20 Best Restaurants in Ottawa, ON, [2022 Updated]

With more than one million residents, Ottawa has developed a sophisticated dining scene that includes everything from small cafes to the finest restaurants that offer both top Canadian and Continental cuisine. In a metropolitan area where English and French conversations often occur in unison, Ottawans enjoy the variety of restaurants found throughout Canada’s capital city.

Absinthe

$$-$$$ | 613-761-1138 | Website

 

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This bistro on Wellington Street offers a variety of popular European dishes, with a particular emphasis on French-inspired platters. The goat cheese fondue, beef tenderloin tartar, and escargots are appetizers that accompany a robust list of wines from the Continent.

The steak fries, roasted salmon, and duck leg confit each have their admirers. With lunch specials and their standard dinner menu, the wait staff at Absinthe brings both outstanding service and a meal as memorable as a fine dining experience in France or Belgium.

 

Beckta Dining & Wine

$$$$ | 613-238-7063 | Website

Located across from the city’s courthouse and a few steps from Confederation Park, this gem in the historic Grant House offers a wine bar and an exquisite dinner menu that features the best of Canadian dishes. The grilled branzino, smoked duck breast, seared scallops, and striploin each come with sides that accent their taste.

For special evenings, the 5-course tasting menu offers both omnivore and plant-based specialties that match perfectly with one of the signature wines. Beckta offers those craving a high-quality gastronomic experience the perfect venue in the heart of the city.

 

Biagio’s Italian Kitchen

$$ | 613-828-0770 | Website

Located in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood near the Ottawa River, Biagio’s offers all of the traditional Italian dishes one might expect, along with their popular salads and antipasto boards.

Some residents who have enjoyed the wood fired pizza available from their pizza trailer that travels throughout the area make it a priority to visit their Richmond Road restaurant. The exceptional wood-fired taste makes the thin-crust pies available in the dining room or on the seasonal outdoor patio a popular menu item.

 

La Bottega Nicastro

$-$$ | 613-789-7575 | Website

In a city with many fine options for Italian sandwiches, La Bottega Nicastro stands out. The fine delicatessen meats combined with some of the tastiest bread ones can imagine making La Bottega’s sandwiches a popular take-out and catering option for those who crave something far beyond standard franchise fare.

The grocery and wine selections have turned this deli into a popular place for those wanting to gather Italian and European products for their pantries, and their occasional classes on Italian dishes and wines offer a savoury course for participants.

 

The Brig Pub

$$-$$$ | 613-562-6666 | Website

This popular establishment has a tradition of mixing great ales, lagers, IPAs, stouts, and other brews with mouth-watering pub food. Fish tacos, burgers, wraps, chicken fingers, and their always-popular fish & chips are staples at this York Street location.

Those wanting a new take on a vegetable while skipping the customary potato options should consider General Tso’s cauliflower, panko fried and infused with flavour.

 

Courtyard Restaurant

$$$-$$$$ | 613-241-1516 | Website

Located in a historic spot along George Street, this elegant restaurant prides itself on blending European culinary tradition with inspirations from local food sources and artisanal techniques.

Rather than offering an extensive menu, the seasonal offerings focus on a limited number of salads and main dishes, but with great attention to detail and quality that one would expect in a fine restaurant in Paris.

 

Cumberland Pizza

$ | 613-789-9999 | Website

 

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This small, unassuming spot in the Lower Town neighbourhood offers some of the best Greek dishes and pizzas in the area. With just a few tables, most of the customers carry out their Greek platters or wraps, or thick pies with generous toppings.

In addition to the standards such as their meaty Canadian pizza, those interested in delicious Mediterranean pies often prefer either the Lebanese, Greek, or Gyro pesto thin crust pies. In a district with many ethnic food establishments, Cumberland is a very popular destination.

 

Das Lokal

$$$ | 613-695-1688 | Website

Diners who enjoy schnitzel and spaetzle will love this German and Central European eatery in the ByWard Market area. Chef Harriet Clunie crafts brunch and dinner entrees that include vegan and vegetarian takes on European standards, as well as rich items such as the German “burger” made with a pork sausage patty and graced with sauerkraut.

The Ploughman’s Breakfast and other menu selections feature both European cheeses and some of the best from Canada.

 

DreamLand Cafe

$$ | 613-422-4200 | Website

Pizza, pesto, and pasta places have defined Ottawa’s Little Italy neighbourhood for generations. Among the many restaurants in this area, DreamLand Cafe has emerged as a tasty destination.  The gnocchi, spaghetti, and carbonara dishes have their fans who return regularly for their fill of these delightful options.

The cafe’s varieties of mac ‘n’ cheese, especially the French Onion Mac and Pesto Mac, are always popular. The menu includes numerous beer and wine selections to accompany your meal.

 

Elgin Street Diner

$-$$ | 613-237-9700 | Website

Elgin Street Diner

In the area where the Centretown and Golden Triangle neighbourhoods intersect, the Elgin Street Diner offers comfortable Canadian diner food around the clock.

Known for its wide variety of poutine selections and milkshakes with a French vanilla ice cream foundation,  the breakfast options, burgers and sandwiches, wraps, and main dishes cover the standard fare, but with large portions and a savoury taste.

Popular entrees include the Montreal smoked meat sandwich platter, the lox club, and the hangover breakfast that adds poutine to your favorite eggs and meat.

 

Fatboys Southern Smokehouse

$$ | 613-695-5599 | Website

A few steps from the National Gallery of Canada and the United States Embassy, a simple one-story eating establishment resembles something found south of our border, perhaps somewhere in Alabama, Tennessee, or the Carolinas. Opened by Shawn Dawson in 2011, this smokehouse brings some of the best BBQs in Canada to the heart of our city.

