Fall appetizers at a great Oakville restaurant are kind of like foreplay … They’re warm, smell intoxicatingly good, and give you a sample of what’s in store for the main act (uhhh hopefully my mom isn’t reading this!). We’re all about autumn and its cozy sweaters and comfort foods (favourites, such as pumpkin, squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, any and all root vegetables) and reading socks. While you’ll have to remove the socks and get off the couch to try’em (or most of them, anyway), you’ll be glad you left the house on a cold November day. Here are our favourite fall appetizers in town.
What to Order: Zucchini Bruschetta ($10)
It’s not nearly as good as the hand-stretched pizza bread but I’ve got a love jones for savoury snacks and this Zucchini Bruschetta is right up my alley. It has diced yellow and green zucchini, red onion, goat cheese, and fresh basil on a toasted garlic crostini. Yum! Tavolo, known for its perfectly perfect margherita pizza and fried calamari, also has a divine dessert offering: house-made doughnuts. They’re tossed in sugar and served atop Nutella and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. While I’ve never been a doughnut person (except at The Ex each summer, because Tiny Tom Donuts are a national treasure!), these will convert the saltiest salt enthusiast.
What to Order: Butternut Squash Soup
This hearty, delicious craft soup will warm you up in a matter of seconds. The bowl of butternut squash goodness is vegan and tastes divine, paving the way for a perfectly satisfying dining experience. Seasons has been a bank, the Town Clerk’s office, and the police station. But now it’s a fabulous fine dining option where you’ll find excellent food, drink, and service. Seasons has been running for about two decades and it’s no secret that it practically owns Restaurant Row. (Bru and Corks are also run by the same owners). The building dates back to the late 1800s when it housed the Anderson Bank. The food, though, is incredibly 2017. The White Lasagna, however, isn’t dairy-free, and you certainly won’t want to give up such luxuries after devouring this dish featuring turkey ragout, spinach, mozzarella, and fresh ricotta. It’s wonderfully creamy and had me stealing bites from my colleague Chrissy’s plate (which I realize isn’t appropriate at such an establishment but when you write about food there are no rules, OK?!). It’ll taste oh-so-good on a chilly autumn day. The warm salad also hit the proverbial spot, as did the carrot-pineapple cake, made in-house. It had a distinctly autumn/pumpkin kind of vibe and I think you should share a slice with your people. The person typing the most at our table got the least amount of cake …
What to Order: Taro Fries ($7)
The name was familiar and it’s because I’ve been in this Third Line plaza many times. Start with the Taro Fries — they’re downright amazing, served with a homemade sweet and sour sauce (but I really loved them plain). The Bamboo Legend Pad Thai is their best-seller and for good reason. There’s chicken, mixed vegetables, rice noodles, and of course, peanuts. It’s a good thing I don’t work at the new Oakville Hospital because this would be my de facto takeout spot for dinner. Service is excellent.
What to Order: Rosemary Flatbread ($14)
If you’re looking for a bonafide hipster hot spot in Oakville, Bru is your go-to resto. The downtown joint – which recently moved – hits every mark when it comes to on-trend dining: a rustic interior, an enviable craft beer selection (the best of its kind in the town, in fact) and a menu full of modern pub fare (some of which is gluten-free and vegan-friendly). Plus, they’re proud of the fact there’s no Wi-Fi (go ahead and act like it’s 1995 … talk to each other, the sign urges). Nestled along ‘restaurant row’, Bru supports more than 15 Ontario breweries and offers a variety of on-tap and bottled brews. As far as food goes, the diverse menu is satisfying and unique. If you’re in the mood for something tangy and light, try the flatbread, featuring roasted butternut squash, whipped ricotta cream, onion jam, and fine herbs. (I legit ate the whole platter).
What to Order: Crab Cakes ($15)
These Crab Cakes are beyond amazing. They’re the best I’ve ever had. They remind me of people who still wear summer dresses in December — holding onto what’s left of the heat while incorporating a few fall-or-winter-items into your #ootd. These handmade cakes feature roasted red pepper-chili aioli and jalapeno-zucchini relish. I could lick the plate clean. They’re unbelievably satisfying. Service is flawless. This downtown resto has been impressing Oakville diners for 20 years (there’s also a Burlington location on Pine St.). If you haven’t been, you’ve gotta make a reservation and get your crab cake on!