Best Port Carling Restaurants in Muskoka, Ontario

Looking to dine out at the best Port Carling restaurants?

Our comprehensive guide to Port Carling restaurants features popular fine dining rooms, cafes, bakeries, ice cream parlours, patios and pubs in Ontario’s favourite cottage country community.

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Best Port Carling Restaurants

Are you a Muskoka local looking for a tasty date night idea? Or perhaps you’re a tourist keen to eat your way through Ontario’s most luxurious cottage country community. Our comprehensive guide to Port Carling restaurants features the best places to eat in Muskoka’s favourite lakeside town.

When I was a kid growing up in Muskoka there were only a handful of fancy restaurants. We mostly ate at roadside burger joints, family-friendly Italian restaurants and iconic diners like Huntsville’s foot long hotdog dream, Tasty Cream (RIP). Thanks to the boom of the real estate market, as well as the development of world-class luxury hotels and resorts, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in a memorable meal in and around Port Carling.

There are only a few hundred year-round residents that live in Port Carling. The population booms in the summer months when city slickers and holidaymakers arrive in droves to enjoy the scenic lake district at luxury hotels and cozy cottages. For boat lovers, the friendly town is conveniently located between Lake Rosseau and Lake Muskoka.

The most scenic Port Carling restaurants are located on floating docks on the waterfront.
The most scenic Port Carling restaurants are located on floating docks on the waterfront.

We spent 6 months tasting our way through the best Port Carling restaurants, exploring creative dishes that utilize local ingredients such as cranberries, maple syrup and plenty of Muskoka craft beer. The majority of the Port Carling restaurant scene is located downtown by the waterfront, along Medora Street and Joseph’s Street.

Since Port Carling is such a small community, and is the town farthest west on a Muskoka map, we’ve also included popular restaurants a short drive away. Residents, cottagers and tourists staying on Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau or Lake Joseph will find road trip worthy restaurants near Port Carling in towns like Minett, Bala, Rousseau and Port Sandfield.

If you’re driving from Toronto to Port Carling you’ll likely want to take a break en route to refuel. Those familiar with the cottage country drive regularly stop for a hamburger at Weber’s in Orillia. An excellent alternative is making a pitstop at one of three award-winning breweries in Barrie.

A luxurious suite at JW Marriott Resort in Muskoka near Port Carling.
A luxurious suite at JW Marriott Resort in Muskoka near Port Carling.

Best Muskoka Hotels

Stay at one of our favourite Muskoka hotels when eating through the Port Carling restaurant scene.

  • JW Marriott Muskoka: Overlooking Lake Rosseau, this upscale hotel offers a chic bar, 3 restaurants, luxury spa and scenic waterfront. Check Reviews
  • Deerhurst Resort: This upscale lakeside resort in Huntsville offers chic guest rooms, award-winning golf club, restaurants, spa and family-friendly activities year-round. Check Reviews
  • Touchstone Resort: Overlooking Lake Muskoka, this modern resort near Bracebridge offers luxurious suites and villas, onsite restaurant, spa with infinity pool, family-friendly beach and fun outdoor activities. Check Reviews
York & Mason is the best coffee shop and cafe in Port Carling.
York & Mason is the best coffee shop and cafe in Port Carling.

York & Mason

105 Maple St, 705-765-0770

York & Mason is the best coffee shop in Port Carling.

The indie cafe located on Maple Street is a popular Port Carling brunch restaurant serving espresso beverages, fine tea, gourmet pastries and gourmet sandwiches.

Skip inside York & Mason and you’ll find black and white checkered tablecloth adorned tables and a menu scrawled on overhead chalkboards. You’ll also find a petite patio out front.

Expect a morning rush and busy weekends. Locals and cottagers line up for frothy lattes and freshly made breakfast sandwiches featuring bread from Don’s Bakery in nearby Bala.

Our favourite items on the York & Mason menu include Pork Schnitzel, Smoked Trout and Duck Confit Grilled Cheese.

Portside Fusion is the best fine dining restaurant in Port Carling with a view of the locks.
Portside Fusion is the best fine dining restaurant in Port Carling with a view of the locks.

Portside Fusion Restaurant

98 Joseph St, 705-765-0003

Of all the Port Carling restaurants we suggest reservations at Portside Fusion for a special romantic dinner for two.

Portside Fusion’s kitchen serves some of the most sophisticated dishes in Port Carling. The restaurant’s owners are originally from Toronto, having worked in kitchens at the city’s celebrated Liberty Group, which run Blueblood Steakhouse, The Citizen and Cibo.

