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Social is a trendy restaurant and lounge located in the happening Byward market is one of the most stylish eateries in the city. The grilled Alberta strip loin is a must-try as a main course, as is the foie gras burger; there is an excellent selection of cheese to follow the main course, if you wish to try them, all of them Canadian. The desserts are simple but the best ones often are - it serves up a great creme brulee. The cocktails are known to be divine, especially the Cuban Mojito - one sip has a terrific fresh tang of mint. Great food, coupled with friendly service, make eating at the Social Restaurant and Lounge a memorable experience.
Beckta restaurant is one of Ottawa's most prized fine dining experiences. It serves contemporary cuisine using many local and regional ingredients and with an accent of Japanese cuisine. The menu is imaginative but in no way intimidating; from their delightfully tender Ontario AAA Striploin to their Squid Bagna Càuda, the meals are lovingly prepared and presented. Beckta is also renowned for its carefully selected wine list and attentive, knowledgeable staff. Reservations are essential.
Another gem from celebrity restaurateur Stephen Beckta, Play is a decidedly different dining concept adding to the rich culinary diversity of Ottawa. The restaurant was established in 2009, and quickly became one of the hottest dining destinations in the city. The menu at Play offers a constantly evolving selection of small plates, crafted using locally-grown, seasonally available ingredients. With the aim of letting diners sample multiple preparations, the menu offers delights like marinated fig, octopus and boar sausage. The selection at the wine bar is one of the city's best, spanning the top wine regions of the world. There's a fine array of cheeses as well as charcuterie for company. Restaurant interiors are tastefully done, with mellow tones, and minimalist decor choices. There's a separate space for private events as well.
A wine cellar is the perfect place to house the award-winning restaurant Vineyards. Dark wooden furniture with a curved bar that stocks vintage wine bottles compliment the low ceilings and muted lights, creating the cellar feel. With patrons off all ages, you'd find wine connoisseurs and novices alike are spoiled for choice with more than 300 wines, 100 beers, scotches and whiskeys offered. The menu is short but quite a mouthful with Cajun chicken pizza, Belgian mussels with Spiced grilled crabs a must-have. What's more you can also have premium cheeses and of course their sumptuous desserts.
Aperitivo is quite popular among locals and they do not hesitate in recommending it to visitors as well. Set in a contemporary interior that is accentuated with dim lights and well-furnished to accommodate your friends, this spot is where food is celebrated. Start your culinary adventure with the Cheese & Charcuterie Plate or go for the Mixed Greens. Pair these with something from the wine menu. A selection of wines are daily offered by the glass and you can rely on your servers for suggestions. For cocktail fans, Aperitivo has interesting concoctions like the Bourbon Ceasar, Spicy Margarita and Apple Sangria which taste great when accompanied with Confit Duck Wings, Fried Calamari and Fish Tacos.