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Ottawa Restaurant Recommendations


Jinmyo
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Ottawa is the capital of Canada. Canada is north of New York and is a different country than America. It is on the same continent. On a map, north is usually "up". Ottawa is the capital of this country up north.

With that out of the way:

If you ever come here, bring a cooler.

There are no restaurants here that I have ever encountered worth eating at. Save for the late lamented Icho's run by Matuura-san, an elderly lady from Kyoto who was younger than I am now when I first met her. It started out as a sushi and tempura place. Both very very nicely done but you can't really make sushi let alone sashimi from frozen fish. Encouraged to do what she knew, she added soba soups to the lunch menu. Then koya tofu. Then Kyoto-style unagi. The place closed because the building was being refurbished and turned into a TV studio and she and her husband wanted to go home.

That's it. That's all there was. There are some bistros and such you could spend 贄 at for a ฤ meal. There are a few hotel restaurants that think well of themselves because they have a wild mushroom soup or dibble a cranberry coulis on some dessicated piece of turkey. There's a place that does a nice Brazil nut vegetarian burger but it has changed owners 4 or 5 times since the original owners and the price has gone up but the frites have gotten worse.

If you need to come here, bring a cooler.

(If anyone has other views, pleeeaaase let me know.)

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm glad that you had a nice time.

What did you have? Do you know the chef's name?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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What about that new sushi place, Kinki? I saw it featured on Opening Soon. Any good?

It's a mystery to me why a great little city like Ottawa doesn't have tons of good restaurants. What about the French resto Henri Burger (is that the name of the place?). Or is that in Hull?

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I haven't eaten at Kinki's but a friend has.  She said it was much worse than Takara and it's easy to guess what packaged dashi Takara uses.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Sorry, I missed the question about Cafe Henri Burger, which is in Hull. I haven't eaten there in a decade so I don't know how it is now. Then, the service was good but drew attention to itself. I remember that the sauce for the main course was cold but tasty. That's about all.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Kinki got a very favorable review recently in a Ottawa magazine. I think it was in Ottawa Life(off-shoot of Toronto Life). As Lesley, I first became aware of Kinki, through an episode of the Opening Soon program.

Any of the media press in Ottawa that are reliable for their restaurant reviews? Does the Ottawa Sun still run restaurant reviews(which day does it run)? Xpress a new weekly Ottawa paper(an off-shoot of Montreal's Hour & Voir newspapers), I've noticed has restaurant reviews. I've got an issue or two, of an Ottawa quarterly restaurant magazine somewhere(can't remember the name). Have you seen it? Ottawa Citizen I think has a restaurant review every Wednesday.

Steve

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I don't actually read print newspapers anymore. Just online versions. And with so many great sites to choose from, months go by before I look at the Citizen's site.

I guess I don't take any of the local publications seriously.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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  • 8 months later...

Do we have any members from Ottawa? Stephen Beckta, a local boy, who's been working in NYC as a sommelier, first at Cafe Boulud and then at Eleven Madison Park, is on his way back to Ottawa. We first met him at Cafe Boulud and have enjoyed his recommendations and his conversation at both restaurants here in NY. When we saw him earlier this month, he said he was leaving for Ottawa at the end of September to open a restaurant. I don't know who the chef is, or much else, but it Stephen is involved, I'd give it a try on that basis. Knowing him a bit as I do, and knowing that he spent some time doing a stage at Ducasse this summer, my bet is that it will be a classy place with great standards. Keep an eye out for it.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I'm in Ottawa, and I'm looking forward to hearing more details. I would echo Lesley C's comment, but add "more"; i.e., Ottawa could use MORE good restaurants!

Lesley, for a city this size, Ottawa (and I'll include the whole National Capital Region in this) has a wonderful variety of quality fare. Why not hop on the train and check us out some weekend? Fratelli! Domus! The Urban Pear! Trattoria Zingaro! Les Fougeres! Clair de Lune! Laurier sur Montcalm! Signatures!...

Would make a wonderful piece for the Gazette travel section...

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I just had dinner with a friend from Ottawa in a run-of-the-mill Montreal restaurant and she told me there was nothing that good in Ottawa. Considering the high powered clientele, I've always been surprised there aren't more upscale places.

