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Jul 17, 2010 07:15 PM

Ottawa weekend with kids

Travelling to Ottawa for long weekend. Staying downtown. Need advice for:

1) hotel buffet - thinking of going to Wilfrid's for Friday lunch at Chateau Laurier
2) Vietnamese pho
3) budget Italian on Preston
4) Mamma Grazzi or Mamma Theresa? Used to go to Ritz a lot
5) Does Swiss Pastries still do its black forest cake?
6) where to go for shawarma?

It's been awhile since I have visited. Thanks.

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  1. 2) I like Vietnam Palace on Somerset west of Booth, but predominantly because it's got an extensive menu and is MSG free (so rare for a Vietnamese place in this scity) and utterly delicious.

    4) I have heard nothing but negative things about Mama Theresa from everyone who has stepped foot inside. Avoid at all costs.

    5) Yes (well, at least yes as of a year ago), and it is fabulous.

    6) The old favourite for most is Shawarma Palace on Rideau. I prefer Really Lebanese on Montreal Road just east of Blair (somewhat in the east end of town), which also has a huge following to the point where they moved from Orleans to be closer to the action. The only problem with Really Lebanese is the owner (the self-proclaimed "Garlic King"). See:

    Despite my strongest shawarma cravings, there are instances where I decide not to satisfy them because I just don't think I can stand a run-in with His Highness. (Note: he actaully has a pimped out vehicle he's rigged to look like the Pope Mobile with a glass dome and what not.


    Have you had Art-Is-In bread or Pasquale's ice cream? If the answer to either of these is no, hie thee hither to Thyme & Again ( on Wellington just a bit west of Parkdale. Purchase a loaf of their dynamite white Art-Is-In or better yet, fennel seed bread and a jar of balsamic vinegar and garlic jelly. Rip pieces off, dip liberally, and moan with delight. Complete the experience with a gargantuan serving of their outrageously good flourless chocolate chae,

    Thyme & Again
    1255 Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1Y, CA

    Vietnam Palace
    819 Somerset St W, Ottawa, ON K1R6R4, CA

    Shawarma Palace
    464 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N5Z4, CA

    Rideau Restaurant
    7780 Becketts Landing Rd, Kemptville, ON K0G, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: vorpal

      Thanks, vorpal. i always like reading your post. Used to live in Ottawa but have not visited in a long time. Read good things about Shawarma Palace and Thyme & Again. Will add it to my list.
      Is Thyme & Again sorta like a gourmet take out grocery store?
      Read lots of good things about scone witch as well. What's the deal? Is it just scones or you can have lunch there?
      Thinking of the Prescott for budget Italian. Read some good things on the Ottawa foodies page.

      Thyme & Again
      1255 Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1Y, CA

      Shawarma Palace
      464 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N5Z4, CA

      1. re: caitlink

        I really like the scones at Sconewitch. They are pretty substantial, but still flaky, and made with butter. Several sweet and savory favorites are the ginger & currant and the herb & onion. The Beechwood location isn't too far from the Market. You could take a nice walk across the Minto bridges into New Edinburgh, and stop at the Stanley Park playground for the kids. I digress.... You can also get soups, salad, "sconewitches" and a few brunch dishes.

        I'd like to throw in my vote for a visit to True Loaf at 573 Gladstone. Wonderful artisan bread and friendly service. Get there early. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 7h00 - 13h00. Their products tend to go quickly.

    2. 1) we have really enjoyed the Sunday brunch at the National Arts Centre, Le Cafe. I think it is only available on Sunday though, maybe Monday because of the holiday. I find it very comparable to Wilfrid's, although about $10/person cheaper, and you can sit on the patio right next to the canal.

      3) I would say Mamma Grazzi over Theresa, especially if it is a nice day/night and you can sit in the courtyard outside.

      A great brownbag lunch can be had on the weekend (Friday/Saturday) at the Whalesbone retail outlet on Kent as well.

      enjoy your trip.

      430 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K2P1Y8, CA

      1. If you are on/around Preston and you want to have a picnic with the kids (depending on ages) you could pick up sandwiches at DiRienzos (on Beech St.) and walk down Preston towards Somerset and have a picnic in Plouffe Park next to the Plant Bath (Preston and Somerset). They have a some good playstructures for a wide variety of ages, and a splash pad. That would certainly fit a budget lunch.
        Another picnic option would be to pick up sandwiches, cooked sausage, jamaican patties, bread, cheese at the Piggy Market (400 Winston Ave., 613-371-6124, along with a tub of Pascale's icecream (get/bring spoons) and walk west along Richmond Rd for about 500 m and have a picnic in the walled garden of Maplelawn. There is a picnic table and only one entrance/exit so again depending on children's ages, they can run around the paths. Call ahead to see what is available and perhaps have something put aside or made up.
        For vietnamese pho, again just off Preston (could do lunch and dinner around the area with play/swimming at Plant Bath in between) there is Pho Ba Ga 2 or 3 on Somerset.

        Enjoy your trip!