The popular fine dining restaurant sits perched over Port Carling locks and features a spacious outdoor patio. In the summer, Portside Fusion’s hidden patio gets packed with tan fans looking to sip fine wine while forking through homemade pasta.

The Portside Fusion menu evolves with the seasons but typically features global flavours including healthy salads, gourmet sandwiches, plump pasta and elegant entrees.

  • Poke Bowl: sushi rice, ahi tuna, avocado, kimchi, edamame, pickled ginger, wakame, furikake.
  • Portside Burger: prime rib burger, cheddar cheese, the works, roast garlic aioli.
  • Butternut Squash Ravioli: brown butter, sage, squash
  • Sole Picatta: wild rice, wilted greens, caper lemon sauce
  • Seared Flat Iron Steak: aioli, blistered cherry tomatoes, peppercorn jus.
Mooskoka's is Port Carling's best ice cream parlour.
Mooskoka’s is Port Carling’s best ice cream parlour.

Mooskoka’s Ice Cream Shop

98 Maple St, 705-765-7200

Situated in the heart of Port Carling, Mooskoka’s serves refreshing drinks, delicious ice cream and frozen yogurt made with real fruit.

The popular ice cream parlour is located in a cozy yellow building, which can be reached at the top of a wooden staircase. During the warm summer months, you can often find families lined up down the street waiting to order generous cones of Mooskoka’s ice cream.

Mooskoka’s serves ice cream flavours crafted by local Kawartha Dairy in nearby Peterborough. The menu also offers healthy options such as smoothies blended with fresh fruit and yogurt.

Once you’ve ordered your frozen treat, grab a seat on the patio, which offers beautiful views over Lake Muskoka and Lake Rosseau.

Port Carling Restaurants: Tulo's Taqueria is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Muskoka.
Port Carling Restaurants: Tulo’s Taqueria is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Muskoka.

Tulo’s Taqueria Muskoka

2 James Bartleman Way, 705-765-6538

Looking for Port Carling restaurants that serve up spicy Latin American dishes?

Tulo’s Taqueria is ranked as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Muskoka. The popular taqueria offers a spacious outdoor patio, which sits perched over the Port Carling docks.

Due to it’s small dining room and waterfront location, Tulo’s Taqueria is a seasonal restaurant, serving tasty tacos and margaritas from spring until fall.

You’ll know you’ve arrived at Tulo’s once you spot the brands Chihuahua mascot. The exterior of the restaurant features bright pink paneling, painted over with a pretty green cactus forest.

The short but sweet menu features chips & dip, tacos and savoury sides like rice & beans, fritas and salad. If you’re thirsty, pair a spicy taco with a Mexican beer, glass of wine or tequila-muddled craft cocktails.

The family-friendly Port Carling restaurant also features a kids menu featuring tiny tacos, quesadilla and chicken fingers.

  • Battered Haddock Taco: morita salsa, lime mayo, cabbage slaw
  • Spicy Chicken Taco: marinated chicken, arbol pepper sauce, cucumber yogurt, pickled onions, queso
  • Shrimp Taco: battere gulf shrimp, special sauce, iceberg lettuce
  • Pork Taco: slow roasted shredded pork topped with pineapple mango salsa
  • Carne Asada Taco: marinated steak, tomatillo chimichurri
Bracebridge Restaurants: Turtle Jack's is a family-friendly eatery with a famous lakeside patio.
Bracebridge Restaurants: Turtle Jack’s is a family-friendly eatery with a famous lakeside patio.

Turtle Jack’s

123 Medora St, 705-765-1753

Turtle Jack’s is perhaps the most famous of the Port Carling restaurants as the family-friendly eatery originated here and spawned a successful franchise.

In 1992, the Lishman family had a dockside moment of inspiration. What if there was a premium restaurant that offered delicious, fresh food served with the same fun, relaxed hospitality one enjoys with family and friends at the cottage? From this simple dockside idea, Turtle Jack’s Muskoka Grill was born in Port Carling.

Twenty-five years later, Turtle Jack’s continues its tradition of celebrating family, friendship and fun through its signature upscale casual dining experience. The restaurant sells itself as serving casual cottage country cuisine and it’s interior is decked out in a patriotic Canadiana vibe.

The Port Carling restaurant franchise has now expanded beyond the shores of Lake Rosseau to Brampton, Burlington, Etobicoke, Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener Waterloo, Milton, Mississauga, Niagara Falls, Oakville, Richmond Hill, Stoney Creek and Waterdown.

