Eat, Drink and Be Merry in Stratford this Holiday Season | Ontario Culinary
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Eat, Drink and Be Merry in Stratford this Holiday Season

There’s something so magical about Stratford during the holiday season. Located along a well-known snow belt, this tiny theatre town comes to life with twinkling lights, shop windows decked out for the season and, of course, an array of vibrant, festive flavours!

Merry and Bright in Stratford, Ontario

So how do we best enjoy Stratford this time of year? We have some sure-fire ways to make sure your season is merry and bright. Keep reading!

EAT: A Festive Meal

There are so many great restaurants in Stratford to grab a drink or meal with friends and family. Here are three we think you should check out.

Bluebird Restaurant

Where: 30 Ontario St, Stratford, ON. (View Map)


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Enjoy simple, bistro-style meals elevated by excellent culinary skills at Bluebird Restaurant. This cozy stop has a large front window that looks right out onto Ontario Street so you can watch the snow fly as you warm up inside.

Putting twists on familiar classics, you can devour everything from Dan Dan Spaghetti Squash with sesame chilli sauce, pickled leeks and toasted almonds to Ontario pickerel, grilled Ontario lamb chops and a roast veal chop with fries.

Sip and savour the menu and certainly don’t forget dessert! This time of year, we practically insist on the sticky toffee pudding or the “double-double” crème brûlée made with espresso custard and served up alongside cinnamon-infused shortbread.


Where: 159 Ontario St. Stratford, ON. (View Map)

You’ll be enveloped by tantalizing smells, warm lighting and buzzing energy when you walk into Elizabeth, right on the main drag. Named after Chef Brian Clarke’s grandmother, Elizabeth offers an elevated twist on your neighbourhood restaurant and shouldn’t be missed.

If you’re looking for a date spot this holiday season, we think you’ll agree this one holds the romance and the menu is no exception to that. Lean into your spontaneous side with a menu that changes regularly.

Past menu favourites have included everything from seared scallops and corn succotash to seared wild cod, maple-glazed pork belly and wagyu meatballs. Served up alongside a menu of elegantly crafted cocktails, it’s a lovely spot to sweep your sweetie off their feet.


Where: 72 Wellington St, Stratford, ON. (View Map)


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Self-described as “a nice place to enjoy honest food and drink well,” we couldn’t describe Lovage better ourselves.

Their colourful dishes allow guests to eat the entire rainbow in ways that highlight beautiful heirloom veggies, made-from-scratch broths and dishes layered with fanciful ingredients.

Whether you’re in the mood for something you’ve never tried like butternut squash barbajuans with sage and lemon or into a new take on an old classic like grilled sea bass for two with baby potatoes, chances are you’ll find a dish to make your taste buds sing.

Paired with one of the excellent wines found on their well-curated list, it’s a match made in heaven.

DRINK: Locally crafted beer and spirits

Nothing brings holiday cheer like sipping on a locally crafted beer or spirit. Luckily, there’s no short supply of either in Stratford.

Junction 56 Distillery

Where: 45 Cambria St. Stratford, ON. (View Map)

Get in the holiday spirit at Junction 56 Distillery where premium vodka, liqueurs, gin and juice and whisky are the name of the game.

This time of year, we love their festive liqueurs dabbled into our warm coffees, lattes and hot chocolate. Their yuletide flavours include candy cane, coffee, chocolate, pumpkin, gingerbread and even mint smoothie after Stratford’s chocolatey claim to fame made by the folks over at Rheo Thompson.

You can shop their store daily but the best way to take it all in is with a guided tour and tasting! You’ll get a chance to peel back the curtain and understand the distilling process on a tour or be guided through an array of spirits from one of their knowledgeable staff members. Be sure to book in advance.

Black Swan Brewing

Where: 144 Downie St. Stratford, ON. (View Map)

Take in all the warmth of this brewery and taproom. Decked out in rustic woods, you’ll feel right at home when you walk in the door. You can either decide to shop their retail hours or (and this is what we suggest), fully sit and enjoy the taproom.

With a different hot dog to enjoy each week, we suggest keeping an eye on their Facebook page to see what you might like to pair up with your brewski. During the holiday season, we recommend enjoying their Local Love Cream Ale. 50 cents of each can go to the United Way Perth-Huron so you can feel good about what you’re sipping!

