Written by 9:51 pm Best Of

The Best Diners in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls ticks a lot of boxes in the food department—Italian, Indian, farm-fresh ingredients—and diner food is no exception. The Falls is a great diner city. (After all, would you expect anything less from a city that feels, er, shall we say, stuck in the past?) The city’s classic, down-to-earth vibe and vintage establishments speak to the its working-class roots and the no-nonsense attitude of its residents. A cheap cup of coffee, a greasy sausage, fried eggs, salty fries: these are the hallmarks of a great diner, and Niagara Falls has them in abundance.

Dena’s Home Cooking

(Photo courtesy Dena’s Home Cooking’/Facebook)

First up is our number-one pick: hands down, Dena’s Home Cookin’ takes the (pan)cake. With a surprisingly deep menu and cozy neighbourhood vibe, this inconspicuous diner just north of Five Corners serves up hefty portions of exceptionally well prepared eggs, potatoes and unique specialty meats, like limited-time farmer’s sausages. Simple extras like red peppers and sundried tomatoes elevate their omelettes, too—it might not sound like much, but when you consider how many diners stick with scant mushrooms and tomatoes as the only vegetable options, it’s appreciated when cooks choose even just a marginally different route. The only bad part is how small the space is. With limited seating, you may have to wait a while.

Basell’s Restaurant and Tavern

basells diner niagara falls

Photo courtesy of Basell’s/Facebook

Basell’s has been in business probably longer than anyone would have guessed, but we’re thankful it’s still around. To enter this establishment is to walk back in time to the 1970s: plates of pie and cake sit in chilled isolation beside a hunking coffee machine and behind a row of brown bar stools that introduce you to the overall interior decor theme that is “Everything brown, please.” That means a brown faux-wood panelled bar, brown kitchen doors, brown chairs tucked into brown tables, dark brown wooden ceiling beams and light brown leather booths. Honestly, that’s the charm of the place: if you want an authentic small-city diner experience, you cannot do better than Basell’s. Is the food good? Meh! It’s fine! But who cares, honestly. The food is not why you eat here. You eat here for the ambience. For the experience. My friends, you eat here for the brown.

Jukebox Diner

The Jukebox Diner lives up to its name. (Photo: Found in the Falls)

A summertime exclusive, the Jukebox Diner is arguably the most inventive diner in the Falls—maybe Niagara—arguably all of Canada? Sitting in the middle of a vacant grassy lot, the quasi–shipping container building serves up classic diner dishes from behind a stereo system blasting rockabilly tunes. The food isn’t fancy—you won’t find artisanal burgers or hand-crafted fries or whatever. But you’ll find extremely friendly people, an unpretentious menu, a throwback vibe and some great tunes to enjoy in the summer sun.


The Hi-Lite recently underwent a year-long pandemic renovation, sprucing up the interior with an updated retro vibe that retained the vintage charm of its former self: the wood panels around the bar remain, but the hanging light fixtures, checkerboard tiles and clean red-and-black pleather booths make a world of difference. Amazingly, the prices haven’t leapt post-reno; most of their breakfast specials run less than $10 apiece. The food is perfectly fine, but it’s the atmosphere that wins at Hi-Lite. Waitresses will recognize you. Specials stay familiar. Even with a fresh coat of paint, it’s a neighbourhood classic.

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