1340 Lakeshore Road
There are a number of reasons for a restaurant's popularity. Sometimes it's the food, sometimes it's the ambiance and sometimes it's the location. I've been wanting to go to Spencer's at the Waterfront for its location. It was built right on Ontario Lake and so offers really nice views. I talked to a few colleagues who had been there and were not too impressed by the food and thought the restaurant was loud. Keeping that in mind, I asked to be seated on the heated patio. I have to agree that the brief time I spent inside was quite noisy - not sure whether it's the design that makes it worse.
View from the patio.
My boyfriend A and I dined at Spencer's before he headed out to work in Montréal for 3 weeks. How lucky was he?! I started out with a cocktail that I chose for its name - something like rosy cheeks because that's how my cheeks turn when I drink! It was actually quite tasty, with watermelon and lychee flavour. Spencer's also offered a large selection of Niagara wines.
My cocktail with Lake Ontario as a backdrop.
Our waiter brought out complementary bread that was hot, always a good thing. A started with a salad after finding out the the soup used chicken broth. His organic greens salad greens ($8) topped with sunflower seeds and wild blueberries looked good but a bit expensive for what it was.
Bread and Salad.
I started with the seared scallops ($12), served with pieces of fried polenta on a bed of goat cheese. It seems that the chefs at Spencer's like blueberries because a blueberry sauce was served. I ordered this because it's hard to resist a scallop dish but I wasn't sure of the combination of ingredients. It was surprisingly good. The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the hint of sweetness from the blueberries paire well with them.
Seared Scallops & River Edge's Goat Cheese.
For our mains, A and I each ordered pasta. He ordered the daily pasta ($20) which means I don't have a description online. I do remember there was corn and rocket, and that the pasta was a square-shape macaroni! When the waiter offered adding chicken to the pasta and finding out A was vegetarian, he nicely offered to add mushrooms instead. I initially ordered the appetizer size ricotta gnocchi but my waiter convinced me to go for the dinner size ($21) because the smaller portion was very small. He may have been right but the ricotta in a butter sauce was quite heavy. I should have stuck to the appetizer portion. It was very good, but again a very heavy dish.
Daily pasta and ricotta gnocchil.
It's funny that I had previously written about not ordering dessert often when I went out with A, and he asked if I wanted to share a dessert (and no, he doesn't really read this blog!). So we shared the hot chocolate fondant ($9) with ice nougat and raspberry sauce. Very good, nothing extraordinary, but very good!
Hot Chocolate Fondant.
The verdict? I think you pay a premium for location, dining at Spencer's. The food was solid and it was really nice to sit on the patio overlooking the lake. It started raining while we ate too, which made for a very relaxing sound. The service was attentive. I would steer clear of the dining room if possible. They also offer Sunday brunch. Definitely a very romantic spot!
For a couple of other Burlington,ON restaurant posts:
* Bahn Thai Restaurant
* West Plains Bistro
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