Destination Dining

A painstakingly restored hotel in Prince Edward County with a former Le Sélect chef in the kitchen

More Dining Destinations

Sure, gas prices are still pretty bonkers. But, if you’re looking for a tasty getaway this summer, we’re highlighting road-trip-worthy dining destinations across the province, led by Toronto-expat chefs, that are worth the time in traffic and the pain at the pump. Next up: a restored hotel in Picton with a former Le Sélect chef in the kitchen.

The Royal Hotel

Where: 247 Picton Main St.
Distance from Toronto: 212 km

After a painstaking five-year restoration, this 33-room Picton hotel finally reopened in May, instantly becoming a top draw for county visitors. But you don’t need to be a hotel guest to set the GPS for chef Albert Ponzo’s dining room. His seasonal menus feature precise, comforting plates throughout the day.

Ponzo spent a decade running the kitchen at Le Sélect Bistro—a Toronto icon that reopened in June after a long closure—before deciding in 2017 that the county better suited his family’s lifestyle. At the Royal, he’s serving something for everyone, including Neapolitan-style pizzas topped with Iberian pork and Fogo Island cod under a molten blanket of Béarnaise sauce. Few pastas elsewhere match the verdant pop of Ponzo’s pansotti, dark-green pouches filled with ricotta and plated with wild fennel, slivered leeks and delicate—in appearance but certainly not flavour—nettle fronds.

Ponzo’s classic omelette bears all the hallmarks of his Le Sélect roots: eye-poppingly golden, tender on the outside and oozing on the inside with creamy Le Pizy cheese from Quebec, it’s sided with a golden-fried block of potato pavé that you’ll want to devour layer by layer.

 

Other stops in the area

 


ALL MY FRIENDS BREWING, the county’s newest spot for craft beer, is all about juicy, boozy brews. Go for a pint of Softie, a hazy pale ale that tastes like a tropical fruit salad. Peckish? There’s a short food menu by nearby Mexican kitchen Bermuda PEC that includes chips with salsa and chili-cheese burritos. 8 Stanley St., Bloomfield, amfbeer.com
 


OLD SALT COCKTAILS a bar in a fashionably retrofitted trailer, serves up a menu of made-to-order libations, hot dogs and curated wine flights. Drinks here—like the Sunday Service, a sweet and savoury mezcal-based sip—are way better than they should be for something served out the window of an RV. 883 Closson Rd., Hillier, oldsalt.ca
 


FAWN OVER MARKET is what it looks like when a skilled chef steps away from the restaurant to open a bodega of sorts. Alexandra Feswick, formerly of the Drake Devonshire, stocks a selection of gourmet products made in the county and beyond. But the main draw is her ever-changing lineup of family-style takeaway dinners—spatchcocked chickens, shrimp gumbo, slow-roasted pork shoulder—that can be ordered in advance for pickup. 22186 Loyalist Pkwy., Consecon, fawnovermarket.ca