10+ Best Peterborough Restaurants: Delicious Eats in The Kawarthas

Did you know that Peterborough has one of the highest ratios of restaurants to population per capita? You might not think of the city as a foodie town but just a few bites at these top Peterborough restaurants and they’ll win you over. Whether you come to town for the incredible paddling opportunities or the cultural experiences, you’ll need some serious fuel. Luckily, the city has you covered!

8 of the Best Peterborough Restaurants

With this many restaurants in Peterborough, it can be overwhelming to know where to go. Decision fatigue, anyone? Luckily, we’ve tried and tested each of these Peterborough restaurants and can say for certain that they’re delicious. You can’t go wrong with any of them!

Railyard Cafe and Taphouse in Peterborough
Some Appetizers at The Railyard Cafe and Taphouse

The Railyard Cafe and Taphouse

Coffee house by day and pub by night, The Railyard Cafe and Taphouse opened at the end of August 2023 in the East City neighbourhood. Many Peterborough folks are very excited to hear Lindsey Dupuis is steering the ship as she ran local favourite Brio Gusto in the heart of the city for 15 years.

While I say “pub” by night, The Railyard puts a healthier spin on your typical pub-style fair. You won’t find a deep fryer here! What you will find are a number of delicious salads, fresh sandwiches, curries, rice bowls and more. They also have daily specials that are sure to delight your taste buds but you’ll want to act fast as they tend to disappear!

I personally couldn’t decide on a dish during my visit so I opted for two of their appetizers. First was their shrimp ‘n’ chips which sounds very simple but is bursting with flavour. To me, this dish was like a blend of a Caesar and ceviche – it was absolutely delectable. It certainly has some tang with a solid kick of heat so be careful if you’re not a fan of spice! The other dish was their flank steak Boston wraps which were the perfect counterpart. Rare flank steak is topped with pickled carrot and onion as well as some soft feta. Still savoury with a hint of sweetness, the dish is finished with a citrus garlic aioli which helped squash the shrimp ‘n’ chips heat!

Railyard Cafe & Taphouse Information

Address: 127 Hunter St E, Peterborough, ON K9H 1G7
Hours of Operation: 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Daily
Take Out: Yes
Reservations: Call 705.745.5511
Average Price per Person: $25 – $50


Paella at Fresh Dreams One of the Best Restaurants in Peterborough
The Famous Paella from Fresh Dreams in Peterborough

Fresh Dreams

You will feel as if you’ve been welcomed into a friend’s home for dinner as you step inside Fresh Dreams on Queen Street. Home meets restaurant in this gorgeous apartment setting which only adds to the cozy vibes.

Enjoy an authentic taste of Spain and the Mediterranean in Peterborough with the dynamic duo behind Fresh Dreams. Alvaro is an incredible host with his wife whipping up the incredible flavours in every dish. Aiming to show everyone a piece of Spanish food culture who visits, the eats you’ll enjoy here are unmatched. Each dish is prepared with the freshest ingredients and is sourced as locally as possible as they do not work with any wholesale restaurant suppliers.

While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, Fresh Dreams’ paella is not to be missed. This traditional Spanish dish is not only impeccably prepared with notes of saffron but it offers a plethora of vegetables and is bursting with chicken and shrimp! Paella is only on the menu on Wednesdays and Saturdays but if you know you’re visiting and want it for lunch or dinner, just order a day ahead and they’ll have it prepared for you! It also pairs very well with their housemade sangria… I took one for the team and made sure to taste-test it for you!

What makes Fresh Dreams really stand out from many restaurants in Peterborough is their attention to service. Not only will you be absolutely spoiled with smiles and samples but Alvaro is happy to explain the dishes, their sources and share the stories behind them. For example, the recipe for their scrumptious almond cake (that is gluten-free!) is from the town where the famous Camino de Santiago trail ends which is where his wife, the chef, is from!

