The key to dining around here is to manage expectations: With few exceptions, restaurants follow the hotel trend -- decent and reliable without being anything fancy. However, some are located right on the water, and most brim with personality: They're local hangouts, where menus give inside jokes about residents and where most meals come with a loaf of bread for carving and a presentation of relishes that you may or may not want to spoon onto your plate. The food is mostly okay, but remember, it's about the whole experience. Eating a seafood dinner on the river as the sun sets is about as Thousand Islandy as it gets -- don't miss it.
That said, if you're looking for something interesting -- culinarily speaking -- Sackets Harbor has a few gems. Also consider a jaunt across the bridge into Kingston, Ontario, where your options will multiply: fish and chips, Southeast Asian, gourmet pizza, French, and other eclectic fare can all be found "over there."
A Fishin' Tradition -- In this hugely popular fishing destination, it only makes sense to find traditions surrounding the consumption of fish. One that began in the early 1900s is the shore dinner: River guides would set out in their skiffs, fish all morning, and set up on one of the islands to prepare and eat the feast. Thankfully, this practice continues today.
Here's how it works: After a full morning of fishing, you'll stop on a deserted or nearly deserted island and relax around picnic tables as the guide sets up, starting with a fire. Traditional shore dinners begin with the guide putting sliced fatback in the skillet -- 100% fat from the back of a pig. Why all fat? The grease that's rendered from the fatback is used to fry the fish and dessert. As the fat fries, slices of bread are loaded up with sliced onion and pieces of fat and folded into a sandwich. There's your appetizer. You may also be served a salad (with Thousand Island dressing, of course). Meanwhile, the guide is frying up the just-caught fish, as well as cooking potatoes and corn on the cob.
As you chow on the fish, dessert preparations begin. Eggs, sugar, and cream go into a dish, along with bread that has been drying in the sun. When the mixture is thrown into the hot fatback grease, the batter puffs up, making the French toast-like concoction resemble a puff pastry. Top it with butter, maple syrup, cream, and brandy. Mmmm.
Note: Most of the fishing companies offer a traditional shore dinner for an extra charge.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.