Introduction: Restaurant reviews
Going to a restaurant is lots of fun. A while ago, when my mother noticed that I have been trying new restaurants more often in the past couple of years, she encouraged me to start my own thing where I review new restaurants try. I decided that it could be as simple as making a blog.
Lots of people review public places on Google Maps, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. With Google Maps, I am no exception. I have posted numerous reviews on there.
In one of my journalism classes from last year, we had the opportunity to write reviews as a weekly content contribution. However, because I am not an expert with reviewing stuff and that the expectations were high, I just didn’t have the motivation to write one for that class.
While I am not an expert on the food industry in the same way I am passionate about weather and autism acceptance, it has always been a minor interest throughout my life.
Each new restaurant I try is always something to look forward to. Some occasions I end up disappointed more than others, but coming from somebody who used to be a picky eater in elementary school, I have come a long way. My willingness to try new places reflects that.
Like the majority of people, when writing reviews, I don’t only assess the food quality, but I also evaluate the customer service and overall atmosphere.
Here are 10 new restaurants I have tried since the beginning of 2019. Nine are in Oakville while one is in Grimsby.
Gazebo Burgers and Grill: 50’s style restaurant review
Located in Central Oakville, this is a 50’s style burger restaurant. It’s been there for quite a few years now when the location used to be a Hwy 55 and even further back, Lick’s.
I have only tried this place through Uber Eats. Therefore, I have not been inside the restaurant (Going to the former Lick’s as a kid doesn’t count).
The first time I tried this place a few months ago, I had a hotdog with fries. The fries were not very good. They were not crispy to the point that they might have been sitting out for a while before somebody microwaved them. Anyone who has tried to have leftover fries before will likely know what I mean. The texture, and to a lesser extent, the taste, is just not the same with leftovers. However, the hotdog was great. You can definitely taste the beef in it.
I originally left a mediocre review on Google Maps, but I tried to be optimistic that most of their other food would be good. The owner responded to my review and said that although I experienced setbacks, he/she and his/her team were happy that I at least had some positives. The owner wanted me to give them another chance.
I gave this place another chance and tried a chicken burger with mozzarella sticks. They were much better than the fries. Fresher and chewier.
Overall, asides from the fries, there is good food here. The owner was understanding and not defensive about my honest opinion.
Habanero Taqueria: Mexican eatery review
This place is a Mexican eatery in the plaza across the street from the Sheridan Trafalgar Campus. They offer the usual Mexican favourites such as burritos, bowls, nachos, tacos, quesadillas, along with various toppings to put on them.
I went to this place once a few months ago and was quite impressed. For those who know me super well, you likely know I am not a chip or nacho eater. However, I’ll eat wraps and tacos if the tortillas are soft.
The atmosphere seemed nice and upgraded. On the small side, but that is expected for a restaurant in a small strip mall.
I had a soft chicken taco with numerous toppings such as beans, peppers, rice, and sour cream on it. Although it’s hard not to make a mess when eating tacos given how easily they fall apart, the food was delicious and in my opinion, much better than Taco Bell tacos. I think the beans stood out for some reason. They may have put extra in my taco.
The staff here seemed average. Nothing special. However, since I have only been to the restaurant once, they could have not had a particularly good day.
Overall, this is a nice Mexican restaurant.
Marylebone Cafe & Creamery: Cafe review
Marylebone Canada is a cafe near the Oakville Walmart which offers incredibly creative beverages and desserts. They have cheesecakes, gelato, macarons, massive milkshakes/sundaes known as freakshakes, coffee, hot chocolate, and many more. Me being a dessert lover, this is an obvious to-go-to place for me.
I first went to this place over a month ago as I discovered this place through Google Maps. I can honestly say I have not been to a more desirable dessert place than this.
You actually get a real cafe feel to this place. The blue walls and cat pictures make the atmosphere seem inviting as well.
