Where to eat and drink in Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay’s unique history plays a key role in the character of its cuisine.
Culinary influences come from Indigenous culture, French Canadian voyageur and frontier heritage, a unique Finnish connection and New Canadian inspiration.
Here’s where to sip, savour and sight-see in Thunder Bay.
Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Bakeries and cafes
For those with a sweet tooth, Thunder Bay provides a host of great local offerings to fulfill your cravings.
This micro bakery packs a giant flavour punch. Soups, salads, sandwiches, pretzels, tarts, croissants and baked goods are all made in-house with local ingredients, like the cheese from Thunder Oak Cheese Farm and beer from Sleeping Giant Brewing.
Don’t leave without trying the sticky buns and an affogato (espresso poured over gelato).
Location: 10 Court Street South, Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay is famous for its “must-try” dessert called The Persian. It's a deep-fried pastry like a cinnamon roll with pink flavoured icing. The Persian originated at the local legendary bakery, Bennett’s Bakery in the 1940s.
Today, the coffee shop, The Persian Man sells Persians. There are two locations in Thunder Bay where you can try this age-old desert.
Brewpubs, bars and lunch bites
When in Thunder Bay, you are bound to enjoy a diverse culinary experience at brewpubs, bars and lunch bites that offer a range of dining options.
Get your grill on at Red Lion Smokehouse, a barbecue restaurant in Thunder Bay’s waterfront district that also celebrates craft beers with 12 taps and over 100 different crafts. Using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, their homemade food is slow-smoked and finished on a Josper grill for exceptional flavor and tenderness.
Guests can enjoy their drinks and meals on the patio, with options for booking, takeout and delivery services.
Location: 16 Cumberland Street South, Thunder Bay
Another great spot for beer lovers, The Sovereign Room, is a laid-back gastro-pub offering over 50 different domestic and imported brews to accompany its comfort brunch and dinner menu.
Location: 220 Red River Road, Thunder Bay
Dining at the Bight Restaurant and Bar is a must-do. It’s a spacious, modern eatery featuring fresh, seasonal Canadian fare, outdoor patio and a bar with artisan cocktails in the Water Garden Pavilion overlooking Lake Superior.
Vegan, vegetarian and plant based
Check out these vegan and plant-based restaurants, serving customers fresh and locally sourced food.
Small but significant, Bliss Restaurant is Thunder Bay’s only completely vegan and gluten-free eatery with a plant-based, raw, semi-raw and local sourced menu.
Location: 567 Memorial Avenue, Thunder Bay
Just down the same street on Cumberland, resto-bar In Common serves a unique menu of sharing boards with plenty of veg and vegan options.
Location: 40 Cumberland Street South, Thunder Bay
Similarly, vegans and vegetarians won’t be disappointed by the robust, plant-based and eco-conscious options offered at The Growing Season Juice Collective in the Bay and Algoma district.
Location: 201 Algoma Street South, Thunder Bay
Upscale dining and wine bars
When you’re in the mood for an exquisite dining experience, Thunder Bay has a host of options for you to explore.
Groups of four or more are invited to sample the Chef’s selection of dishes and Tequila at El Tres, an authentic Mexican spot that uses locally-made Heartbeat Hot Sauce.
Whether you're savoring the Chef's Tasting Dinner or sharing tacos and guacamole with friends, the eclectic decor and laid-back ambiance of El Tres makes for a great night out.
Location: 269 Red River Road, Thunder Bay
Guided by the principle of harmony, each dish at Thai Kitchen beautifully blends centuries-old Eastern and Western influences, resulting in a truly unique culinary experience.
From spicy and bold curries to milder options such as soups and spring rolls, choose from a range of options to satisfy your appetite.
Location: 11 Cumberland Street South, Thunder Bay
Plate sharing is a theme at Tomlin Restaurant, so come with your favourite foodie friends and enjoy a carefully crafted, ever-changing, eclectic menu paired with super creative cocktails.
Location: 202 1/2 Red River Road, Thunder Bay
Try the three-course weekday Prix Fixe menu at Lot 66 Restaurant and Wine Bar, a chic lounge-inspired spot on Court Street South.
