Andy's Ottawa Guide (1999)

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.


Brew Pubs

    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


    Royal Star/Buffet

    All you can eat - Chinese and Canadian Buffet

    99 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 !

    57 Bank Street - open to 9pm - 230-4005
    220 Elgin Street - open 24hrs - 230-6444


    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.

    69 Laurier Street, Hull, 777-5646
    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]

    15 minutes north of Ottawa in Chelsea, PQ


    Sante 8/10

    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.

    281 Kent Street, 233-3626


    Haveli 6/10

    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.

    87 George Street (upstairs in the Market Mall), 241-1700.
    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.

    292 Elgin Street, 233-7525
    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.)

    300 Somerset Street West (at O’Connor), 236-3023
    Oregano’s 6/10

    This “pasta market” in the heart of the Byward market. Has a great patio just suited to people watching in the summer.

    74 George Street, 421-5100
    La Piazza

    Bistro Italiano & Oyster Bar.

    150 Robertson Rd, Bells Corners, 820-9664
    25 York Street, 562-6666


    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.

    170 Laurier Avenue West at Metcalfe, 236-9519
    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.

    208 Slater Street, 236-9602


    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.

    207 Rideau Street, 241-7044
    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

Roast Beef

    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.

    150 Elgin Street, 237-5353


    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.

    54 York Street (Byward Market), 241-4954


    HY’s 7/10

    The decor is elegant, with traditional dark panelling, thick carpets and white linen. Perfectly-aged charcoal-broiled straks are the speciality.

    170 Queen Street (at O’Connor), 234-4545


    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.

    272 Dalhousie Street (at Murray Street), 562-8818


    Good Morning Saigon Vietnam 7/10

    Tiny, but authentic traditional sothern Vietnamese cuisine.

    323 Rideau Street, +1 613 789 4080

Pubs & Nightclubs

    The Earl of Sussex

    English style pub with a great selection of draught beers.

    431 Sussex Drive (edge of Bytown Market), 562-5544
    Zaphod Beeblebrox

    Live bands, and some great drinks. They even have the pan-galatic-gargle-blaster. Industrial and historical dark techno on Tuesdays.

    27 York Street, 562-1010
    The Other Side

    Good sized dancefloor with balcony on the second floor. Rooftop terrace offers alfresco drinking.

    34 Clarence Street, in the market.
    The Cave

    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.

    Underground dance bar just off Sparks street.

Exotic Dancers

    Barbarella’s Dimonds


    340 Queen Street, 234-8709
    Bare Fax

    Not a service for sending fax messages….

    27 York Street (Bytown Market), 562-1313


    The Chateau Laurier

    Posh spice would stay here if she came to Ottawa.

    The WestInn

    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.

    The Radison

    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.

    433 Laurier Avenue W, 782-2350 or 1-800 267 3377