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Courtyard Restaurant

Al fresco Dining in Ottawa

When the sun is out, all we want is a good patio. Here are four picks for enjoying a meal in the great outdoors.

The Courtyard Restaurant is known for their charming patio

Courtyard Restaurant
Their haute-cuisine menu brings class to the outdoors. Tucked away from the bustle of the street, their cobblestone patio is one of the city’s most beautiful outdoor dining spots. 21 George St. (ByWard Market), 613-241-1516. www.courtyardrestaurant.com

Malone’s Lakeside Grill
Said to be the best perch for a view of Dow’s Lake, their panoramic patio has an outdoor bar and covered seating area. The signature baked wraps are a must-have summer treat. 1001 Queen Elizabeth Dr. (Dow’s Lake Pavilion), 613-567-2254. www.malonesgrill.ca

Murray Street
You won’t be thirsty for long with more than a hundred items on their drink menu. Try the gourmet poutine. 110 Murray St. (ByWard Market), 613-562-7244. www.murraystreet.ca

Pancho Villa
Rumoured to have some of the best fajitas in town, their sangria is also wildly popular and a must-have during patio season. Especially popular on weekend evenings. 361 Elgin St. (Downtown), 613-234-8872.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for Easter Weekend (April 22 to 24)

Ceramic bunnies from "Gnomeo and Juliet." © Touchstone Pictures

Friday, April 22
Get your matinee fix with a visit to the Mayfair Theatre to see Gnomeo and Juliet. This classic Shakespeare tale is retold in a world of warring garden gnomes who may or may not eventually realize the foolishness of their feud. A Braveheart-esque band of ceramic bunnies defy the passive and peaceful persona of the Easter Bunny — no other ornament can match their battling skills. Playing all weekend.

The Easter Bunny at Valleyview Little Animal Farm has lost hundreds of Easter eggs and needs help to recover all of them during their Easter Weekend event! Gather the whole family for a day of scavenging, puppet shows, train tours, and many up-close encounters with an array of farm animals.

Saturday, April 23
The Annual Easter Market Day is back at North Gower Farmers’ Market with their farm- or home-fresh goodies. From plants and veggies to jewellery and wool products, there’s something for even the pickiest of market shoppers. And with an emphasis on inconspicuous gluten-free food, it’s an inclusive event for the whole family. (more…)

Hot Dining: Seriously Fine Dining

Photo credit: PHOTOLUXSTUDIO.COM

After a fire in the summer of 2010 closed the doors for a few months, the Courtyard Restaurant is back with an adventurous new menu of contemporary cuisine. For instance, a sweet potato soup is invigorated with bitter chocolate and coconut milk, and a dessert named the “Creamsicle” tastes like a grown-up version of the childhood treat with pistachio-fennel cake and molasses. These dishes are the inspiration of Executive Chef Michael Hay and Pastry Chef Quinn Davis. By using farmers in the area and many regional-specific ingredients (but not restricting themselves to these elements), Hay describes the style of food as “progressive Ottawa with a nice visual aspect.” 21 George St., 613-241-1516.