From upscale, creative cookery to homely traditional classics, we uncover our pick of the best Italian restaurants in Ottawa.
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
With a fun, low key atmosphere, Town puts an inventive, original spin on its well-crafted Italian dishes. The menu is relatively small but includes a inviting range of small plates, as well as larger versions of upscale favorites, such as ricotta stuffed meatballs with soft polenta and san marzano. The restaurant prides itself on its connections to local suppliers, meaning all the ingredients are sourced fresh, and also furthers its sense of community by supporting local artists, whose works line the walls.
Town, 296 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 695 8696
Bella’s Bistro Italian
Currently celebrating its 30th anniversary, Bella’s Bistro Italian is a real family affair, owned by Chef Raffaela (Bella) Milito and her two brothers. This family feel carries over into the restaurant atmosphere, which is cosy and welcoming. The menu concentrates on Italian classics like ‘Linguine con Frutti di Mare’ and ‘Pollo Parmigiana’, although the kitchen team is also happy to go off-piste in creating something bespoke.
Bella’s Bistro Italian, 1445 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 724 6439
Mamma Teresa Ristorante
Situated in Ottawa’s Centretown neighborhood, Mamma Teresa Ristorante feels like it could have been lifted straight out of Parma, which is in fact the birthplace of its owner. The menu is very much old-school traditional Italian, terrine of veal and all, but the classic favorites, like baked cannelloni and lobster ravioli, have all the hallmarks of great hand-made cooking. Service is attentive thanks to staff who are knowledgeable and eager to share their love of Italian cuisine.
Mamma Teresa Ristorante, 300 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 236 3023
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
In a highly convenient location for those exploring Ottawa’s Parliament Hill or National Art Centre, Johnny Farina is a relaxed Italian restaurant housed in a former movie theatre. The restaurant spills over two levels, with both a casual bar/lounge area and more formal dining room, alongside their own on-site deli. In here, the open plan kitchen allows you to watch chefs prepare the signature wood-fire pizzas or other delicious dishes such as hand-rolled gnocchi.
Johnny Farina, 216 Rue Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 565 5155
With two locations in Ottawa’s Kanata and Westboro neighborhoods, Fratelli is a comfortable and friendly local haunt. The menu is simple but features well-known dishes such as ‘linguine pescatore’ and pan roasted cod, with nods to its trendy location in the availability of both gluten free pasta and pizza. The interior has a rustic but upscale feel and the atmosphere is perfect for a mid-week meal with friends.
Fratelli, 499 Terry Fox Drive, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 592 0225
Fratelli, 275 Richmond Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 722 6772
North & Navy
Influenced by tradition, but inspired predominantly by the availability of seasonable ingredients from the Eastern Ontario region, North & Navy is a slick place focused on fresh game and seafood. The food is invariably tasty and often more unusual than the traditional Italian offerings, with dishes such as beet and goat cheese scarpinocc pasta and rabbit with polenta and asparagus. For a really special dining experience, order the bistecca fiorintine, a huge 46oz Italian-style steak perfect for sharing between two or more people.
North & Navy, 226 Nepean Street, Ottawa, ON, Canada, +1 613 232 6289