Fresh Dreams Information

Address: 373 Queen St, Peterborough, ON K9H 3J7
Hours of Operation: 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm Tuesday through Friday, Saturdays from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm, Closed Sundays & Mondays
Take Out: Yes
Reservations: Call 705.559.7731
Average Price per Person: $25 – $50


Karma 2.0 at the Ashburnham Ale House in Peterborough :: I've Been Bit! Travel Blog
Karma 2.0 at the Ashburnham Ale House

Ashburnham Ale House

This vibrant spot in the neighbourhood of Ashburnham is all about simple yet delicious food, a solid pint of craft beer, fine wine and a robust cup of joe. You’ll immediately feel welcomed as their large wooden tables and rustic furnishings certainly give a cottage-like vibe. Take a minute to admire the old photographs that adorn the walls, some dating back over 100 years ago! The folks at Ashburnham are proud of the history of this neighbourhood, as seen in their logo. A nod to “Strong Man Dan”, a man named Dan McDonald from the mid-1800s that was known for his feats of strength – like hoisting a 500lb pig above his head!

You’ll find a vast menu at the Ashburnham Ale House with plenty of appetizers, salads, “sammiches”, pizza, pasta… you get the idea. Let’s just say there is definitely something for everyone! While I enjoyed the Karma 2.0 during my visit, they really shine with their meat and pasta dishes. Folks rave about their Bourbon Cream Gnocchi as well as their Chicken n’ Ribs. They also have a fantastic beer selection featuring a real cask ale and yes, it’s pumped by hand straight from the cask!

If your visit brings you to town during the summer months, make sure you try and snag a seat on the patio. They have not one but two to choose from, each with its own unique charm!

The Ashburnham Ale House Information

Address: 129 Hunter St W, Peterborough, ON K9H 2K7
Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday from 11:00am to 11:00 pm, Saturdays & Sundays from 9:00am to 11:00pm
Take Out: Yes
Reservations: Call 705.874.0333
Average Price per Person: $25 – $50


The Publican House in Peterborough
Oceanwise Tuna Tacos and Appetizer Size Thai Noodle Salad at The Publican House

The Publican House

The Publican House came to be when a bunch of buds came together one evening for a pint. They thought it would be awesome to bring a craft brewery to Peterborough and when friends work together, you know anything is possible! Their passion and vision brought The Publican House to life and grew it into one of the best Peterborough restaurants.

Housed in a +170-year-old building, patrons will be surrounded by a chill vibe but with an upscale feel. You can arrive in shorts and a t-shirt or get a little dolled up with some business casual. Whatever you choose, the staff will make you feel right at home. Settle into a table inside their gorgeous two-story abode with exposed brick and rustic wooden accents or enjoy the fresh air on their adorable patio – complete with string lights. I personally opted for outside because nothing beats a flight of beers on the patio in the summer!

While you can’t go wrong with a pint of their lime or raspberry ales, opt for a flight so you can enjoy a range of their brews. As for their menu, you’ll notice that a number of dishes have recommendations of beer pairings for the perfect combination for your taste buds. Whether you’re looking for a light meal with appetizers like their Oceanwise Tuna Tacos or to sink your teeth into some pub favourites like fish and chips, you’ll know what beer will take these flavours to the next level! Of course, you can always ask your server for recommendations.

The Publican House Information

Address: 294 Charlotte St, Peterborough, ON K9J 2V5
Hours of Operation: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm Daily
Take Out: Yes, you can order online here
Reservations: Yes, you can book online here
Average Price per Person: $25 – $40


Silver Bean Cafe in Peterborough
Morning Panini at the Silver Bean Cafe

Silver Bean Cafe

If you’re looking for the perfect way to start your day in Peterborough, head to the Silver Bean Cafe. Located on the shores of the Otonabee River in Millennium Park, they’ve been  ‘your waterfront cottage in the city’ since 2003.

This idyllic little cafe offers gorgeous views that pair perfectly with their menu. While they mainly have more simple meals such as sandwiches, paninis and salads as well as lighter eats like scones and muffins, everything is made fresh to order with quality ingredients. Their morning panini with bacon, soft Brie, tomato and arugula with a side of fresh fruit was just what I needed for a day of adventuring in Peterborough.

