I’m going to tell you something and it’s going to make me sound like a giant dork.
I created an Excel chart for my restaurant bucket list, organized by city and type of food. This way I can easily pick out just a few restaurants to suggest when I’m making plans with someone. It’s kind of neat!
A few Fridays ago I crossed one Stratford restaurant off my bucket list. JZ was able to get off work early, so we headed there mid-afternoon and planned to explore the city a bit before dinner.
It was chillier than we expected out, so we wanted to grab some hot drinks to warm ourselves up. I suggested Balzac’s, a local chain with great coffee, but as we were walking we stumbled upon a small independent cafe called Slave to the Grind that we decided to check out.
I liked it immediately! Exposed brick walls always create a really cool atmosphere. This place had several other great features too, like lattes made with various brewed teas and a selection of vegan milk options. I got a masala chai latte made with almond milk with a dusting of fresh cinnamon on top. It was delicious while not being a sugar bomb like most chai lattes.
We sipped our drinks while walking around Stratford. I found at least 3 other restaurants there that I had to add to my bucket list when I got home! We also wandered through Shakespeare Gardens, which was exactly what I pictured the gardens looking like when I read Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. As a side note, if you haven’t read that Shakespeare play yet, add it to your reading list. It’s my favourite one!
When our reservation time came, we headed over to Pazzo Taverna and Pizzeria, one of Stratford’s best known restaurants that is both a Taverna in the upper level and a Pizzeria in the lower level. Our reservations were for the pizzeria.
Because it’s below street level with stone walls, you almost feel like you’re in a wine cellar! It gives it a really cool atmosphere, although I wish our table wasn’t so close to our neighbours’ table. It’s hard to have a nice conversation when you can almost join in the conversation of the people next to you.
I had a glass of their wine special for the night, which our waitress recommended and I really enjoyed. I wish I had written down what kind it was! JZ really liked his Tawse Riesling as well.
I had the Soiled Reputation (a local farm) green salad to start, which had slow roasted tomatoes and fennel in it. It was a bit overdressed but I otherwise really enjoyed it. I like that they stuck to only a few flavours to let them really stand out. Unfortunately JZ didn’t love his Caesar salad, and I had to agree with him. It had a strong punch of garlic, but was somehow bland at the same time.
We both really enjoyed our pizzas though.
I took a while to decide on my order (like always – decision making is not my strong point!) but eventually decided on the Don Corleone pizza on the whole wheat crust, which came topped with pepperoni, Italian bacon, roasted red peppers, and fresh basil. It had the perfect thickness of crust (thin, but not too thin) and such great flavours on it! John loved his Italian Stallion pizza too, topped with prosciutto, Italian sausage, Italian bacon, spicy calabrese, bocconcini, roasted garlic, and fresh herbs.
They were pretty big servings though and we both left with half our pizzas in to-go boxes. Two meals from a $16-20 pizza ain’t bad! But my forgetful self ended up leaving my box in JZ’s fridge, so I didn’t get to enjoy my leftovers. Guess we’ll just have to go back some time!