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Where to Eat Ottawa

5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Ottawa

BY AMY ALLEN

This hearty chili is just one of many tasty vegan dishes on offer at SimplyRaw Express. (Photo: Courtesy of SimplyRaw Express)

This hearty chili is just one of many tasty vegan dishes on offer at SimplyRaw Express. (Photo: Courtesy of SimplyRaw Express)

In this day and age, plenty of restaurants include at least one vegetarian item on the menu. But wouldn’t it be nice to sit down at a place where the entire menu caters to those who have foregone meat altogether? Well, never fear — the Ottawa region has plenty of delicious options for vegans and vegetarians.

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Rustic Charm at MeNa

MeNa serves up elegant, French-inspired cuisine in a cozy, rustic setting.

MeNa serves up elegant, French-inspired cuisine in a cozy, rustic setting.

Named for owner Bryan Livingston’s wife, MēNa serves French-inspired cuisine in a cozy setting. With an emphasis on small menus and portions, the restaurant delivers such delicious options as lamb leg, arctic char, pork shoulder, beef flank, and corn flan with gnocchi. They also have a sommelier on hand to explain the wine menu and make pairing suggestions. —Amy Allen
•276 Preston St., 613-233-6462, menarestaurant.com

Game, Set, Match: Real Sports Bar and Grill

Real Sports is a great place to take in the big game, or just kick back and relax with friends.

Real Sports is a great place to take in the big game, or just kick back and relax with friends.

Take in the big game at Real Sports Bar & Grill, where sporting events are displayed on a 27-foot big screen and 99 additional HD televisions. Part sports bar, part lounge, it’s the perfect place to not only catch the game on the big screen, but also catch up with friends. The extensive menu boasts traditional and upscale bar fare, and the patio and second floor terrace offer the opportunity to kick back and relax. —Amy Allen
•90 George St., 613-680-7325, realsports.ca/barandgrill
Map and reviews

Ottawa Weekend Calendar for Nov. 21 to 23

BY AMY ALLEN

Adam Cohen, son of Leonard, performs at the Algonquin Commons Theatre on Saturday night.

Adam Cohen, son of Leonard, performs at the Algonquin Commons Theatre on Saturday night.

Friday, Nov. 21

Is the cold weather getting you down? No need to despair. Ottawa Bourbon Week kicks off on Friday night, with enough bourbon-inspired food and drink to put a fire in your belly. On Friday night, head over to Two Six {Ate} for some old-school bourbon cocktails with a modern twist. Admission is free. See website for other events throughout the week.

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Pizza on the Go: Fiazza Fresh Fired

(Photo: David Irvine)

Fiazza specializes in fresh, custom-made pizzas. (Photo: David Irvine)

Fiazza Fresh Fired is one of the newest restaurants in town. Start by choosing your sauce (red san marzano and alfredo are among the options), then pile it up with cheese (offerings range from blue to goat to vegan). After that, select your toppings, which run the gamut from traditional (pineapple, naturally smoked bacon) to unusual (truffle oil, arugula). —Amy Allen
•86 Murray St., 613-562-2000, fiazza.ca

Pancho Villa in Ottawa

Pancho Villa is a cozy restaurant that offers hearty Tex Mex and unique cocktails.

Pancho Villa is a cozy restaurant that offers hearty Tex Mex and unique cocktails.

Small, cozy, and nestled under an apartment building on Elgin Street, Pancho Villa has traditional Mexican fare on offer. Burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas stuffed with beef and chicken dominate the menu, but vegetarians and vegans will also find something here to enjoy. Round off your meal with a southern-themed cocktail — try the Pina Colada or the Acapulco Sunset — and a delicious serving of deep fried ice cream. —Amy Allen
•Pancho Villa, 361 Elgin St., 613-234-8872
Map and reviews

Pizza With Flair: ZaZaZa

ZaZaZa offers gourmet pizza with an assortment of unusual toppings.

ZaZaZa offers gourmet pizza with an assortment of unusual toppings.

Yet another brainchild of local restaurateur Ion Aimers, ZaZaZa offers thin crust pizza made with fresh dough, fresh sauce, and an assortment of unusual toppings. Guests are first asked to choose a crust (cornmeal, honey oat, or gluten-free); they can then peruse the playbill menu, which boasts such flamboyant pizzas as the Bleekinator (mozzarella, tomatoes, bacon, and parmesan), Lover’s Leap (mozzarella, pepperoni, hot Italian sausage, tomatoes, and black olives), and the Scary Roommate (mozzarella, kraft dinner, hot dogs, cheddar, and parmesan).
•1079 Wellington St. W., 613-798-9292, and three other locations. zazazapizza.com

Ottawa Weekend Calendar for Oct. 10 to 12

BY AMY ALLEN

Hailing from British Columbia, Current Swell plays indie rock and folk music.

Hailing from British Columbia, Current Swell plays indie rock and folk music. They perform at Mavericks on Friday night.

Friday, Oct. 10

Members of Ottawa Storytellers have been bringing the art of the spoken word to the capital since the ‘80s. Recently, the group launched a new series called Tellers at the Well as part of the West End Well’s arts and culture community outreach. On Friday, join Marie Bilodeau and Nicole Lavigne as they tell tales of pirates and mermaids in Dangers of the Seas.

