The best neighbourhoods in Ottawa for foodies
From quirky cafes to fine restaurants, Ottawa is earning its chops as a foodie’s paradise.
While there are plenty of reasons to move to Ottawa, the food scene tops the list.
When you walk around Ottawa, you’ll spot local food packed with flavour. There is a restaurant or cafe bound to please the most demanding of taste buds. The city’s neighbourhoods represent a culinary offering as diverse as their residents.
Here we give you a list of neighbourhoods with the best restaurants in Ottawa. If you are looking for a home with easy access to a variety of food, consider this your ultimate guide.
The Byward Market
The historic neighbourhood of the Byward Market is the heart of Canadian culture. It is located between George and York Streets and east of the downtown core. And just like your typical city centre, it boasts a variety of eateries, restaurants, cafes, and award-winning cuisine.
Inside the Byward Market building, there are plenty of eating options from all over the world. From tacos to bubble tea to shawarma, this spot has some of the best hidden gems in the city. Around the building, you’ll find specialty stores for cheese, meat, wine, tea, and pastries from local producers. Locally sourced produce and fresh maple syrup are a must for your day in Ottawa.
The area has dining experiences for every taste thanks to its diverse food scene. Just by walking one block of the Byward Market, you can find bakeries, luxury restaurants, Mexican food, Asian delicacies and the best of Ottawa’s staple foods. In this neighbourhood, you can find the famous “Canada cookie.” This popular treat made headlines when President Obama visited Ottawa and took a little detour to Le Moulin De Provence in 2009. While we can’t promise you’ll spot Barack himself, the cookies alone are worth the trip!
Any time of year, you can enjoy Beavertails, another Ottawa staple that pleases both tourists and locals. In the summer, the fried dough pastry is perfect for eating while you walk along the historic sites, and in the winter, it is the best way to warm up as you skate the Rideau Canal.
The Byward Market is home to Chateau Lafayette, nicknamed by locals as “the Laff.” This storied establishment is Canada’s oldest bar and tavern. Established in 1849, the Laff is a local favourite known for its excellent drafts and live music.
Don’t miss these unique Byward Market eats:
Quelque Chose Macaron Boutique: Traditional French artisan bakery featuring world famous macarons.
The Grand Pizzeria and Bar: wood fired pizzas, fresh sangrias, and a patio - need we say more??
Social: Funky Canadian cuisine, an extensive wine list, and live outdoor jazz make this contemporary bar a great place to get social!
Corazon de Maiz: Authentic Mexican cuisine in the heart of the market.
Sidedoor: Specializing in cocktails, tacos, and donuts (a surprisingly delicious pairing).
Benny’s Bistro: Hidden in the back of a bakery, this trendy brunch spot has the best mimosas in town.
The Golden Triangle
Elgin Street is a culinary hotspot, and residents from the Golden Triangle are lucky to have it at their fingertips. The Rideau Canal borders this small neighbourhood with Elgin Street completing the base of the triangle. Located near the downtown core and Centretown, this area is known for award-winning cuisine amongst a bustling nightlife.
Every type of type of food and cuisine is found on Elgin Street. From Korean fried chicken to baked goods and popular late-night diners, every block is an endless stream of food hotspots.
And with a pub on every corner and live entertainment all week long, every night out on Elgin is unique!
Next time you visit Elgin Street, make you sure to try these places:
El Camino: For the best tacos in town!
Elgin Street Diner: Voted Ottawa’s Best Diner, this diner offers up Canadian classics like milkshakes, poutine, and all day breakfast. Open 24 hours a day, it's always a good time for ESD!
Town: Italian inspired dishes crafted from the freshest local ingredients.
The Fry: Authentic Korean barbecue and fried chicken.
Pancho Villa: Traditional Mexican cuisine and cocktails in the heart of Ottawa.
The SconeWitch: Fresh scones in every flavour imaginable (Psst- the homemade jam is not to be skipped!)
Kochu: Fresh and healthy sushi and Korean-inspired cuisine - made fresh while you wait!
The centre of Ottawa’s Italian community is the historic neighbourhood of Little Italy. Immigrants in the early 1900s established this neighbourhood between Chinatown, Hintonburg and Centretown West to keep their inner roots intact. Today, it is a mix of restaurants, commercial areas, and housing.
European heritage is showcased with pride around the two main commercial streets. Preston and Gladstone are also known as Corso Italia and Via Marconi to those who’ve mastered the Italian language. Many of the restaurants and cafes are still owned and operated by the descendants of the original settlers.
Like any neighbourhood in Ottawa, Little Italy has its own festivals that feature the delicacies of the local area. Italian Week and Presdelicous are just some of the examples of celebrations that happen all year-round.
Little Italy is not only a spot for the best Italian food in town. When wandering along Preston Street, you’ll see Irish pubs, Japanese restaurants, smoothie shops, and more. A night out in Little Italy allows locals to travel the world with their taste buds.
