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Looking for unique places to eat in Ottawa

I am heading to Ottawa for New Year's and was wondering what places I should definately eat at while I am in town. I am not looking for any cusine in particular (I am good with everything) and my only requirement is that it not be too expensive (around $40-$50 per person). I should notw that I am not looking for a restaraunt to eat out for New Year's eve.

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  1. I am from Ottawa, and now live in Toronto
    You MUST go to Cabottos (sp?). It's in the west end of the city.
    Varied menu, but mostly Italian
    Their decorations for the holidays are beautiful
    The restaurant is a converted old stone house.

    2 Replies
    1. re: popover

      Cabotto's is okay. Most of the retired seniors living in Stittsville go there to have dinner very often. On Fridays and Saturdays, their parking lot is full. So, I am afraid that you have problem getting your reservation there.

      How about trying the list of restaurants recommended by Chef Steven Vardy?

      1. re: popover

        Cabotto's is on Hazeldean Road, between Kanata and Stittsville in a building that was once Kemp's Tavern - although it looks like a brick farm house. It's certainly one of the oldest buildings in the area. They've been recommended in Kanata for over twenty years.

      2. For breakfast, go to SconeWitch.

        Otherwise, some of the less traditional (but still affordable) places are:

        Kasbah Village
        Black Tomato
        Khao Thai
        Domus (more expensive)

        There are more, but I can't think of any right now...

        2 Replies
        1. re: piccola

          For Thai food, I recommend Nokham Thai. This is the place recommended by the Thai Embassy staff. My friends from Thailand also recommends this place.

          1. re: piccola

            I visited Ottawa from Toronto in September and I can vouch for SconeWitch. My wife and I ate there every morning. Great take-out supplies for your hotel room too!

          2. Nokham Thai is indeed very good food, though the ambiance leaves something to be desired. We also like Anna on Holland Ave. for Thai food.

            If you're after unique, I would recommend Savana Cafe on Gilmour St. It's Asian-Caribbean fusion, gorgeous food, nice wine list, not too pricey, and it's in an old heritage house. The two women who own it are lovely and we always have a terrific time there.

            Horn of Africa on Rideau St. is excellent, super-cheap Ethiopian food - again, the room is nothing to look at but the food is great.

            Trio in Westboro has lovely light meals and snacks and a great lounge atmosphere. A few doors down, Village Cafe does stellar brunch.

            Stoneface Dolly's on Preston has unique burgers and sammiches, and fabulous desserts.

            I hope you have a wonderful time!

            1 Reply
            1. re: alicat

              Savana is great and cute to boot. But for Ethopian, I like the place next to Horn of Africa - East African Restaurant, I think? or something like that, anyway.

              If you're into healthy/macrobiotic/vegetarian food in a casual atmosphere, you could go to the Wild Oat in the Glebe. Both the takeout and the onsite foods are fab. And the breads, of course.

              For South Indian, try Curries on Gladstone. It's a nice change from all the Northern Indian places.

            2. Definitely Black Tomato, Von's Bistro and Beckta (though Beckta is maybe too expensive).

              The Black Tomato is on George Street in the Market, next to the Chapters.

              Von's Bistro is on Bank St. in the Glebe: http://www.819bank.com/vonsmenudinner...

              Beckta is my favourite restaurant in Ottawa. It's at Bank & Nepean. Make reservations!

              And I have to admit (reluctantly) that I do have a soft spot (i.e. I have one meal there every time I'm in Ottawa) for The Blue Cactus in the market as well. I love it!

              1. Although out of the stated price range, I wanted to mention Beckta. We had a truly wonderful dinner there a few months back. The food was great, as was the wine list. And, the service was impeccable. 10/10.

                1. We are going to Maple Court, great chinese food in Kanta

                  1. The Works has three (maybe four) by now "haut burger" places. I've been to the Westboro one. An insane nubmer of things done on the burger theme - you can get a full Australian, with the beet and fried egg and all, for example. Busy and cheerful, moderate priced.

                    We did a birthday party in their private room back in November, a great experience.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: HenryT

                      when we're talking about affordable...how affordable are we talking?

                      a friend and myself, both college students, are going to be up in ottawa in a couple of weeks and are looking for something delicious and fun and perhaps only wanting to spend $10 (american) each...

                      can anyone help me out?

                      1. re: sprock

                        Let me guess - you're coming for the soccer championship. :-)

                        If that's the case, you can find some good cheap food around the stadium. There's a bunch of Indian restaurants with good AYCE buffets for less than $10 CAN. Siam Kitchen has tasty food but zero atmosphere. The Arrow & Loon does great pub grub. But your best bet is clearly Kettleman's Bagels - you will eat like kings for less than a fiver.

                        If I guessed wrong, here are suggestions for other areas. The falafel and pitas are awesome at Ashtar, on Sparks. Great sandwiches at Di Rienzo in Little Italy or La Bottega in the market. Curries on Gladstone is my pick for dosas. And I'd hit Temptation Tea Shop on Bank for Vietnamese food outside Chinatown - the summer rolls are killer.

                        1. re: piccola

                          personally, i would avoid arrow and loon at all costs. most of the meals i have had there have had something wrong, generally overcooked and not that great. we used to go after running each week and all of us quickly learned to stick to just a few items and beer.

                          if you are in the glebe for soccer, i would suggest going up to works for a burger. there is no other place like it. you can see the menu online: http://www.worksburger.com/

                          i like the falafel platter at jericho (formerly glebe cafe), the brunch at von's, and the coffee at bridgehead (fair trade local place across from starbucks).

                          1. re: hipfunkyfun

                            Well, I've only ever had the veg food at the A&L, but I have to say their veggie burger is as good as The Works (though less creative). Still, I haven't been there in at least a year, so things might have changed,

                            1. re: piccola

                              they did change owners and have lost numerous cooks. i too only have the veg and more often than not the burger is fine, but the fries are burnt, as are many of the appetizers.

                              still it has a great selection of beer and is worth going for that. plus they welcome large groups of sweaty runners without any forewarning.

                              1. re: hipfunkyfun

                                As one of those sweaty runner, I've learned to appreciate that. Though to be fair, most of the Glebe spots are good about that - have you seen the brunch crowd at the Royal Oak?

                                Thanks for the heads up on the change of cooks. That can make a huge difference.

                        2. re: sprock

                          I'm not from Ottawa, but when I was visiting last summer I saw a very interesting food article in an alternative paper that raved about Mr.Yre's Chicken, a West African "BBQ" place (take out only?) . Seemed fantastic but I was leaving the next morning and couldn't make it there. Does anyone know if it's still there? Perhaps you could check it out.

                          1. re: Steve

                            Yre's is a hole in the wall, but loved by many Ottawa folk. not sure if it is for visitors though :)

                            It has been slated to be closed or moved. As far as I know it is still open.


                            1. re: hipfunkyfun

                              Thanks for the info!
                              Also, in answer to sprock's question, I suggest the Elgin Street Diner. Open 24 hours. Diner food, overall very high quality. The peameal bacon breakfast was very rewarding. I can't really think of a place like this where I live, so it was a real treat for me.

                              I did make it out to Sconewich, (caught a bus from my hotel) and I have to agree that they put out some fantastic scones. Tried six flavors, and I think I liked the plain oatmeal (!) the best.