Climb the long, narrow stairs between the cheese and fish shops of the Byward Market to Ottawa's trendiest jazz bar, the Mercury Lounge. Besides, there are DJ and dance events, poetry reading sessions and more making Mercury Lounge a versatile event venue. A red velvet theme runs throughout the narrow, two-floor club, from the lanterns over the bar to the thick drapes hanging from the factory ceilings. Dress varies among the young, professional, club-going patrons, from fashionable evening wear to the occasional pair of jeans.
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.
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.
Located inside the Hotel Novotel Ottawa, The Albion Rooms serves you dishes that leave a lasting impression on the palate. Neatly decorated and well-furnished, The Albion Rooms welcomes larger parties and also has intimate seating spaces for couples. Food as well as drinks served here are an amalgamation of gastronomy and art. Dishes come to your table plated with beauty while cocktails taste as dramatic as they look. Do not leave out the Charcuterie boards at Albion Rooms as these are a specialty.
Enjoy the sophistication of inventive gourmet cuisine at Absinthe, located in Mechanicsville. Using this modern day bistro as his playground, is owner and chef de cuisine Patrick Garland, where he combines the great produce of the region with classic French cooking techniques. Along with decadent dishes, enjoy superior quality charcuterie and cheeses supplementing the elegant list of wines served here. Creative and well put together, the delicious offerings of this modish restaurant are ever so often applauded by local media and magazines.
The Lookout Bar is a lively gay bar near downtown Ottawa which offers a plethora of activities and an extensive list of zippy cocktails. The cocktail list is heavy on mojitos and martinis and the food menu consists on typical bar snacks like nachos and chicken fingers. The dance floor is usually packed with people shaking a leg to catchy beats played by the DJ late into the night. Events like drag shows, karaoke nights, men's night and ladies nights ensures that the bar stays bustling and busy.
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.
A place that can do no wrong, Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse presents good food and great service in an even better ambiance. An exciting menu filled with scrumptious delicacies made with the best available ingredients, this charming cafe is one of the best breakfast and brunch places in town. The unconventional decor of the cafe, made with all things recycled, sure does leave a lasting impression on you. As the night falls, this cafe tempts socialites with its full bar menu and a fine bistro fare.
Located in the centre of Ottawa, Kinki Lounge Kitchen is surrounded by shopping outlets and other dining options. Try the Miso Shiro Soup, Shogun Duck or crunchy Tempura for main course; but for the adventurous ones can try the Sushi. Certainly an acquired taste, you might have to try the raw fish dish a few times before you like the flavor. The restaurant also serves delicious cocktails that go very well with the spicy, healthy food.