Heritage Hops Brew Co.

Where: 21 Market Place, Stratford, ON. (View Map)

Live music, a wide selection of beer and loads of cheer bring this place to life for the holiday season! Grab your crew and grab a table, because you’re going to want to hang out here for a while.

Our recommendation? If it’s your first time visiting any brewery, it’s always a flight. Find out what you like as you sip on four different sample-sized beers. Then, order a bunch of stuff to share. We’re talkin’ bar menu classics like nachos, fish n’ chips and more to scratch that itch.

You can also keep an eye on their Facebook page for events sure to get everyone feeling bright and cheerful like karaoke, live music and more!

Jobsite Brewing Co.

Where: 45 Cambria St. Stratford, ON. (View Map)

Beer. Pizza. Need we say more? Job Site Brewing is a construction-themed craft brewery started by two friends who thought up the idea while they were on a construction site break.

So! Dawn your hard hat (no, not seriously) and head on in for a drink. The folks here pride themselves on being able to educate guests thoughtfully and unpretentiously on the craft brewing process and will be happy to make a recommendation based on your tastes.

Check out their Welder’s Flash White Stout which won a silver at the Ontario Brewing Awards in the smoked beer category or their Wrong Nail Amber Ale for starters.

Paired up with their simple and delicious wood-fired pizza (choose from pepperoni, three cheeses or mushroom and spinach…or a combo thereof) it’s further proof that pizza and beer go together like pb and j.

The Relic Lobby Bar

Where: 6 Ontario St. Stratford, ON. (View Map)

Inventive, beautifully crafted cocktails are the name of the game at Relic Lobby and Bar where they take their mixology to the next level. Cheers to the season in style no matter what you drink!

Their Isle of Manhattan Fizz offers a blended combination of gin, white rum, cream of coconut, lime, pineapple juice, orange blossom water, soda and lime zest.

The Stolen Mule puts a twist on the classic with tequila and mezcal swapped in alongside ginger beer, Galliano, Cointreau, grapefruit lime and even sea salt. Each cocktail is more artistic than the last and is worth multiple visits.

Don’t drink alcohol? Of course, that’s no problem either. This spot offers up non-alc options that won’t sacrifice the uniqueness of each drink in the process.

Cheers to that.

The Bacon + Ale Trail

Is there anything better than a beer? Of course there is. A beer paired up with bacon, duh! The Bacon and Ale Trail brings Stratford’s extensive pork industry history and brewing history together into one genius combo.

Each stop features a different bacon or ale product to enjoy so what’s really stopping you from trying it? With so many tasty stops to be discovered though, you’ll want to plan your route.

When you’re ready, you can pick up your pass for purchase at several downtown locations and head out. These will contain vouchers for the various tastes of place you’ll receive at each stop and they don’t expire.

BE MERRY: With these oh-so-festive activities

When you’re ready, these festive holiday activities will tie all that food and drink together in a big, red bow.

The Christmas Trail


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From November 1 to December 20, take in the Christmas Trail and get a ton of holiday shopping done along the way.

Purchase your trail pass downtown and visit the list of stops found along the trail to claim a voucher for a free gift at six of the stops.

Along your way, discover artisanal wares, delicious treats and more. Stratford is home to a thriving downtown with loads of great stores so you’re sure to have a lovely time. Stops like Wills and Prior and Bradshaws offer beautiful home goods and perfect gifts for holiday hosts.

Loads of chocolate shops that call Stratford home are bursting with goodies. Tons of handmade goods, delicious treats and more are waiting to delight your every gift purchase! Rather than dreading all that holiday shopping, have fun with it along the Christmas Trail.

Lights On Stratford

Starting December 15th and running until January 13th, Lights On Stratford is an annual winter festival of epic proportions.

Transforming the heritage downtown core and park systems with luminous displays and interactive light installations, this event is sure to get you into the holiday spirit.

We recommend grabbing a hot chocolate from Balzac’s before they close at six and wandering through the artistic light displays. Wrap up your night dining locally and enjoying the season with family and friends. Trust us, you’re going to love it.

Enjoy the Festivities

No matter what you decide to do on this list, we know you’re sure to have a memorable time in Stratford and leave feeling full and satisfied! Cheers to a great holiday season!