Dianne’s Fish Bar: One bite & you’ll be hooked

It’s over halfway through the semester and the stress of student life is evident on the drawn faces of Queen’s students everywhere.

Due dates are rapidly approaching, patience with messy housemates is wearing thin and the very thought of prepackaged food makes you shudder. Every now and then it’s necessary to break free from our chaotic lives, and there’s no better escape than to explore Kingston’s incredible restaurant scene.

The names of restaurants like Le Chien Noir, Atomica and Harper’s Burger Bar may sound familiar ― they’re some of the most popular restaurants in the Limestone City. But many people are beginning to discover the new restaurant that has joined The Black Dog’s collection of gourmet restaurants.

Fully operational since 2013 and located on the corner of Clarence and Ontario Streets, Dianne’s Fish Bar has caught the attention of both locals and students. Dianne’s specializes in a fusion of traditional East Coast and Mexican flavours and offers a wide variety of seafood dishes, as well as equally delicious meat and vegetarian options.

As soon as I stepped through the doors of Dianne’s, the modern nautical decor and relaxing atmosphere made me immediately at ease. Not only are the staff friendly and attentive, but if allergies are a concern, as they are in my case, simply notify the wait staff and your needs will be accommodated.

Gluten allergies can make it difficult to eat out at restaurants ― I’ve had one for seven years so I can understand. Dianne’s many gluten-free options are full of flavour and extremely delicious. The restaurant also boasts a wide variety of vegan options. The roasted cauliflower taco with cilantro pesto is one of the best dishes I’ve tasted. And it’s fully vegan.

The most popular appetizers are the tequila shrimp and the steak tostadas, both of which I’ve tried and absolutely loved. As an added plus, the owner of the restaurant, Tim Pater, sources most of his ingredients from local farmers and most of the seafood from sustainable fisheries.

The freshness of the produce is noticeable in the food’s vibrant flavours. Every dish I’ve tried at Dianne’s, from the grilled 10 oz. chile rubbed AAA steak to the baja fish tacos, left me satisfied.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Pater and ask him a few questions about his experience with the industry and opening up his newest restaurant.

Q: When did the restaurant first open and why choose Kingston to open your restaurants?
A: We opened the restaurant in June, 2013. I am originally from Kingston and when I opened up my first restaurant, Le Chien Noir in 2000, I knew I wanted to do it in my hometown.

Q: What inspired you to enter into the restaurant industry?
A: My whole life I have been working in the food industry. At the age of 15, I worked for food services at Queen’s in Leonard Hall prepping and serving food. As I got older, I kept on working in restaurants and bars, and even though I went to university, I always knew I was meant to be in the restaurant business.

Q: Each of your restaurants has a unique flair and style of food. What inspired you to open up a seafood restaurant featuring a fusion of East Coast and Baja flavours?
A: I want to fill niches and do things that haven't been done. I had noticed that some restaurants in Kingston served fish and chips, but no restaurant offered other varieties of seafood dishes. As for the style of food I wanted to serve, like with all my restaurants, I was inspired by my travels. Our trips to Mexico and the local food really inspired the menu and flavours I wanted to create at the new restaurant.

Q: Why did you choose to call the restaurant Dianne’s?
A: We named the restaurant after my mother-in-law, who unfortunately passed away while we were in the process of opening the restaurant. She was from the east coast so we wanted to incorporate some of that influence into the menu.

Q: Why choose to partner with organizations like Oceanwise and local farmers for sourcing your ingredients?
A: Sourcing sustainable and local ingredients is part of our philosophy ― locally grown ingredients are fresher and taste much better. Also, supporting local farmers keeps money in the community and helps to reduce our carbon footprint.

Q: For you, what makes a dining experience memorable?
A: Excellent service, excellent food and excelled atmosphere make up a memorable dining experience in my opinion, and that’s what we have tried to accomplish here at Dianne’s.

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