Address: 23020 Hwy 44
Gaffer’s Restaurant, the stately eatery/banquet hall located at the foot of the Lockport Bridge, is one more reason to make the scenic drive to Lockport, a veritable day trippers’ paradise. The warm, welcoming riverside resto offers resort escapism and small-town hospitality while turning out a menu of consistent, classic favourites.
Unpretentious in both menu and décor, the no-frills familiarity of the digs, from the casual rooftop patio to the country-kitsch dining room, lends well to kicking back. There’s no rush here.
Lemon-kissed tendrils of lightly battered calamari make for a satisfying start, dipped in cool, tangy, housemade tzatziki that is tantalizing enough to retail.
A savoury-sweet salad of tender baby spinach, candy-like orange segments, crunchy bell peppers and tart cranberries tastes like summer. Creamy, citrus-scented poppy seed dressing adds zing, although we suggest ordering it on the side. Homestyle generosity extends to heavy-handed plating around these parts.
That savoury-sweet interplay is echoed in a standout entrée of pan-seared Manitoba pork tenderloin. Rolled in honey and cracked pepper, the succulent cut of meat is made even more juicy and flavourful by a lip-staining sour cherry sauce. A fluffy baked potato and simple grilled veggies round out the plate.
Plump, pink Boston prawns simmered in a luscious white wine and butter-imbued marinara sauce are another highlight. Save a couple of the chewy garlic breadsticks to sop up every bite of the multi-dimensional sauce.
The fish and chips are a must. Flaky Manitoba pickerel fillets are fried up golden in a pub-style batter and served alongside a heap of addictive chip truck-style fries. A lavishly layered Monte Cristo, with its dribbles of butter and thick-cut ham, makes for a decadent midday indulgence. No wonder it’s a house favourite.
Strawberry mousse is a sweet, seasonal treat. Light and creamy, juicy bites of fresh strawberries keep this pink cloud-like confection from being too cloying.
Gaffer’s is open seven days a week, 11 am-2 am.