The small (but growing!) town of Guelph is filled with character, from one-of-a-kind shops to special events to unique restaurants. While being located only minutes away from the University of Guelph, downtown Guelph has become a great place for eating out with your roomies, your boyfriend, or when your parents are in town visiting. However, with a restaurant on almost every corner, it can be so hard to choose where to eat!

Through my year and a half of living in this town, here are just a few restaurants that I have found be exceptional. Due to their memorable atmospheres and menus, there is definitely something on this list to suit all types of lifestyles! 

1. The Works - 97 Wyndham Street North

This joint is not unique to Guelph, but it is known across Ontario for serving the best burgers around. The Works is a gourmet burger bistro that is constantly introducing new and innovative kinds of burgers—this includes even a patty stuffed with Reese’s Pieces! If that sounds unappealing to you, there are 9 other different types of patties to choose from and dozens of appetizers to spilt with your friends, like a tower of onion rings!

The price range for the menu is around $12-$15 for a burger, so it is a little bit on the pricier side for broke university students, but you definitely won’t leave feeling hungry or unsatisfied!

BONUS: If you’re not feeling up to going all the way downtown, The Works also delivers through a website called Just Eat.

2. Rawlicious - 60 Carden Street

All you vegans of Guelph, this restaurant is for you! Rawlicious is a special kind of restaurant, as it only serves vegan and raw dishes.

As a meat-eater myself, I can truthfully say I would go vegan if I could cook as well as the chefs here do. Menu items here range from anything from smoothies to nachos to even a BLT (not with real bacon, of course). It is a great place to check out if you are a vegan or even if you'd just like some variety in your diet, as it is different from your typical meal.

An entrée will range from $9.50-$15, so I would say it is quite affordable and definitely a new experience.

3. With the Grain - 294 Woolwich Street

This place has a feel-good type of atmosphere and will most likely remind you of your mother's or grandmother's baking as soon as you step foot inside.

With the Grain is not categorized as a restaurant per se, but it serves all-day breakfast and pastries so we will call it a café. With the Grain is Guelph’s most well-known bakery and for a very good reason: they have everything!

This café bakes dozens of different muffins, scones, cakes, and bread from scratch daily (they even have a “baking schedule” posted online so customers can find out when their favourite flavours will be hot to order). 

Prices for breakfast are very reasonably priced at around $8.50-$11 per plate and pastries typically range around $3 a piece, but mind you they are very large portions. A perfect spot for an afternoon coffee date or a hearty breakfast to fuel your day! 

4. Buon Gusto - 69 Wyndham St North

Now, this was the first restaurant that I ever ate at in Guelph and it definitely left a long-lasting positive impression on me.

This is your typical high scale Italian restaurant with authentic food, and the best part is that it is such a reasonable price!

Buon Gusto has an endless selection of pastas, pizzas, soups, and desserts with many gluten-free options as well. It is sure to impress anyone with a big appetite and a love for carbs (like myself).

Dinner entrées can range from $12-$20, which I think is pretty standard. They also have this deal during lunch where you can choose one soup or salad and half of a pizza or panini for only $13! Oh, and they have an affordable drink menu in case you are looking to unwind after a long school week. 

5. The Cornerstone - 1 Wyndham St North

I saved the Cornerstone for last because I have so much to say about it, this place simply has it all for me. I would categorize it as a café, but it serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner alongside a variety of desserts (with vegan and gluten-free options!). Entrées vary from curried egg salad to black bean cheddar quesadillas to vegan Alfredo, ranging from $8-$15 to suit any budget. 

My personal favourite part of the café, however, is that they have dozens of board games to play while you sip or latte or chow down on your hummus wrap.

This café to me truly brings together what I think Guelph really represents: a homey atmosphere with comfort food that keeps you coming back for more. Beware, the Saturday and Sunday brunch is a crowd-pleaser and fills up fast so get there early! Unfortunately, the Cornerstone does not have an official website, but their twitter is very helpful in regards to viewing menu items and announcing additions to it.

So there you have it, 5 delicious and affordable places to dine at while you are visiting downtown Guelph! The key to fully experiencing all of the cuisine Guelph has to offer is to step out of your comfort zone. Also, all of these places are totally Insta-worthy so be sure to snap of picture of your juicy burger or freshly made scone. Bon appétit!