Summer is made for dining out. As the summer sun reflects off the water in Rideau Canal region, summer vibes flow easy over conversation, sun-kissed skin, drinks and platters shared with friends and loved ones. We rounded up 14 intriguing and delicious restaurants along the Rideau to guide your taste buds.

1. Yellow Canoe

Find food that soothes the body and soul here and think local at this licensed café and bakery. Soups, desserts and sandwiches are all made from scratch in the teeny kitchen and served in the dining room or patio. Yes, there really is a yellow canoe here! If visiting in the summer, be sure to snag a spot on the garden patio as it overlooks the Merrickville blockhouse and historic locks on the Rideau Canal.   

2. The Goose and the Gridiron

This restaurant, pub and patio dates back to 1856 and adapts to any occasion. Enjoy the cozy home setting with friends, or a romantic night out. The Goose and the Gridiron is known for its inviting atmosphere, friendly service and homemade meals.

3. Cottage Coffee House

Looking for a new Canadian twist on your morning coffee? Look no further than Cottage Coffee House in Westport. Serving breakfast, lunch and everything in between, Cottage Coffee specializes in homestyle baking – and they even make their own gelato! Comfortable while hip, with a nod to the simplicity of old fashioned food. Get your paws on a raspberry and cream cheese danish, stat!

4. The Cove

Feel right at home at the restaurant with a vintage feel and welcoming ambiance. Superb locally-inspired food keep the kitchen hopping all year through – but it’s in the warmer months, that the waterview patio comes to life surrounded by gardens, shady trees and outdoor live music entertainment.

5. The Baldachin Inn

Little bit of history with your entrée? Yes, please! Built-in 1860, The Baldachin Inn was once the largest department store between Chicago and Montreal. Now, it’s one of Ontario’s few heritage-designated interiors featuring stained glass, overlooking the Rideau Canal. Look here for daily lunch and dinner specials of European cuisine drawn from the world’s finest traditions.

6. DiLuCa Italian Restaurant

This Italian restaurant in Merrickville may be small, but boy does it pack big flavour into every bite. The owners come from a small town in Italy and rumour has it they pride themselves on creating fresh, simple foods and with a modern twist. Much of the food cooked at DiLuCa includes meals their mother and grandmother have cooked for their family for years. Stop by to see why DiLuCa is on everyone’s must-try list.

7. Main Street Restaurant

Specializing in family and patio dining, this restaurant has a brilliant kids menu, full breakfast menu with local maple syrup, and also provides top-notch take out, in addition to its dinner offerings. Try a signature burger here or one of their pizzas with fresh dough made in house!

8. The Opinicon

This 19th-century lakeside resort turned hip, modern retreat offers guests and visitors fresh local food, that is expertly prepared in the restaurant, pub and ice cream parlour. Food is savoured here along with private accommodations and 100 years of hospitality.

9. Scheuermann Vineyard and Winery

Find your happy place at Scheuermann Vineyard and Winery. High-quality wine is paired with eating well and celebrating life every day. Wood-fired pizza cooked outside in an oven right before your eyes accompanies mouth-watering steaks on a menu that highlights the vineyard’s elegant wines. Sit in one of the chairs on the hillside and take in the views of the lush vineyard and of tranquil Sand Lake. Stop in for a tasting or stay for dinner and conversation. Your call.

10. Harry Maclean’s Pub

Located at the Baldachin Inn in Merrickville, Harry Maclean’s is a relaxed, casual dining experience in a true 1860s European-style pub. Find domestic and imported beer and wine here and savour local, organic, homemade food. Psst, parents! Kids eat free here.

11. Salamanders

You won’t leave hungry at this exciting three-in-one destination overlooking the water in downtown Kemptville. Think fusion Cajun and creole with a Canadian twist! With an elegant ambiance, a pub for a lighter atmosphere, and an outdoor patio accenting the picturesque river setting, Salamanders is a new experience every time.

12. South Branch Bistro

This locally-infused bistro is dedicated to providing fresh ingredients from farm to table. South Branch Bistro offers a variety of chef-inspired dishes, as well as nine taps filled with local craft brews. Look here for organic spirits made just down the road, too! Delight in finding the patio tucked behind the restaurant, and listen to live music that comes straight from the heart.

13. Brigadoon

You know that feeling when you happen upon a memorable place that turns a meal out into a special experience? It’s here at Brigadoon in Oxford Mills.The building has roots dating back to 1853 and was built out of the stone quarried from the local river bed. The intrigue of the history in the former general store and post office marries wonderfully with the delectable dishes that come out of the kitchen here. It’s also a spot for afternoon tea! Be sure to call the day before to take tea, with petite sandwiches, cream puffs, scones and tarts served with your hot tea. Eyeball the bar here, too – it’s made from the old counters used in the one-time store.

14. Pauls Bistro

If you enjoy the classics, you will love Pauls Bistro in Oxford Station! They offer up plenty of common favourites like handmade pizza, juicy burgers, tacos and sandwiches. Pauls is truly a one-stop shop as they also run the convenience store next door where you can find groceries, freshly baked treats and plenty more goodies.

15. The Jubliee Bakeshop

As if completely renovating and rejuvenating a storefront in the heritage business block in Delta isn’t sweet enough, The Jubliee Bakeshop goes beyond the wildest expectations of sweet tooths to make life richer through its delectable offerings. We’re talking cheesecake, butter tarts, pastries, made-to-order deli meals and so much more. What puts the cherry on top is that they left the amazing history alive in the building from high tin ceilings to wide wooden trim, so popping in there is a real experience.

16. Rideau Restaurant & Pizzaria

Can you say deals? The Rideau Restaurant & Pizzaria is known locally for its hearty food with solid prices, but now the word is getting out and their Thursday wing nights are out of control! The phone there doesn’t stop ringing and rumours are swirling that this small, family business in Elgin is serving 200 lbs of wings and hundreds of pizzas in one night. With huge poutines, wing flavours ranging from spicy to apple butter, epic honey garlic to sweet Thai chili, and pizzas loaded with toppings, you won’t go hungry! Be sure to follow on socials for weekly family deals and giveaways, too.

17. Ridgway Confections

Heads up, chocolate lovers! This is the real deal. Ridgway Confections in Seeley’s Bay specialises in hand crafted Belgian chocolates, created with only fresh local ingredients and sustainably grown cocoa beans. Delicious and unique chocolates (think maple bacon, ginger, mint, and sea salt), brittles and even a bar sweetened with maple syrup. You’ll often find the owner sitting on the front step welcoming you with his guitar! Small town vibes at their best.

With so many delicious options we bet mouths will be watering and taste buds will be tingling all over the Rideau region. Dive into local, homemade food made and get a bit of comfort on your plate!