Restaurant review: Spencer's at the Waterfront, Burlington

Farm-to-table meets fish-to-fork at Spencer’s at the Waterfront in Burlington, a restaurant that’s equal parts style and substance.

Spencer's at the Waterfront: What's the vibe

When the food presentation is as beautiful as the lakeside views, you know you’ve come to the right place for a great meal. Located in Burlington, Spencer’s at the Waterfront is pretty enough to be a sought-after wedding venue (complete with folks tying the knot inside the adjacent observatory’s 30-foot glass walls) and dedicated to serving delicious and beautiful food that’s more than worthy of the 45-minute trip from Toronto. It does look like the kind of place you’d want to get married in, but I’d rather say “I do” to their freshly made focaccia any day.

Spencer's at the Waterfront: What's on the menu

If the floor-to-ceiling glass walls don’t make you feel close enough to the water already, the selection of seafood, like oysters shucked by Ontario’s oyster shucking champion (David Burns) or a delicately crispy whole-boned branzino, sure will. Spencer’s at the Waterfront also gets down-to-earth with seasonal vegetables and meat from their nearby farm in Flamborough, all while evoking an approachable fine-dining atmosphere.

Spencer's at the Waterfront | A banquette inside the dining room at Spencer's

A banquette inside the dining room at Spencer's

The avocado salad isn’t your average side of greens — instead its rainbow carrots standing on a bed of toasted cashew crema and sliced avocado look more like an edible art installation. The 10 oz striploin steak also comes from their farm and is dry-aged for 28 days before it meets a creamy potato pavé (and your mouth) for an unforgettable, juicy bite.

The wall of bottles in the middle of the restaurant features Canadian wine, from Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley to British Columbia’s sun-drenched Okanagan Valley, along with several international selections.

Spencer's at the Waterfront: What else

It’s hard to find a spot that succeeds at both farm-to-table fare and straight-out-the-water seafood, all in one gorgeously designed setting. But at this Burlington restaurant, the friendly service and memorable meals — with exceptional presentation — are a breath of fresh suburban air that will make you want to drive away from the city’s small bites, whether on a hum-drum school night or for a special occasion treat.

1340 Lakeshore Rd., Burlington;

Looking for more day trips from Toronto? Check out our restaurant reviews of Cucci in Bronte and La Fontana in Elora.