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Ottawa Restaurant Recommendations


Jinmyo
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Gourmando, I read a review of Arc Lounge that mentioned their membership policy. Is that still in effect? If so, what does it involve? The review intimated that the restaurant was trying to give off an exclusive vibe. Did you feel that?

I think they ditched the membership thing; it certainly wasn't an issue when I went. I would describe the vibe as trendy, rather than exclusive.

I'll be there for lunch again next week, so I'll try to give a more useful report soon!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I neglected to report on lunch at the Arc Lounge a couple of weeks ago, and I've forgotten the details (except for a lovely cauliflower soup), but it was very good again.

Before my memory fades again, last night I went to Signatures with some good friends. This is the restaurant run by Le Cordon Bleu Paris at their cooking school. It was a treat. They brought a complimentary amuse of shredded crab in a truffle creme that was delicate and well-balanced. My appetizer was a warm foie gras terrine made with smoked bacon, served with a red wine reduction, and toasts with fig compote. Flavours and presentation were top-drawer. The main course was perfectly-cooked boneless lamb loin served on a "tian provencal" (a tower of very thinly sliced roasted tomato and zucchini) with pistou and a side of sauteed potatoes. It was heavenly. For dessert, an individual cherry clafouti was beautifully presented and again delicious. For those who weren't having dessert, they brought a complimentary tray of petits-fours that were just as good as the rest.

The service was great: Solicitous without hovering. All of the breads (sourdough, baguette, whole wheat, and a multigrain roll) were very fresh, melt-in-the mouth. Both natural and sparkling water were offered freely, and regularly refreshed.

One misstep: One of our diners told the server that he was allergic to mushrooms. He ordered venison loin which was advertised as coming with wild mushrooms, and specifically asked for a substitution. As soon as the domes were ceremoniously lifted, we all saw that the mushrooms were there. They were very apologetic, and offered the entire table a small dessert "surprise" of diced pear poached in port with freshly-made vanilla ice cream.

All in all, not perfect, but very, very good.

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I'm headed to Ottawa for a day or two early next month. Beyond restaurants - what is there to see, do? Anything I got to do, or (moderately priced) place I should eat at? I'd post it somewhere else but I cant figure out where else to post this.

Winodj

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  • 2 months later...
Do we have any members from Ottowa? 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.

Reviving this old topic to wonder if this restaurant ever opened. Anyone know?

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Do we have any members from Ottowa? 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.

Reviving this old topic to wonder if this restaurant ever opened. Anyone know?

He's got a website at http://www.beckta.com.

There's also an article in today's Ottawa Citizen available online.

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The restaurant is to open friday at noon.

Beckta Dining & Wine at 226 Nepean St. Ottawa Ontario(Call 238-7063.)

See this article that was published yesterday in the Ottawa Citizen.

http://www.canada.com/ottawa/ottawacitizen...67-DD3C2C3F67A3

The website that is not super informative, but gives address tel and a simulated tour.

OOPs missed the post above.

Edited by Kenk (log)
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I was just reading Natalie MacLean's E-news letter (nataliemaclean.com) and she has been there for dinner. The resturant is called Beckta Dining and Wine, 226 Nepean st, 613 238 7063. you can go to her web site for her comments which are in her recent news letter. She enjoyed it.

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I was just reading Natalie MacLean's E-news letter (nataliemaclean.com) and she has been there for dinner.  The resturant is called Beckta Dining and Wine,  226 Nepean st,  613 238 7063.  you can go to her web site for her comments which are in her recent news letter.  She enjoyed it.

Can you post a direct link to the newsletter? I can only find information about subscribing, no newsletter archives that I can see. Thank you!

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I looked on the web site and your right there is no news letter archives. I suggest you e mail her. Shes usually pretty great about answering questions and returning e mails.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The new restaurants name is Beckta ( oddly enuff ) the chefs name is Steve Vardi. I ate there the week iof their soft opening and quite enjoyed it. Very nice decor. Food is regional Canadian with an emphasis on local ingredients which is great. The address is 226 Nepean St. Phone # 238 7063 regards Bruce

ps if you are living in Ottawa and would be interested in any slow food activities you can contact me at brucethechef@hotmail.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't mean to offend any Ottawans, but I find the nations capitol to be a wasteland when it comes to eating out. I really hope something happens, but I'm prepared to rescue the city myself, just as soon as I become an accomplished chef! I've eaten at Domus, which was quite good if only the service weren't so hopelessly erratic, and Juniper, which was reasonably good. Actually I had an excellent New Year's supper at Juniper with some excellent wine pairings, so I suppose I would recommend it.

