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Ottawa – From the pub to the boulangerie and back

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By Tyrone Burke

 

There is much about the city of Ottawa that is characterized by its blend of English, French and immigrant cultures, its restaurants included. French bakeries like Aux Délices are tucked in to the Byward Market, and serve up delicious chocolates and baked goods. Much of the city’s dining is concentrated around the Byward Market area. Here you’ll find upmarket restaurants such as Domus, which specializes in regional, seasonal cuisine like prosciutto-wrapped Quebec rabbit or Grilled Quebec Bobwhite Quail. Most restaurants in the market neighbourhood are relatively expensive, and even at cheaper options like Fatboy’s Southern Smokehouse BBQ restaurant, or the 1950s diner-inspired Zak’s, it will cost more than 10$ for a main course.

 

When locals head out, many prefer to head to Elgin street, on the east side of downtown. Here there are dozens of restaurants and pubs, many serving pub fare at reasonable prices. The Lieutenant’s Pump and The Manx are local favorites, though none of the pubs on this stretch are likely to win awards for their food.

 

The city’s Chinatown also has much to offer diners, though many restaurants here are not actually Chinese. In addition to numerous Chinese restaurants, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean and Japanese food are all represented, not to mention pizza, subs, tacos and French baked goods. This is a fun neighborhood in which to wander and choose a restaurant that catches your eye. Fuschian – a Vietnamese/Thai restaurant – is one of the most popular in this part of town.

No matter what Ottawa neighborhood you’re in, you’re likely to spot a shwarma restaurant. These Lebanese Shwarma pitas are a local favorite. Most of the Shwarma restaurants are similar in both quality and price. A small Shwarma pita will cost roughly $5, a large pita (or combination plate) will cost about twice that.

 

Across the river in Gatineau, Quebec there are a number of restaurants worth checking out, with Les Fougères in Chelsea being particularly noteworthy. Using fresh ingredients and creative recipes, Ottawans will gladly make the drive to Chelsea for a meal here.

 

Finally, if you have a sweet tooth, be sure to try a Beaver Tail while you’re in town. These tasty sweets are Ottawa’s gluttonous take on the donut. These are a sugary bread shaped into a beaver tail shape before being slathered in toppings that can range from a sprinkle of cinnamon to a smothering of ice cream and melted chocolate. They’re delicious.