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Food & WineBEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Casual Dining

BEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Casual Dining

BEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Casual Dining

After over 20-years writing about life in Ottawa, we think we have
a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer.
In this weekly summer series, we’ll share our picks with you - 
our top hotels, live music venues, local brews,
bands and more. Check, share and discuss
#OLMBest every week!


This Asian fusion restaurant and bar is run by the same people as El Camino. It’s definitely a local hot spot, partially due to the swanky atmosphere and inexpensive specials on Monday nights. They don’t take reservations, so get there early to snag yourself a spot.

Pomeroy House

Located on Bank Street in the Glebe, this classy spot is known for both high quality food and top-notch service. Seasonal dishes, decadent desserts and a killer brunch make Pomeroy House a definite must-try.


Look no further than Whalesbone for the best oysters in the city. With three locations spanning downtown Ottawa, they make it easy to indulge in quality seafood. And is it ever quality, with all fish and shellfish adhering to sustainable fishing policies.

Ola Cucina

This tiny hole-in-the-wall spot in Vanier is a local legend. Taking over an old house in this residential area, they are known for their killer tacos in both usual and unusual flavours. All ingredients are prepared on-site and most dishes are gluten free. They also have all-day Mexican breakfast and an outdoor patio in the summer.


When it comes to bagels in Ottawa, the Montreal style reigns supreme, but the people are divided on who makes the very best. This spot is our personal favourite, open 24/7 every day of the year with multiple locations across the city wood-burning 6000 hand-rolled bagels per day. Grab a sandwich and eat-in or take a dozen home with a side of lox and house-made cream cheese.


This Indian restaurant on St. Laurent Boulevard is as authentic as it gets. The spices are ground fresh daily and their Tandoori is mouth-watering. Many dishes can be customized to match your personal spice preference, from mild to extra-spicy. Realizing chief chef Samsu Mia's long-time dream of opening a family-run restaurant, the menu is inspired by recipes honed over two decades of cooking in embassies and restaurants.

La Bottega Café

This little oasis in the back of La Bottega in the Byward Market is like taking your very own Italian riposo, complete with homemade pasta and a glass of wine. With limited seating and short hours, you have to get in quick if you want a table. The wait will be beyond worth it - their decadent fresh biscotti is the stuff that dreams are made of.

OCCO Kitchen

The goal of this Orleans restaurant, created by award-winning Chef Mark Steele, is to add a gourmet slant to typical street food staples. This artisanal influence is evident in everything from their homemade pickles and ketchup to their locally sourced AAA Beef. The L'OCCO burger is a must try, crafted with buns baked fresh each morning.

Chez Lucien

If you don’t look closely, you might miss this little cafe on Murray in the market. The gastro bar has been open since 2004 and serves French fare with a relaxed pub-friendly twist. They boast a comfortable vibe, gourmet brunch and free jukebox.

Shawarma Palace

Ottawa is unofficially known as the shawarma capital of Canada and everyone has their own favourite local spot. In our opinion, this one tops them all. Feeding the city for more than 10 years, they have a wide range of meal options and toppings and all of their seasonings and condiments are prepared in-house.

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