Delicious modern food is on offer at Gezellig, a cozy restaurant in the heart of Westboro.
Restaurant entrepreneur Stephen Beckta and executive chef Michael Moffatt’s newest venture Gezellig (gah-zell-ig), named after the Dutch adjective for “convivial”, is both comfortable and inspiring with its modern menu and cozy atmosphere. Located in a converted 1950s bank building in Westboro, the restaurant specializes in big plates designed to be shared, such as the St. Louis back ribs with swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, grilled peppers, and butter-fried cornbread. The menu gets inspiration from around the world, including the wine pairings, while still supporting local producers.
•337 Richmond Rd., 613-680-9086. gezelligdining.ca
•Map and reviews
Communal seating, southern cuisine, and a vast selection of bourbon are part of Union Local 613′s charm.
Nestled in Ottawa’s Somerset Village, Union Local 613 has caused a wave of excitement in the nation’s capital with its bold take on Southern cuisine. Communal seating covers the majority of the restaurant, allowing raucous conversations to travel across shared tables — and once your order comes, raucousness will continue. Buttermilk-fried yardbird, cracker crusted Louisiana catfish and cheddar, and roasted garlic hominy grits are just a few of the items worth shouting about. A selection of bourbon makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a Kentucky saloon.
•315 Somerset St. W., 613-231-1010, union613.ca
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In the mood for tacos with a twist? Head over to El Camino — their fillings include such delicacies as ox tongue and lamb!
Tacos? Yes, please. Raw food? Mhmm. Creative cocktails? Heck, yeah! El Camino has wowed Ottawa with its chill underground space and varied menu that elevates the simple taco with such fillings as lamb and ox tongue. It’s open for lunch and dinner, and if you’re in a rush — or just want to enjoy the beauty of Ottawa during the summer — they have a takeout window so you can eat and walk!
•380 Elgin St., 613-231-1010, eatelcamino.com
Experience some fine dining at Signatures Restaurant, where modern cuisine is combined with a relaxing ambience.
Named a Signature Experience by the Canadian Tourism Commission, Signatures Restaurant occupies a gorgeous mansion just steps from the Rideau River. Its incomparable seasonal menu — revamped and revitalized in recent months — and phenomenal wine list make it an ideal spot to celebrate your special occasion.
•453 Laurier Ave. E., 613-236-2433. bistroatsignatures.com
•Map and reviews
An assortment of wacky burgers are on the menu at the Works—like this, the Three Ring Binder.
The Works ain’t your normal burger shop. First, pick your choice of seven patties, from elk to veggie to Canadian beef. Next, pick one of the dozens of topping combinations that start with Babewatch (avocado and Monterey Jack) and ends with War Pig (mushrooms, smoky BBQ, cheddar, and bacon). Last, add a side, such as their spicy bold slaw or fresh cut fries. With so much choice you’re destined to find a combination that’s right for you—and you’ll see just why this gourmet burger joint has won so many awards.
•Seven locations, including: 580 Bank St., 613-235-0406, worksburger.com
•Map and reviews
Von’s Bistro in the Glebe has an extensive brunch menu, offering everything from yogurt and granola to grilled salmon omelettes.
Laidback and relaxed, Von’s Bistro in the Glebe creates a homey space to break bread. Here for the weekend? Well, their brunch menu runs a mile long, with every type of creative benedict, omelet, and pancake one could desire. Afternoon and evening fare focuses on shareable plates, pastas, and protein—from duck breast to lamb burgers to classic steak et frites.
•Von’s Bistro, 819 Bank St., 613-233-3277. vonsottawa.com
You won’t find the usual pub grub at the Hintonburg Public House. (Photo: Dwayne Brown Studios)
The Hintonburg Public House offers a modern spin on traditional pub fare: crispy cod with golden fries and tartar sauce replace the standard beer-battered fish and chips. And you won’t find a classic bacon, egg, and hash brown breakfast special here. Instead, treat your taste buds to a potato hash with caramelized onion, pepper sausage, and poached Becking Farm eggs.
•1020 Wellington St. W., 613-421-5087, hintonburgpublichouse.ca
Whether you’re looking for a tasty lunch, brunch, or craft beer, Stoneface Dolly’s provides.
In the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy strip, Stoneface Dolly’s presents a menu that excels anytime of the day or week. Well-sized burgers and sandwiches rule at lunch, while dinner features an eclectic mix that spans jambalaya to almond encrusted chicken. And, they produce a brunch so good that the place is packed until they have to turn off the lights. Bonus: They have a growing draught list that highlights Ontario’s craft breweries.
• Stoneface Dolly’s, 416 Preston St., 613-564-2222, stonefacedollys.com
Burgers n’ Fries Forever serve up fresh, never frozen, burgers and fries in Ottawa
Burgerist: The word, defined by two locals, describes a person who believes that burgers are superior to fries. Burger n’ Fries Forever (BFF) in Ottawa, however, operates on the principle that we should live in a world where both are equally awesome. Everything in this young shop is fresh, never frozen, fun, and innovative. Whether you want vegan, halal, sans-gluten, or double the meat, the boys will hook you up.
• Burger n’ Fries Forever, 329 Bank St., 613-230-3456, burgersnfriesforever.com
These righteous brownies are one of the delicious recipes in the Simply Raw Kitchen
Need some help with that new healthy routine you’ve vowed to follow this year? Natasha Kyssa’s The Simply Raw Kitchen may be exactly what you’re looking for. Her new cookbook acts as a guide to a new diet consisting of raw, unprocessed foods. The recipes are simple and easy to follow — from delicious salads and dressings, to sumptuous pasta alternatives and desserts. The book is so accessible and inclusive that even the most meat-loving person can get on board, incorporating some of these ideas into their diet. Pick it up from SimplyRaw Express, Kyssa’s restaurant and shop in Ottawa — and sample a dish while you’re there!
• SimplyRaw Express, 989 Wellington St. W., 613-234-0806, simplyrawexpress.com
ZenKitchen creates vegan masterpieces that rival the best dishes in Ottawa (Photo: April Anne Hewens Photography)
ZenKitchen is one of the culinary leaders in Ottawa. The vegan restaurant has taught us that inventive, tasty, and inspiring dishes void of traditional protein can exist — and it exists in abundance at ZenKitchen. The restaurant — located in Ottawa’s Chinatown neighbourhood — recently renovated its menu to include such dishes as pecan-crusted seitan and hand cut ravioli filled with tasty ingredients like nut parmesan and tempeh-caramelized onions. Much of the menu is gluten-free — that includes such tempting desserts as their caramel bourbon pecan pie, and peanut butter and chocolate pie — and the restaurant can meet the needs of virtually any dietary requirement.
• ZenKitchen, 634 Somerset St. W., 613-233-6404. zenkitchen.ca
• Map and reviews
Izakaya‘s slaw, made with 15 fresh ingredients, has become one of the Japanese restaurant’s most popular dishes
This Asian kitchen and bar in Ottawa lifts its name directly from the Japanese term that means an establishment that serves food to accompany drinks. So, there’s certainly no ambiguity as to what to expect when you go to Izakaya. However, if not well-versed in Japanese cuisine, you may be surprised to find more than just sushi and tempura vegetables. And that’s a good thing. Izakaya’s slaw (made with more than 15 fresh ingredients, including mango, jicama and avocado) and their bibimbap, a fresh recreation of the classic Korean rice bowl, have quickly become favourites. They also have an extensive raw menu and a number of creative cocktails. Plus, DJs change the vibe on weekends, and they host live music on Thursday nights.
• 339 Elgin St., 613-627-4140, izakayaottawa.com
• Map and review