As a cosmopolitan city, Ottawa is home to many established and up-and-coming award-winning restaurants. From small, intimate settings to busy, boisterous eateries, you’re sure to find something to suit every mood and every taste in Canada’s Capital. And if your taste is vegetarian, Ottawa has that too! Here are a few suggestions on where to go for great vegetarian fare:
The Green Door restaurant
Located at 198 Main Street, just a five-minute drive from Ottawa’s busy downtown core, “Green Door” as it’s known locally, has been a favourite vegetarian stop for years. Open Tuesday to Sunday, Green Door offers a cozy, dimly lit setting with an organic vegetarian menu that offers items such as kale soup, tofu broccoli stir fry, quinoa salad and much more. Operating from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., this restaurant is a great place to have lunch, dinner or to enjoy a healthy afternoon snack!
And if you do decide to enjoy a meal at Green Door, Singing Pebble Books is also worth a visit. Located just down the street from Green Door at 202 Main Street, this privately-owned bookstore offers unique gifts, yoga accessories and a wide selection of titles on health, healing, parenting, vegetarian cooking and many other subjects. Make sure to say hello to Bodhi as you peruse the shop. Bodhi is a miniature Golden Doodle who is Singing Pebble’s unofficial customer greeter.
Located at 167 Laurier Street, directly across from the University of Ottawa, this tiny restaurant specializes in vegetarian and vegan-friendly cuisine, offering items such as Indian samosas, Indian pakora, tofu tamari and even traditional Canadian poutine, which features French fries, cheese curds and a mushroom gravy. Open Monday to Saturday, this bright, airy restaurant is popular among students and young professionals alike.
Perfection-Satisfaction-Promise opened in 1995 and is modeled around the teachings of Sri Chinmoy, an author, poet, artist and a respected spiritual philosopher. Ottawa Xpress says this restaurant offers “unquestionably some of the best vegetarian food in the city.”
The Daily Grind
Located at about a 10-minute drive from Ottawa’s downtown core at 601 Somerset Street, this unique art café is vegetarian, vegan and 100 per cent gluten-free friendly. Don’t let the café’s rough exterior influence you, the atmosphere inside is warm, cozy and the food is to die for, whether you are vegetarian or not.
Open daily from 11:00 a.m. and from 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, this restaurant offers a menu infused with Southern, tex-mex, Cajun and Caribbean elements, which illustrates the colourful background of Daily Grind’s owner. Here, you will find fresh-baked gluten-free bread and a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups and more, which are all made from fresh local produce and ingredients. Daily Grind offers lunch, dinner and all-day breakfast. This restaurant is a gem hidden in Ottawa’s exotic Chinatown neighbourhood! *The Daily Grind is currently closed due to damages caused by a fire.*
The Black Thorn Café
Known locally as “The Black Thorn,” this vegetarian-friendly restaurant is located in the heart of Ottawa’s busy downtown ByWard Market neighbourhood at 15 Clarence Street, just off of Sussex Drive. This restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays in the winter and is open daily in the summer. Here, you will find a selection of fine cheeses, gourmet pizzas and much more. The café offers an array of impressive cuisine that focuses on local flavour and fresh market produce.
This café is particularly popular during the warmer weather months as it offers a large patio that overlooks Ottawa’s charming cobblestoned Tin House courtyard. The impressive tin house façade in the courtyard is part of Ottawa’s heritage as it was created by local twentieth century tinsmith Honoré Foisy. The façade was meant to help Foisy demonstrate his talent. The Black Thorn patio is a great place to enjoy a good meal, a drink and do a bit of people watching in the summer!
Byward Market Square Building
Located at 55 ByWard Market Square in the middle of Ottawa’s famous open-air ByWard Market – the oldest and largest famers’ market in Canada – this building is home to several vegetarian-friendly vendors such as Shafali Bazaar, Casablanca Morrocan Food and French baker Le Moulin de Provence. Enter the building and peruse the vendors that offer Indian delicacies as well as a wide selection of salads and soups. Le Moulin de Provence is where you’ll want to stop for baked goods.
And while you’re in the heart of the ByWard Market, make sure to stop for a BeaverTails pastry! This Canadian delicacy has nothing to do with Canada’s national animal, the industrious beaver. Rather, the delicious, doughy, golden, beaver tail-shaped pastry is an Ottawa staple and the ByWard Market is where it was born in 1978. You will find the original BeaverTails stand located just outside of the ByWard Market Square building at the corner of William Street and George Street.
Located at 357 Richmond Road in Ottawa’s Wellington West neighbourhood, this new, trendy juice bar offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free cuisine. Choose from a selection of interesting menu items including loaded avocado, cauliflower wings, tacos and artisan mushroom patty burgers, to name a few. Beer, wine and cocktails are also available.
This is only a snapshot of Ottawa’s vegetarian and vegan-friendly scene. In each Ottawa neighbourhood, you will find specialized vegetarian restaurants as well as experienced restaurateurs who will work to accommodate any dietary request. Head out and see what Ottawa’s culinary scene has to offer!