I have been to Marylebone every week since I first tried it. It is that good. I used to get blizzards a lot at the DQ nearby, but I haven’t gone there as often now because Marylebone is just so incredible.
I have had numerous kinds of freakshakes, gelato once, and even ordered a cup of ice cream through Uber Eats recently. The ice cream actually tastes real compared to store-bought and fast food ice cream because the owners use organic ingredients.
The staff here is also warm and welcoming. The female owner here not only remembered me after visiting just once or twice but has even remembered what I have ordered in the past. They really are passionate about providing the best to Oakville and clearly put customers as their first priority.
Overall, this hidden gem is a must-try for anyone.
Nando’s: Restaurant review
Although this is a chain restaurant with many other locations across the world, I did not try it until over a week ago. Nando’s, as many of you may know, is a classic Portuguese/South African chicken restaurant which offers foods ranging from wraps, salads, chicken breasts, wings, vegetarian options, and more.
What inspired me to try this place in North Oakville was the number of social media posts and stories I have seen from friends about this restaurant. I was a little cautious because of some of the negative reviews I read. I came in not expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The atmosphere here is pleasant. The South African music the restaurant plays really adds to it and makes me feel as if I am somewhere farther south.
I had a chicken caesar wrap with fries (My favourite combination). The chicken was delicious, and the fries were crispy and tender. Nando’s also has one of those pop fountains, which places such as Popeyes also have. The best part? You can get unlimited refills.
For dessert, I had “Nando’s Kisses” which is basically, dark chocolate ice cream centered in milk chocolate ice cream, along with chocolate shavings. This dessert is unique because I haven’t really been to places that make a unique dark chocolate and milk chocolate mixed ice cream dessert.
My only minor concern was that my Coke seemed flatter than usual, but that is not a big deal to me.
The staff here is young but is super friendly and welcoming. It’s not one of those restaurants where you just get that vibe that the employees don’t want to be there.
Overall, Nando’s is excellent. I will return within the next month.
Olive Board Charcuterie & Wine Bar: Charcuterie place review
Opened just this past July, and ironically on my birthday, this is a charcuterie restaurant which offers many healthy foods and wines. The Olive Board is the only restaurant I’m reviewing that is not in Oakville but is in Grimsby next to Lake Ontario. Grimsby is about a 30 to 40-minute drive from Oakville.
The owners have collected recipes from around the world. They even offer different options depending on the times of the year. They also have musicians and singers who come to the restaurant to play.
My family and I found out about this place because one of the owners is one of my past ABA therapists. She is also one of my mother’s past daycare clients who she is still in touch with.
The atmosphere is spacious, and the decor is super. My first impression was “It seems similar to Symposium”.
My family and I ordered a Greek charcuterie board, peach alcoholic drinks, and a few flatbreads, including an especially good peach one. They were all incredible. We were extremely impressed. The peaches tasted fresh. The board foods tasted salty, yet they were still healthy.
As for the service, it was nice to reconnect with the owners. Just watching how they, their children who work here, and other staff treated the customers, including us, I knew right away that this is another prime example of a customer service-based place.
Overall, incredible food, service, and atmosphere. I’d come here every week if it weren’t far away from me.
On A Bun: Italian restaurant review
As an Italian sandwich place in North Oakville for the past several years, I figured I needed to try On A Bun eventually. They offer Italian sandwiches, pasta, salads, and many more. They even have a chest freezer for ice cream and popsicles.
I first ordered On A Bun from Uber Eats several months ago, before actually going to the restaurant over a month later.
On both occasions, I ordered a chicken sandwich with mozzarella sticks. They are both tasty. However, the second time, in particular, I had a hard time keeping my sandwich together. Every time I would try to grip the hamburger-like buns, the chicken kept trying to squeeze out. This was likely because there was a lot of sauce on the sandwich. The sauce was also extremely hot and spicy.