One restaurant I'm sure must be good is the Baccarat at the Hull Casino. The chef there Francois Henchey (sp?) is wonderful. :smile:

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I had dinner with my parents at Le Baccarat and it blew me away. The 25 buck prix fixe was one of the best meals I have ever had....ever! Service, wine, atmosphere,just absolutley remarkable.

My mother admired the flowers to our waiter and she left with an armful of orchids.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Lesley C: With respect to your friend, I think she must not know where to look. Like anywhere else, there are plenty of mediocre places here, but there are also some real gems. Yes, Montreal is my favourite restaurant city, but some of my favourite restaurants are right here.

Maggiethecat: I've heard nothing but great things about Baccarat, and still haven't made it there yet, but it's certainly on the list!

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I just had dinner with a friend from Ottawa in a run-of-the-mill Montreal restaurant and she told me there was nothing that good in Ottawa.

Lesley, this has also been my experience when dining in Montreal. I'm impressed with the level of care paid to the food at all levels of the food industry in Montreal, and to an extent, Quebec in general.

Ottawa has "good" restaurants but few that I would call consistently great. Lucky for us, we share a border with Gatineau so there are worthwhile restaurants if one does a little searching.

That being said, we are not a barren wasteland and my current favourite Ottawa restaurant is The Black Cat in the Byward Market, just down a little ways from Domus.

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Gourmando: Thanks for the suggestions. Could you tell me a little bit more about the Urban Pear? My parents live in the Glebe and I noticed it this summer. Where the pay laundry/bar used to be, right?

It promises to be a stressful trip, and it would be nice to take my mother to a restaurant within walking distance.

Olliie: I'll try to get to The Black Cat.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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maggiethecat: You're right about the location; it's on Second Ave. just west of Bank where Wringer's used to be. Fratelli is also very good, and near the corner of Bank & First.

I haven't tried the Urban Pear myself yet, but two reliable friends have raved about it, and there was a recent glowing review in the Ottawa Citizen (the reviewer had gone back several times). Sorry, but I couldn't find the review online for you.

I like Kamal's falafel shop and the Arrow & the Loon pub in the Glebe, too.

If you want to get a little bit out of the city to decompress, especially with the beautiful fall colours coming into full swing, definitely head for Les Fougeres in Chelsea: Les Fougeres Homepage. It's my favourite restaurant anywhere (including Montreal :raz: )

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The best Ottawa restaurants are at best adequate middle level places. There is not a single place I would recommend. Unless you want a falafel. Kamal's is okay.

ediot:

Lesley, I'm sorry. I should just stay away from this board as I can find little positive to say, especially on the dire topic of Ottawa restaurants.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Gosh, Jinmyo, tell it like it is. :wink:

I can't judge because I haven't dined there in years, though I did have some terrific tourtieres from Les Fougeres last Christmas (but of course Les Fougeres is in Quebec isn't it :wink::wink::wink: ).

Friends I trust say they are disapponited in the Ottawa dining scene. But with Bux's friend coming to town, things might be looking up. Sometimes it takes just one good new restaurant to get a city going.

Gourmando, variety means little to me, I prefer quality. But that's me. I know plenty of foodies who appreciate variety. :smile:

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A thousand thanks, you guys! I grew up in Quebec myself, so I am pretty darn picky. Especially since I now live in Charlie Trotter land. But... do you remember how really dank and dismal the dining scene in Ottawa was even ten years ago? A mad trip to Madame Berger's (sp?) in Hull or a "Thank God I an drive to Montreal for dinner thing?"

Kemals...fab. And you don't get a frite wagon in Chicago. Thanks all. And check out Le Baccarat. Serious value.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I think Jinmyo is a curmudgeon. :angry:

There is unquestionably quality here, and much of it is indeed on the "Quebec Side", but I think we have to include that in our consideration of the area. There is also a lot of crap, which is unfortunate, but anyone who remembers the age of Madame Burger's would have to agree that for a region this size, we're doing pretty well here.

Enjoy your visit, maggiethecat, and don't forget to report back: Good, bad, or indifferent! :cool:

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