Their meals will leave you satisfied without the heaviness that can come with some eats. The Silver Bean Cafe also has refreshing drinks like iced lattes, fruit smoothies and homemade lemonade. Of course, they always have some piping hot coffee on hand for the classic caffeine boost many of us crave! Since they make everything from scratch, it can take a little time to get your eats but you can always hit their take-out window if you’re in a hurry. Plus, it has ice cream!

The only downside to the Silver Bean Cafe? It’s open from early May until late October so if you visit Peterborough in the winter months, you’ll need to plan a return visit. Trust me, it’ll be worth the trip!

The Silver Bean Cafe Information

Address: 130 King St, Peterborough, ON K9H 3R9
Hours of Operation: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm Daily from May until October
Take Out: Yes, order from their take-out window
Reservations: No, reservations are not available
Average Price per Person: $10 – $20


St Veronus in Peterborough
Wellington Blue Moules Frites at St Veronus Cafe & Tap Room

St Veronus Cafe & Tap Room

I don’t know about you, but I’m always game for a little taste of Europe no matter what city I’m in. When I heard that this is exactly what you’ll find at St Veronus Cafe & Tap Room, I knew I had to visit! Step inside their restaurant for an old-world-esque tavern complete with dark wooden accents. However, it’s the patio that really did it for me with some larger picnic tables as you’re surrounded by tall buildings that shield you from the road noise of Water Street. It feels like you’re tucked away in a European alley!

Their menu is centred around Belgian dishes from light appetizers like croquettes to full meals like their Flemish Meatballs. However as I sat down, I noticed that every other person had ordered mussels… so if that doesn’t tell you to order the Moules Frites then I don’t know what will! These certainly pair well with the cornucopia of authentic European beers you’ll find. While St Veronus specializes in wheat beers (they have a number of them on tap!), if you’re into more fruity flavours like I am then you’ll want to indulge in a Lindemans Kriek Lambic.

St Veronus Cafe & Tap Room Information

Address: 129 Hunter St W, Peterborough, ON K9H 2K7
Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Saturday from Noon to 11:00 pm
Take Out: Yes, until 9:00 pm Tuesday to Saturday
Reservations: Yes, call 705-743-5714 to book your table
Average Price per Person: $30 – $50


La Hacienda in Peterborough
Camarones a la Diabla Picante at La Hacienda

La Hacienda

It is said that La Hacienda is some of the best Mexican food in Peterborough… and I can see why. For almost two decades, La Hacienda has been a staple in the city.

You’ll feel as if you’ve been transported south with La Hacienda’s colourful decor and vibrant atmosphere. They also have one of, if not THE most enchanting patio in the city with a garden ambiance that’s perfect for a date night – even if that date is with yourself. In my opinion, that often makes the food taste even better!

Their menu features family recipes from owner Sandra Arciniega’s Mexican heritage. She shares her passion for cooking and her love of her home country and it shows in every bite. Everything is made in-house including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free eats! From appetizers like chips and salsa to wholesome meals, you’ll leave happily satisfied as each dish is full of flavour. I’m still drooling over the Camarones a la Diabla Picante – tiger shrimp grilled in a savoury, spicy salsa mix of chile guajillo and chipotle served with Mexican rice, beans and their signature salad.

La Hacienda Information

Address: 190 Hunter St W, Peterborough, ON K9H 2L2
Hours of Operation: Mondays & Tuesdays from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm, Wednesday to Saturday from 11:30 am to 10:00pm, Sundays from Noon to 8:00 pm
Take Out: Yes, you can order online here
Reservations: No, reservations are not available
Average Price per Person: $20 – $30


The Whistle Stop Cafe in Peterborough
Mac & Cheese Poutine from The Whistle Stop Cafe

The Whistle Stop Cafe

Whether you’re looking for early breakfast bites, after hours munchies or a fantastic butter tart, The Whistle Stop Cafe is here for you.

What really put them on my radar is that The Whistle Stop Cafe has over 100 kinds of poutine on the menu – 111 to be exact! We’re talking poutines with chicken, beef and pork along with vegetarian and vegan options. There are even some dessert poutines you can indulge in! Now, typically I’m a bit of a snot when it comes to poutine and only eat it in Quebec as I’ve been disappointed a few times too many. However, I’m thrilled to say that not only are their curds squeaky and their fries crispy but their poutines are absolutely delicious!

