My husband and I spent Christmas in Niagara-on-the-lake. Dining options were limited since most places were closed for the holidays.
We ended up eating Christmas dinner at Tiara, the dining room at Queens Landing. It was a preset menu for $65/p.p., not including drinks.
We arrived for our 7:15 p.m. reservation and were greeted with a rushed, chaotic environment. The host only offered to take our coats when I started to remove mine. We were then lead through a crowded restaurant having to dodge servers and guests. The restaurant did not offer a calm relaxing atmosphere. Instead it felt really rushed and busy, which it was.
Our waiter appeared shortly after we were seated to explain the menu and then enquire about drinks. We opted for sparkling water and said we would decide on wine when we selected our entrées. The water arrived quickly, but it was a good ten minutes before our waiter came back to us.
As an appetizer I selected the Terrine of duck confit with winter mushrooms and my husband had the smoked bacon and lemon crusted sea scallops. Both were delicious. The scallops were cooked to perfection and nicely seasoned. The duck was shredded duck meat with duck liver encased. The mushrooms were few, but it was a very tasty appetizer.
For our entrée, my husband ordered the venison and I had the beef tenderloin. Unfortunately, they screwed our request for doneness. I asked for medium and he asked for medium rare. My steak arrived very medium rare and the venison arrived medium well. Judging by the number of dishes I saw being sent back, the kitchen seemed to be having some difficulty with getting this part right. We ended up not sending our meals back because we were hungry and did not want to cause a fuss.
Aside from that, they were both beautifully presented with wonderfully flavourful sauces. The vegetables were perfectly cooked and very addictive.
For dessert, we both took the waiters recommendation and had the walnut tart that came with homemade apple ice cream, aged white cheddar and candied walnuts. It was too die for.
Over all, our visit was pleasant and we would consider going back. Hopefully at a time when it isnt so crazy busy. We were trying to escape the mayhem of Christmas. Our bill with two glasses of wine, two coffees, a bottle of water and tip came out to $230. It also would have been nice to not to have to go fishing for our coats ourselves to have been thanked for visiting. Instead the host/hostess just ignored us as we left.
Our second night we went to Zees. It was a nice calm atmosphere. Not very busy at all. The service was good and the food was okay. I had the Lobster bisque to start and it lacked the distinct lobster taste. There was an very dominant seasoning that I couldnt put my finger on. But it was good. My husband had the beet and qoat cheese salad which he really enjoyed.
For our entrees I had the lamb shank on mashed celery root. The menu talked of a rich sauce, but I found that it didnt have much flavor. The lamb was fairly fatty, but I guess thats typical of lamb shank. My husband had salmon on risotto. He said it was alright. We both found the food to be over seasoned with whatever particular seasoning they were using for each dish. I should also mention that they served the salmon on a creative but very impractical dish. It was meant to look like newspaper that had been crumpled up and flattened out. He had difficulty resting his cutlery on the edges of the plate and they kept falling off making for a very loud noise each time.
We passed on dessert and decided that while it wasnt a bad meal, we probably would not go back again. The bill with two glasses of wine and tip came up to $100.