I had dinner at “Bard’s”:http://www.27marketplace.com/ in the Market Square, Stratford, Ontario a few days ago with some family visiting from out of country. It was the first time at this establishment for most of us. The restaurant is larger than it appears from the street as it goes quite far back. The tables are roomy and not crowded close together. It was a bit noisy as the ceiling is high and open as many modern places are. The décor is theatre based for the most part but we did spy some photographs from the Prairie provinces as well. We had asked them to turn down the music so we could hear each other and visit and they actually turned it off which was nice and accommodating.
The menu is not extensive but we were all able to find something to try. My sister opted for the appetizer mussels cooked in white wine, basil and mild chilli ($15); my aunt, uncle and I all had the duck breast with maple beans, wild rice, greens, and asparagus ($27); my cousin tried the grilled cauliflower with sweet potato puree, almond praline, and basil oil ($20); and my brother-in-law had the daily cut special which was steak ($30). The food was all very good and the service was efficient – perhaps a bit too efficient. I think they are used to serving people quickly and getting them on their way so they can make it to whichever play they are seeing – there are two Stratford Festival theaters within a couple of blocks of the market square. We however were not off to a play that night and could have perused the dessert menu, possibly ordered some dessert and coffees. Instead they brought our bill quite quickly and we visited leisurely while we finished our wine/drinks. By this time most of the other customers had left and they turned the music back on.
After six pm on-street parking is free, even at meters. I was able to find a spot right out front which was very convenient.