We’re back with another restaurant spotlight, focusing on one of Mississauga’s most historical eateries, Culinaria.
Culinaria is a unique and beautiful restaurant located along Kennedy Road, not far off of the 401 Express. The exterior of the Elliot House is like a traditional British cottage that is rather unassuming, albeit pretty to look at. It’s a tan-brick building with beautiful vines growing up the walls and a little garden surrounding. The house was erected back in 1836, meaning it’s not far off of its 200th birthday, and the building has retained it’s sense of history and atmosphere while being regularly preserved. If it’s fine dining in a historic, iconic location, you should mosey over to Elliot House.
The building is also deceptively large; once you enter, you’ll immediately realise that there’s much more to Culinaria than the pretty exterior, there’s another connecting building that makes the premises decidedly larger. The interior is as striking as the outside, if not more-so, and it’s no surprise that it is a popular wedding destination for people from across the GTA.
Inside of Culinaria is not one but two kitchens; a restaurant kitchen and a learning kitchen. The former is a run-of-the-mill kitchen that operates to serve exquisite food to patrons, while the latter is a kitchen designed to teach everyone, from students to the general public. Culinaria offers home cooking classes to anyone interested in learning from top-notch chefs, you can check out the registry here!
The main dining room of Culinaria is an old-fashioned dining room that was a part of the original Elliot House, and the walls adorned with black and white photographs taken within the home. The pictures help sell the history of the building and make you realise how many fun nights have taken place inside the walls.
The staff that keep Culinaria running are exceptional. All highly trained and personable, the staff are professional and attentive at all times. Get your purses and wallets ready because you’re gonna want to give a pretty big tip!
As for the actual food itself…it’s terrible. I’m kidding, you really think a restaurant that operates on a level like Culinaria and resides within a nearly 200 year old building, wouldn’t have quality food to match? Culinaria’s food is the reason it has maintained popularity for so many years and it really is special.
Considering Culinaria is the home of the Culinary Arts School of Toronto, as evidence by the learning kitchen, the chef’s are expected to be of an extremely high standard. The chef’s have composed a menu that touches all reaches of the globe, and offers something for everyone, from the most refined palettes to the most picky eaters.
We’ll start with the starters. You can grab any dish from a list of eight starters, as well as four salads and a soup of the day. Grilled Calamari, Smoked Salmon, Crab Cakes, Escargot, and Chilli Lime Shrimp make up a majority of the starters menu, and each of Culinaria’s fish options are fresh and perfectly produced. My personal choice for starter however, has to be the New Zealand Lamb Lollipops. Of course, this dish sounds supremely strange but it’s actually just a handful of lamb chops prepared in a chimichurri glaze and it is amazing! The chops are cooked to soft, tasty perfection. All of the starters are under $20 and the Lollipops come in at $18.
Next we’ll take a quick look at the pasta and risotto offerings. You can grab yourself a plate of the standard Chicken Parmesan or Beef Stroganoff, both solid options, and both of which will cost you $26. Among other options, the most interesting and unique is the Seafood Linguine – which consists of clams, shrimp and other seafood, as well as spinach, cherry tomatoes, and pomodoro sauce. This incredible array of foods will cost $31.
Now for the entree’s, the main course as it were. With 11 options on the menu, the prices range from $27 to $47, and cover everything from chicken, to fish, to steak. Starting with the latter, you can snag yourself a Grilled New York Steak, be it 8, 10, or 12 oz., or a Beef Tenderloin. Both options come with seasonal vegetables and potatoes. And if you find yourself desiring either option, do yourself a favour and get them medium rare.
Beyond the steaks, you can also try Chicken Marsala, Ontario Lamb Shank, Pan Seared Salmon, Atlantic Cod, or an Australian Rack of Lamb. There are more options, all of which come with seasonal vegetables, but I recommend the Chicken Supreme, which is cooked in natural pan jus. The chicken is perfectly cooked, being incredibly tasty and succulent.
Not everyone is interested in meat or fish however, and Culinaria caters to such with a vegan menu. On this menu you will find Vegetable Risotto, which comes with wild mushrooms, spinach, and green peas, and will set you back $23. Orange Sesame Stir-Fry, accompanied with julienned vegetables and steamed rice. Wild Rice Pilaf, $21, which comes with fire roasted seasonal vegetables. On top of those dishes, you can grab Farfalle, and Penne Pasta, all of these vegetarian and vegan options are around the $20 mark.
Beyond the dinner and food menu’s, Culinaria offers an extensive dessert and drinks menu. The desserts consist of a Fresh Fruit Bowl, Apple Crumble, Chocolate Raspberry Sorbet, Baked Brie, Mixed Berry Crepe, Non-Bake Cheesecake, Vanilla Ice-Cream, and my personal favourite, Chocolate Truffle Cake. Every option costs $10, apart from the Sorbet, which is only $8.
From here you can grab a tea or coffee, speciality coffee, scotch, port, cognac, grappa, or ice wine. As for regular wine, Culinaria offers sparkling and champagne, white and red, as well as craft beer and cocktails. There’s a drink for everyone on the menu.
Culinaria provides world-class dining at reasonable prices, brought to you by fantastic chef’s and professional wait staff, within a beautiful historic building. Culinaria is without doubt one of Ontario’s finest dining restaurants and worth anyone’s time if you are seeking a perfect date setting, wedding location, or a party.