Whatever your preconceptions about vegan food, throw ’em out the window. Even meat eaters will have a change of heart when they sit down at ZenKitchen, Ottawa’s gourmet vegan restaurant that has earned rave reviews and numerous accolades (mostly recently, winning silver at the annual Gold Medal Plates competition). Nestled in an unassuming house in Chinatown, this eatery has a relaxed atmosphere that serves as a nice backdrop for the star of the show: the food. Chef Caroline Ishii and sommelier Dave Loan (also the owners) approach vegan cuisine and the accompanying wine list with thought and creativity, and each plate is as scrumptious as it is fun to look at. Popular dishes include the seitan, a wheat-based product with the look and texture of a cutlet, and the lively Mexican sopé. 634 Somerset St. W., 613-233-6404.