I was in Kingston for work recently and Aaron came with me, so we had the chance to try a few of the nice restaurants in town while we were there. For my journey down to Kingston on Via Rail Business Class, check out my last blog post.
CRAVE Coffee House & Bakery: But First, Coffee Break
After my first work day, I wanted to go somewhere for a coffee break while waiting for Aaron to arrive to Kingston. It was suggested that I check out CRAVE Coffee House & Bakery. This was a nice and chic cafe in the downtown area with lots of seating. The front of the cafe is reserved for chilling, while those would who like to spend time with their electronics should gravitate towards the back of the cafe. There is a communal seating area with lots of outlets available for your charging needs. I sat down with my kindle while sipping on some matcha latte as well munching on a Portuguese egg tart. They also have lots of salads and various food items in the fridge for those who would like more than a snack.
Days on Front: A Quiet Night in the West End
For dinner, Aaron had made reservations at Days on Front. I had previously assumed that all the restaurants are located in the main downtown area. I was surprised to find out that this restaurant is actually located on the West end of the city. We drove over as soon as Aaron arrived in Kingston to join me.
Days on Front is owned by the son of the legendary Chef in Kingston, Chef Clark Day. Chef Day has opened quite a few restaurants in Kingston over the years, including Clark’s by the Bay, Clark’s on King, Aquaterra by Clark and Bayview Farm Restaurant. It should not come as a surprise that the owner, Matthew Day, grew up in a food-inspired family. The chef at Days on Front is Jay Legere, who used to work for some of Kingston’s best restaurants (e.g. Le Chien Noir and Aquaterra) and trained under the chef of Clark’s by the Bay and Clark’s on King, Chef Jack Francis.
Days on Front prides itself in using local ingredients. Their menu is not too complicated with a nice selection of appetizers and mains. They had a decent wine and drinks list. Aaron was advised to get a riesling to go with his meal while I tried their raspberry mojito. The riesling was very nice and crisp. I really enjoyed my mojito. It definitely did not taste like your regular mojito and tasted naturally sweetened with a handful of fresh raspberries.
For appetizers, we had the “mac & cheese” as well as the crab risotto cakes. “Mac & cheese” is in quotations because it was not made with macaroni at all. The chef used orzo instead. The cheese used was double smoked cheddar, which is one of my favourite cheeses. The dish is topped with crouton bread crumbs which really paired well with the creamy pasta and cheese. The crab risotto cakes were generously portioned. We especially enjoyed the salad as well as the basil mayo which was plate-licking good.
For mains, I had their beef short rib, since at that time, I was just editing our Montebello post and was really craving some tender short rib. Aaron had their featured dish, which was a salmon that day. My short rib was good and the mash was very delicious. If I had to compare though, I felt it was not as tender as the one from Aux Chantignoles. Aaron’s salmon was good and the rice had little pieces of figs to enhance its flavour. The portions were generous and we were too full for dessert.
For more information: http://www.daysonfront.com/
Chez Piggy: Cute Courtyard Restaurant with Great Bread
The next day, we were meeting up with a friend for dinner at Chez Piggy. This was a restaurant that many people have recommended. I took a look at their online menu and was impressed that they posted their daily feature online. It is rare to see a restaurant keeping their website so up to date (the only other one I can think of is Bar Lulupus).
Chez Piggy is located in the heart of downtown Kingston. They have a nice patio (which was too cold to sit in while we were there). They had plenty of seating in this 2-storey building. The building itself had a lot of character with its brick-exposed walls. Chez Piggy also owns the popular Pan Chancho Bakery. Our meal of course had to start with some sourdough bread from their bakery.
Looking at their menu, I noticed they had quite interesting and unexpected plates, such Vietnamese springs rolls (cha gio) and crispy jackfruit cakes. We decided to try their oysters, which were from Nova Scotia that evening. The oysters were fresh were not too strong in terms of its ocean taste. We also shared some of its roasted spicy Thai cashews, which were nicely flavoured.
For mains, I panic-ordered their linguine while Aaron had their duck leg. The linguine was nice and light with a garlic sauce, arugula, tomato, dried chilli and parmesan. The duck leg was very tender and served on a generous bed of white beans. To go with our mains I had my favourite cab sav while Aaron was advised to pair his duck leg with a Côtes du Rhône red, which was excellent.
For dessert, we shared their vanilla bean creme brûlée, which was lovely.
For more information: https://chezpiggy.com/
Woodenhead’s Pizza: Book Early!
On our last day, I got off work early, so we finally were able to get a table to Woodenhead’s Pizza at 3:30pm in the afternoon. Actually, for the last two evenings, we were trying to get a table here but was told that they do not have any openings until 9:30 or 10:30pm on both nights. We were quite happy to finally try their famous wood-oven pizza.
Their decor is very cool with an impressive wood-oven as the centre piece of their open kitchen. This reminded me of the ovens at Pizza 4Ps when we were in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Since it’s an odd time to be eating and Aaron just had brunch at Pan Chancho Bakery not too long before this, we decided to not order too much. We shared their Coco Shrimp as well as their Citta pizza. Their coconut shrimp is probably the most coconut-y I’ve ever had. They did not skimp on their thread coconuts. You can really taste it as you bite into each shrimp which had at least a 1cm coconut crust over it. This was interestingly paired with a nuoc-mam-like sauce.
Their pizza is typical of those of other wood oven pizzas we’ve had in Ottawa, such as those from Anthony’s Pizza. In fact, Aaron prefers those of Anthony’s more. I enjoyed the pizza we chose today as I liked the slightly tart pomodoro sauce, savoury prociutto, fresh basil paired with the creamy brie and sweet caramelized onion. It reminded me of a more gourmet Hawaiian pizza.
For more information: https://woodenheads.com
Mio Gelato: Real Rich Flavours
For dessert, we decided to hop over to Mio Gelato next door, as I was told their pistachio gelato is a must-try. I had a small cup of their pistachio gelato along-side their earl grey gelato. The pistachio gelato tasted very non-artificial with chunks of real pistachios. Their earl grey tasted like an enhanced vanilla flavour. It was very up my alley. Aaron had their hazelnut gelato (which I always love), as well as their salty peanut (which is also very tasty). For some reason, when I mixed a bite of the pistachio gelato with the salty peanut one, it reminded me of wasabi. Strange, I know, but tasty.
For more information: https://www.miogelato.ca/
So that concludes our 3 day journey in Kingston! There are still a bunch of restaurants on my must-try list, so I guess I’ll have to return in the future! If you have any other suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.