If you’d prefer a quieter activity, stop in at Wellington West’s Studio Café, grab a latte, and take in some art by talented local artists. In: Form, a group exhibition led by Hilde Lambrechts, is a precursor to Figureworks, an annual juried award show that recognizes the city’s best figure art in all mediums. The exhibition includes figure art by local artists such as Maya Hum, Crystal Beshara, and Barry Seguin.

Victoria’s indie rock and folk group Current Swell has rapidly gained popularity since its humble beginnings in 2005. Thanks to its online presence and Internet fan base, the band has gained a large following not just in Canada, but also in Brazil, and has headlined festivals in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The band plays at Mavericks on Friday night.

Saturday, Oct. 11

The Haunted Walk’s Halloween season kicks off this weekend, and its zombie adventure, Incident at the Bunker, has its first run on Saturday. Join other thrill-seekers at the Diefenbunker to learn a bit about the history of the museum, all while staying one step ahead of the undead hordes that lurk in the shadows.

Get into the fall spirit with the Harvest Festival at Watson’s Mill! Events include a pie eating contest, live music and theatre, old-fashioned games (such as tug of war and egg races), pumpkin decorating, wagon rides, and activities for families. The mill will also be baking buns with their own flour, using a clay oven made by local schoolchildren.

Roots rock band Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case performs at the Black Sheep Inn on Saturday night.

Roots rock band Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case performs at the Black Sheep Inn on Saturday night.

Hailing from Newfoundland, Sherman Downey and the Ambiguous Case have been captivating audiences with their blend of roots rock, pop, and folk. In 2010, their debut album, Honey For Bees, was nominated for an Atlantis Music Prize, and they have performed in such far-flung places as Australia. They play the Black Sheep Inn on Saturday night.

Sunday, Oct. 12

Don’t have a Thanksgiving meal planned for the big day? Then head on over to the Museum of Nature, where the museum’s chef is laying out a Thanksgiving-themed brunch, complete with meats, cheeses, pastries, and desserts. Afterwards, take a stroll through the museum’s various galleries — admission is included in the cost of the ticket.

Painter Anna House presents There and Back Again, her debut exhibition in Ottawa, at the Orange Art Gallery. Her work depicts some of the world’s most beautiful places, in ways that encourage the viewer to think about these places in different ways. On until Oct. 26.

Ryan McNally his banjo and his acoustic blues to Raw Sugar Cafe on Sunday night.

Ryan McNally brings his banjo and his acoustic blues to Raw Sugar Cafe on Sunday night.

Ryan McNally is well versed in acoustic blues, jazz, and “old time” music. With his banjo in tow, he has toured much of Canada and the United States. He performs at Raw Sugar Café, alongside roots and country songwriter Sarah Jane Scouten, on Sunday evening.

Yangtze Dining Lounge in Ottawa

For more than 25 years, the Yangtze Dining Lounge has been cooking up some quality Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine.

For more than 25 years, Yangtze Dining Lounge has been cooking up some quality Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine.

Got a hankering for cheap yet tasty dim sum? Well, Yangtze Dining Lounge can hook you up. The place has been an institution in Chinatown for more than 25 years, and its menu is packed with spring rolls, assorted soups, noodle bowls, meat dishes, and plenty of options for vegetarians. It offers both Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine, and you can sit in or take out. —Amy Allen
•700 Somerset St. W., 613-236-0555. yangtze.ca
Map and reviews

Ottawa Weekend Calendar for Sept. 19 to 21

BY AMY ALLEN

Ottawa future-folk duo Bosveld performs at Gallery 101 on Friday. (Photo: Isaac Vallentin)

Ottawa future-folk duo Bosveld performs at Gallery 101 on Friday. (Photo: Isaac Vallentin)

Friday, Sept. 19

At 6 pm, Développé, a joint effort between the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO) and the National Arts Centre (NAC), is kicking off in the NAC Theatre’s foyer. The exhibition displays works from the SPAO’s emergent photographers, who photographed dancers during the 2014 Canada Dance Festival in June. The result is an exhibition that highlights the close relationship between photography and dance.

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Deacon Brodie’s Pub in Ottawa

Deacon Brodie's Pub is new in town, and it's offering some traditional Scottish pub fare — try the haggis!

Deacon Brodie’s Pub is new in town, and it’s offering some traditional Scottish pub fare — try the haggis!

Deacon Brodie’s Pub is named after a Scottish thief who was hanged for his crimes in the early 18th century. There’s plenty of traditional pub fare on offer, but there are some unusual items on the menu as well, such as lobster and salmon pot pie, ginger crusted pickerel, and malai kebab chicken. And be sure to keep an eye out for the haggis, that traditional Scottish dish made of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs. —Amy Allen
•247 Elgin St., 613-236-6464. deaconbrodiespub.com

Modern Cuisine at Gezellig

Delicious modern food is on offer at Gezellig, a cozy restaurant in the heart of Westboro.

Delicious modern food is on offer at Gezellig, a cozy restaurant in the heart of Westboro.

Restaurant entrepreneur Stephen Beckta and executive chef Michael Moffatt’s newest venture Gezellig (gah-zell-ig), named after the Dutch adjective for “convivial”, is both comfortable and inspiring with its modern menu and cozy atmosphere. Located in a converted 1950s bank building in Westboro, the restaurant specializes in big plates designed to be shared, such as the St. Louis back ribs with swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, grilled peppers, and butter-fried cornbread. The menu gets inspiration from around the world, including the wine pairings, while still supporting local producers.
•337 Richmond Rd., 613-680-9086. gezelligdining.ca
Map and reviews

Travis Persaud