Niagara Falls

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As expected, dining in Niagara Falls can be a wallet-stretching experience and often what you’re paying for is the location or the view. While splurging for mind-bending views of the Falls (the Skylon Tower instantly springs to mind) can be worth the price, venturing away from the river parkway for a foray into better cuisine (tip: Niagara-on-the-Lake is the region’s culinary hotspot) is another smart splurge.

Top Restaurants in Niagara Falls

Betty's Restaurant

Fish ’n’ chips are Betty’s claim to fame and she knows it – that’s why she guards the recipe so fiercely. She also does a brisk business in sandwiches, both American (corned beef on rye) and Canadian (peameal bacon on a bun with cheese and mushrooms). This is one your wallet will like you for too.

8921 Sodom Rd., 905-295-4436, www.bettysrestaurant.com
Tags: budget | american

Carpaccio Restaurant and Wine Bar

Carpaccio's airy, modern space with its deep purples, blues, and yellows feels more Miami Beach than Roma, but the food is undeniably Italiano and, for Niagara Falls, reasonably priced. Come for mouth-watering pastas, pizzas, and entrees like pollo arlecchino - chicken breast topped with asiago cheese, prosciutto, and basil. Let the knowledgeable staff guide you through their impressive 300-variety wine list.

6840 Lundy’s Lane, 905-371-2063, www.carpacciorestaurant.com
Tags: moderate | italian | wine bar

Fallsview Restaurant

With a view that almost rivals those at the Skylon Tower, the Fallsview Restaurant is another Niagara Falls must (it’s especially magnificent at breakfast, when the rising sun casts its rays through the mist of the Falls). You won’t leave hungry – diners enjoy unlimited access to the 80-foot all-American buffet.

5875 Falls Ave., 905-374-4445, www.starwoodhotels.com
Tags: moderate | buffet

Kool Katts Restaurant and Juice Bar

Entrepreneurial husband and wife team Maxine and Keith Morrison are the brains behind this Caribbean-comfort diner. Entrees can tend toward pricey, but sandwiches – all of which come in under $10 – are affordable and finger-licking good. Try the jerk chicken sandwich with a side of fried plantains.

6383 Drummond Rd., 905-358-0258, www.koolkatts.ca
Tags: budget

Rainforest Café

OK, so it's a chain, but . . . it's a chain that kids adore! Besides, in addition to all the usual animatronic action (gorillas, elephants, butterflies, erupting 80-foot volcano), there is a real live shark living in the restaurant's central, 6,000-gallon tank. If you're able to distract yourself from the colorful surroundings long enough to focus on your plate, you'll find that the food - hamburgers, club sandwiches, pastas, steaks - isn't half bad.

5785 Falls Ave., 905-374-2233, www.rainforestcafe.com
Tags: family | moderate | american

Skylon Revolving Dining Room

The cuisine – whether you’re ordering à la carte or from the significantly more affordable buffet – is decent, straight-forward American/Canadian fare (think surf and turf and chicken cordon bleu) but what you’re really paying for here are the views of the Falls. Located in the 775-foot-high, revolving Skylon tower, the dining experience includes 360-degree panoramas over the entire area; in summer, that also means appreciating the fireworks displays from above.

5200 Robinson St., 905-356-2651, www.skylon.com
Tags: family | expensive | american | smart splurge

The Charles

Don’t even think about skipping the restaurant at the Charles Inn, even if it’s a 20-minute drive from Niagara Falls. The fireplace-endowed dining room in the classic property is romantic and intimate, but it’s Chef William Brunyansky’s creative concoctions that make this experience worthwhile; try white beans whipped into “cappuccino soup” followed by beef tenderloin topped with Portobello mushrooms and bleu cheese cream.

209 Queen St., 866-556-8883, www.charlesinn.ca
Tags: luxury | expensive | smart splurge | contemporary

Wolfgang Puck Restaurant

Wolfgang Puck satisfies and entertains diners with hearty, well-executed American/Canadian fare like butternut squash soup, Maine crab cakes topped with basil aioli, and roasted chicken with Dijon mustard sauce. Bright blue chairs add a splash of color to the mod dining room, which is just up the hill from Horseshoe Falls.

6300 Fallsview Blvd., 905-354-5000, www.wolfgangpuck.com
Tags: moderate | new american

Zee's Patio and Grill

Contemporary comfort food is the specialty at Zee’s, where ordering a plain-sounding dish like pork ‘n’ beans gets you an organic, raisin-sage glazed rack of pork served alongside Boston baked beans and Pilgrim spoon bread. The mac ‘n’ cheese contains four types of cheese (cheddar, gruyere, asiago, and parmigianno reggiano), diced tomatoes, and truffle-scented breadcrumbs. Desserts are more straight-forward: molten-chocolate cake is as decadent as it sounds. Dine in the modern dining room or outside on the patio.

Shaw Club Hotel, 92 Picton St., 800-511-7070, www.shawclub.com
Tags: expensive | comfort food | contemporary

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