GANANOQUE, Ontario A reader from across the border tipped us off to Anthonys Family Restaurant in Gananoque.
Its not what I picture in a family restaurant. No squealing infants. No tweens munching on chicken fingers. No TVs tuned to the sporting event du jour.
Its actually a charming little bistro in a historic brick building in the heart of Gananoques downtown shopping district.
Anthonys describes its food as contemporary casual fine dining. Theres crab and lobster dip, bruschetta feta chicken, seafood linguini marinara, AAA Canadian steaks, pasta carbonara and bayou jambalaya.
But I could picture a warm summer afternoon, Anthonys patio filled with families enjoying potato skins, poutine, fajitas, fish and chips, fishermans platter, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken Parmesan, roast turkey or prime rib.
Theres really something for everyone on the menu. Even chicken fingers.
We tried to sample a cross-section of the menu, starting with two winning appetizers perfect for sharing: bruschetta ($7.95) and homemade potato skins ($7.95). (We had attempted to order the crab and lobster dip, but it was declared out of season.)
The bruschetta consisted of half a small loaf of French bread, the usual diced tomatoes, onions and herbs with the unusual addition of feta cheese on top. The bread was crispy crunchy. A very tasty and eye-appealing starter.
Potato skins were truly loaded with the required sour cream and bacon (lots of bacon), melted cheddar on top and an interesting addition underneath barbecue sauce that gave the skins an added flavor dimension.
Angela, our hostess, server and all-around information center, took good care of us from the start and was very helpful guiding us to our entrée selections.
Chicken Parmesan ($16.95) was a sizeable piece of chicken, breaded and deep-fried, topped with melted mozzarella cheese and a tasty red sauce with a good consistency that we figured was homemade.
You have your choice of potatoes and veggies or pasta. We went with the pasta, cooked to our liking of al dente.
The beef aficionado in our group ordered the prime rib sizzler ($25.95), a 12-ounce cut of Canadian beef presented on a sizzling cast-iron platter. The meat was smothered with mushrooms (canned, we thought) and onion rings that were a little on the soggy side. The just-right amount of marbling made it a tender and flavorful piece of prime rib.
We ordered a side of horseradish for an extra added zip. Grilled fresh veggies bell peppers, broccoli, onions and zucchini were done up right.
But my dining companion was most excited about ordering a side of french fries and being able to cover them with vinegar white vinegar, as is the custom in Canada, were told.
Filet of sole ($15.95), three pieces of the delicate fish, flaked perfectly at the touch of a fork. It was broiled with garlic butter and lightly seasoned with herbs. French fries and the grilled fresh veggies accompanied.
The standout was bayou jambalaya ($17.95) strips of chicken, large shrimp, chorizo sausage and smoked ham along with onions, sweet red peppers, green peppers, tomatoes and Cajun spices a delicious, saucy dish served over rice.
Great flavors came at you left and right with a spicy kick that hit after a few bites. Even after some sharing around the table, there was plenty left to take home.
Angela told us that all the desserts are homemade.
Chocolate cake ($5.95) was rich and filling, a big piece of chocolatey goodness with fudgelike frosting between layers.
Apple crumble pie a la mode ($5.25) was delightful, with a great crust you could tell was homemade. Stacks of apples with cinnamon were covered with a crumbly topping dusted with confectioners sugar.
The tab for dinner two appetizers, four entrees and two desserts came to $148.06 including taxes but before tip. The Canadian dollar is virtually the same as our dollar right now.
Theres a full bar, offering beer, wine and mixed drinks.
Real napkins would have been a plus. Also, the mens room could have been a little cleaner, and someone should repair the door so it shuts all the way.
Other than that, Anthonys had a certain small-town charm and hominess that we found refreshing. And while many restaurants in this tourist town are only open in the summertime, were sure glad Anthonys is open year-round so we were able to spend an enjoyable evening next to the fireplace in their cozy dining room.
Anthonys Family Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven day a week.
You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: email@example.com.
Anthonys Family Restaurant
37 King St. East
1 (613) 382-3575
A charming little bistro in a historic brick building in downtown Gananoque offering contemporary casual fine dining.
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week
APPETIZER PICK: Bruschetta
ENTRÉE PICKS: Prime rib sizzler; Bayou jambalaya
DESSERT PICK: Apple crumble pie
RATING: 3-1/2 forks