A Foodie’s Guide To Ottawa: 10 Best Restaurants In The Capital

Parliament Hill, Ottawa ©Robert Linsdell
Parliament Hill, Ottawa ©Robert Linsdell
Photo of Graziano Scaldaferri
9 February 2017

Standing on the south bank of the Ottawa River lies the country‘s capital, Ottawa — a city full of history and life. Once a place for harvesting, hunting, fishing, and trade is now filled with a hustling and bustling restaurant scene: find anything from intimate bistros and neighbourhood restaurants, to oyster bars and fine-dining cuisine. Check this updated guide for some of the best spots in town.


Bistro, Restaurant, Canadian, 0
An old favourite in Ottawa’s West Wellington/Hintonburg area, Allium was molded around the concept of providing locals with a contemporary, stylish bistro in an intimate setting. For the restaurant’s menu, chef Arupa Jana takes traditional Canadian cuisine and brings a modern spin to classic dishes, using French techniques. Allium has customers coming back again and again for the relaxed atmosphere and charm as well as for its seasonal menu that changes each month.


Looking to try one of the bests in fine-dining? Take it to Atelier, where chef and sommelier Marc Lepine brings his experience from around the globe to the kitchen, serving elevated cuisine in the form of art. At Atelier, guests must participate in the 12-course fixed tasting menu; however, this type of dining experience is not to be feared. Chef Lepine has continued to surprise his guests with unforgettable dishes, bringing many back again and again, and Atelier will even accommodate any guests with dietary restrictions. Each course is designed by Lepine and is a representation of his mastering of the kitchen — between the incredible flavour combinations, beautiful presentation, and perfectly paired wines for each dish, this spot should be sure not to be missed.

Atelier Inc, 540 Rochester St, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 321 3537

Chocolate cake © Ming-yen Hsu

Chocolate cake ©
Ming-yen Hsu

Beckta Dining and Wine

Consistently ranked as one of Ottawa’s top restaurants, award-winning Beckta Dining and Wine turns fine dining on its head with a menu of unique and creative recipes, ranging from seafood to meat dishes, prepared only with fresh and local ingredients. Start with the beef tartare, served with whitefish caviar and lemon ricotta, and then go for the laurentian chicken — seared chicken, pistachio pesto and marinated zucchini. Looking for a vegetarian dish? Opt for the fava bean quadrucci — roasted corn, King Eryingi mushrooms and smoked cashews. If you’re feeling daring, put chef Michael Moffatt in the hands of your dining experience and go for the tasting menu, offered in either five or eight courses.

Beckta Dining & Wine, 226 Nepean St, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 238 7063

Mussels ©Quinn Dombrowski

Mussels ©Quinn Dombrowski

Fraser Café

Cafe, Restaurant, Canadian, $$$
Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout | ©Smabs Sputzer
Head to Fraser Café, a neighbourhood spot with a quirky interior and laid-back atmosphere perfect for lingering with friends. The décor is simple with exposed metal, colourful furniture and photographs lining the brick walls. The food is traditional, yet elevated; think: roasted trout, poached lobster and seared duck breast. This lively joint is always packed, so be sure to make a reservation; or, book a private room at Table 40 next door, owned by Fraser Cafe.


At Gezellig, high ceilings, blue walls and colourful art make for a beautifully comfortable and relaxed atmosphere in this unique space that still maintains its bright and airy character. Find a range of internationally-inspired dishes on the menu like the rillette of pickled mushrooms with peppercorn bread, Québec chicken with a beet purée or pork gnocchi. Between the cuisine and vibe of this spot, eating at Gezellig is delightful in every respect.

Gezellig, 337 Richmond Rd, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 680 9086

Gnocchi Napoli oven-baked with Mozzarella ©Alpha

Gnocchi Napoli oven-baked with Mozzarella ©Alpha


Restaurant, Asian, European, Canadian, Contemporary, $$$
Steak Tartare
Steak Tartare | ©Mark Mitchell
Award-winning chef and culinary star, Michael Blackie, brings family-style cuisine to Ottawa’s West End with his restaurant Next. Blackie draws his inspiration from past experiences with Asian and European cuisine, fusing it with traditional Canadian classics. All dishes are meant to be shared, a fun and engaging experience, and each is perfectly prepared and presented. Go for the signature dish — steak tartare with Kozlik’s mustard, shallots, chives and baguette thins.


Bar, Restaurant, Cocktails, Tapas, Canadian, $$$
Tuna sashimi
Tuna sashimi | ©anokarina
Operating by the philosophy of, ‘Make Tacos Not War’, hip and glamourous Sidedoor brings people together through delicious cuisine. Choose between the spicy beef, Korean pulled pork, szechuan lamb tacos (other options are available); or, opt for the tuna sashimi, fresh, green papaya salad or crispy maputofu, all inspired by international flavours. Don’t miss out on the house-made mini donuts, a fan-favourite. Looking for a place to have a drink? Head to their bar, a trendy spot for locals and perfect for a speciality cocktail.

The Whalesbone Oyster House

Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
Oysters | ©Charlotta Wasteson
Ottawa’s Whalesbone, an oyster-lover’s dream, is all about this raw, meaty shellfish, and is one of the best spots in the city to feast on a dozen (or two) of fresh oysters. Decorated with quirky signs, statuettes and even a DJ booth, this spot caters to all appetites, serving an array of other seafood and wild fish, all brought in fresh daily. The menu changes based upon what is caught that day and boats an Ocean Wise certification, attesting to the restaurant’s care and attention for the marine eco-system’s sustainability.

The Urban Pear

Restaurant, Canadian, $$$
Wine Cellar
Wine Cellar | ©Dennis Jarvisa
The Urban Pear, a restaurant based upon the idea of farm-to-table, is strongly committed to sourcing ingredients only from local farmers, ensuring that the food is always fresh and the flavours alive. The menu changes daily, keeping patrons coming back. In an attempt to support local and national producers, The Urban Pear’s cellar also holds the best in Canadian wine and beer. If the weather is warm, don’t miss the terrace, perfect for outdoor dining.

Union 613

Bar, Restaurant, Cocktails, Canadian, $$$
Midori Margarita
Midori Margarita | ©Cynthia Closkey
Union 613 is a one-of-a-kind restaurant, with communal seating and a menu filled with eclectic Southern food options using unusual, but locally sourced, ingredients. This eccentric venue boasts dark wood ceilings, artsy murals and a set of funky banjos on one wall, amongst other feats. The bar offers a rich selection of specialty cocktails, some crafted with the restaurant’s house-made soda, and served in old-school mason jars. Downstairs find a sort of modern-day speakeasy ‘bootleg’ of craft beers and impressive gamut of whiskies and spirits. This one is not to be missed!

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