Top Limestone city eateries

A guide to where and what to eat in Kingston

One of the best features of the Toucan is the cheap weekend breakfast.
One of the best features of the Toucan is the cheap weekend breakfast.
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An new addition to Kingston’s restaurants, Olivea receives ‘top marks for sustainable, ocean-friendly seafood’.
An new addition to Kingston’s restaurants, Olivea receives ‘top marks for sustainable, ocean-friendly seafood’.
Photo: 

The Toucan

The Toucan, located at 76 Princess Street, offers an authentic Irish pub atmosphere along with great food and drink. They have 18 different varieties of beer and cider on tap, including such imported delights as Newcastle Brown Ale and Kilkenny. On the food side, they offer classic North American pub fare such as burgers, cheese steak sandwiches and chicken wraps cooked in styles ranging from Cajun to Mediterranean as well as favorites from the other side of the pond such as steak, kidney pie and bangers and mash.

The bangers and mash (sausages served with sides of mashed potatoes and peas) are particularly tasty and filling. They go perfectly with a pint of dark beer such as Guinness or Smithwick’s. Your arteries may not love them, but your taste buds will.

One of the best features of the Toucan is the weekend breakfast. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can get bacon, eggs, beans, toast and French fries for under three dollars. It’s a great deal of fun to wash it down with some of their excellent coffee while watching soccer matches from the English Premier League with the knowledgeable and passionate regular group of fans.

In the afternoons and evenings, the Toucan becomes a great place to go for a full meal or to pop in just for a pint. No matter what your tastes in food or preferences in drink, there’s probably something for you here.

—Andrew Bucholtz

Copper Penny

A favourite to students, locals and tourists alike, the Copper Penny is guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds without leaving a large hole in your wallet.

The Copper Penny, located on 240 Princess Street, just past Sydenham Street in the heart of downtown Kingston, offers the finest casual dining experience in town. With its friendly staff and its small intimate setting and relaxed atmosphere, the Copper Penny is great for hanging out with a group of friends and for a first date.

Its menu ranges from traditional hamburgers and chicken wings to more unconventional fare such as the voodoo chicken wrap and the fajita chicken salad. Additionally, the restaurant also provides an equally eclectic vegetarian selection. All this comes at a fairly low cost; the majority of entrées can be found for less than $12.

No visit to the Copper Penny is complete without a taste of their fabulous homemade fries, flavoured by the restaurants very own “secret” seasoning. The Copper Penny also understands that however delicious the main course, there’s always room for dessert. The restaurant offers a wide variety of specialty cakes to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth. The Chocolate Eruption cake is truly a chocoholic’s dream. If you’re looking for a place with a different spin on the classic pub food tradition, check out the Copper Penny and all it has to offer.

—Emily Davies

Curry Original

Tucked into an old limestone building on Ontario Street, Curry Original isn’t a secret to those who enjoy Indian food, though it can slip through the cracks when distance from campus is an issue. In my experience, this welcoming and warmly-lit restaurant is the perfect destination for a parental visit. But cost-wise, the occasional visit isn’t unreasonable for a student budget as students receive 20 percent off from Sunday to Thursday.

Although I prefer to order my own dish, the menu offers a few choices for those inclined to share. A dinner for two can include onion bhaji, samosa, bhoona chicken, beef and vegetable curry, palao rice, papadum and dessert.

For those wary of spices, the almond-garnished chicken korma and the pineapple chicken are both sweeter dishes of the melt-in-your-mouth variety. The menu also includes a long list of vegetarian options, from a flavorful mixed vegetable curry to a spicy Bombay aloo. But for my taste buds, the most important part of the meal comes in the form of a warm, slightly crispy piece of naan, baked in-house.

Unfortunately desserts here remain a mystery to me. The main dishes are large enough to keep even those of hearty appetite feeling pleasantly stuffed for hours—but I have the mango ice cream penciled in for my next visit.

—Kerri MacDonald

Sushi Ya!

Sushi Ya!, Kingston’s newest sushi restaurant, has some familiar faces. The former head chef of Asha Sushi (177 Princess St.) opened his own restaurant at Princess and MacDonnell streets, serving up most of the same fare at roughly half the price.