Appetizers include both the expected deep fried pickles and the unexpected pulled pork poutine. Whether you crave the Southern Belle Salad or the Kentucky Derby medley of barbequed meats and chicken, Fatboys fills your belly deep with food from the American South.

 

Gezellig

$$$-$$$$ | 613-680-9086 | Website

This dining treasure in Westboro Village occupies a former bank building. Living up to its meaning in Dutch of a cosy place with a “nice atmosphere,” Gezellig offers memorable brunch and dinner menus that include some of the finest examples of high-end cuisine.

The Alberta lamb shank and grilled octopus are examples of two main dinner entrees that have won great praise. The restaurant maintains an impressive wine list for all tastes.

 

Gitanes

$$$$ | 613-562-0699 | Website

 

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For those who enjoy French cuisine but hope to avoid the predictable, a visit to Gitanes will offer a memorable evening. The ever-evolving menu allows diners to taste the best French dishes as they are crafted with great care. Diners rave about the excellent service, the complex tastes of the meals, and the creative cocktails available from the bar.

 

The Green Door Restaurant & Bakery

$$ | 613-234-9597 | Website

Opened in 1988, the Green Door is Ottawa’s oldest vegetarian restaurant and includes a bakery and buffet selections. A regular rotation of main dishes covers tastes enjoyed in many healthy areas of the planet.

Examples include the Eggplant Pesto Bechamel and an impressive tofu broccoli stir fry, as well as Chickpea Coconut Curry with Spinach, French Lentil Stew, and Jerk Tempeh. The vegan and gluten-free cheesecakes are a popular way to end a meal.

 

Hareg Cafe & Variety

$ | 613-695-2488 | Website

Hareg Cafe & Variety

The Hareg Cafe is one of a growing number of restaurants in Ottawa that offer African cuisine. With a focus on Ethiopian dishes, the offerings mix richly spiced vegetables, rice, and meat entrees, with vegetarian options also available.

Those who enjoy lamb should consider either the Ye-Beg Alicha or Ye-Beg Wot. Injera, the flatbread that is a popular companion to many Ethiopian dishes, is outstanding.  Vegetarians will enjoy the combo platters that can be served either as spicy or non-spicy meals.

 

Kettlemans Bagel

$ | 613-567-7100 | Website

Since 1993, Kettlemans Bagel has satisfied the ’round-the-clock cravings of customers with its delicious baked goods. Whether you prefer your bagels flavoured with chocolate, pumpernickel, herb & cheddar, or all dressed, they have them available 24 hours a day with lox and a variety of cream cheese spreads.

Bagel sandwiches, from the club classic to the Reuben sandwich, take their bagels to the next level. Danish, turnovers, and their nanaimo bars show that they can bake more than the traditional bagels at this popular Bank Street gathering place. The potato pancakes and pizza bagels are also popular items.

 

Korean House Restaurant

$$ | 613-237-0808 | Website

Korean House Restaurant

Those who enjoy Korean barbeque and all-you-can-eat Asian options should consider this popular destination on Somerset Street. The special bibimbap rice dishes include meat and vegetarian selections. The savoury special bulgogi entrees have a taste of spice and fire as they leave the grill.

Diners praise the way the cooks prepare and marinate the meats to lock in their rich flavour. This is a wonderful location for those wishing to enjoy a buffet or larger meal while visiting Ottawa’s Chinatown.

 

Petit Bill’s Bistro

$$-$$$ | 613-729-2500 | Website

In a city and region with many French-inspired restaurants, this bistro on Wellington Street has earned high praise for its meat and seafood dishes. In addition to a delicious French onion soup, other enjoyable appetizers include the lobster wonton, scallop scone, grilled chorizo with Dijon, and lobster poutine.

Vegetarians may want to choose the moist and filling pecan burger accompanied by tahini yogurt. Arctic char offers a fish dish not found in many other establishments, and the steak frites and beef farfalle will appeal to meat-eaters.

 

Phở Thủ Đô Restaurant

$ | 613-235-7116 | Website

Phở Thủ Đô Restaurant

A vibrant Asian restaurant district has taken root in Ottawa’s Chinatown, especially along Somerset Street. Along with the Thai, dim sum, ramen, and Chinese establishments, a growing number of Vietnamese eateries have opened in this neighbourhood.

When you open the door at Phở Bắc, the delicious scent of the phở immediately catches your attention. In addition to more than 20 variations of phở, this comfortable restaurant offers the appetizers, broken rice, and vermicelli staples one expects. Their spring rolls have consistently received high praise.

 

The Whalesbone Elgin Street

$$$-$$$$ | 613-505-4300 | Website

The Whalesbone Elgin Street 

With multiple Ottawa locations, the Whalesbone brings high-class seafood options that go far beyond oysters. Cold appetizers include waygu beef tartare, baked oysters, bay scallop ceviche, and an incredibly rich seafood chowder.

Halibut, sablefish, lobster, and chinook salmon are popular seafood entrees, with the scallops and pork belly combination bringing sea and land together on the same plate. The jerk Cornish game hen and varieties of aged beef offer suitable options for landlubbers.

 

Delicious Destinations Awaiting Your Visit

The 20 best restaurants in Ottawa represent some of the tastiest destinations in Canada. The large international community that lives in or visits Canada has left a strong and tasty impression on the local food landscape. Enjoy your visit to your favorite Ottawa restaurants.

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