If you’re looking for different culinary experiences in one place, Ottawa – Canada’s beautiful capital – has a lot to offer. From high-end, fine dining, to local gems, to a selection of culinary tours – there’s even a craft beer tour company – you’re bound to find something to make your taste buds happy.
Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a list of five Ottawa gems that will help you plan a perfect culinary-themed getaway. Get to know the flavours of Ottawa with these unique culinary experiences you won’t find anywhere else!
Signatures Restaurant & Le Cordon Bleu:
You can’t go wrong with a culinary classic! Housed in a charming and historic 1877 former lumber baron mansion at the end of Laurier Avenue East in Ottawa’s downtown core, Signatures offers a unique dining experience in beautiful small dining rooms. Enjoy a quiet ambiance and savour delectable French-inspired cuisine by veteran Chef Yannick Anton, who’s been running the Signatures kitchen since 2006. Make sure to order a Champs-Élysées; Signatures’ signature cocktail!
If you want to take your culinary experience here one step further, see what Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute has to offer. Why not sign up for a culinary demonstration? Lasting about two to three hours, a demonstration gives you an insider’s look at a Cordon Bleu kitchen. Watch as a seasoned chef demonstrates the art of chocolate or pastry-making. Different demonstrations are available and you’ll learn useful tips and tricks as you go. And the best part? You get to taste the chef’s delicious creations at the end!
But in terms of fine dining establishments in Ottawa, Signatures is only one of the many delectable options. Also worth discovering are Restaurant E18hteen in the bustling ByWard Market neighbourhood, Beckta Dining & Wine on Elgin Street – both are CAA/AAA Four Diamond rated restaurants – and Le Baccara, a Five Diamond rated restaurant located at the Casino du Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Que. No matter which place you choose, you’re sure to have a memorable culinary experience!
Try an Ottawa Taco:
When you think about Ottawa, you probably think of BeaverTails pastries. But though deep fried and delicious, there’s another item that you just have to try; a taco!
On York Street, you’ll find SIDEDOOR restaurant, one of THE places to get tacos in Ottawa! In this establishment, tacos and Asian cuisine unite to offer unique dishes you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy delectable, fresh tacos created by Head Chef Jonathan Korecki, who was a contestant on Top Chef Canada’s second season.
And on Elgin Street, you’ll want to stop by the ever popular El Camino. At this tacos/tequila/raw bar, you’ll find a selection of seven kinds of tacos ranging from pork to beef, to ox tongue – yep, that’s right – to crispy fish and more! We recommend getting here early because this beloved local spot doesn’t take reservations. But don’t worry if the place is full, just order your tacos from El Camino’s convenient pick-up window.
Discover Ottawa’s craft beer scene with a Brew Donkey tour:
A relatively new Ottawa company, Brew Donkey offers guided tours of Ottawa’s craft beer breweries. Hop on a bus and learn about the beer-making process before visiting great local breweries such as Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, Beyond the Pale, Mill Street Brewery, Cassel Brewery and even winery Domaine Perrault, among many others. Various tours are available that visit brewers in Ottawa’s center, in the east end and in the west end. And the best part? You get to sample delicious brews all along the way! Purchase your ticket in advance for one of these tours that run on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays year-round. This is a great bachelor or bachelorette party activity!
Go on a culinary walking tour of Ottawa:
Go on a guided walking tour and learn about Ottawa’s culinary gems from a local insider. Ottawa Tasting Tours will take you around the busy ByWard Market neighbourhood to sample some of the best food and wine the area has to offer. Along the way, you’ll also learn all about Ottawa’s rich history and how it became the cosmopolitan capital it is today. These tours last about two to three hours and typically end at 7:00 p.m. A non-alcoholic food tour option is also available.
If you’d like to see what the ByWard Market or another Ottawa neighbourhood has to offer, opt to go on a culinary walking tour with C’est Bon Cooking. See the city from a local foodie perspective and discover the gems neighbourhoods such as Chinatown, the Glebe and Wellington West have to offer. These tours also last about three hours and samples are provided all along the way.
Indulge in vegetarian cuisine:
In Ottawa, you’ll find several vegetarian restaurants including establishments that cater to vegan and gluten-free patrons.
A classic Ottawa vegetarian restaurant is the Green Door. Located at 198 Main Street, just a five-minute drive from Ottawa’s busy downtown core, Green Door has been a favourite vegetarian spot 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!
Or if you’re in the mood for something sweet, stop by The Cupcake Lounge. Located in the ByWard Market neighbourhood, this bakery offers gourmet, all-natural and gluten-free cupcakes as well as cakes. Try different flavours such as almond raspberry, cookie dough, lemon coconut, key lime and even Earl Grey tea, to name a few.
But again, these are only two of the many vegetarian dining options that are available. You can be sure that there will be a restaurant to suit your tastes. A few other great options include Perfection-Satisfaction-Promise and Pure Kitchen.
The ideas above however, are only a few things to get your culinary getaway to Ottawa started. For more information on what the city’s culinary scene has to offer, browse Ottawa Tourism’s website.