While the OG Turtle Jack’s in Port Carling is a seasonal concept, open from spring until fall, Ontarians can now enjoy cottage country cooking year round.

Wag your finger down the Turtle Jack’s menu and you’ll find something to satisfy everyone. Highlights include fresh salads, hearty soups, sandwiches, burgers, chicken wings and pizza.

  • Blackened Chicken & Goat Cheese Salad: greens, carrot, cucumber, tomato, radish, dried cranberries, hemp hearts, balsamic vinaigrette.
  • California Turkey Sandwich: bacon, aged cheddar, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, roasted garlic aioli, sourdough bread.
  • French Onion Burger: caramelized onion, roasted garlic aioli, tomato, lettuce, Canadian Swiss cheese.
  • Blackened Basa: lobster mashed potatoes, vegetables, chimichurri, guacamole.
  • Calabrese Pizza: Italian plum tomato sauce, mozzarella, provolone, friulano, hot soppressata, black olives, gorgonzola, hot peppers in oil.
Best Port Carling Restaurants: Bala Falls Pub is a cozy pub serving wings, sandwiches and salads.
Best Port Carling Restaurants: Bala Falls Pub is a cozy pub serving wings, sandwiches and salads.

Bala Falls Pub

1010 Bala Falls Rd, 705-762-3035

Owners Jacinta Cowan and David Fisher purchased the Bala Falls Pub in March, 2018.

Cowan shared the story behind how they came to take over the historic pub in Bala, “The whole idea started as a sarcastic comment in the grocery store. Dave and I ran into Tiffany; the previous owner of Bala Falls Pub since 2002. She was running around quite busy and flustered and said something along the lines of ‘it never stops and I need to cut back,’ to which Dave replied ‘why don’t you sell us the Pub?’ On our way home I admitted to Dave that although I knew he was making a spur of the moment joke, I had thought of running the place with him. I simply hadn’t said anything because I just thought it was a fantasy born of sweat and tears earned from working there seasonally for 5 years.”

The popular pub is ideally located in the heart of Bala, on the drive between Gravenhurst and Port Carling. The family-friendly restaurant offers a cozy dining room, petite front patio and spacious backyard patio with access to the water.

The building was originally named the Eldorad, built by a local families father last name Decaire. It later became the Bob Inn, famous for flipping burgers and making milkshakes. At one point it became a clothing store called the Lantern Loft then transformed back to a restaurant called the Kee Cafe. It officially became The Bala Falls Pub in 2002. 

Bala Falls Pub is perhaps most famous for its eye-popping interior design. Cowan explained, “We have tried to embrace warm and cozy elements that help make a pub feel comforting and familiar. The style is pretty eclectic and ever evolving as we chip away at the grand plan whenever time and budget allow. We have a Tragically Hip wall, a Stubbies collection, local sports memorabilia, pieces from local artists, classic Blue Jays Pendants and personal touches such as family photos and a Tennessee State flag to honour Dave’s hometown. Another feature that makes our location special is our proximity to the Kee to Bala; we welcome these connections and have an entire table decorated with epic concert posters.”

If you’re looking to quench your thirst, Bala Falls Pub offers local Muskoka beer, Ontario wines and creative cocktails.

“Dave is from a small town in East Tennessee where the first legal Moonshine distillery was established. It proved difficult to get Ole Smoky Moonshine imported to Ontario but we found Benjamin Murphy out of Elmira and this is the first Apple Pie Shine that Dave has found to compete with his hometown brand. We now carry 10 of Murphy’s Law Moonshine flavours and have a great selection of cocktails that are unique in this area,” said Cowan.

  • Fish & Chips: beer battered halibut, hand cut fries, tartar sauce
  • Pub Club: pulled turkey, bacon, jack cheese, guacamole, cajun mayo, garlic toast
  • Maple Bacon Flatbread: maple bbq base, crispy bacon, mozzarella
  • Jazz’s Big Salad: mixed lettuce, cucumber, peppers, onion, tomatoes, jalapeños, bacon bits, crispy chicken, Greek dressing, seasoned croutons
Don's Bakery is the best bake shop near Port Carling in Bala.
Don’s Bakery is the best bake shop near Port Carling in Bala.

Don’s Bakery

3119 Muskoka District Road 169 #2, 705-762-3937

Since 2010, Don’s Bakery in Bala near Port Carling has been operated by Bryan and Jana Foster. The historic Muskoka bakery was first opened in 1947 by Don Lloyd.

