HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Downtown Ottawa suggestions please, lunch and dinner

I'll be staying part of October and all of November in Ottawa for work, will be staying dowtown (Minto or Marriott probably, not sure yet), I prefer walking but will have a car most of the time.

I like everything (French, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Lebanese, Indian...), but I'm not a big meat eater (small portions of good cuts is fine by me, forget sausages). I've never had an amazing restaurant experience in Ottawa (except for A'Roma, which I really liked the few times I went) but then again I haven't tried that many places either:-)...

Many thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You have a lot of great choices. I'm constantly suprised at the variety and quality of Ottawa restaurants.

    The Byward Market has some excellent restaurants - PLAY, Navarra, Sweetgrass, Domus. I highly reccommend the Wellington GastrPub in the west end (you'll need the car for this one).

    For lunches, I'm assuming that you will want takeout. I work near the Minto - stay away from that food court!. I love Sconewitch - their scone sandwiches are a real treat (Albert west of Lyon). Caffe Zucchero on Queen west of Lyon. Think Lunch on Bank Street between Albert and Slater - love the chicken club sandwich.

    1. I'd second the rec for Sconewitch. The scones are big, buttery and delicious. Lots of choices for flavours...

      If you're staying at the Minto, I'm assuming you'll have a kitchenette. Try to get to True Loaf at 573 Gladstone for great sourdough, fougasse, etc. (They don't do pastries, though, if you're looking for croissants.) Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 7h00 - 13h00


      1. If you like Indian...try Haveli (www.haveli.com). The closest location to where you will be staying is the one in the Byward Market on Clarence St.

        1 Reply
        1. re: filmchick

          Haveli used to be good, but over the years its gone tremendously downhill, especially the market location. Ottawa does, however, have really good Indian food (much better than Toronto, in my opinion and in the opinion of the east Indian people I've spoken with), so I do recommend you check it out. New Nupur is great, and Taj Mahal even better. Both are on Bank Street, considerably south of the downtown core.

          Another thing to check out is the French Baker on Murray Street just west of Dalhousie. Fantastic croissants. Pick some up for a snack or light lunch. Right across the street is Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro, which is an extremely unique restaurant (you won't find anything like it in Toronto, for example) that services excellent aboriginal food (lots of interesting game) accompanied by impeccable service.

        2. i would suggest Murray Street. Its in the Byward market


          1. For vegetarian, you could try Zen Kitchen, at 634 Somerset Street West. It hasn't been open long, but is getting good press. Note that I haven't eaten there yet myself...


            From the dinner menu:

            Hand cut ravioli with mizuna-scape pesto filling, mushroom ancho cream, chilli oil, seared seasonal greens 19

            Medallions of seitan in a lemon-caper sauce, with pearl couscous pilaf and seasonal vegetables 19

            New Caesar salad with grilled miso-apple dengaku age tofu skewers/ Gluten-free. 17

            Thai-style lemongrass curry with seasonal vegetables, edamame and kafir-scented jasmine rice. Gluten-free. 19

            Udon noodles with lobster mushrooms, simmered seasonal vegetables, applewood-smoked tofu and tempura maki sushi 19

            1 Reply
            1. re: cyberveg

              Thanks everyone, this is very useful and looks delicious:-) now I'll need to use the gym to work off those scones...

            2. For lunch I suppose... Ahora's on Dalhousie (beside the BMO... or is it Royal. I don't remember. it's a bank, anyways) is absolutely fantastic authentic Mexican. So, so good. Very casual atmosphere and it's kinda hidden away... but so good. Everything tastes ridiculously fresh. And for an added bonus, it's cheap... you can do lunch for under 5, and it's really filling. They have good veg and meat options.

              1. Hmm... another thought: if you're in Ottawa and you like Lebanese food you have to have shawarma (if you haven't already). There's pretty much a million shawarma places in Ottawa... I like Garlic Corner on Laurier but there's a place on Rideau called Castle Shawarma that's also really good.

                4 Replies
                1. re: lightning

                  Ashtar, on Sparks, is fantastic and cheap. I've never tried the shawarma (I'm veg), but the falafel and salads are outstanding.

                  1. re: lightning

                    Definitely agree with this suggestion. You can't go to Ottawa without getting shawarma, which is done fabulously. I think Shawarma Palace on Rideau is generally known to be the place to go (it's far from my favourite, but most people speak very highly of it), so give it a try as it's conveniently downtown.

                    1. re: vorpal

                      The Shawarma palace is without a doubt THE best place for lebanese food in this city.

                      1. re: chloe2000

                        Beware the falafel, though. Last time we got take out, I had bought a veggie platter. The falafel had gone completely "off"...sour-smelling and pretty awful. It may have something to do with the large quantity they seem to prepare ahead of time, coupled with the fact that they are sitting in a warm environment next to the steam table. The service is always friendly, and they are very generous with their servings, but I haven't been able to bring myself to eat there since.

                  2. I have to agree about Sconewitch. It's really great. Also, their menu is slightly larger on the weekends. there are a few more brunchy items.

                    For me, at the corner of Gilmour and Metcalfe, there is a pizza place called Colonnade. It's not far from where you will be. I adore this pizza. Lots of people who have lived in Ottawa adore this pizza. I can not recommend it highly enough. I think it's amazing and delicious.