If you’re a little overwhelmed by the menu, don’t worry because I was too. What I can tell you is that their mac and cheese poutine is tasty. It might not be pretty but deep-fried mac and cheese balls on top of poutine PLUS nacho cheese? Yep, this cheese lover was all over it.

The Whistle Stop Cafe Information

Address: 141 Charlotte St, Peterborough, ON K9J 2T6
Hours of Operation: Sunday to Wednesday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, Thursday to Saturday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Take Out: Yes, call 705-740-2036 to place your order
Reservations: No, reservations are not available 
Average Price per Person: $10 – $15


Karma's Cafe in Peterborough
Noodles with Lime Leaves from Karma’s Cafe

Karma’s Cafe

As you’re strolling along Hunter Street, you’ll notice the dark, elegant decor of Karma’s Cafe. Grab a seat on their sidewalk patio or step inside to find an elegant, charming atmosphere. I was greeted with the biggest smile which immediately lit up the dreary day that Peterborough was having.

Karma’s Cafe focuses on Tibetan, Malaysian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Their menu is comprised of mainly rice, noodle and curry dishes with some soups and a range of appetizers. I’m a huge fan of Nasi Goreng personally but after reading some reviews and seeing their noodles with lime leaves as a fan favourite, I decided to divert from my norm… and I’m so glad I did. I’m still amazed at just how much meat and vegetables were in this dish! It was full of flavour and an absolute treat for my taste buds. It does have a bit of a kick to it though so be prepared!

While I was unable to dine at the restaurant due to the torrential downpour that was happening, takeout did not affect the quality of the meal whatsoever. To me, that speaks wonders to just how amazing these dishes are. I’ll certainly be returning to Karma’s Cafe next time I’m in Peterborough!

By the way – if you’re a fan of the show Restaurant Makeover, then you’ll certainly want to eat here because not only was their menu left unchanged, but Executive Chef Lynn Crawford said she learned a thing or two!

Karma’s Cafe Information

Address: 217 Hunter St W, Peterborough, ON K9H 2L1
Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 am to 8:30 pm, Sundays from 5:00 pm to 8:30pm, Closed Mondays
Take Out: Yes, call 705-748-5451 to place your order
Reservations: No, reservations are not available 
Average Price per Person: $20 – $30


Naeture's Plate in Peterborough
BBQ Pulled Jack Sandwich at Naeture’s Plate

Nateure’s Plate

I think it’s pretty clear that I’m not vegan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a vegan restaurant. Often, these are some of my favourites because I’m always so fascinated by the flavours and how often these dishes don’t have an omnivore missing meat at all.

When I saw Nateure’s Plate on Google Maps, I knew I had to give it a try. Why? On their menu, they have items like a Reuben sandwich, a spicy jerk chicken bowl, a wide range of burgers and more. Lindsay, you just said this is a vegan restaurant? I know – all of their meats, cheeses and sauces are plant-based and made in-house. That’s right, the “corned beef” is from plants. AND they locally source as much as possible. Yep, I was sold on that alone!

While I was tempted to opt for the Reuben to see how it compares to the carnivorous version, I couldn’t resist getting their BBQ Pulled Jack Sandwich. I absolutely love pulled jackfruit and my experience has been that it’s hard to find so I had to grab it! Smoked jackfruit is slathered in sweet barbecue sauce and then topped with a grilled pineapple ring and coleslaw. Gluten-intolerant readers need not worry, you can get a gluten-free bun! You can enjoy it with either fries or a salad but I typically go for the latter. One can never have too many veggies!

Not only did I leave Nateure’s Plate absolutely satisfied but the staff were so wonderful. I didn’t catch my server’s name but she was a real treat and very helpful when my kombucha decided it wanted to engage in volcano mode.


