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Where to Dine Ottawa

Ottawa’s Best BBQ: Hot off the grill

By Chris Lackner

You can’t bring your BBQ with you to Ottawa, so seek out these culinary delights that sizzle off the grill. Bet it grilled or smoked, here is our guide to the capital’s best BBQ food:


Fatboys Southern Smokehouse: Southern hospitality with a biker ambience in the ByWard Market. fatboys.ca

Bytown Bayou: Smoke up at this gourmet BBQ food truck. bytownbayou.ca

Rosie’s Southern Kitchen & Bar in The Glebe.

Rosie’s Southern Kitchen & Bar in The Glebe.

Rosie’s Southern Kitchen & Bar: Ribs, steak, catfish and more in The Glebe, one of Ottawa’s trendiest neighbourhoods. rosiesonbank.ca

Foolish Chicken: Finger-lickin’ chicken and ribs (and cheesecake) in a casual Hintonburg café. foolishchicken.ca

Thankfully for your taste buds, Ottawa's Foolish Chicken is anything but foolish.

Thankfully for your taste buds, Ottawa’s Foolish Chicken is anything but foolish.

Little Red Shack BBQ: A saucy food shack that’s worth the drive to Stittsville. littleredshackbbq.com

SmoQue Shack: Their philosophy is, “Food comes first… licking the plate comes after.” Put it to the test by digging into everything from pulled pork, brisket and ribs to Jamaican jerk and BBQ chicken. Spotlighted on The Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here, this ByWard Market gem knows how to work a grill and a smoker. The coffee BBQ sauce leads a pack of nine saucy options; the Shack’s hefty combo platters are meant to be shared, and will turn the crowd at your table into regular Fred Flintstones. smoqueshack.com

Smoque Shack in Ottawa's ByWard Market.

Smoque Shack in Ottawa’s ByWard Market.


Hintonburger: Ottawa’s iconic fast-food burger. Fast. Fresh. Local. Handmade. hintonburger.ca

Bite Burger House: Boutique burgers! Down your grilled goodies with specialty cocktails and fine wines. biteburgerhouse.com

Burgers n’ Fries Forever: Casual Bank Street burger joint with great shakes. burgersnfriesforever.com

The Works in Ottawa.

The Works in Ottawa.

The Works: Ottawa’s iconic gourmet burger is served at seven locations, but The Glebe restaurant is the most central. worksburger.com

Chez Lucien: One of the city’s best unsung pubs & best burgers (Editor’s Pick: the Bourgeois with brie and roasted pear) 137 Murray St.

New and Notable Restaurants 2015


(Photo: Kayla Pongrac)

(Photo: Kayla Pongrac)

Last year, six new restaurants joined an already burgeoning food scene, offering a tantalizing array of dining experiences: Northern Italian cichèti, gourmet ‘bar’ food, izakaya-themed Japanese, small plates, snacking plates, even the traditional meat-and-potatoes plates, but with a twist!


A Taste of Venice: North and Navy

Exquisite Italian cuisine awaits you at North and Navy.

Exquisite Italian cuisine awaits you at North and Navy.

North and Navy brings Northern Italian cooking to the capital, set in a timeless, refined dining room. Their inventive, seasonal dishes will introduce you to a whole new world of Italian cooking, and at the back of the restaurant, you can get acquainted with the world of bacaro — the traditional Venetian wine bar experience. It’s the perfect excuse to relax with a glass of sparkling wine, snack on some cichèti (Italy’s response to Spanish tapas), and socialize. —Amy Allen
•North and Navy, 226 Nepean St., 613-232-6289. northandnavy.com

Modern Cuisine at Carben Food + Drink

(Photo: Michelle Zheng)

Inspired by international cuisine, Carben plates food that is as beautiful as it is delicious. (Photo: Michelle Zheng)

Carben Food + Drink is the latest addition to the food scene in Hintonburg, located just west of downtown. Owned and operated by a husband and wife team (both of whom have done their time in kitchens around town), its large windows, clean modern decor, and such homey touches as shelves full of books create a welcoming atmosphere. The food, inspired by international cuisine, is made to impress the eyes as well as the palate. Whether you stop by for dinner or brunch, make sure you don’t miss out on their desserts; they’re as bold and experimental as they are tasty. —Amy Allen
•Carben Food + Drink, 1100 Wellington St. W., 613-792-4000. carbenrestaurant.com

Dig Into Canadiana at Smoke’s Poutinerie

Smoke's (Photo: Amy Allen)

Drop in at Smoke’s Poutinerie for some truly Canadian comfort food. (Photo: Amy Allen)

Fries, gravy, and cheese curds — put them together and you get poutine, that quintessential French Canadian staple. Smoke’s Poutinerie takes it to another level, though, with their creative toppings. More than two dozen are on offer, including bacon, sausage, pulled pork, chicken, beef, steak, mushrooms, peas, and onions. They also have sauces you can drizzle on top: sriracha, guacamole, and salsa, to name just a few. Vegetarian options are available. —Amy Allen
•Smoke’s Poutinerie, 407 Dalhousie St., 613-789-2873. smokespoutinerie.com
Map and reviews

Southern Hospitality at Rosie’s

A convivial atmosphere and delicious southern-inspired food make Rosie's a great place for a night out.

