Recline into plush crimson seats at one of a dozen or so hardwood tables at this cozy basement pub; order a single malt scotch or an imported brew and relax. Authors read their works periodically during the week and the famed Sunday brunch was voted as the Best Brunch two years running by readers of Xpress, Ottawa's entertainment newspaper. There are various goodies on the menu like Eggs Ireland and stout French Toast stuffed with bananas. Traditional pub grub, including Shepherd's Pie and burgers are also offered, as well as more upscale choices, like Moroccon Stew and grilled salmon.
Located in an erstwhile bank building, Gezellig is an elegant restaurant which offers high quality Canadian food and a range of fine wines. Although the menu concentrates on Canadian dishes, it takes its influences from culinary traditions from the world over. Complementing these flavors perfectly, the wines are carefully chosen from and globally sourced. With neutral tones, mood lighting and tasteful decor, the restaurant is both classy and inviting. Following the meaning of its own name which is a Dutch word for a cozy atmosphere, the restaurant is a perfect place for a family meal.
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.
Located in an 18th-century heritage building, the restaurant with its unique mosaic waterfall behind the bar and couches, leather sofas and muted lights offers a relaxed dining ambiance. The menu spans meat and seafood delicacies cooked creatively complementing the Spectator award winning wine list. Combine any of these with one of the fifty wines or their signature flights that perfectly complement your meal. If that's not all, have a foot-tapping time with live DJs playing funky beats.
This landmark watering hole, better known as The Laff, is one of the last traditional taverns in Ottawa. Opened in 1849, the bar has undergone a number of renovations but is still in the same Byward Market location it has occupied for over 150 years. Although the kitchen serves up a limited menu of hamburgers and sandwiches, its main reason for being is cold draft beer served directly from the tap. The main bar also features live entertainment on most nights.
Lively and trendy, Tequila Jacks is the place where the university crowd of Ottawa comes to party and shake a leg to beats which vary from 80s rock to mellow country. Renowned for the most happening parties in town, the club also sees quite a lot of out-of-town customers and businessmen unwinding after a successful deal. The Vegas-themed club has quite an exceptional dance floor with poles and raised platforms. Along with birthday parties and bachelor parties, the club is also host to events like fundraisers, sports-themed parties and movie shoots.
Named for one of Canada's founding fathers—who was assassinated on nearby Sparks Street in 1868—this massive pub manages to maintain a cozy, intimate feel. Set in a historic structure from 1883, it features comfortable booths that are separated from one another by beautiful stained glass windows. Try one of the daily pub fare specials or an Irish breakfast on the weekends. The pub often draws large crowds on Wednesday through Saturday evenings, when local musicians entertain patrons with live Celtic tunes.
Cool colors, open spaces and pale wood tones give this stylish two-level grill and pub a California feel that makes it a hit with the downtown professional crowd. A popular place for business lunches and large groups, Oscar's features an antipasto bar, cappuccino bar and a large choice of salads and Italian sandwiches. The eclectic selection of thin-crust, wood-oven pizzas are the big draw on the menu; be prepared for a long wait if you order one during the lunch rush.
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. The desserts are simple, but the best ones often are, with the immortal creme brulee being the most popular. The cocktails are known to be divine, especially the Cuban Mojito, and each sip has a terrific fresh tang of mint. Great food, coupled with friendly service, make dining at the Social Restaurant and Lounge a memorable experience.
Calling Westin Ottawa its home is a posh steakhouse and seafood restaurant called the The Shore Club. Ideally located in Downtown, this sophisticated eatery is perfect for business as well as casual rendezvous. Renowned for its contemporary decor, impeccable service and unparalleled dining fare, this restaurant has a lot to offer. There is an elegant menu featuring fresh seafood dishes and superior quality steaks along with a dynamic cocktail bar. An ideal venue for celebrations, as it boasts of semi-private and well-appointed dining rooms, The Shore Club offers an exclusive and intimate experience.
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 décor choices. There's a separate space for private events as well.