Top Tip #1: When eating in North America, don’t forget that they eat rather early by European standards. It is very hard to find any restaurants open in Ottawa after 9pm. The ones I have found open after 9pm late are Papagus, and Japanese Village.
Top Tip #2: Call the restaurant before you set out. This guide will not get updated very often as I don’t actually live in Ottawa. The area code for Ottawa is 613.
Top Tip #3: Don’t take too much note of the ratings. They are my personal view, based on one or two visits to each of the resaurants. I’d happily return to any of the places on this page.
- Byward Market: A tad touristy, but full of great bars & restaurants. Great to hang about in the summer.
- Elgin Street: If the young tourits go to the market, the 30 somethings locals go to Elgin Street. Some great pubs and restaurants in this area.
Masters Brew Pub 3/10
A brew on premises pub offering naturally brewed beer, and pub food including stir fries, New York Steaks and burgers. I didn’t think much of the beer myself, but then again, I don’t really rate Canadian beer.330 Queen Street, 594-3688
All you can eat - Chinese and Canadian Buffet99 Rideau Street, 562-2772 101-2446 Bank Street, 737-7878
Dunn’s Famous Deli Restaurant
No nonsense deli. They have some huge smoked meat sandwiches, and the one on Elgin is OPEN 24 HOURS !
Cafe Henry Burger 9/10
Located in a home once inhabited by its namesake, the restaurant has been one of the finist dining establishments since 1922. Just across from the Museum of Civilization, the restaurant offers an extensive wine list and private dining rooms. The last time I was there, I saw the top man from the opposition party leaving just after we did. In my view, it has to be the best French restaurant in town.
Les Fougeres ?/10
“Having grown up in Ottawa, and having eaten out 2-7 nights a week through the last few years, I’ve developed a pretty good feel for the restaurant scene there. My favourite Ottawa area restaurant is Les Fougeres. The Globe and Mail called it the 2nd best restaurant in Canada.” - Cullum, Mark [CAR:D593:EXCH]
This restaurant prepares its meals with delicate spices using fresh and innovative ingrediants. The menu offers an exotic variety of tastes from the Pacific Rim (Indonesia, Thailind, Malaysia, Vietnam and China), the Caribean and Mediterranean cultures. Sante’s walls serve as a gallery for local artists.45 Rideau Street, 2nd floor (corner of Sussex), 241-7113
Papagus Greek Tavern 7/10
‘Rustic taverna in true Mediterranean fashion’. My first sample of Greek cuisine, and I liked it. Also has the award for the latest I’ve found a restaurant open in Ottawa.
I don’t reckon the Canadians are into Indian food, and there aren’t many Indian restaurants in Ottawa. Those that are present tend to provide bland and uninteresting dishes. That said, Haveli was pretty good. It is more faithful to North Indian cuising than most of the restaurants in the UK, so go with an open mind; and don’t expect a Birmingham style Balthi. Worth investigating if you like Indian food. Luncheon buffet from Sunday to Friday.
194 Robertson Road (Village Mews Plaza), Bells Corners, 820-1700
Bravo Bravo 7/10
Innovative Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, served in a casual atmosphere with Tuscan decor. Enjoy an after dinner game of pool or stay for drinks at the bar. Take-out available. The pizza is just unbelievable & the atmosphere fun. Fantastic.
Mamma Teresa Ristorante 9/10
In 1970, Giuliano Boselli and his mother - Mama Teresa - opened a restaurant featuring authentic dishes from their home in Northern Italy. Today, Mama Teresa’s is an Ottawa institution, famous for warm friendly service and delicious pasta, veal and seafood dishes. My favourite Italian in the whole wide world.
(Just be careful visiting the bar up the road if you are a single bloke.)
This “pasta market” in the heart of the Byward market. Has a great patio just suited to people watching in the summer.
Bistro Italiano & Oyster Bar.
Japanese Village 6/10
The restaurant features fresh seafood, steak, chicken and vegetables tepan-grilled right at your table by dazzling Japanese chefs - they even put on a juggling act and show you some sleight-of-hand. There is also a Sushi bar. Makes a great impression.
Suisha Gardens 6.5/10
Authentic Japanese restaurant offering an extensive menu. Make your choice, then watch the chef prepare your dish. Upstairs at the sushi bar, floating boats display different dishes. A tatami room, and other private rooms are available. When I turned up, they were still serving at 9:30pm.
Mexicali Rosa’s 7/10
Authentic Mexican cuising as well a new and unique dishes. The fajitas are good, along with just about everything else on the menu. The Texas Hot Red Chilli is really hot, as the waitress will try to tell you when you order it. An Indian friend of mine; well known for liking hot curries didn’t quite manage to finish his.
Dows Lave Pavilion, 234-8156
895 Bank Street, 236-9499
975 Richmond Road, 722-4692
2401 St. Joseph Boulevard, Orleans, 924-6014
Les Promenades de l’Outaouais, Gatineay 243-1610
Friday’s Roast Beef House 8/10
Friday’s, located in an 1875 building, (the Canadians think that is really old….), is an Ottawa tradition. Although noted for its excellent roast prime rib of beef, the reasturant also serves prime steaks and seafood. After dinner, you can relax in the upstairs piano lounge.
The Fish Market Restaurant 7/10
The fish arrives fresh each morning and is prepared simply - fried, broiled or barbecued. If you like fish, there isn’t anywhere else as good in Ottawa.
The decor is elegant, with traditional dark panelling, thick carpets and white linen. Perfectly-aged charcoal-broiled straks are the speciality.
Royal Thai 8/10
Chefs from Thailand present authentic Thai food (no MSG) from an extensive menu. Choose your degree of spiciness in my favourite - hot and sour soop with lemon grass. This has to be one of my top 3 restaurants.
Good Morning Saigon Vietnam 7/10
Tiny, but authentic traditional sothern Vietnamese cuisine.
Pubs & Nightclubs
The Earl of Sussex
English style pub with a great selection of draught beers.
Live bands, and some great drinks. They even have the pan-galatic-gargle-blaster. Industrial and historical dark techno on Tuesdays.
The Other Side
Good sized dancefloor with balcony on the second floor. Rooftop terrace offers alfresco drinking.
Dance floor, and adjacent room with pool tables. Retro 80s nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays (popular with students.). Swing on Friday, Hard house and techno on Saturday.
Not a service for sending fax messages….
The Chateau Laurier
Posh spice would stay here if she came to Ottawa.
If Posh spice couldn’t get in to the Chateau, she’d stay here. Also has the advantage of being connected to the Rideau Centre - the biggest shopping center in Ottawa.
A friendy, non pretentious hotel. I like it.
I havn’t stayed here, but I did pop in to visit a friend last time I was in town. Looked good, and not much more expensive than the others. The suites are huge, and include kitchen, bathroom, work space, lounge and seperate bedroom. Great for an extended stay. Facilities include a gym, pool, sauna.