There is a lot of coffee to be sipped in Waterloo Region. In fact, according to Graham Braun of Monigram Coffee Roasters in Galt, Cambridge, Waterloo Region is a coffee king in many respects.
The cities of Waterloo and Kitchener have experienced growth due to the presence of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. The institutions have helped shape the Waterloo Region to no little degree. And their impact – by virtue of the international student body – extends to the food scene here. The array of choices is simply delicious and unique.
At the corner of King Street and University Avenue, near Wilfrid Laurier University, is an agglomeration of quick-service restaurants from wings at Morty’s Pub to the popular Smoke’s Poutinerie. The area is also a mini-Mecca for shawarma, Jamaican jerk, a classic noodle house, burritos, samosas, burgers and sushi.
Travel along University Avenue West a few blocks heading toward University of Waterloo and you will find tucked in behind the new Lazaridis School of Business and Economics a multi-storied residential building. On the ground floor are restaurants worth seeking out: Bogda Restaurant for Uyghur cuisine and, hidden out of street view, Bao Sandwich Bar for steam buns and banh mi sandwiches.
The University Avenue-Phillip Street intersection is the site of the University Shops Plaza. It has a high concentration of restaurants that serve students but which also represent some of the most interesting eating choices in Waterloo Region.
Kenzo Ramen is terrific, while a number of other international restaurants are located nearby, including Almadina Express. Just across the street is Urban Bricks Pizza Co., a U.S.-based outfit for “fast casual pizza” that has chosen Waterloo for its first Canadian location.
Many people say that the butter chicken at Aunty’s Kitchen is excellent and you will also find Seoul Soul for Korean, Morals Village for hot pot and the interestingly named Mr. Panino Beijing House. The Kick-Off Sports Bar and Café has a stellar selection of brew for the beer aficionado. Further down Phillip, toward Columbia Street, is Ken Sushi which is rapidly claiming a reputation as a top sushi spot in Waterloo Region. There’s even Waterloo’s self-proclaimed “nerdiest restaurant,” The Watchtower on Lester Street, with games, fantasy, science fiction and comics.