My husband Bryson and I decided to go out for dinner this evening and since we really only go out really twice a year we didn't know where to go. Bryson asked me if I had ever gone to The Explorer Restaurant and since I had not, The Explorer it was. Tucked away in a remote area is a charming hide away and the atomosphere is warm and inviting. The staff welcomes everyone with a smile and is very friendly. We did check out the menu and we each chose the Argentine Steak. This meal was by far the best meal we ever had! The steak was cooked to perfection. It was tender and juicy and so tasty. The waiter was concerned because we were not talking. We had to explain it was because the meal was so delicious we couldn't talk. The vegetables were fresh and cooked exactly the way we enjoy them. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we will definitely be returning to The Explorer Restaurant.
This restaurant is definitely my favourite place to eat in Midland and surrounding area. The food is fabulous, the service excellent, and the atmosphere just the right amount of casual/formal. You can go there in jeans, or you can dress as nice as you like, and feel comfortable either way. You guys are awesome - keep doing what you're doing - it's obviously working.
We went to the Explorer's Cafe last night for my birthday dinner and were extremely impressed with the extensive wine list, the delicious appetizer and the exquisite main courses. Being a travel agent, I love the theme! We'll be back, and hopefully soon! Thank you!
Absolutely top-notch in all areas. Not snobby and stuffy - just relaxing and fun with delicious food and great wine. Here I found a wine my palate absolutely just loves and now I buy it all the time. In my opinion those who are critical of this restaurant, just don't get it!
For a small town like Midland, The Explorer Cafe is the best in town. I've been many times and always had a good meal. Plain and simple, a good meal. And not expensive in my opinion. Just wish the Explorer would change their table clothes and napkins. They are old and weathered. Also, they need to wipe down the window with all the plants. It looks filthy. I don't go for the decor though, I go for the food and wine. Best wine selection from here to Toronto.
We recently took our friends to the Explorer Cafe for my husbands birthday. I was so happy to see Calves liver as the special, as I don't get this very often. The liver was so tender you could cut it with your fork. I've found my favorite place to go for lightly battered smelts that come with a tasty dipping sauce. I returned last Saturday alone to sit at the bar and chat with the owner and a wine rep. I tried the white asparagus and wild mushroom soup and of coarse the battered smelts. Both were so yummy, I'd give them both an 11 out of 10..!!
I ate at the Explorer's Cafe for the first time this week and was thoroughly impressed. The food was delicious, the staff was friendly and knowledgeable, and the atmosphere was very comfortable and cozy. I will definitely be making a return visit!
We've been to the Explorer twice - the first time made us come back a second. Unfortunately, the second visit was a mistake. We had made reservations & brought friends expecting a wonderful experience. The service was bad & pathetically slow. It appeared the owners didn't want to turn away any business, so this small & cozy restaurant was riduculously over crowded with patrons waiting everywhere for a table which resulted in a short staff situation & bad service.
We may try again but I would avoid during tourist seasons.
Had a nice meal at Explorers last night - the food, service and atmosphere were great... I really like the ambiance and feel of the place - it has tons of character and the nautical theme fits so well with this area...
Our server Ricky was amazing and recommended the Louisi-yam-a entree to satisfy my request for vegan fare (it's nice to be able to order a vegan meal right off the menu instead of having something 'custom' whipped up)... I would certainly order it again and look forward to my next visit to this great local restaurant...
Finally got a chance to go to Explorer's tonight and had a lovely time.
It was a little noisy which didn't bother me at all. I would not have even remarked on this had I not seen the comments here. Perhaps this could be adjusted in terms of furnishings that would absorb some of the noise of people happily enjoying their company and their meals.
The quality of presentation, the freshness of the ingredients, the creative combinations of flavours, and the delicious taste of the meals were well worth the very reasonable prices. The ambiance presents a very casual and yet promising image: that there are stories behind all the items here, their travels, their origins, and you should grab a seat, relax, and have a good time learning and discussing these with the friendly people here who will not embarrass you if you don't know that polar bears and penguins wouldn't meet outside of a zoo. The front of house staff were pleasant and attentive in a way that did not interfere with dining pleasure, and that is a very thin line to walk, laden with food and drink.
