Relaxing weekends in Canada’s capital aren’t complete without brunch – the irresistible combination of breakfast, lunch and drinks. Eateries throughout the city are packed on weekends (and sometimes weekdays) with foodies looking for some sweet, salty, greasy or healthy eats. When brunch beckons, try these sizzling Ottawa restaurants:
Wilf & Adas
Locals love Wilf & Adas, a warm and welcoming spot with exposed brick, an open kitchen and friendly staff. The cozy restaurant, which is located in the Bank Street neighbourhood near the Canadian Museum of Nature, makes almost everything from scratch (including fresh-squeezed juices and house-smoked bacon) and sources it as locally as possible. Sip a smoothie, coffee or mulled apple cider (the latter can be spiked) while deciding between classic greasy breakfasts, vegetarian frittata or poached eggs in an avocado. Don’t eat eggs? Order lunch fare like the meatloaf burger or poutine galvaude. Although you usually have to wait for a table, that’s the perfect excuse to go relax at the Arlington Five café next door or sip a beer at Flora Hall Brewing just a block away.
This snug, underground hidden gem located on vibrant Elgin Street in downtown Ottawa is proudly “TV-free since ‘93”, which means the focus is on homemade food, quality beverages and community love. All weekend-long, The Manx pub serves long-time favourites like classic egg breakfasts, huevos rancheros and a curried vegan tofu scramble. Lunch-like options are also popular, including the Manx BLT (with maple glazed bacon) and grilled cheese.
The family-run Stoneface Dolly’s is known for their brunch, which is available weekdays and weekends at both their Little Italy and Riverside South locations. Vegetarians along with avid meat-lovers appreciate the large variety of dishes like the fried egg sandwich with pork belly, eggs benedict with peameal bacon, lemon ricotta blueberry pancakes, banana bread French toast and smoked salmon omelette. During weekend brunch, a portion of the lunch menu is also available with options like the South African-inspired bobotie, chick pea curry and black bean pasta.
Walk inside the French Baker in the ByWard Market neighbourhood and choose your culinary adventure: order fresh pastries from the bakery counter, or dine at Benny’s Bistro, the cozy restaurant hidden in the back. The colourful French-inspired space serves breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday, and brunch on weekends. The pared-down menu lists dishes like salmon gravlax with potato salad and sunnyside egg, frittata with local goat cheese and greens, roasted wild mushrooms with potato dumplings and basil pesto, and savoury buckwheat crêpes. Complement your meal with kir mimosas, wines and craft beers.
A self-professed “not so greasy spoon”, Chesterfield’s is an everyday brunch destination (except Tuesdays, when the restaurant is closed). Although menu items at the trendy Wellington West eatery are healthier than your average diner – including several vegetarian options – you’ll still find the satisfying flavours you crave. Go for classics like the frittata or the breakfast slider or try the French Canadian tourtière (meat pie), Jamaican benny or chicken and waffles (or pancakes). Your tastebuds won’t miss the grease!
Brunch with a Mediterranean twist is the focus at Mazarine in downtown Ottawa. Enjoy a fusion of flavours like avocado toast with za’atar, shakshuka with spicy tomato sauce and pancakes with sweet cardamom. The lamb sandwich (a great burger substitute) and marinated chicken skewers are deliciously juicy. Plus, local products are highlighted, including Dominion City beer (try a beermosa – beer and orange juice!) and Happy Goat Coffee. Open for breakfast and lunch, Tuesdays through Sundays.
Queen St. Fare
A recent addition to the downtown Ottawa dining and nightlife scene, Queen St. Fare (QSF) is a lively food hall and bar that hosts Beats and Brunch every Saturday and Sunday. Order from one of the multiple Ottawa-based vendors (including gourmet pizza, authentic Mexican dishes and gourmet burgers) and get a Caesar, mimosa, local beer or other beverage from the Q Bar. Sit wherever you like and enjoy the live music or DJ entertainment while you eat and mingle.
One of Ottawa’s hottest foodie spots is a bakery-turned-restaurant located in a converted warehouse between downtown and trendy Wellington West. On any day of the week, you can dine in or take out breakfast and lunch items like gourmet baked goods (including the Kronut – a combination of croissant and doughnut stuffed and topped with goodness), egg dishes and sandwiches. Art-Is-In serves brunch specials on Sundays between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., including sweet or savoury French toast, brunch burger and Reuben sandwich. There’s the usual coffee and soda, but also local beer and rich hot chocolate (made with 64% melted chocolate). And don’t leave without taking home a decadent pastry or rich bread!
Copper Spirits and Sights
For brunch with a side of panoramic views, head to Copper Spirits and Sights, the rooftop bar and lounge at Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market hotel. Their Beats + Brunch event is held on the last Sunday of each month, year-round (with some exceptions). Nosh on fancy fare while a DJ spins tunes in the stylish indoor and outdoor space. Buffet stations are filled with yogurt parfaits, baked goods, as well as cheese and charcuterie boards. You might also be treated to special stations like an avocado on toast bar, or scrambled egg taco bar. If that’s not enough, canapés like mini French toast, deviled eggs and tiny bagels with smoked salmon are passed around. Your admission includes a complimentary mimosa as well as access to the DIY Caesar bar!
When life calls for an upscale all-you-can-eat buffet, Wilfrid’s Restaurant at the historic Fairmont Château Laurier in the Downtown Rideau area is the perfect choice. Breakfast is served every day of the week in the elegant dining room which overlooks the Parliament buildings and the Rideau Canal Locks. Order from the à la carte menu or opt for the generous buffet which includes cold and warm breakfast items, plus an omelet station and the famous maple crêpes. But the ultimate experience is the Sunday brunch buffet which adds lunch-inspired options like salads, soup, smoked salmon, warm vegetables, eggs benedict, a carving station and a dessert table. Seatings for Sunday brunch are at 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; reservations recommended.
Ottawa’s culinary scene goes beyond brunch. Check out other great Ottawa restaurants that will have you drooling.