Top 5 Under the Radar Restaurants in Mississauga

Whether they are hidden from major streets or just haven't got their rightful attention in the Mississauga food scene, these food gems are under the radar.

They might be underrated right now, but once people start realizing how good they are, they'll be beating a path to their doors. These are the restaurants you go to and are surprised by the food, service and quality and wonder why you've never been there before.

Here are the food gems in Mississauga that you've probably never been too but will be back once you try them out:

5 - Jessie's
(Industrial Mississauga)

I have a feeling that once I let this secret out, the regulars are going to be pissed off. Jessie's is a legendary spot that I only just discovered despite the fact that it's been around since 1981. It's located in an industrial plaza and Kennedy and Matheson and it boasts huge lunchtime lineups, and for good reason. The food is legendary and the owner is a personable guy with a distinctly unique sense of humor that you have to be ready for.

When you order a smoked meat sandwich, you watch that meat being sliced and put on rye right in front of your eyes. We ordered the most popular dish on the chalkboard menu: the chicken souvlaki dinner. It did not disappoint, as you can probably tell by the picture. This place does not accept debit or credit, to be sure to have cash on you. In fact, the owner's famous sense of humor emerged when two girls asked if he took debit and he responded by saying, "what's debit? I have no idea what that is. I don't know that technology."

4 - Aielli Ristorante
(Port Credit)

Mark your calendar or book your next night out to Aielli Restaurant. It is one of the finer Italian restaurants in Mississauga that caters to its customers and is a great place to dine. Its 30 year history in Port Credit is a testament to what they do best - food and wine. It was the perfect night for a hearty Italian meal created by Chef/Proprietor Luigi Macerola. Aielli has a beautiful wine room that holds over 10,000 bottles. This area can also host small and intimate private functions. Aielli also has some bragging rights, winning multiple Awards of Excellence from the Wine Spectator -- a highly revered resource for the world’s finest wines. (The article cover shot is from Aielli’s)

3 - Casalinga Ristorante
(Clarkson)

Located in a plaza at the southwest corner of Mississauga on Royal Windsor and Southdown (yes, that is still Mississauga) is one of the best kept Italian restaurants in the city called Casalinga. This place can’t be any bigger than 40 seats and gets packed pretty fast, especially on weekends. They offer house-made gnocchi (small dumplings made from potato, semolina or flour that are usually served with sauce) and house-made gnocchi is usually hard to find, especially in Mississauga. That right there says a lot about the restaurant. We ordered the potato gnocchi that came with lamb, caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, mushrooms and tomato sauce. The dish was absolutely delicious and the gnocchi melted in our mouths. You won’t be hungry after eating something this generously portioned. They also have thin crust pizza cooked in a stone oven. Casalinga has been around for just over three years, and if they keep serving this hearty Italian food, they will be here for generations to come.

2 - Jay's Sandwiches of The World
(Mississauga Valley’s)

Jay's Sandwiches of The World is located in a plaza on Bloor St. off of Cawthra Rd. in what once was a Portugese take-out spot called Beek Street. Unique for: Aguiar's interpretation of world flavours (hence the name Jay's Sandwiches of The World) from Korea to India to Italy and Cuba. The ingredients include everything from kimchi, fig spread, jerk sauce, fried plantain, coco bun, tomato sauce and peameal bacon. All of Aguiar's sandwiches are made fresh-to-order on fresh bread (never on day-old bread, which if any, are used to make bread crumbs). Jay butchers and prepares all of the meat for the sandwiches with his home-made marinades and spices. He also makes his own sauces including his signature hot sauce - a spicy and sweet blend which is paired with his Jerk Chicken Sandwich.

1 - Clarkson Mediterranean Bistro
(Clarkson)

The Clarkson Mediterranean Bistro is a gem of a find in a small and quaint neighbourhood located west of Port Credit in a community called Clarkson Village. It’s the oldest community in Mississauga and is home to a number of unique businesses, fine dining restaurants and two of Mississauga’s historic museums. The Clarkson Mediterranean Bistro is a restaurant that’s now on my list of go-to places to dine in Mississauga. I had driven by it many times and had it on my list for months - I just wish I had gone sooner. I was floored by the level of service, the flavours, the quality of the food and the affordable pricing. This resto is a prime example of the benefits of supporting local restaurants over the big chains.

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