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Ottawa - which of these restaurants would you choose?

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Help needed! I have been given this list of restaurants to choose from. I have never been to any of them so I am looking for your recommendation. I would prefer something casual with great food. Here are the choices: Arc Lounge, Whalesbone, Navarra, Murray street, Benitz Bistro.

What is your pick?

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  1. Murray Street for sure...great food, great host.

    1. whalesbone, hands down.

      great food. no pretentiousness (sp?), and the couple of seats they have in front of the open kitchen is always fun.

      1. I second Whalesbone. Love it there!

        1. No one picked Navarra? I thought the menu looked interesting! Whalesbone does look like an amazing place for seafood.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jorgep18

            Navarra is an awesome restaurant, just doesn't really fit into 'casual' dining. Whalesbone is definitley casual, though a touch on the expensive side, but the food is definitley worth it. Murray Street is casual enough, and has great pricing - the food is on the rich side, lots of fatty meats and cheese. Benitz Bistro is fantastic, maybe a touch more formal though as well.

          2. Wellington Gastropub

            1. I used to live in Ottawa and still have friends there who give me the inside scoop on the dining scene. Here are the restaurants that were recommended to me.
              Absinthe, Whalesbone, Wellington Gastropub, Allium, Murray Street Grill, Play, & Whalesbone. My pick was Absinthe and I am a huge fan of this restaurant. The menu is french ecclectic, seasonal, local, and artisanal. The mariposa duck breast was superb! moist and delicious. The seared albacore tuna melts in your mouth and the steak tartare was one of the best I've tasted. They have a vast selection of wine and offer a wine pairings with your food (exceptional) and leave room for dessert, they are out of this world. The space is very stylish and modern with a cool vibe. Check out their website: www.absinthecafe.ca

              2 Replies
              1. re: inmyhumbleopinion

                I had a very enjoyable lunch at Absinthe today. Had the Tuna Nicoise: 4 slices of seared ahi tuna, olives, anchovies, peppers, sliced hard-boiled egg, green beans. All very nicely done. Washed it all down with a glass of Prosecco.

                Dessert was my usual, the dessert sampler: crepes filled with raspberries and chocolate, a profiterole filled with house-made ice cream (delicious), creme brulee, and chocolate fondant.

                1. re: souschef

                  Whalesbone for sure! Great staff, vibe and food. The staff really supports other restos as well. Once we were there sitting beside a staff member from Absinthe & the Whalesbone server made a point of telling us to check out his place as well. For an absolute knockout of a dinner, try Atelier. I still have the signed menu to remind me of what a great, unique dinner we had there in May.

                  -----
                  Atelier
                  540 Rochester Street, Ottawa, ON K1S 4M1, CA