When I'm in Ottawa I dine at only one place - Mi Fung, on Booth just south of Somerset. This Veitnamize restaurant is no secret in Ottawa, and it easily trounces any I've encountered in any other city.

I almost always have the same thing, #136 beef, spicey beef satay soup. This is apparantly an import from Chinese immigrants in Vietnam, and is spicey, fragrant, rich, and sometimes almost stew like. Just talking about it is making my mouth water, and if I wasn't living in Montreal I'd go there right now.

Go there right now (closed on Tuesdays) and have the spicey beef satay soup. Now. Follow with an iced coffee.

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Don't mean to offend any Ottawans, but I find the nations capitol to be a wasteland when it comes to eating out. 

If you read through this thread, and the other Ottawa thread in this folder, you'll find that most people don't have good things to say about the local cuisine. I won't argue that these people are that far off the mark but it would be nice to have what little positive there is to say without the virtual kick to the shins. :rolleyes:

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I won't argue that these people are that far off the mark but it would be nice to have what little positive there is to say without the virtual kick to the shins.  :rolleyes:

Uh... Um...

Greens on Rideau St. carries a nice range of products from Kimchi Canada Farms. :smile:

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

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Champignon, Mr. Sharpie, btw: Welcome to eGullet. And keep the Ottawa recs coming please...my parents live there and I like to tip them off to anything new or interesting.

Edited by maggiethecat (log)

Margaret McArthur

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hi all,

newbie here. Will be dining this saturday at Beckta. Funny story about why I'm going. I went to "Daniel" in New York for dinner last weekend, and got to meet Daniel himself. We starting chatting and I told him I was from Ottawa. He then asked me to bring Steven Beckta a card. Needless to say I was stunned speechless by this "New York moment". I've always wanted to go and try the restaurant anyways, now I have another reason.

As for restaurant recommendations...I have to say "Signatures" is good value for the food they serve. (not just because I go to school there.... :biggrin:) but seriously, it is good! I went there for Valentine's dinner before I starting studying there, service is EXCELLENT and not snooty at all! The Foie Gras terrine appetizer changed the way I felt about cold foie gras.

I'm still searching for a good chinese restuarant....anyone who can help I'd appreciate it!

goyatofu

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Thanks Kenk! I went to Mandarin for dim sum today and it was really good! Definitely better than the one I went to in Chinatown.

Went to Beckta last night, the food was really really good. The price is also quite reasonable. The desserts sent the entire table moaning....(even the guy in our group) so you can imagine.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I guess when I posted I hadn't adequately read the info on Beckta, and now that I've seen their site, and read some reviews I'm excited. I suppose I sounded like one more chauvinistic Montrealer, but in actual fact I'm just one more jaded restaurant junkie looking for a supper with soul. Beckta sounds like the restaurant I wanted to open in Ottawa, and I'll take the next possible opportunity to dine there. I'm looking forward to hearing people's reviews.

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  • 1 month later...

Top Twenty Restaurants in Ottawa Area:

I am a native Montrealer and have travelled the world feeding my paunch. I have lived in Ottawa for 25 years and have eaten at pretty much every restaurant in town.

Here is my Top Twenty list of world-class eateries which includes several on the Québec side of the river. I very much doubt that visiting gourmands would be dissapointed with any of these restaurants.:

Chinese / Thai: Mandarin Ogilvie, off the beaten track but exceptional!

French: Le Pied de Cochon (Gatineau-Hull), my favourite!

Other French: Café Henry Burger (Gatineau-Hull), Signatures - Cordon Bleu (a bit stuffy, very formal), Le Laurier-sur-Montcalm (Gatineau-Hull), Le Baccarat (Casino du Lac Leamy), le Tartuffe (Gatinau-Hull), Les Fougères, and l'Orée du Bois (Chelsea, Québec)

Contemporary / Fusion: Beckta's (new and very good! Try the seafood chowder.), Domus

Italian: La Strada (try the rack of lamb, mmm-mmm!) Mamma Teresa's (OK food, an old standard)

Sushi / Japanese: Kinki (trendy and fun!)

Portuguese: Casa Churrasco (el re del frango!)

Greek: Pilos

Spanish: El Meson (lamb osso bucco!)

