OTTAWA À LA CARTE Don’t miss the chance to explore the local dining scene during your next visit
Simon and Ross Fraser, brothers who served in the kitchen at Domus Café, opened FRASER CAFÉ in the New Edinburgh neighbourhood in spring 2008, with just 27 seats and a commitment to local products.
Stephen Mitton, known for his “progressive Canadian bistro” style at Social Restaurant + Lounge, purchased and gutted the location of Bistro 115, where he initially developed his signature dish of duck confit. The new place is called simply MURRAY STREET. It opened June 16 with a charcuterie bar (beyond their regular menu) where you can choose from a selection of sliced meats, terrines, pâtés, cheeses and other goodies – much of which is made in-house. A great beer and wine list, romantic back patio with grapevines and a knowledgeable staff round out the picture.
Ottawa chef René Rodriguez opened a new Basque-style restaurant called NAVARRA on July 2 in the location of the Black Cat Café on Murray Street, where Rodriguez used to be the chef (more recently, he worked at Luxe Bistro). Navarra is tiny but its dishes pack a punch.
Chef Derek Benitz, who opened Benitz Bistro in 2007 on Somerset Street downtown, opened a second restaurant next door in September, named B/SIDE WINE AND SMALL PLATES, with a 28-seat wine bar, private room and outdoor patio. www. benitzbistro.com
MOONROOM, a funky space featuring a vinyl jukebox and great small plates, opened on Preston Street on November 9.
The hotly anticipated ATELIER, by innovative chef/owner Marc Lépine (formerly of the Courtyard Restaurant) opened November 12 on Rochester Street near Little Italy, presenting a multi-course tasting menu each evening using only the freshest ingredients prepared in ways you’ve never seen before.
Get a sneak peek at what’s in store on the chef ’s blog on the website.
Other new additions on Preston Street (Little Italy) include DIVINO WINE STUDIO, selling highquality wines and offering foodand-wine pairing courses mostly featuring Italian wines; BIG EASY’S SEAFOOD AND STEAK HOUSE serving up some Creole goodness with great jazz and blues; and LAGO BAR & GRILL overlooking the Rideau Canal at the Dows Lake Pavilion.
THE BLACK CAT CAFÉ (formerly in Navarra’s current location) reopened in a funky space on Preston Street in December 2008. Hot chef Stephen Vardy, formerly of Beckta, Par-fyum, and Whalesbone Oyster House, has returned to Ottawa to take the helm after a one-year sabbatical in Newfoundland. The well-respected Beckta Dining and Wine will open a second location called PLAY FOOD & WINE, focusing on small plates and casual dining, on January 30, 2009 across the street from the U.S. Embassy.
Hot news! – ByWard Market stalwart Oregano’s has been sold! The owners of Empire Grill and Métropolitain Brasserie have purchased this historic property, located on a prime corner lot in the Market neighbourhood. Details are sketchy so far—the theme may be Italian and it may be called THE GRAND, after the Grand Trunk Railway. Look for something spectacular in early to mid-2009.
The Westin Ottawa is also announcing a new concept restaurant for its newly renovated ground floor space that was formerly filled by Hartwell’s Lounge.
The general manager says it will be a unique location in Ottawa and will open in spring 2009. It’s part of an overall renewal project at the hotel, which has included replacing all fixtures in all the rooms, adding meeting space and renovating the front entrance to the hotel and lobby.
Once the new restaurant is open, the current restaurant, Daly’s, will continue to serve breakfast and lunch, but will not serve dinner.