I have been living in Ottawa for five years now. Ottawa is the most beautiful city in Canada and is heaven for a foodie like myself. You can find just about any cuisine you want here in Ottawa, but if I had to choose five of my all-time favorite restaurants, I would choose these.
Location: 64 George Street - Byward Market - Ottawa - Ontario - K1N 5V9
Telephone: (613) 789-7575
La Bottega Nicastra Fine Food Shop offers an extraordinary selection of authentic Italian foods. I lived in Rome in college and love coming here to stock up on arborio rice, pecorino, Montepulciano wine, and prosciutto. They also have an incredible selection of Italian olive oil (just thinking about it makes me hungry!) and the prices are very reasonable. La Bottega Nicastra has absolutely delectable sandwiches. If you are craving a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich on a freshly baked baguette or - my other favorite - a Hungarian salami panini, look no further. Anytime, I feel nostalgic about my days in Italy, I come here. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is tucked away on George street, with a dark green awning.
Location: 464 Rideau Street Ottawa, ON K1N 5Z4
Telephone: (613) 789-9533
My next recommendation would be Shawarma Palace on Rideau Street. Shawarma Palace is open late and often pretty busy and frenetic, so I would recommend either getting there early or being prepared to wait. I must admit that I was a bit ambivalent about shawarma before coming here. My grandmother is Lebanese and makes the best falafel, hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouleh, kabob, you name it, so I am generally a bit skeptical of eating Arabic food outside of my grandmother's kitchen. However, Shawarma Palace is an exception and is a great place to turn to after a night on the town, especially in the winters here in Ottawa. The portions are generous and the staff is friendly. They will know your name after one visit. My favorite dish here would have to be the Beef Filet Shish Kabob. The meat is tender, juicy, melt-in-your mouth and the taboun bread is delicious. Shawarma Palace also has this incredible garlic sauce. It is a bit tangy and fits perfectly with the beef shawarma and kabob plates. An entree is about $10 or so it is a pretty affordable spot if you are craving home-cooked Lebanese food.
3) The Scone Witch
Location: 388 Albert St Ottawa, ON K1R 5B2
Telephone: (613) 232-2173
The Scone Witch on Albert Street is my favorite bakery in Ottawa and, as you might guess, is famous for its delicious scones. A warm blueberry scone, lightly buttered, with coffee is a great way to start your morning and has become a bit of a ritual of mine. You want to get there early because the lines are long and lunch can be dizzying. Every once in a while, especially when I have guests from out of town, I go to brunch at the Scone Witch. Not only is the Scone Witch's brunch the best brunch I have had in Ottawa, it is one of the best brunches I have had period. Their feta scone stuffed with soft scrambled eggs is fantastic. They don't have a ton of seating room for brunch so don't bring a big group and prices are a little bit on the bougie/posh side. I love treating people to brunch here.
Location: 1 York St Ottawa, ON K1N 5S7
Telephone: (613) 667-9207
Play Food and Wine on York Street is awesome for fancy, multi-course dinner. I sometimes go for an after-work glass of wine because their selection is vast. For dinner for two, it will run about $30-40 a person with wine, which I personally think is really reasonable. Play Food and Wine artfully intertwines French cuisine with British favorites and adds a unique Canadian twist. I took my parents out for their 24th anniversary and my mother said it was the best meal she had ever had. I cannot recommend the pork belly and candied turnips highly enough. I did not know turnips could be candied and they are delicious.
5) The Manx
Location: 370 Elgin St Ottawa, ON K2P 1N1
Telephone: (613) 231-2070
The Manx on Elgin Street has the best eggs benedict and the best beer selection. I love coming here with a big group because the atmosphere is low-key. Service can sometimes be a bit slow, the Manx is a solid neighborhood pub. The Manx also has an amazing veggie burger and everything is about $10-15 for dinner. You cannot beat it.
About the Author:
Ray Smiley is a foodie lover as well as a home grown Ottawa citizen. He is an Ottawa real estate agent and enjoys showing new home owners the charm of Ottawa as well as some of the best places to eat.