The iconic bakery moved locations in the late 90’s to its current location at Portage Landing. The historic building had once been a local grocery store.

Step inside Don’s Bakery and you’ll enjoy the sweet waft of pastry perfume. Much of the interior is eclectic, with many of the shelves being moved over from the original location.  

Jana Foster shared, “At Don’s Bakery our philosophy is quality, made-from-scratch baked goods paired with exceptional customer service. We make sure to use high quality ingredients like real Belgian chocolate and wild blueberries.”

Don’s Bakery has won Muskoka’s Best Bakery every year and have held the title since 2010. Their mouth-watering Butter Tarts were even featured in The New York Times in 2018.

If it’s your first time visiting Don’ Bakery Jana recommends, “We are best known for our scones as well as our butter tarts. Other top sellers are our cinnamon buns (which happen to be vegan), fruit pies, key lime pie, apple fritters, cake loaves and meat pies.”

Port Carling Restaurants: Clear Lake Brewing offers craft beer and pub grub in nearby Torrance.
Port Carling Restaurants: Clear Lake Brewing offers craft beer and pub grub in nearby Torrance.

Clear Lake Brewing Co

4651 Southwood Road in Torrance, 705-762-0234

Clear Lake Brewing first opened its doors in August, 2017 near Bala and Port Carling in Muskoka. Founders Greg Knight, Rob Wilson and Kit Redding were inspired to launch Clear Lake Brewing because they wanted to open a new business in the small village of Torrance.

Step inside the Muskoka brewpub and you’ll find eight taps at the bar. Seven pour Clear Lake Brewing’s in-house brands with the other offering featuring a rotating guest brewery or cider.

Rob Wilson explains Clear Lake Brewing’s craft beer production, “We produce all of our core brands year round. Our Cranberry Radler is most popular in summer, but is still available year round. Our number one beer is our Session Ale, we also offer an IPA, Honey Cream, Porter, Pilsner and Amber Ale.”

After sipping through a flight of fresh Muskoka craft beer wag your finger down Chef Jacob Mussen’s menu. Wilson explains the Clear Lake Brewing food philosophy, “We make good pub food that pairs well with our beers. Our craft beer is a key ingredient in a few of our dishes. We also work closely with two local businesses: Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh make up our cran radler beer and Don’s Bakery in Bala produces our breads, buns and desserts.”

  • Loaded Fries: tossed in three cheeses, topped with mixed peppers, onions, tomatoes, sour cream and salsa
  • Cranberry Walnut Salad: mixed greens, maple lemon vinaigrette, local cranberries, toasted walnuts, crumbled goat cheese
  • Torrance Burger: smoked ground chuck served on a Don’s Bakery fresh bun, greens, hothouse tomato, red onion, deli pickles, and aioli
  • Classic Reuben: cured corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on a toasted Don’s Bakery fresh loaf
  • Chicken Caesar Wrap: roasted chicken breast, romaine lettuce, bacon, parmesan cheese, grilled tortilla wrap
Port Carling Restaurants: Pie Wood Fired Pizza is located beside Clear Lake Brewing near Bala.
Port Carling Restaurants: Pie Wood Fired Pizza is located beside Clear Lake Brewing near Bala.

Pie Wood Fired Pizza

2641 Muskoka District Road 169, 705-762-8869

Pie Wood Fired Pizza is located in the small town of Torrance near Bala. The popular pizzeria shares the same parking lot as Clear Lake Brewing, so is a great lunch or dinner idea for craft beer and Italian food fans. Hit two birds with one stone!

Pie Wood Fired Pizza co-owner Craig Russell expla, “Pie is the Ferris Bueller of wood oven pizza joints!”

The restaurant’s quirky owners launched Let’Em Eat in 2010, dubbed Canada’s Largest Eating Competition. As the story goes, while winding down from a busy Canada Day long weekend over a couple of cold beverages the sports channels were announcing Takeru Kobayashi’s arrest at the Coney Island 4th of July Hot Dog eating contest. His arrest stemmed from taking the stage without having a signed contract with MLE (Major League Eating).

Russell added, “Our initial reaction was ‘wow, they won’t let him eat so why don’t we invite him to eat!’ A few emails and phone calls later and the rest is history. Let’Em Eat has now celebrated 8 years in the running and has become Canada’s largest annual eating contest.”