Good food, good staff, good prices, good ambiance, and good members of the community. These may not seem exceptional on their own or even listed here together but combined in reality they are exceptional and Explorer's brings these elements together so smoothly that it doesn't seem like there is any effort involved, and so in this regard it is fine indeed. It isn't "fine dining" in the way that Susur, North 44, Auberge du Pommier, and Jump, are, and Avalon was, but then it never pretends to be that type of experience.
Well Richard Goooold Oops Darn spell checks sticking. You sure have poked the fire in this little town. But you’re entitled to your point of view and I would love to see you open up a local restaurant to strut your stuff in... That would be great. A quiet little place where the staff dress much like penguins roaming gingerly through the award filled establishment.
Can’t wait, sure hope your twin doesn’t show up and critique the place!
My wife and I go to The Explorers Cafe for lunch on a regular basis and dinner for special occasions. According to my wife it is her favourite lunch spot and we have usually been able to talk easily and feel alone while we eat. Yes there are some times when the talk at other tables can get noisy but it is also worse at local pubs and spots like Kelseys (and we don't complain about them either). The music piped in is usually pleasant, especially if you like the blues, although we have noticed a change lately and we prefer they would go back to the blues. We agree it needs to be turned down. Now for the food - very good and very interesting. We love the potsticker appetizers with the sour and hot sauces (not on the lunch menu but they always prepare them for us when we ask, now that's customer service!). Some of the meals do not make our most desired list but we don't order them again. However, the steak and the salmon dishes never fail us and the changing curry's or lunch sandwiches are excellent. Add the baked brie and you have a festival of tastes in your mouth. Rob and Jen have brought their unique cultural and dining perspectives to Midland. With dishes and complimenting wines from around the world mixed with the artwork on the walls from as far away at the Antarctic to just around the corner with Carol Currie's Georgian Bay scenes, The Explorers Cafe is an oasis of comfort and pleasure, right here at home. We don't care if the staff is dressed in jeans or not. It is the way they treat you that matters and in this case the staff treats us much better than several high end restaurants we have been to in Times Square. When we go to Explorer's Cafe, we feel at home because we are at home.
I've had many meals at Explorer's and am never disappointed. The food is quality and fresh. The atmosphere is friendly. Matching of wine is wonderful. And Rob and Jen and the rest of the staff are truly lovers of the community. There's nothing negative. If you haven't been you're really missing out.
Explorers Cafe - I'm biased because I used to work there. Day-to-day I work in health care, but for giggles I experimented, my first serving job, purely as an exercise in exploring the culinary world from the inside. Yet, I started as a patron and I will gladly finish as a patron.
Was I easily impressed, like it's suggested I was, by lovers of fish and chips? Should I have been more critical, merely to represent a supposed intelligence and culture, like Richard, below? No and no. I wanted to work there because it was simply a terrific place. And it still is....
I fell in love with Explorers because it has culture and flavour, and no shortage of meaningful individuality. And of course, fantastic food. I wouldn't lie about such a thing - I'm chubby because I like to eat. What's more, I grew up in Midland, and I know what sort of restaurants we've been graced with. I later toured Ontario as a student, and I know what culinary options exist in major centres.
Armed as such, I feel very fortunate to have this establishment in Midland, where truly, it has no equal. The head chef, Nick, is a man of intelligence, flair, and is in many ways uncompromising. His partners Chris and Bert, men of good humour and kindness. Besides being good guys, they cook up taste with panache. The servers - solid, friendly, hard-working people.
But perhaps most importantly, the owners, Rob and Jen, are ardent supporters of culture, music and art. They have lent time, energy and creativity to many initiatives, in a town that is so often in need of cool. It would be easy to ride out popularity, and focus exclusively on food and numbers - but these guys give back.
My old man used to say "if you like a place, go there often". He was right. Go for the food. Come back for the people.
I would have to agree with Richard on most of these points.
I think the people of Midland and surrounding area are just far too impressed by things. There are only a handful of restaurants in this area that are truly great. And even fewer are those that are owned by small independant businessmen.
If your looking for a great stop for a quick bite. The Midland fish and chip store has always been the best in town for a good plate of fish and chips. If your looking to eat healthy. Hit Dino's downtown. Their Deli selection while fairly small in size prooves that it pays off to do what you do well, and Dean the owner is a great guy.
Re: Marcus Thome.......If you would have read and understood my comment about Explorers Cafe ..."The food at the Explorer Cafe was very tasty" I loved the curry of the day dish, but because it tasted SO GOOD, I wanted more! Also I love fresh veggies, but the crunchy ones should be used with a nice dip. And no, I don't like mushy veggies either. Please don't read between the line on others comments!
