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.
Zoé's Lounge located in the luxe Fairmont Château Laurier, is one of Ottawa's most chic lounge. The decor spells class and elegance with grand chandeliers, carpet and a beautiful atrium. Named after a sweet lady by the name Zoé, the lounge serves everything that your hungry heart desires. You can munch on the delicious pizzas and light bites and for the calorie conscious they have a variety of salads. It also serves an exciting variety of refreshing teas in its afternoon and Canadian high-tea menus.
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.