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.
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.
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.
The Fire Station is one of the city's hottest nightclubs, especially on weekends. Dance the night away or simply enjoy a drink at the bar. Otherwise, watch Ottawa's party animals in action. The station's relaxed ambiance and rocking music are sure get you in the party mood.
If you wish to enjoy a laid back brunch on a weekend then Fraser Café is where your search ends. Yoghurt Pancakes, Poached Eggs and the Panzanella give a refreshing start to your day and Mimosas and smoothies add the extra zest needed. Albeit more popular from brunch, many also explore Fraser Café for lunch and the place does not disappoint. For lunch, try the Chicken Barley Risotto, Braised Pork Pie and do not leave out the Smoked Trout if you like seafood. The Striploin and Pork Belly make great mains if you are having your dinner here. Fraser Café also has a list of impressive wines to complete your fare.
Located in the quaint community of Carp, The Cheshire Cat Pub is a simple spot where good times roll. Surrounded by a pristine garden and quirky articles, the setting of this local gem gets your curiosity going. As you step inside, the warmth of the place makes you comfortable instantly. The place has an interesting interior and their archaic fireplace keeps things toasty indoors. The bar boasts of fine local beers along with a few robust wines thus promising something for every mood. The food menu, albeit limited, covers local specialties of which their lamb pie is a must try.
Aperitivo is quite popular among the locals and they do not hesitate in recommending it to tourists as well. Set in a contemporary interior that is accentuated with dim lights and is well-furnished to accommodate patrons comfortably, 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 is 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.