With a focus on premium ingredients and partnerships with local vendors, their menu showcases high-quality meats, seafood and an array of flavorful dishes ranging from duck and lamb to locally made pasta.
Pairing these tasty offerings with great service and an extensive wine list featuring specially ordered consignment wines, Lot 66 creates a sought-after dining experience in Thunder Bay.
Location: 66 Court Street South, Thunder Bay
Caribou Restaurant and Wine Bar’s contemporary menu reflects regional influences and leans towards seasonal and local ingredients. It also boasts an impressive wine list.
Their signature dishes include certified Angus tenderloin, cedar plank salmon, black and blue ahi tuna and wood oven pizzas.
This restaurant has been listed in "Where to Eat in Canada" for several years running and the wine list has earned the "Wine Spectator Award of Excellence" every year since 2002.
Location: 727 Hewitson Street, Thunder Bay
Breweries, events and farms
With a host of local breweries, farms and entertaining events, you’ll never have a dull day during your visit to Thunder Bay.
A well-known brewery in the region, Sleeping Giant Brewing Co, is known for their locally produced craft brews. Additionally, on visiting their taproom, you can enjoy delicious local snacks and locally made pizzas, made to order.
Location: 712 Macdonell Street, Thunder Bay
Brew great beer, that is the mission of Dawson Trail Craft Brewery. And they stay true to their word by using the best local ingredients that gives their beer a unique and refreshing taste.
Location: 1181 Golf Links Road, Thunder Bay
Brew Ha! Craft Beer Festival, Northern Ontario’s largest craft beer festival, takes place in August on the shores of Lake Superior.
Hosted by the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, this festival showcases a variety of local and regional culinary offerings including a wide selection of craft beer and cider as well as live musical entertainment.
Location: 41 Saul Laskin Drive, Thunder Bay
Just west of the city in the Slate River Valley don’t miss Thunder Oak Cheese Farm, the very first farm in Ontario to produce creamy Dutch Gouda cheese.
In 2002, Thunder Oak won the Dairy Farmers of Canada Grand Prix award for best Firm Cheese.
Location: 611 Boundary Drive, Neebing
Find some of the best flavours of the Bay under one roof and meet the folks who grow, produce, make and them bake them at the Thunder Bay Country Market, the largest producer-based market in Northwestern Ontario. Open Wednesdays and Saturdays year-round.
Location: 425 Northern Avenue, Thunder Bay
Hotels in Thunder Bay
You do not want to miss the breathtaking views of the city’s waterfront so here are a few of the best accommodations with a view.
You can’t beat the location of the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel & Suites. Built in 1911, this historic hotel is in the heart of the Waterfront District, overlooking the Marina Park, Sleeping Giant peninsula, and of course, majestic Lake Superior.
All their rooms feature classic contemporary décor, free Wi-Fi and on-site laundry facilities. Consider upgrading to their lakeview rooms, most of which include suites with jacuzzi tubs, overlooking Thunder Bay’s waterfront and marina.
Location: 17 North Cumberland Street, Thunder Bay
The Courthouse Hotel is a boutique hotel with a Beaux Arts architectural façade, offering stunning views of Lake Superior and the Sleeping Giant.
The hotel combines relaxing and pampering elements with modern amenities like high-speed WiFi and flat-screen TVs. With a perfect blend of classic and modern touches, The Courthouse Hotel provides a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for guests.
Location: 277 Camelot Street, Thunder Bay
Delta Hotels Thunder Bay is a true waterfront hotel located on the northwestern shore of Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It offers convenient access to popular attractions such as Gateway Casinos Thunder Bay, Prince Arthur's Landing, and the Waterfront District.
The hotel features an on-site restaurant with stunning views of the Sleeping Giant, spacious pet-friendly rooms with free Wi-Fi and flat-panel TVs, and comfortable beds for a restful night's sleep.
Location: 2240 Sleeping Giant Parkway, Thunder Bay
In between all the food and drink, you’ll want to explore so be sure to make time to discover everything else that Thunder Bay has to offer.
Last updated: August 22, 2023