The menu is less extensive than Asha’s but offers standard sushi and sashimi combinations and specialty rolls. The spicy maguro roll, tuna and mayonnaise dipped into a spicy orange sauce with wasabi, at only $5.49, is to die for. For the less adventurous, the California roll, crab meat, cucumber and avocado for $4.49, is also good.

Most of the dishes don’t contain meat and a delicious vegetarian option is the tempura ($10.99), vegetables dipped in a light batter and deep fried. For dessert, there’s ice cream ($1.99 for a huge bowl) in flavours you don’t usually find in grocery stores, such as green tea and red bean.

The staff is always cheerful and the service is always fast. Students also receive a 10 per cent discount and if you’re in luck, and the owner’s wife is there, you might also get a special cup of cinnamon-and-ginger iced tea, which isn’t on the menu.

If it’s your first time eating Japanese food, servers also teach you how to use chopsticks and how much soya sauce you need to make your meal taste its best.

—Gloria Er-Chua


Olivea

Olivea, located at Brock and King streets, provides classic Italian dining at an affordable price. Their menu ranges in price from $10 to $36 dollars an entrée, making it an ideal location to satisfy students’ appetites and wallets. The indoor modern and minimalist decor makes for casual dining perfect for lunch or dinner. Although it’s a new addition to Kingston’s restaurant scene, Olivea prepares full-flavoured dishes by seasoned chefs. Their menu features classic Italian pasta meals meant to be shared, which bodes well for large groups with diversity in tastes. Their complementary bread course of lightly salted focaccia bread and friendly staff will have you eager to return. Olivea receives top marks for palatable portions and sustainable, ocean-friendly seafood. My recommended dish: Gnocci with veal ragu. Thanks to their reasonable prices and environmentally friendly dishes, you can enjoy guilt-free dining within walking distance of campus.

—Carly Watters

Cambodiana

In first year, apart from the luxurious dining experience I was accustomed to in Leonard cafeteria, I often ventured off campus to get a little taste of Cambodia.

Cambodiana Restaurant, located on the corner of Brock and Montreal streets, offers a cozy, casual dining experience to all of its patrons. With a seating capacity of 24, Cambodiana has only one dining room, but for what it lacks in space, it makes up for in atmosphere and good food.

The service is friendly and quick, and it is obvious from the crowds of university students that come in every Friday night that it’s a popular Queen’s student hangout.

Cambodiana, as one might suspect from the name, has a menu which includes various Cambodian dishes (as well as some Thai cuisine). Dishes can be mild, spicy, or somewhere in between.

I would recommend the Cashew Chicken (No. 17) which is a large plate of rice, veggies and chicken, loaded with cilantro and dipped in a spectacular sauce I wish I knew how to cook at home!

Not only does it have an inviting atmosphere, a location near campus and tasty dishes, but Cambodiana is also a student’s dream when it comes to the prices.

In September, I am content to stroll across campus in order to reach my favourite Kingston restaurant, but in winter, when a 15-minute walk feels more like a death wish, I do the next best thing and order-in!

—Clare Clancy

Kingston Brew Pub

On any given night, an antique, fire-engine red smooth top truck sits outside of the Kingston Brew Pub. The backdrop, similarly dated, sets the scene in red brick and incandescent yellows. It’s friendly, it’s homemade and, perhaps most of all, it’s fun.

Like any good inebriation-inducing establishment, there are regulars and, if this reviewer could afford it, he would likely be one of them, habitually sipping on a cold pint of Dunklenacht beer while fattening up for the long winter months ahead with a serving of the best French fries available in Kingston.

That is not to say that the Brew Pub isn’t healthy. The menu, considering its pub status, is complex, featuring everything from whole-wheat burger buns to a special, health-conscious section of the menu for those unafraid of the February freeze.

Likewise, the Brew Pub has all of your regular, artery-clogging pub needs, enough to fulfill any appetite, big or bigger. Priced reasonably, although not the most frugally, the Brew Pub can satisfactorily accommodate a variety of interests—a quality that tells, perhaps, of why it’s so popular.

Whether they be student groups looking for a hot meal and a good night out, families celebrating birthdays or seniors interested in the quality of homemade ingredients, the Brew Pub is a Kingston landmark, never failing to impress.

—Taylor Burns

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