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.
Pamper your sweet tooth at Stella Luna Gelato Cafe where authentic Italian desserts bring out the child in you. A name synonymous with gourmet gelatos, the cafe also serves one of the best lunch menus in Ottawas. Choose from Italian paninis, sandwiches, soups or simply indulge in scrumptious crepes, waffles, frappes and smoothies. Use of fine ingredients, local as well as sourced, promise you your money worth here. Offering a vibrant ambiance, Stella Luna hopes to promote the lively culture of Italy where everyday is an occasion.
Aroma brings a slice of Greece to Ottawa and does it in style. Known for their delectable tapas, this restaurant delights locals and travelers alike. The place has a welcoming interior with hardwood floors and exposed-brick walls adding an old-world charm. The menu at Aroma is extensive to say the least and it beckons your palate with dishes like Eggplant Roulade, Seared Haloumi, Rosemary Scallops and the Open Face Chicken. The wine list features impressive labels and patrons can rely on servers for suggestions over pairings.
What this stark, cafeteria-style vegetarian restaurant lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for with wonderful vegetarian and vegan food. At The Green Door Vegetarian Restaurant, the diverse menu of multicultural entrees, homemade breads and both rich and light desserts is popular among vegetarians and includes a number of dishes, such as many wheat-free desserts, suitable for specialized diets. Be warned that pricing is by weight, so heavier selections, like the delicious vegetarian lasagna, tend to quickly run up your bill.
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.
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.
The Metropolitan Brasserie is one of the better known restaurants in central Ottawa. You will find wonderful dishes of steak, smoked chicken and poutine on the menu, all of which are worth a try. They easily accommodate large groups, although the service does get a little slow.
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.
Rice-paper lamps, wooden screens and Japanese artwork add to the authentic feel of this sushi restaurant, popular with the downtown business lunch crowd. The main dining room features a sushi bar that spans the length of the room and allows you to watch as the chef prepares your meal. Salads, seasoned rice, noodle dishes (tempura udon), steaks and sukiyaki round out the menu. The restaurant also offers a children's combination dish with an ice cream dessert.
Private rooms are available in this massive stone restaurant, but in warmer weather most patrons prefer dining in the cobblestone courtyard. The creative outdoor tables have stencils of city scenes. Appetizers range from garlic bread with cheese to the Seafood Selection Plate. Main courses include the Grilled Grain-Fed Breast of Chicken with a Peach and Ginger Chutney and the house specialty Rack of Lamb with Dijon Mustard. The desserts, all simply divine, are also reasonably priced. The Maple Sugar Pie, a real taste of French Canada, is a steal.