Vegetarian doesn’t mean boring: Five Lanark County Eateries you’ve got to try
I need to tell you something, and I don’t really know how to start.
Wait: I’ll start with this. I’m not pregnant.
Now that I’ve made that clear, here’s what else I need to tell you: I think I’m a vegetarian.
Over the past year, I’ve been pulling away from the meat dishes. There’s no real reason (I swear, no pregnancy), yet I just can’t bring myself to eat meat. Since January, I went meat-free full time, and I sometimes even call myself a vegetarian. While discovering the vegetarian world, I’m realizing there are limitations when going out to eat. Before, I’d never give a trusty chicken dish a second thought. Now? I have to review the meatless options and decide from there. With that, I’ve discovered some great places that have held my hand and proven that vegetarian doesn’t mean boring.
Chef Ram Mogandas brings such a unique element to the Lanark County restaurant scene. He opened the family-dining restaurant, East Meets West, in Perth and the name tells it all. While he offers western-inspired menu options such as the popular wings and Signature Chicken Parmesan, I think the Eastern food element really sets the restaurant apart. While his butter chicken is worth the visit alone, his vegetarian dishes are delicious. I love the Paruppu Curry dish (with the Naan of course). The building is also gorgeous as it once served as a carriage house for the wealthy Matheson family. There’s so much culture infused into the space and Chef Ram really makes his customers feel welcome.
Go for: The Flavour and the Friendliness.
The Stone Cellar Restaurant in Perth has been a long-time favourite of mine. The double-sided fireplace, exposed brick, comfy chairs and beautiful bar creates this intimate, cozy atmosphere that’s hard to find anywhere else. I’ve been a Chicken Torpedo advocate for years now at The Stone Cellar, so when discovering the vegetarian side of life, I had to continue down the menu. That’s when I discovered their Nutty Burger. It’s a blend of pecans, peanuts and almonds ground in their kitchen, mixed with fresh herbs and vegetables, and then crowned with their house peach jam. Hello, yum. The owners are wonderful hosts and you’ll learn about why and how the food selections became menu selections. It doesn’t hurt that one of their owners is a sommelier. Enough said.
Go for: The atmosphere and custom menu recommendations.
If you really want to step up the culinary game, then head to Heirloom Bistro & Café in Almonte. It’s nestled on the ground floor of a restored heritage building at the bottom of historic Mill St. in Almonte and offers a unique balance of casual ambiance and fine food. Here’s where they get me: I have so, so many vegetarian options here. Whether it’s brunch or dinner, they’ve got me covered. I have owner and chef Richard Kletnieks to thank for that. Here’s what I mean: Portobello and Grilled Vegetable Calzone, Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Baby Spinach and Chevre, or the Sweet Corn & Peruvian Pepper Polenta Stack. Sign me up.
Go for: The chef’s creations.
Get your boat. Right now.
If you want to go for the ultimate views, then park ‘yer boat at CCs on the Rideau. Located in Rideau Ferry on the shores of the Rideau Lake, CCs is a popular stop for boaters and travelers come summertime. Seriously…look at that view! While the views are terrific, I love the creative options they bring to the table. The grilled veggie and Goat Cheese wrap is a contender as is the portabella mushroom burger. Also, the owner Mel, is a gem and does a lot for the community. You feel like you’re one of the family when you come to CCs.
Go for: The views and the connection.