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Jan 27, 2010 12:47 PM

Ottawa Recs

We're going to Ottawa (from Toronto) for a quick date weekend. Will arrive Saturday afternoon and leave early Monday morning. Here's what we're looking for:

1. A memorable/special dinner; this could be "fine dining," but interesting, thoughtful, well prepared food is most important. I have a slight preference for casual dress, mostly because it's so cold. So far, the options are:

-Murray St.

2. A very casual dinner in a comfortable atmosphere, with great food. The options are:

-Chez Lucien
-Wellington Gastropub
-Sweet Basil

3. The best gelato we can find. We'll try to visit 2-4 places. (I'm on an ongoing informal gelato "tour" of everywhere I go). I'll also consider really great ice cream. Options:

-Piccolo Grande
-Maison Chalouin

4. Light breakfast/lunch/snack places. We both love food and will eat anything, but we're not heavy eaters. We need to supplement the dinners and gelato with light fare. Options:

-French Baker (for croissants)
-Benny's Bistro (breakfast)

5. Good Coffee (espresso). I'm not having much luck with this.

6. Nice, casual pubs and bars.

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  1. For 1. Sweetgrass - you'll not find a similar restaurant easily. I hope you have reservations!
    2. Either Chez Lucien or Wellington Gastropub - both excellent. Can't really speak about Sweet Basil although I've heard good things.
    3. I'll add great ice cream from Pascale's Ice cream. She sells out of the Piggy Market, Red Apron and a few others. Website: This would be good to take back to your room with spoons and enjoy!!! It is also served at Murray Street among others, so you would be combining 2 goals.
    4 and 5 - Try Maison Chalouin. They have a little seating area and have pastries and some of the best hot chocolate I've ever had.
    5. Morala coffee in the Glebe is decent according to my very particular coffee drinking other half. Bridgehead in the Market and Ottawa South have clover machines too.
    6. Pub/bar - the Manx on Elgin

    Enjoy your trip and dress very very warmly for this weekend. Bring your skates as the part of the canal is open again or you can also go skating at the Governor General's residence.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Sue

      I haven't had Pascale's ice cream, but the BEST ice cream I have ever had is at the Wellington Gastropub. And I am a self professed ice cream snob (among other things ;)

      I have heard good things about the Manx from a very reliable source for whom its a "local"-though I've never been.

      I also hear Chez Lucien does a good burger-is that true?

      Gotta get to Sweet Basil and Sweetgrass! Soon!

      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

        IMO, Chez Lucien's burgers are okay, nothing special... they cook them pretty much well done.

        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

          I've got to agree with Bleuicus: I've been to Chez Lucien and ordered their "famous" burger. It was good, but well done and a bit dry. The fries were also tasty, but nothing to get excited about. Overall, worth checking out if in the neighbourhood, but I would never make a special trip for the experience.

          Please do make a point in checking out Sweetgrass. I haven't had a more special dining experience in years. Sweet Basil is also wonderful most of the time (I've had, on occasion, an off meal there, unfortunately), but certainly nowhere near the calibre of Sweetgrass.

          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

            Depending on when you were at the Gastropub it may have been Pascale's. That is where she was making her ice cream before she was able to start her own business

            1. re: Sue

              Oh-good to know! If its her ice cream, its amazing. I'll make sure to bring a cooler with freezer packs next time I'm in Ottawa!