Pie Wood Fired Pizza is cooked in a 3000 pound oven imported from Italy. It heats up to 900 degrees, allowing pizza chefs to cook up to 8 pies at a time in under 90 seconds. The dough is made fresh every morning and stretched by hand.

Beyond it’s authentic pizzas, Pie’s menu also features shareables, fresh salads and sandwiches.

  • Salty Balls: deep fried pie dough, garlic butter, bacon, parmesan, garlic aioli dip
  • Meatball Sandwich: house-made meatballs, marinara, mozzarella, kettle chips
  • Spinach & Arugula Salad: pears, walnuts, blue cheese, balsamic vinaigrette
  • Buffalo Chicken Pie: barbecue sauce, mozzarella, blue cheese, spicy chicken breast, red onion, marinated tomatoes, spicy aioli
  • Hedge Hog Pie: tomato sauce, hot pepper puree, mozzarella, pepperoni, spicy salami, sausage, garlic aioli, basil
Chef Henrie Bistro serves authentic Austrian dishes in MacTier near Port Carling.
Chef Henrie Bistro serves authentic Austrian dishes in MacTier near Port Carling.

Chef Henrie Bistro & Café

339 High St, 705-345-5042

Chef Henrie Bistro & Cafe is a popular European restaurant located near Port Carling in the small town of MacTier. The restaurant is owned and operated by the Austrian Thoeringer family, who serve traditional recipes you’d find in Vienna.

Chef Henrie graduated from the Austrian culinary school Landesberufsschule Obertrum in 2014. Awarded the esteemed “Goldener Kochlöffel” (Golden Spoon), in his final year of apprenticeship, a star was placed in the walkway of the academy. Now back in his childhood stomping grounds of MacTier, Ontario, the talented Chef has opened a bistro, bringing the tastes of Europe home.

Chef Henrie Thoeringer launched the Port Carling restaurant in 2018, “It was always my dream to own my own restaurant regardless of where it was. If you can cook great food people will travel anywhere to eat it. We started out as a cafe and small bistro but things transformed into a restaurant where most people now come for dinner,” said Chef Thoeringer.

The building was formerly used as a Datsun dealership, gas station and convenience store. Today, the space features a front patio and intimate dining room and bar. Skip inside Chef Henrie Bistro and you’ll be greeted by a beautiful mural showcasing the awesome beauty of the Dolomite Mountains.

Wag your finger down the Chef Henrie Bistro menu and you’ll find beer by Trestle Brewery in Parry Sound alongside imported products from Stiegl, Krombacher and Erdinger.

The wine list features local vineyards as well as quality bottles from Germany, France and Italy. We suggest pairing a cool glass of sweet German riesling with one of Chef Henrie’s crispy schnitzels. The restaurant’s schnitzel menu is available in chicken, pork or veal and served with mushroom cream, lingonberry and spätzle.

  • Scallops: avocado tartar, carrot puree, beet salad, fried rosemary
  • Beef Stroganoff: strip loin, mushrooms, fettuccine, sautéed vegetables, crispy onions
  • Cordon Bleu: pork, cheese and ham served with wedges and lingonberries
  • Hunter’s Schnitzel: bacon mushroom cream, spätzle, mixed green salad
  • Kaiserschmarrn: apple mousse, caramelized sugar
Cottages at the JW Marriott is our favourite brunch restaurant in Minett.
Cottages at the JW Marriott is our favourite brunch restaurant in Minett.

Cottages Restaurant at JW Marriott Muskoka

1050 Paignton House Road in Minett, 705-765-1900

JW Marriott Muskoka is a luxury hotel and resort on Lake Rosseau, located in the tiny town of Minett.

Ranked as one of the best hotels in Muskoka, the JW Marriott on Lake Rosseau is a sweeping multi-faceted resort. It sits perched over a 100-foot granite bluff, a short drive from nearby Port Carling.

Guests at the luxurious Muskoka resort can visit the property during all four seasons of the year, enjoying on-site educative nature trails, dynamic outdoor activities and unique workshops with local artisans, authors and craftspeople.

The luxury resort in Muskoka plays home to 6 unique culinary concepts. JW Marriott Muskoka’s restaurants offer everything from family-friendly dining for those looking for a casual meal, to romantic upscale experiences.

Cottages is one of Muskoka’s best brunch restaurants, offering an all-day dining menu and seasonal patio. Guests arrive each morning at Cottages to enjoy an exquisite breakfast buffet. It’s also the go-to spot for locals looking to celebrate Mother’s Day brunch and Christmas dinner.

  • Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl: pineapple, watermelon, toasted coconut
  • Beef Short Rib Eggs Benedict: cage free poached eggs, beef short rib, house Worcestershire sauce
  • Egg White Frittata: smoked salmon, scallions, goat cheese, side of fruit
  • Buttermilk Pancakes: choice of blueberry or caramel chocolate, whipped butter, maple syrup
  • Brioche French Toast: thick cut bread, berries, Bala cranberry syrup, whipped butter
Port Carling Restaurants: Enjoy a romantic steakhouse experience at Muskoka Chophouse.
Port Carling Restaurants: Enjoy a romantic steakhouse experience at Muskoka Chophouse.

Muskoka Chophouse at JW Marriott Muskoka

1050 Paignton House Road in Minett, 705-765-1900

Are you a meat lover looking for the best steakhouse in Muskoka?

The JW Marriott’s Muskoka Chophouse serves succulent Angus beef in a dining room featuring rustic-edged tabletops, hand-scarped wooden floors and a dramatic antler chandelier.

The curated wine list at Muskoka Chophouse has earned a yearly Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since it first opened in 2015. Be sure to sample local bottles from NiagaraBeamsville and Prince Edward County.

  • Wild Caught Lump Crab Cake: grilled corn & bean succotash, crispy pancetta, cajun chipotle aioli
  • Roasted Carrot Salad: honey cranberry thyme roasted heirloom carrots, toasted hazelnuts, white balsamic ricotta, fennel seedlings, orange segments, fennel pollen
  • Scallops & Pork Belly: pan seared scallops, confit pork belly, radish, roasted apple cardamom puree
  • Bacon Mac & Cheese: slab bacon, grainy dijon
  • Steaks & Sauces: filet, New York strip loin, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse with selection of truffle butter, peppercorn demi, chimichurri or bearnaise
Port Carling Restaurants: Binge on beautiful bowls of pasta at Teca.
Port Carling Restaurants: Binge on beautiful bowls of pasta at Teca.

Teca at JW Marriott Muskoka

1050 Paignton House Road in Minett, 705-765-1900

The JW Marriott’s other upscale restaurant concept offers the perfect date night idea for pasta fans.

The resort’s Teca concept is an intimate bistro featuring an open kitchen serving Italian favourites. The Muskoka restaurant is perfect for those looking to enjoy an interactive cooking demonstration or culinary workshop. The menu features fresh salads, antipasto, pasta, risotto and classic Italian thin crust pizza.

  • Sweet Potato Carpaccio: whipped Boursin cheese, pumpkin seed oil, fried Brussels sprout leaves, arugula sprouts, candied pumpkin seeds
  • Beet Fritter: whipped ricotta, caramelized honey quinoa, sprouts
  • Brown Butter Poached Lobster: saffron orzo paella, tomato fennel ragout, grilled lemon
  • Spaghetti San Marzano: signature veal and pork meatballs, torn fresh basil, parmesan cheese
  • Classic Carbonara: guanciale, eggs, pecorino cheese, black pepper, spaghetti
Sip local craft beer alongside a plate of chicken wings at JW Marriott Muskoka's Lakes Bar.
Sip local craft beer alongside a plate of chicken wings at JW Marriott Muskoka’s Lakes Bar.

Lakes Bar at JW Marriott Muskoka

1050 Paignton House Road in Minett, 705-765-1900

JW Marriott Muskoka’s cozy lounge bar is the perfect place to unwind after a day spent enjoying Ontario cottage country’s great outdoors. Visiting sports fans can watch a game on the big screen while sipping local beer, wine or freshly muddled craft cocktails.

Lakes Bar is open for lunch and dinner and offers live entertainment on most evenings in the summer and during long weekends. Our favourite place to unwind is at the bar’s Muskoka Room, overlooking the picturesque Lakeview lawn and Lake Rosseau.

The Lakes Bar menu offers the kind of quality pub grub we all crave on a hot summers day. Order a fresh pint by Lake of Bays Brewing or Muskoka Brewery or sip on a craft cocktail while nibbling on crunchy chicken wings and deep fried jalapeno cheese sticks.