Address: 182 Charlotte St, Peterborough, ON K9J 2T8
Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Thursday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, Fridays & Saturdays from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Closed Sundays & Mondays
Take Out: Yes, you can order online here
Reservations: No, reservations are not available
Average Price per Person: $20 – $30


Cork and Bean in Peterborough
Ham & Cheese Croissant with a London Fog Latte at Cork & Bean

More Restaurants in Peterborough

As you can imagine, there are so many places to eat in Peterborough! If you’re looking for more ideas for tasty Peterborough restaurants, here are some additional suggestions to sink your teeth into. Of course, if you know of some restaurants in Peterborough that you think should be on ELO’s radar, let us know in a comment below!

Black Honey – This bakery plus cafe combo is a fan favourite in Peterborough. Everything is sourced as locally as possible, with the majority of ingredients coming from Peterborough County. Whether you stop in for a meal or a treat, be sure to grab their Carmella. Espresso with vanilla and caramel syrup mingles with steamed milk and is then topped with whipped cream and their house-made caramel drizzle… you’re welcome.

Brickhouse Craft Burger – If you’re a burger fan then Brickhouse Craft Burger needs to be on your radar. They specialize in gourmet burgers that are cooked to order as you like them using AAA ground chuck. You can pick from their menu or build your own but be warned… you have 425 topping combinations to choose from. Have fun! Brickhouse also has fish and chips, wings and more on their menu. Also, whoever named the burgers on their menu is a genius.

Cork & Bean – This adorable cafe is beautifully rustic with exposed brick and gorgeous dark wood accents. Walk through to the back where you’ll find another adorable patio in the heart of Peterborough surrounded by massive mature trees. Cork & Bean is a great spot for a light breakfast as their croissants are so flakey and buttery. They also make a mean London Fog if that’s your jam!

Two Dishes Cookshop in Peterborough
One of the Incredible Donuts from Two Dishes Cookshop in Peterborough

Dreams Cafe & Bistro – One of the first gourmet coffee shops in Peterborough, Dreams Cafe & Bistro has expanded from its coffee beginnings to include unique culinary dishes with the addition of the restaurant side. There aren’t too many places where you can get incredibly delicious, freshly roasted coffee and lattes alongside hearty eats that utilize the herbs and spices of Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean and South America.

Smitty’s Family Restaurant – If you’re looking for classic diner eats and all-day breakfast, Smitty’s has you covered. Their menu is huge with plenty of great eats from omelettes to burgers to savoury dinners. You can even build your own meal from over 40 options! However, I hear their cinnamon swirl pancakes are incredible.

Two Dishes Cookshop – While they closed their brick-and-mortar location in February 2022, Two Dishes Cookshop can still be found all over Peterborough! Keep an eye on their Facebook Page for pop-up events across the city as well as take-out menus that change on the regular. You can still enjoy their tasty eats and treats, it just might take a bit of planning! They have some of the best donuts in Ontario though, so it’s 100% worth the effort.

Another spot that’s not to be missed when visiting is the Peterborough Downtown Farmer’s Market. A few of these bakeries and restaurants are regulars at the market so it’s a great way to indulge in a few places at once! I popped by and snagged some treats from Barn Door Bakery as they have a case where you can pick 4 items for $10. I snagged two scones (one savoury cheese and one sweet apple caramel), a slice of their lemon loaf and a butter tart. Everything was incredibly fresh and so tasty!

Peterborough Downtown Farmer's Market
Peterborough Downtown Farmer’s Market

Things to Do in Peterborough

Looking to work up your appetite between meals? There are plenty of things to do in Peterborough to help with that! Here are some suggestions for exploring the city:

