My “Get In My Belly” series always seems to feature international cities and countries that I’ve visited and my belly fell in love with, but this one is a little different. I decided to take you back to where I grew up, the small town of Orillia, Ontario, to show you some of my favourite places to eat.
The building that Mariposa Market is currently in has housed a bakery for over 150 years, but the bakery as it is now opened in 1987. It’s hard not to fall in love with Mariposa Market. Their main store sells delicious cakes which I remember getting for my birthdays growing up, pastries and preserves, and then there is a cafe which you can order some fresh goodness and eat-in. It’s hard to decide what you’re going to go for when ordering food here because everything looks fake it looks so good.
The only Indian restaurant in Orillia and run by probably one of the only Indian families in the small town. This place was first discovered by my family because it is directly across the road from where I live. The restaurant itself is a typical hole-in-the-wall place, but you can order take out or delivery too. The family is super friendly that owns it and the food is delicious! My go-to is always the pilau rice with chana masala and of course, samosas. You can also visit Aladdin at the Orillia Farmers Market downtown on Saturday’s!
When my friend first told me about tacos at the Orillia Farmers Market downtown, I didn’t get too excited. I mean, I’ve had gourmet tacos in Toronto, so what on earth is going to beat that in the small town of Orillia? I was 110% taken by surprise the first time I visited Fox Foods, a taco and Popsicle stand at the Farmers Market that hands down serves the best, fresh tacos I’ve ever had. They usually have daily specials each Saturday and then the regular kinds which always include a vegetarian option.
One of the oldest operating businesses in Orillia, French’s Stand in Couchiching Park only opens up in the summertime and serves everything from burgers, hot dogs, ice cream and fries. Family-owned by the French’s family, and opened in 1920, the building still resembles the vintage look and feel, and is a can’t miss place if you’re visiting the waterfront.
Sweet Dreams Ice Cream
A bit sentimental for me because this was my first ever job and I worked here for three summers scooping ice cream. Another family-owned business that has locations at Couchiching Park and Tudhope Park, and also can be spotted at events and festivals in Orillia. This tiny ice cream shack serves up Maypole Dairy products, and although it’s a bit more expensive in comparison to its neighbour, French’s, it’s still worth a stop in the summer heat. Try their watermelon sorbet, that’s my fav!
Even if you don’t know Orillia, you’ve likely heard of Webers on the highway if you’ve ever driven to cottage country in Ontario. Located on the side of highway 11, this popular burger joint has been visited by celebs and often has a line outside the door of hungry cottagers and locals (don’t worry, it moves fast). You’ll get some of the best burgers in town here and you can even eat them in old converted train cars!
Some of the best Chinese food in Orillia but that’s not why this place makes my list. This Chinese restaurant also is one of the best breakfast/brunch spots in the city of Orillia serving delicious and inexpensive breakfast favs. You can’t go wrong with this busy breakfast joint.
Sounds like the name of a movie store doesn’t it? Well it is. But inside this movie store is a hidden ice cream surprise! Hollywood Flicks serves the best soft serve ice cream in town with a huge assortment of flavours I didn’t even know existed. Plus, you can get your cones dipped in anything from peanut butter, or my favourite, cotton candy (photographed above). Yum!
Apple Annies has a gift shop located under Mariposa Market, but it also has a cafe located down the street which serves delicious lattes and hot beverages (plus food). Try their pumpkin spice latte in the fall!
Opened in 1993, Brewery Bay holds a lot of memories for most people who grew up in Orillia. I remember drinking soda from a licorice straw as a kid there, having birthday parties there, and of course, catching up with friends even now when I go home for a weekend. Brewery Bay has great pub grub, and most famously, the most delicious cookie skillet you’ll ever have (photographed above). You can also find lots of Vegetarian options on their menu!
That’s it! Are you hungry now?