To the person who only had the courage of identifying his comments by "I love the steak Glenn". Perhaps you should re-read my comments. Explorers was generally a positive kitchen experience but requires improvement in the front room. Perhaps you should expand your food service experiences to understand my comments and learn to properly spell words including the name of the restaurant that you're defending. Frankly based on your letter it's a wonder that you can even read a menu.
Explorer's isn't perfect. That's what's good about it. It's different from the great sea of sameness in Midland and surrounding area. No cookie-cutter Roadhouse or chain-restaurant feel - absolutely it's own animal.
Prices, for what you get, are very good. I simply have to defend the curry from Angel, below - it was huge, and excellent, and I like my vegetables cooked crunchy - you can really taste them - not boiled to mush like at a family dinner! More fresh food than I can eat for $16.00 is not overpriced.
A plate full of thawed from Kelsey's for $18.99 - now THAT is overpriced.
Volume was loud yes, because it was packed with people having a good time. And personally, I don't care what the server's wear at a comfortable place. In fact, that's why it's comfortable.
Best restaurant in town, hands down, judged soley on what it is. For the meek who enjoy no adventure at all, draft beer and chicken wings can be found at the adjacent establishment. Food measured as sheer volume versus price is not 'resturant' - it's pizza.
And to Richard Gould Stay in unoinville.I've read several of your comments about the local restaurants and your the guy whose glass is always half empty. Explores is perfect just the way it is.Eat in the city, sell the cottage and I hope we never meet!
PS. Rob never intend this to be A Zoro's or Octogon experience , but thank god we have alternative to the Arch and frozen green giant vegetables!
The food at the Explorer Cafe was very tasty. I would not call this an up scale restaurant as some people have told me. Servers wearing jeans, music too loud, tables to close for comfort and privacy. I had the curry of the day which was very tender, could have had more. I found the vegetables a bit under cooked, too crunchy for my liking. Prices are a bit high end. A place you could go to once every six months for a celebration only
First of all. let's understand that this place is not a fine dining experience nor is it an awesome dining experience. This is comfort food, plentiful and yummy. That being said, the menue is wild and wacky. The braised / stew like food choices are delivered fast and reliably consistent to the table by reasonably attentive and well humored staff. The meal presentation was just like mom would offer at a Sunday dinner in this very casual environment. However, that's the problem with the place - it's just too casual. As soon as you walk into the front room door, patrons are bombasted with a bar-like reception that is more suited to the Queens pub in Renfrew. Both rooms are so noisy that a normal talking level during dinner is a challenge. This place has a lot of potential and I recommend the place based on it's potential as a comfortable place with tasty food. The wine selection is certainly the best in the region. Food and wine prices are reasonable and offer good value. By putting a little more effort into the table presentation and lowering the noise volume, The Explorers Cafe will offer a consistent and more pleasurable dining experience.
What a find - the best cuisine north of Toronto, in fact, better than many of the finest restaurants in Toronto . The menu is varied, the food always spectacular. Perfect presentation, each meal always creative, with an unexpected twist and palate pleasing combination of tastes. Accompanying vegetables (or fruits, as in our case last evening, rack of lamb with braised plums, fantastic) delicious and different, never the ordinary. From the spicy and tender Egyptian chicken (bring that one back as a special again please) to the steaks, the savoury meat pies, the variety of meats and fish on the menu and the way in which they are prepared are certain to please all patrons. The menu is changed from time to time to keep regulars coming back to see the latest of Rob's creations. The appetizers are a must, with mouthwatering blends of flavours and choices (Brie a l'orange, the best we've ever tasted, Thai summer rolls, in rice wraps, not boring pastry, with a delectable hot dipping sauce, grilled calamari salad, try them all.) The desserts are wonderful, the housemade Chai creme brulee a must for brulee lovers. The pleasant and attentive staff are always a pleasure, as is the presence of Rob and his wife Jennifer. If you haven't been to this restaurant, unlike any in the area, you must go and taste what you are missing. And no, we're not related to the owners, just appreciative of a truly delicious and satisfying dining experience. Wish we could have all our meals there.
My expectations have been exceeded. Staff are friendly without being over bearing. Food is fresh and I hear seasonal. Prices are comparative. I enjoy the differences of the menu. The ambiance and decor are soothing and relaxing. A nice place to eat.
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