  • Bluegrass Smash: Maker’s Mark Kentucky bourbon, raw honey, simple syrup, lemon, orange, rosemary
  • Amaro Sour: Averna Amaro, Myers’s rum, raw honey syrup, turmeric, Fernet Branca, lemon juice
  • Good JuJu: Appleton Estate dark rum, Leblon Cachaca, pineapple juice, guava nectar, lemon juice, Garam Masala spiced maple syrup, Angostura bitters
  • Pimms Pint: Dillon’s unfiltered 22 gin, cointreau, Dillon’s sweet vermouth, lemon juice, soda water, fresh mint, blueberries
  • The 80 Proof Mojito: Gosling’s 80 proof rum, agave syrup, fresh mint, ginger beer, fresh lime
The patio at Winderemere Pub offers beautiful views over Lake Rosseau.
The patio at Winderemere Pub offers beautiful views over Lake Rosseau.

Windermere Pub at Windermere House

2508 Windermere Rd, 705-769-3611

Known as the “The Lady of the Lake”, Windermere House is an iconic Victorian landmark that has proudly sat perched over Lake Rosseau since 1870.

The historic luxury hotel in Muskoka includes 56 rooms and suites, as well as the private, four-bedroom Windermere Cottage. Guests can enjoy a variety of water sports, tennis, golf and a slice of rest and relaxation at the hotel’s on-site spa.

The properties longstanding Windermere Pub is a favourite for locals in Muskoka as well as seasonal cottagers. The restaurant’s patio overlooks Lake Rosseau, providing a relaxing backdrop to enjoy an al fresco lunch. During the busy summer months, Windermere Pub comes alive thanks to local bands who play here on weekends.

Wag your finger down the Windermere Pub menu and you’ll find plenty of award-winning Ontario craft beers on draft alongside a short but sweet wine list. Standard pub fare parades out of the kitchen and includes signatures such as chicken wings, crispy calamari, cabb salad and reuben and brisket sandwiches.

  • Cobb Salad: Muskoka ale marinated chicken, red onion, aged white cheddar, bacon, avocado, egg, green goddess dressing
  • Rueben: shaved corned beef, melted gruyere, sauerkraut, marbled rye, coleslaw, fries
  • Brooklyn Pizza: pepperoni, bacon, chorizo, red onion
  • Meatloaf: pork and beef meatloaf, boiled egg, bacon, beef gravy, crispy onions, braised cabbage, smashed potatoes
  • Bangers and Mash: venison sausage, caramelized onions, baked beans, smashed potatoes
Rosseau Grill is ranked as one of the most romantic restaurants near Port Carling.
Rosseau Grill is ranked as one of the most romantic restaurants near Port Carling.

Rosseau Grill at Windermere House

2508 Windermere Rd, 705-769-3611

Rosseau Grill is the fine dining concept at Winderemere House. Ranked as one of the most romantic restaurants in Muskoka, Rosseau Grill’s dining room offers jaw-dropping views over the lake below.

Guests enter the Rosseau Grill through two impressive glass doors. Once inside the dining room you’re greeted by a massive stone fireplace. Seating is a mix of plus benches and wooden tabletops, which are illuminated by oversized upside down lamp shades that dangle from the ceiling.

The Rosseau Grill menu focuses on celebrating fresh local Ontario produce and is presented with panache on the plate. If you’re keen to indulge in an elegant affair, fork your way through Milford Bay Trout Pate, Northern Ontario Pickerel or local Rack of Lamb.

  • Windermere House Salad: blend of Muskoka greens, spiced pecans, cucumber, Johnston’s cranberries, apple and pear chips, elderberry dressing
  • Milford Bay Trout Pate: potato and chive blini, herb and lemon crème fraîche
  • Vegetarian Capellini: blistered rainbow cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, olive oil, shaved parmesan
  • Northern Ontario Pickerel: cornmeal and sumac crusted, seasonal baby vegetables, pan-roasted fingerling potatoes
  • Ontario Rack of Lamb: dijon and herb crusted, fingerling potatoes, seasonal baby vegetables, rosemary jus
Richwell's is a fine dining restaurants in a historic mansion in Port Carling.
Richwell’s is a fine dining restaurants in a historic mansion in Port Carling.

Richwell’s

3842 Muskoka District Road 118 West,  705-765-0244

Richwell’s Muskoka first opened its doors in May, 2017. The fine dining restaurant near Port Carling was launched by Charles Penwell and Chef Richard Bynoe. The restaurants name is a synergy of Richard and Penwell, paying homage to the founder’s names.

The popular Port Carling restaurant offers a friendly dining room that seats 80 guests. Bynoe shared, “The location has gone through many iterations but the building was originally constructed in the late 1800s. In early years, it was a roadside Fish & Chips, Pinelands Lunch & Gasbar, Rebecca’s, Medora and now Richwell’s.”