Morroccan / North African: La Gazelle (Gatineau-Hull), Dar Tagine

Pizza!: La Favorita (on McArthur Road)

Bon appétit, les amis! :biggrin:

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When I'm in Ottawa I dine at only one place - Mi Fung, on Booth just south of Somerset. This Veitnamize restaurant is no secret in Ottawa, and it easily trounces any I've encountered in any other city.

I truly do not understand what the hype is about Mee Fung on Booth. This place is seriously inferior in quality of ingredients, preparation and depth. I have read review after review from another site espousing the virtues of this restaurant and I just can't see it. On the first occasion, we were served a jumbo shrimp that tasted like it had clearly been bleached. Bleached with javex or some similar chemical. This is not uncommon in some asian cooking of seafood to give it the appearance of a bright pink hue. This is done for lobster as well. If rinsed properly, then no one will know the difference, but in that instance, the bleach was clearly discernable to the taste.

This is what I had to say on another site:

In many instances, the uncomfortable atmosphere of a restaurant can be excused when the food far surpasses the expectations of its customers or when the quality of ingredients and combination of those ingredients meets the standards of discerning customers. In this instance however, on both the atmosphere and the food, both counts fail miserably. After maneouvering through the maze of tightly packed tables we were seated at a table that clearly had stains from the previous diners. It was sticky and I wasn't sure how many times they had used that dish rag before they even rinsed it out. All of these things - the uncomfortable tigtness and the substandard cleanliness - could've been excused had the food been good. And so the crux of the problem is revealed. We ordered a green papaya salad, a wrap and roll platter with grilled chicken, a bowl of shrimp noodle soup with pork and a bowl of grilled and shredded pork vermicelli. Where do I even begin? The green papaya salad was unimaginative and bland. We tried to put some vinegar/fish sauce condiment on it to liven it up. Well, that would only be helpful of the sauce had any flavouring. Unfortunately it too lacked substance - watered down vinegar. The shrimp noodle soup turned out to be a seafood noodle soup, but even then, the one limp shrimp and the lacklustre squid was sitting in a bowl of MSG water. To appreciate a fine bowl of noodle soup, one realizes the essence of the dish lays in what should be a rich, smooth broth layered with deep flavours of bones and other ingredients. The noodles were over cooked. The vermicelli bowl was just plain tasteless with a chewy piece of pork. As for the wrap and roll 'chicken' platter, mounding the platter with lettuce and carrots does not fool the discerning eater when the one piece of grilled meat turns out to be a superficially seasoned rubbery chicken. Large variety does not equal quality.

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... I very much doubt that visiting gourmands would be dissapointed with any of these restaurants.:

Chinese / Thai: Mandarin Ogilvie, off the beaten track but exceptional!

French: Le Pied de Cochon (Gatineau-Hull), my favourite!

Other French:  Café Henry Burger (Gatineau-Hull), Signatures - Cordon Bleu (a bit stuffy, very formal), Le Laurier-sur-Montcalm (Gatineau-Hull),  Le Baccarat (Casino du Lac Leamy), le Tartuffe (Gatinau-Hull), Les Fougères, and l'Orée du Bois (Chelsea, Québec)

Contemporary / Fusion: Beckta's (new and very good!  Try the seafood chowder.), Domus

Italian: La Strada (try the rack of lamb, mmm-mmm!) Mamma Teresa's (OK food, an old standard)

Sushi / Japanese:  Kinki (trendy and fun!)

Portuguese: Casa Churrasco (el re del frango!)

Greek: Pilos

Spanish: El Meson  (lamb osso bucco!)

Morroccan / North African: La Gazelle (Gatineau-Hull), Dar Tagine

Pizza!:  La Favorita (on McArthur Road)

Bon appétit, les amis! :biggrin:

I agree with most of your recommendations, FilmPainter (there are 1 or 2 that I haven't tried yet - next visit perhaps) and I would like to add a few more to the list of noteworthy restos in Ottawa:

The Black Tomato (ecclectic menu with good veggan choices)

Le St O (classic and new French)

Ichibei (Japanese)

Fiori's (traditional Italian)

el meson (good Portugese and Spanish fare)

Corainder Thai (classic Thai)

The Green Door (a vegetarian institution)

There is much to celebrate in Ottawa...

Edit: ... to keep this on topic, I have yet to experience Beckta but look forward to it upon my next visit, which will probably be early Fall, 2003.

Edited by gourmande (log)

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