  • Experience the Peterborough Lift Lock – You’ll find the world’s highest hydraulic lift lock right here in town! It’s amazing to watch it in action from shore, but the best way to experience its power is with a Liftlock Cruise. On it, you’ll also learn about the history of the Trent Severn Waterway and the area that is now Peterborough.
  • Visit the Canadian Canoe Museum – Did you know Peterborough is home to the world’s largest collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft? A visit to the Canadian Canoe Museum is a must as you learn about birchbark canoes of the Ojibway People, the dugouts of the Haida, the skin-on-frame kayaks of the Inuit and more.
  • Get Out for a Paddle – Speaking of paddling, you can’t miss experiencing Peterborough and The Kawarthas from the water! This area is truly an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with plenty of routes for all experience levels. You can even get out in a kayak in the heart of the city on Little Lake. How many places can you do that?!
  • Hunt for Street Art – There is no shortage of public art and gorgeous murals to be found in town! As you explore the city, keep an eye out for these beautiful works. One that’s not to be missed is the Jiimaan’ndewemgadnong, a beautifully painted canoe piece by Indigenous artist Tia Cavanagh. She reminds us of the presence and history of the Anishinaabe People and that this has been Indigenous land long before Peterborough was a city.
  • Indulge Along the Butter Tart Tour – Oh yes, The Kawarthas has a series of stops where you can enjoy this iconically Canadian sweet treat! There are 8 stops in the city alone, but it’s also a great excuse to get out and enjoy the beauty of The Kawarthas.
  • Experience Petroglyphs Provincial Park – Protecting the largest collection of rock carvings in a specified area, a day trip to Petroglyphs Provincial Park needs to be on every Peterborough itinerary. There is so much knowledge to be learned from this sacred site and the park also has some incredible natural features like one of the few meromictic lakes in the country!
  • Visit the Whetung Ojibwa Centre – Located in Curve Lake First Nation, you can easily spend a few hours exploring the Whetung Ojibwa Centre. You’ll find gorgeous handicrafts (some made by members of Curve Lake!), brilliant works of painting and sculpture and a fountain of information in the museum below. Make sure to head to both downstairs areas or you’ll be missing out!
  • Explore Shona Sculpture at ZimArt – Near the shores of Rice Lake, you’ll find the largest collection of Zimbabwean stone sculptures in Canada! Spread across five acres of land, settle into nature with this extra layer of beauty found in the hundreds of sculptures that dot the landscape.
  • Enjoy the Country Roads – This area of Ontario is so beautiful that it’s a sin not to explore it a bit! Enjoy some of the country roads around Peterborough and head to small towns like Lakefield and Buckhorn for a taste of cottage country. Any stress you may have had will melt away instantaneously!

However, this is just a taste of all the city has to offer! If you’re looking for more suggestions, check out this guide to Peterborough and The Kawarthas.

Kayaking Little Lake in Peterborough
Kayaking on Little Lake in the Heart of Peterborough

Peterborough Hotels to Stay At

While Peterborough can be done as a day trip from Toronto, you really need a few days to truly experience what the city has to offer for both activities and eats! Here are some recommendations of Peterborough hotels to stay at if you decide to enjoy an overnight visit. You can take a look at the Peterborough map below to see what is available during your intended travel dates!

Holiday Inn Waterfront – This is one of the most popular hotels in Peterborough and it’s for good reason. It’s one of the few riverfront hotels in Peterborough. The Holiday Inn Waterfront has a number of amazing amenities including both an indoor and outdoor pool, an outdoor patio gazebo area with live music, a fitness centre and more. Click here to book your stay!

Best Western Plus Otonabee Inn – Another popular Peterborough hotel is the Best Western Plus Otonabee Inn. The other waterfront hotel in town, it offers a wide range of rooms including suites with kitchenettes, whirlpool jet tubs, fireplaces and more. It is a little further from downtown but the trade-off is a quieter neighbourhood which might be a better choice for you. Click here to book your room!

Looking for Other Great Eats Near Peterborough?
Check Out These Awesome Restaurants in Bancroft

While we do our best to keep the information on Eat Local Ontario up to date, we sometimes miss things. If you notice something that needs to be updated, please comment or send us an email at eatlocalontario[at]gmail.com and we’ll look into it as soon as we can. Thank you!

About the author

The name's Lindsay and I'm the gal behind I've Been Bit! Born and raised here in Niagara, it's been a treat to get reacquainted with the area through my love of food. While I'm always a fan of a unique latte or eggs benedict, I'm definitely the lush of ELO. It's not uncommon to see me with a beer or cider in hand while enjoying a meal! Don't worry, I always enjoy responsibly as I seek out the most unique eats on the menu.

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