A convivial atmosphere and delicious, southern-inspired food make Rosie’s a great place for a night out.

Bring a big appetite to Rosie’s Southern Kitchen and Raw Bar, because the plates they serve are plentiful. Racks of ribs, glazed with Rosie’s house-made honey and peaches barbecue sauce, are highlights of the menu. But they’re also skilled at cooking up other southern specialties — catfish served with chorizo sausage on a bed of rice; a seafood-heavy paella; New Orleans style calamari; and fried chicken and waffles. The warm lighting and wood paneled walls set an inviting atmosphere, but it’s the bold flavours that will keep you coming back. —Amy Allen
•Rosie’s Southern Kitchen and Raw Bar, 895 Bank St., 613-234-7674. rosiesonbank.ca
Map and reviews

Simple is Delicious at Clover Food and Drink

Locally sourced products are king at Centretown's Clover Food and Drink.

Clover’s delicious dishes are prepared wherever possible with locally sourced ingredients.

“Simple. Humble. Food.” This is the motto of Clover Food and Drink, a Centretown eatery that knows quality of ingredients is as important as their preparation. Peruse their seasonally changing menu and you’ll see Quebec cheeses, sustainably sourced meats, and organic produce. Even their drinks are acquired from Ottawa and its environs — wines from Prince Edward County, for example, and craft brews by Dominion City Brewing Co. Drop by for dinner — grilled sirloin, chicken with creamed leeks, and cauliflower in a ginger sauce are just a few of their delicious offerings. —Amy Allen
•155 Bank St., 613-680-8803, cloverottawa.ca
Map and reviews

Convivial Dining at Share Freehouse

Just as its name implies, Share Freehouse emphasizes small plates.

Just as its name implies, Share Freehouse emphasizes small plates.

Cozy quarters, atmospheric lighting, sharing plates, and a convivial experience are what Share Freehouse is all about. It’s a place that wants you to stay awhile and make friends with your neighbours. It’s also a place that encourages family-style eating. Each dish can be ordered for the whole table or for individual consumption, but either way, the food is plentiful. From artfully arranged cheese and charcuterie boards to hearty main plates to delectable desserts, Share’s delicious offerings will please any palate. —Amy Allen
•327 Somerset W., 613-680-4000, sharefreehouse.ca
Map and reviews

Veggie Paradise at Pure Kitchen

Tuck into some delicious veggie based dishes at Pure Kitchen.

Tuck into some delicious veggie based dishes at Pure Kitchen.

Your mouth and your health will thank you when you dine at Pure Kitchen, the city’s newest resto that caters to vegans and vegetarians. The emphasis is on fresh, organic, locally sourced ingredients. And although there are some options for those in need of comfort food (poutine, for instance), the menu is replete with crunchy salads, hearty soups, and heaping noodle and rice bowls, as well as succulent, plant-based burgers and tasty wraps. On the run? Try one of their delicious smoothies or juices to go. —Amy Allen
•357 Richmond Rd., 613-680-5500, purekitchenottawa.com

Night on the Town

Stop by Town for a  welcoming atmosphere and mouth-watering menu.

Stop by Town for a welcoming atmosphere and mouth-watering menu.

Town’s distinctive menu and welcoming atmosphere will have you feeling at home in no time. Get your meal started with a delicious slice of salted bread, followed by its famous ricotta-stuffed meatballs or perhaps the oven-roasted bone marrow. If you can, make a reservation, as this intimate restaurant fills up quickly.
•296 Elgin St., 613-695-8696, townlovesyou.ca

Bewitching Bites

The Scone Witch conjures up delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch.

The Scone Witch conjures up delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch.

Looking for breakfast on the run without sacrificing quality or flavour? The Scone Witch is the place to go. The cute café offers a variety of sweet and savoury scones, with the option of converting the latter into their signature “sconewich.” From poached salmon to gruyere cheese to a BLT with pesto, there’s no end of delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunchtime options for you to choose from.
•150 Elgin St., 613-232-2173 and 35 Beechwood Ave., 613-741-4141, sconewitch.ca

Ottawa’s Best Brunches


Drop in at the Hintonburg Public House for a scrumptious brunch. (Photo: Dwayne Brown Studios)

Drop in at the Hintonburg Public House for a scrumptious brunch. (Photo: Dwayne Brown Studios)

Brunch: it’s a Sunday dining favourite, that late-morning meal that brings together the best parts of breakfast and lunch. Not sure which one is right for you? We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites to help you decide.

Wilf & Ada’s
After 20 years in business, the owners of Ada’s Diner, a beloved greasy spoon in Centretown, retired and sold the property to a new generation of restaurateurs. The location was reborn as Wilf & Ada’s and has been serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch ever since. Dishes are lovingly prepared from scratch wherever possible, using high quality products sourced from local suppliers. Popular choices include the hot chicken sandwich, the eggs benny, and the house-made sugar pie. Wilf & Ada’s, 510 Bank St., 613-231-7959, wilfandadas.com.