Richwell’s Muskoka’s interior is accented with large photos of local cottage country landmarks, sunsets and wildlife by Louis Courriveau and Linda Hurlburt. 

Richwell’s Chef Bynoe grew up on a Canadian forces base in North Bay with four brothers, one who also became a chef. He apprenticed under Scott Gerrie at Blue Mountain then moved to Toronto to work with Brooke McDougall at Bymark and Mark McEwan’s North 44. He then went on to work as Executive Chef at restaurants in Markham, Oshawa and Pickering before taking his passion for cooking to Muskoka.

Apprenticing under a Swiss trained Chef, French cuisine is the inspiration for the majority of Richwell’s menus. You’ll also find dishes harking to the cuisines of Italy, Greece and India.

  • Arancini: mozzarella and sun-dried tomato, panko breaded and golden fried. Served with roasted garlic pesto cream and arrabbiata sauce.
  • Jumbo Shrimp: lemongrass basil pesto coconut sauce or curry citrus ginger butter sauce.
  • Wild Mushroom Asiago Dip: garlic, brandy, rosemary, cream served with ciabatta.
  • Chicken Linguini: chicken breast, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, leeks, mushrooms, basil pesto cream.
  • Roast Rack of Lamb: rosemary balsamic demi, sautéed vegetables with choice of truffle yukon gold mash, thyme lemongrass jasmine rice or roasted vegetables.
Port Carling Restaurants: Bass Lake RoadHouse is a popular pub in Foot's Bay.
Port Carling Restaurants: Bass Lake RoadHouse is a popular pub in Foot’s Bay.

Bass Lake RoadHouse

4700 Muskoka District Road 169, 705-375-5440

Bass Lake RoadHouse is a popular local pub, which opened near Port Carling in 2006.

Skip inside Bass Lake RoadHouse and you’ll find a friendly bar and two spacious dining rooms. The vibe feels like a cozy Muskoka saloon, with wood paneled walls decked out in Canadian flags, Blue Jays memorabilia and local art.

The dining room on the left is our favorite space as it features wrap-around windows, vintage fireplace and old surfboard that hangs from the ceiling.

It’s a great place to enjoy affordable pub classics like burgers, crab dip, calamari and nachos.

Crossroads in Rosseau is ranked as one of the top 10 best restaurants in Muskoka.
Crossroads in Rosseau is ranked as one of the top 10 best restaurants in Muskoka.

Crossroads

2 Cardwell Road in Rosseau, 705-732-4343

After visiting over 70 dining rooms in Muskoka we can confidently say that Crossroads in Rosseau is one of the top 10 restaurants in cottage country.

Rosseau is a tiny town located a 30 minute drive from Port Carling, just down the road from Muskoka Woods Sports Resort.

When Crossroads first opened it was a casual coffee shop and cafe. When the current owners, Julie and Richard Lalonde bought the building they transformed it into one of the most sought after fine dining concepts in Muskoka.

The duo originally met while cooking together at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Julie explained, “Our love for food stems from our childhood. I was the oldest and was always helping cook dinners and baking, which led me to the culinary program offered at Georgian College. From there I travelled and worked for Fairmont Hotels, working my way up the ranks as a woman in a male dominated kitchen was not always easy, but I survived and thrived on the experience.”

Richard‘s culinary journey began as a child growing up in Rigaud, Quebec and being surrounded by family that love to cook and eat. Richard’s passion for the culinary world led him to the Laurentian school of cooking in St. Adele.

Step inside Muskoka’s charming house of haute cuisine and you’ll find bartenders mixing up craft cocktails at the bar, families chatting in an elegant dining room over fine wine, and romantic couples spinning fresh pasta on forks on the restaurants lush garden patio.

The Crossroads menu offers a taste of France, featuring classic dishes that are so well executed you can easily close your eyes and transport yourself to Normandy or Provence.

  • Duck & Foie Gras Pate: onion chutney, pickled vegetables, brioche.
  • Fried Green Tomato & Quebec Pork Belly: arugula, onion chutney, apple chips, buttermilk ranch dressing
  • Grilled Ribeye Steak: 12 oz black angus steak, rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, balsamic glazed cipollini onions
  • Duck Margret: sliced duck breast, duck confit, warm green bean frisee, duck bacon salad, orange ginger gastrique
  • Georgian Bay Pickerel: fisherman’s spices, shaved fennel, green bean artichoke salad, dill tomato vinaigrette

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