Haliburton is a region rich in natural beauty, but how does its food scene measure up?
I discovered that, whether the craving is for casual and quick bites or upscale cuisine, Haliburton restaurants today are sure to satisfy the hungry visitor.
Momma G’s Tea
UPDATE: Momma G’s Tea has unfortunately closed.
Tucked upstairs in Haliburton Village is this charming tea and sandwich shop in a small but inviting space filled with over 60 varieties of loose-leaf teas.
Not a tea lover? Then you may want to order one of their specialty coffees or smoothies.
For a light, homemade lunch, you’ll find fresh sandwiches, salads, soups and baked goods on the menu at Momma G’s Tea. Most meals include ingredients grown in Momma G’s own backyard: Garden vegetables, as well as her own organic, farm-raised chicken.
I ordered the $8 soup and half-sandwich combo: A curried chicken and apple salad sandwich with a bowl of ravioli soup. It was a quick lunch that oozed freshness, and the perfect start to my small-town weekend getaway.
Oh, and while you wait for your meal, you can pass the time by browsing the darling country collectibles that line the walls.
Molly’s Bistro Bakery
This no-frills, breakfast-and-lunch eatery in the town of Minden was a convenient stop after my snowshoeing excursion in the Minden Wild Water Preserve. With its community feel, it’s like the bistro version of the Cheers bar.
From all-day breakfasts to lasagna and sandwiches made with bread baked by Molly herself, all the menu items here are made from scratch.
My lunch was simple but tasty: Flavourful pulled pork on a bun and onion soup, followed by a tasting of her sweet ginger loaf and homemade jam.
If I hadn’t filled up so quickly, I would’ve purchased another baked good for the road — perhaps a cookie, brownie or one of her famous butter tarts.
For the cottage-bound, Molly’s Bistro Bakery also offers up an assortment of frozen family meals and pies (both sweet and savoury) that are oven-ready.
Baked & Battered
This cottage bakery and fish fry is less than a year old but it’s caused quite the stir in Haliburton. And I found out why: It serves up one of the best fish and chip meals I’ve sunk my teeth into.
The fish is non-greasy and thinly battered — a departure from the English-style dish you might be accustomed to — but no less hearty. Come with an appetite: The halibut, their most popular menu item, is steak-like in portion and offered with perfectly fried chips (or salad for the health-conscious) and coleslaw.
Also on the menu are battered and fried coconut shrimp, scallop and clam appetizers.
For a sweet finish, pass through the walkway into their classy, next-door café for freshly baked goods and hot beverages in an intimate setting complete with a stone fireplace.
Gluten-free food seekers rejoice: At Baked & Battered, you’ll find fish and chips, as well as sweet options, without the gluten.
For a culinary experience with top-notch service, this local favourite is a country gem. I love their contemporary and rustic ambiance. Sophisticated yet unpretentious, Rhubarb offers guests a scenic lake view, great wine list and a bar that pours pints of their own craft beer (brewed onsite).
Their crab cake with seared scallop appetizer is not to be missed, and my steak and frites were perfect in every way.
Before leaving, you may want to browse their wall of homemade tomato jam (after sampling it in my appetizer, I was hooked) and pickled goods. Let’s just say my hands were full by the time I reached the door.
Haliburton restaurants certainly aren’t what they used to be. Not only will you find comfort food in small-town settings, but menus more attuned to customers with evolving needs and preferences.
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I visited the above establishments as a guest of Ontario’s Highlands Tourism but, as always, all opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.