As a recent transplant from Toronto to Prince Edward County, I can honestly say that I haven’t had to give up my love for great dining experiences. Prince Edward County wineries may have previously hogged the spotlight, but there's now an abundance of spectacular dining and drinking options and the biannual culinary celebration, Countylicious.

Many of the top restaurants in P.E.C. are led by chefs who have made the move from Toronto. One is Bocado, where the enigmatic Stuart Cameron serves as executive chef. Although originally from Melbourne, Cameron's impressive restaurant background in Toronto, particularly with ICON Legacy Hospitality, speaks volumes about his culinary expertise.

Bocado in Picton | The bar inside Bocado

Jamie Kennedy, a renowned chef honoured with the Order of Canada, was one of the first big culinary names to bring the celebrity chef movement to The County in 2016. More recently, Myles Harrison opened the acclaimed Theia with his partner Margot Kenny in June 2023. The list goes on, with notable chefs like Albert Ponzo at The Royal, Alexandra Feswick at Fawn Over Market, Jesse Fader of Darlings, Amanda Ray at The Drake Devonshire, Renda Abdo at Lakeside Motel, Charlotte Langley of Scout Canning, Hidde Zomer of Flame + Smith and Michael Sullivan at Merrill House. It's worth noting the significant presence of acclaimed women chefs, highlighting The County's inclusive and delicious culinary scene.

Bocado in Picton | A cocktail at Bocado

Cameron demonstrated great determination by opening Bocado in August 2021, amidst the challenges of the pandemic. His decision to expand with a second Bocado location opening in Collingwood in early 2025 shows his entrepreneurial spirit. His love for snowboarding in Banff initially brought him to Canada, and he eventually found his way to The County, realizing its appeal beyond the summer months.

Bocado in Picton | Seating inside Bocado

For Collingwood's sake, let's hope Cameron maintains The County's secret sauce. Bocado's Picton location offers an exceptional experience, with Eric Scribner orchestrating original cocktails at the bar and head chef Kevin Paquette overseeing the open kitchen prep. The attentive staff, led by GM Hannah Ford, ensures a welcoming atmosphere, and the provision of benefits to all full-time employees reflects a commitment to excellence uncommon in the restaurant industry.

I recently enjoyed my second Countylicious meal at Bocado, and it was outstanding. However, their regular menu, is consistently impressive.

The name "Bocado," meaning mouth-sized delicacy, is apt for this Spanish-style tapas restaurant. Cameron's love for Spanish cuisine, cultivated during his time at Patria in Toronto, is evident in Bocado's emphasis on regional sourcing for fresh ingredients, complemented by imported Spanish delicacies.

Bocado in Picton | Paella at Bocado

The paellas at Bocado are standout dishes, individually made to order and changing with the seasons. Cameron even offers paella cooking classes, highlighting the intricate process behind these culinary masterpieces.

The rest of the menu focuses on tapas-style dining, with a variety of options showcasing Spanish charcuterie, including cheese, ham and sausages. The Pan Con Tomate and Tapas Del Bar sections offer delightful choices, with vegetarian and vegan options available.

For those craving a larger dish to share, Bocado offers mains like ribeye, black cod, suckling pig and flank steak, each with a Spanish twist to tantalize the taste buds.

Bocado in Picton | A spread of Spanish tapas dishes and wine on a table at Bocado

Don't miss the opportunity to visit Prince Edward County and experience Bocado's exceptional cuisine before the busy summer months. Supporting businesses like Bocado not only ensures amazing food but also contributes to a community where employees are well-cared for.

You might even find me enjoying a Saturday night at their tapas bar — feel free to say hello, it's The County, and we're a friendly bunch here.