The Agrarian Bistro in Picton is a Culinary Gem. Here’s Why!
I am such a die-hard foodie. It is my sacred duty to find incredible restaurants wherever I go to exit my comfort zone of steak and potatoes and welcome such things as sushi rolls, tapas, and samosas. My palate gets so excited in anticipation… so last year, I took my husband on a road trip to Prince Edward County, about 2.5 hours east of Toronto Canada. Known as one of the top 10 foodie capitals of the world, I was ready to experience some top-notch meals in such a reputable destination. And then we stumbled upon The Agrarian Bistro & Speakeasy which makes it to #7 in my Canada 150 series.
So Just where is Prince Edward County?
Prince Edward County is a beautiful municipality of mini towns located South-East of Toronto. With the shores of Lake Ontario and the Trent-Severn at its doorstep, it is no wonder that this area of the province is a favourite for summer road trips, foodie explorations, and bespoke artistry.
- The Smallest Border between the USA and Canada is found here in Genenoque off the St Lawrence River!
- 1000 Island Salad Dressing Originated here in Genenoque!
- This area of Ontario has become one of the most popular camping destinations thanks to Sandbanks Provincial Park
- The only organic winery in all of Canada is located here! Redtail wines contain no sulphites and are made strictly with organic grapes.
- Prince Edward County hosts the “Great Canadian Cheese Festival” every year.
As you can probably imagine this area of Ontario has become a holiday Mecca for thousands of Ontarians and Quebecois every year. In fact, should you wish to spend time in the County over Jean Baptiste day, make sure you book well in advance as accommodations fill up extremely fast. Growth of this holiday destination can be attributed to many factors, but with the recent designation as a culinary capital of the world, local restaurants have become more popular and finding themselves more and more on the gastronomic traveller’s radar.
The Agrarian, located in the heart of Bloomfield (soon relocating to Picton!), is a local favourite featuring an impressive spread of gourmet dishes and unduplicated ambiance. The menu is diverse with local produce, an extensive local wine list, daily specials, and artistically crafted meals to satisfy even the most sensitive of palates.
What I loved about the dining room was the feeling I was sitting within a rustic farmhouse. A barn. A stable. Ultimate Coziness. When you walk in the door you get that welcoming feeling as if you were eating in a family ranch. They even have their own Spotify channel of acoustic covers of some of the most classic tunes, and those newfound favourites of today’s talents. I mean, you have not heard anything until you hear “Clocks” by Coldplay strummed acoustically…pure brilliance.
The staff greet you and bring to your quaint table surrounded by farm photographs, refinished wood, and gorgeous shabby brickwork that just screams rustic charm. The restaurant just spoke to me as an upscale eatery taking ordinary food and turning it into bespoke, original dishes, with sublime tones of flavour, texture, and presentation.
Upon arrival to the bistro, we were quite early. Hungry and ready for a hearty birthday meal, we decided to enjoy a drink in the most welcoming of patios. Sunken sofas, wicker tables, and a variety of spirits, this was the perfect beginning to an enchanted evening.
Now, my thoughts on the Grub…
As mentioned, this was a birthday dinner. Usually when you bring an important person out for a celebratory meal, you only expect utmost service, ambiance, and of course, cuisine. Agrarian had all of this and more.
Curried Cauliflower Soup
A new favourite of mine. Curry is not my best friend. Usually, curry doesn’t agree with my palate and I am reminded days later of my culinary indulgence. But this soup was a different story. It spoke to my palate and created a newfound relationship with curried dishes. The subtlety of the curry mixed with the pureed cauliflower created a deliciously warming appetizer which perfectly suited the cooling ambiance of the rustic barn.
I loved this soup as it was such a sublime combination of spices and vegetables. It did not overpower in any of its ingredients and the dollop of Greek yogurt in the middle created a perfect marriage of spice and sweetness. I hope the Agrarian will keep this soup as a permanent dish as lucky for us, the day we dined, it was the daily creation.
Green Salad with Peas & Asparagus
A delicious plate of fresh local produce combined with a tangy dressing. Bringing out the healthy nutrients in the crisp vegetables, this salad is the perfect beginning to a celebratory meal. The sprinkled goat cheese gives a creamy texture to a mostly crunchy course. What I also loved was that it was not drowning in dressing. The proportions were perfect.
Spicy Shrimp Salad with Cucumber and Avocado
This dish just spoke to me. You know that song from the “Sound of Music” “My Favourite Things?” Well, they need to rejig the lyrics and work in spicy shrimp as it is a gastronomic dream for even the pickiest of appetites. What made this dish especially delicious was the combination of paprika, chili mayo and texture of such hearty fruits as the avocado. Simply delicious.
My husband ordered this delightful dish. The pork chop was cooked just the way he liked it and the brine marinade truly gave it a rich flavour that complemented the asparagus side perfectly. Nothing could have been better to celebrate my husband’s beautiful birthday.
And, then the Libations…
As they say, an all round meal is perfect when you have the right beverage to wash it down. Local wines can be hit or miss, but in this case, it was a hit. Agrarian supports the local wineries and their wine list reflects mostly their neighbours across the county. I do enjoy a local blend over one flown in from overseas now and then as it helps the little guys who cannot afford to sell their wines in the commercial liquor stores.
As far as my old fashioned, if you enjoy a strong cocktail of a variety of spirits, this one is for you. It was a surprise to me in how strong it is! It is around 4 shots of aged liquor and a squeeze of lemon juice on ice. Divine.
So there you have it. A culinary gem in the heart of the new up and coming culinary haven of Prince Edward County. As part of Canada’s 150th birthday, we hope you are able to visit this incredible region of Ontario and explore the flavours and fusions this destination has to offer. Do a wine tasting, book a bed and breakfast and head over to this local gastronomic masterpiece for a meal unlike any other.