The service was not particularly friendly when I visited the restaurant, although it might have just been one day, or that I maybe encountered some of the less-friendly employees. There were two employees here who seemed more interested in interacting with colleagues than serving customers.
Overall, this is a decent place to have lunch or dinner.
Pipe and Taps: Pub review
Located across the street from the cafe I mentioned above in North Oakville, this to me is a solid place for lunches, dinners, paint nights, live music, and you name it.
This place was once Greyfriar’s Pub, which I went to once or twice when I was younger but has been Pipe and Taps for at least several years now. I did not really consider trying Pipe and Taps until this year, though.
I don’t have much to say about the atmosphere other than that it feels like you are at a pub. However, it does not feel like just any pub. It feels like an awesome one.
I have been to this restaurant at least five times since April. I usually have ordered a buffalo chicken wrap with fries, but have also ordered penne pasta and a quesadilla. Everything I have tried here is delicious. The buffalo chicken wrap isn’t overly spicy, either. What especially stands out, however, is how crispy and nicely cooked their fries are.
The desserts here are great, even though I can’t remember exactly what they are.
The servers here are also quite friendly. They have gone out of their way to make sure each visit is satisfying.
Overall, Pipe and Taps next to Stout Monk, are my favourite pubs in Oakville.
State and Main Kitchen & Bar: Restaurant review
Located in North Oakville, and where a Kelseys previously used to be for about 16 years, Oakville’s State and Main opened over six weeks ago. State and Main is also an urban-inspired restaurant with many locations in Southern Ontario.
State and Main provide numerous options, including gluten-free and vegetarian options, although the dessert menu is quite limited.
The atmosphere to me is basically, a modern upgrade from the Kelseys that used to be here. That’s a good thing.
I have been to this restaurant twice since its opening. The first time I had chicken tenders with fries. The tenders were great, but the fries had an odd taste with the kind of seasonings on them. They tasted like sea salt and butter mixed with something I can’t even tell.
The second time I went, I had a California chicken wrap with a Caesar salad. These were much better than the fries. Not exceptional, but still good. There was red wine vinegar in the wrap giving an interesting taste to it.
I have also had their fudge brownie for dessert, which is delicious. Nice, hard, and chocolatey.
The customer service was above and beyond on my first visit. One staff member opened the door for me when I walked in. Another made sure I found the washroom okay despite me going here when the place was Kelseys over 20 times in previous years. My server was also friendly.
Customer service wasn’t as friendly the second time, but the place was also a lot busier than it was the first time. The servers may have felt more rushed.
Overall, this isn’t my favourite restaurant, but I still enjoy it.
Symposium Cafe & Lounge: Cafe review
This West Oakville restaurant is quite good. Although it is primarily known for desserts, it also offers a variety of other foods not just for lunch and dinner, but for breakfast as well.
I took a long walk on a beautiful, warm late-May Sunday a few months ago, to try this place. I have heard good things about this place in the past, which is what inspired me to try it despite its distance from home.
The atmosphere was great. The chairs especially stood out.
When I tried this place, I had my usual chicken caesar wrap with fries. They both tasted great. The food wasn’t overly hot, but the texture and freshness of the food was still great.
I had a fudge brownie cheesecake for dessert, which obviously was also good. Brownies and cheesecake are a perfect mix.
My server was very friendly as well. She went out of her way to make sure I was enjoying my time here.
Overall, this is an excellent restaurant for all meals.
The Oakville Pump & Patio: Restaurant review
Situated in Northeast Oakville, this is a great restaurant which offers a variety of different choices.
My neighbour recommended this restaurant to my mother. My mother then brought home food from this restaurant for me to try after eating there.
I had a buffalo chicken wrap with fries. The food was nice and hot even after being away from the restaurant for a time before eating it. The buffalo chicken wrap was super spicy, but still good. The meal also seemed more filling than your average restaurant meal.
Overall, this is a solid restaurant choice.
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