Sushi closed, I’m elated to say that it is alive and well but now known as Suki Sushi! Hands down the best sushi joint in Waterloo, their sashimi is some of the freshest I’ve had, and they have awesome lunch and dinner specials that include a copious amount of food (especially the ones that include tempura!). It’s not an All-You-Can-Eat sushi joint like most of the sushi restaurants in the city, but it’s worth every penny. To order sushi by the roll can be a little pricy so I usually opt for the boxes, but if you’re looking to treat yourself to some delicious sushi – this is the place to go!
Pick Six: Sweet Dreams Teashop
Last, but certainly not least, this little shop in the corner of university plaza is an awesome spot to sit back and relax or crank out some work. Another one of my regular hangouts, Sweet Dreams has the best bubble tea in the city, and the best service. Their udon is also absolutely delicious and my top choice if you’re looking for some grub. Sweet Dreams has a great lunch deal which includes one of their delicious bubble teas (or tea lattes, or slushies – so many choices!) and a bowl of udon for around $10. Not a bad deal for a student budget! Also, a hidden little secret of theirs: pecan pie tea latte. Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds, I promise. Just be sure to get it with skim milk and half sweet so you can fully taste the tea. The best part? It’s caffeine free so you can enjoy it at any time of the day! Okay, one more little secret: taro butter sponge toast. It’s kinda weird since the icing is bright purple, but trust me it’s to die for! Although I find it to be quite sweet, so I’d say find a partner in crime to share it with.
Now there’s a few other places I can think of, but you’ll have to wait for another post! Until then, enjoy these and let me know what you think of them! Or better yet – do you have a suggestion for me? Share it by commenting and I’ll give it a try next time I’m in town!