Peterborough is a city of culture; a city of creative integrity; a city where pubs and cafes offer not only grub, coffee, and booze but slam poetry, open mics, jazz and blues, and colouring soirées too.
From musicians to poets, the city has continued to produce a tight-knit scene of music, grassroots film, and visual arts, exposing the city’s innovative spirit. It’s not surprising then, that the city’s inherent creativity and artistry can also be seen on the colourful plates of Peterborough’s lesser-known food spots, too. The artisanal bakeries, pizzerias, innovative breweries, eccentric cafés, and teapothecaries make the city unlike any other.
As a newcomer here, I often find myself answering the question, “Why here? Why Peterborough?” and the array of independent, unique culinary spots celebrating art and culture is most often my answer. When it comes to food and drink, there is always something happening.
1. Amusé Coffee Co.
A cosy, Paris-inspired café and teapothecary, selling herbal tea infusions and coffee blends for home brewing, great paninis, croissants, and pistachio and cranberry cookies. Amusé also offers a selection of Walton Woods farm products (on display). The shop hosts themed creative evenings; think Lego and lattes or coloring with boozy coffee, wine, and desserts. 641 George Street North
2. The Night Kitchen
The snug, artisanal pizzeria has a variety of delicious meat, vegetarian, and vegan pizzas made in a wood-fired pizza oven. Each pizza has a one-of-a-kind name, such as “McCartney Starship,” “Rich Girl,” or “I Am A Potato.” You can eat by the slice or by whole pizza. The Night Kitchen plays great music and is open late. 229 Hunter Street West
3. Olde Stone Brewing Company
A brewpub with a satisfying menu, completed with classic British Fish ’n’ Chips; haddock coated with Or Dubh beer batter, hand-cut fries, handmade coleslaw, and tartar sauce. Olde Stone also pairs their meals with craft ales for the perfect food-drink combo. Finish off with a sampler: four Olde Stone house ales and the current seasonal ale, the chocolate brownie or the delicious apple crisp baked with cinnamon and nutmeg. 380 George Street North
4. Silk Roots Fusion Cuisine
The relatively new Middle Eastern cuisine restaurant, opened in February, by the local couple who were the original owners of Ariyana, sells everything from Tandoor drumsticks, samosas, pasta dishes, and falafel to a delicious, definitely worth-a-try, Turkish pizza; all made with amazing spices. 304 George Street North
5. Apollo Grill
It’s comfort food at its best; a 1950s style burger joint with fries, shakes, coke floats, and some local beer from the Publican Brewery. If you like a proper good burger with hand-cut fries and unlimited toppings, this is probably the place for you. 402 George Street North
6. Two Dishes Cookshop
Two Dishes is my favorite brunch stop; it’s a modern-rustic bright and minimal space with great food and huge portions. The bread is delicious and you’re likely to get a colossal stack of roasted potatoes with your food. There’s also great selection of drinks, including coffee, beer, and wines. 261 Charlotte Street
7. Island Cream
A Caribbean cuisine restaurant serving delicious rotis, jerk chicken, soups, and fruit juices. The dining and patio areas are small, but the décor is natural, and most importantly, the food is honest, mouth-watering, and hearty. Great portion sizes and great menu prices. Island Cream also makes a great take-out. 227 Hunter Street West
8. The Planet Bakery
The vegetarian café on Water is a great place to stop by for a refillable coffee, home-made sweet treat, sandwich, soup, or smoothie. It’s small and humble on the outside, but friendly, full, and fast-paced once you’re through the doors. There are plenty of yummy vegan and gluten-free options; the menu seems to grow upon each visit! The space is unpretentiously decorated with colourful artwork on the walls. Chefs buy their produce from local growers. 374 Water Street
9. The Speak Easy Café
This café and brunch diner has a huge breakfast and lunch selection. It’s usually very popular and buzzing with students and breakfast lovers. Great food and great prices; it’s always a challenge choosing what to order. The diner advertises, “Step back in time with the days of prohibition and famous gangsters while you enjoy the fastest breakfast in town.” 362 George Street North
10. Dancing Blueberries
A handmade dessert lover’s heaven; amazing crepes, waffles, and a delicious coconut cream pie. There is an extensive menu of both savory and sweet foods and great music in Dancing Blueberries’ laid-back, small, artsy space. The tables are decorated with low-lighting lamps making it the perfect work place. The café is undergoing a change of ownership, so try out the waffles in case they don’t make the next menu cut! 360 George Street North #57
Note: a previous version of the article incorrectly stated the owners of Silk Roots are the current owners of Ariyana. This has been corrected.
Photos by B Mroz.