Satisfy your cravings at these Ottawa restaurants:
La Dolce Vita: Beloved by gluten-free foodies, this snug eatery has one of the largest gluten-free menus in the city.
Stoneface Dollys: Brunch at Dollys is a local secret - the hash browns are always worth the wait!
EVOO Greek Kitchen: Authentic Greek cuisine in a casual and cosy setting.
Wandee Thai Cuisine: Their traditional Thai-style spring rolls are best enjoyed on the patio!
Pub Italia: Once a church, this funky pub offers over 200 beers on its ‘Beer Bible”.
La Favorita: This romantic eatery enjoys the coveted title of the best pizza in Little Italy.
The upscale neighbourhood of The Glebe has one of the trendiest streets in the city. This old suburb turned hip hotspot is located south of the downtown core, bordered by Centretown, Chinatown and Old Ottawa South. This historic ‘burb remains one of the go-to places for any local around.
Bank Street is full of historic homes, boutiques, unique cafes, and acclaimed restaurants. The vibrant street gives a variety of options to suit anyone. Local favourites in this area include the popular Kettleman’s Bagels, Moo Shu’s one-of-kind small-batch ice cream and more than one bakery to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Lansdowne Park hosts the longest-running farmer’s market in Ottawa. Whether the sun is shining or snow is falling, the market is open all year round with local honey, fresh produce, artisan jams, and more.
Visit these favourite local eateries in The Glebe:
Feleenas: Authentic Mexican classics served on possibly the prettiest patio in the city.
The Wild Oat: Fresh and healthy baked goods and cafe classics made with organic ingredients from their very own farm outside of Ottawa.
La Strada: Cosy and romantic eatery offering classic Italian favourites, desserts, and wine.
Ichiban Bakery: You absolutely must try a fresh Japanese cream cheese bun!
Von’s Bistro: This casual bistro is a local favourite for brunch, lunch, and drinks.
Erling’s Variety: Creative and seasonal small plates plus an extensive wine list. This unique eatery is named for the owner’s grandfather’s variety store.
Ottawa’s Chinatown is symbolic of the cooperation between the two nations. Located on Somerset Street West, the neighbourhood that begins with the iconic archway is your go-to Asian food destination and one of the city’s fastest growing areas.
Flavours of the world collide on Somerset Street. Countries from all over Asia have influenced the chefs of Somerset, including Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea is readily available. In one evening, you can enjoy sushi rolls, dim sum, and Korean barbecue, then finish the night with bubble tea.
With all the authentic Asian dining options, it is easy to forget about the other cultural influences that make up this neighbourhood. It is a taste of the world, conveniently concentrated in one geographically small area.
Enjoy a multicultural dining experience in these restaurants:
Saigon Boy Noodle House: The best pho in town!
Koreana: Authentic Korean-inspired cuisine in a laid-back setting.
Jadeland: Cantonese and Szechuan cooking made from the freshest local ingredients.
My Sweet Tea/Honey Boba: Bubble tea enthusiasts rejoiced when this recently rebranded hotspot opened up again!
Ginza: Ramen, sushi, and sake? Sign us up!
When it comes to food, you can’t forget about Ottawa’s trendiest neighbourhood: Westboro. Richmond Road is lined with over 200 different local businesses, including unique cuisines, trendy cafes, cosy pubs, and more.
During the annual Westboro Fuse Street Festival, locals gather to party in the street and enjoy live music, entertainment, fashion, and of course, plenty of food!
Follow the trend and visit these local food spots in Westboro:
Pure Kitchen: Vegetarian food and juice bar made entirely from scratch.
Baker Street Cafe: Quite simply, the best brunch in the city. Homemade classics are accompanied with classic rock records, spun by the chef himself.
Gezellig: Named for the Dutch adjective meaning ‘comfortable, belonging, and togetherness’, this cosy eatery offers local fare from award winning chefs.
The Savoy Brasserie: Classic French bistro boasting local seafood, live jazz, and amazing brunch.
Chez Francois: Plaisirs de Provence: This unique eatery/cafe/shop hybrid is a Francophile favourite for croissants and cappuccinos.
Last but most definitely not least, the neighbourhood of Hintonburg also keeps a trendy vibe. This historic area in the west of Ottawa’s downtown is one of the up-and-coming neighbourhoods of the city, boasting historic homes, family friendly parks, and easy access to plenty of delicious culinary options. Wellington West is a street to explore on an empty stomach!
Expect the artisan community to create quirky but tasty dishes, pastries, and treats that will not be overshadowed by an upscale restaurant. Its unique cafes and world-famous breweries deserve the same recognition as any other fine dining restaurant.
These restaurants in Hintonburg are a must-visit:
The Hintonburg Public House: Pub fare has been reimagined in this hip gastropub, which also hosts fun events like trivia, karaoke, keg-tappings, art shows, and more.
Absinthe: A lively European-inspired cafe serving some of the best craft cocktails in the city.
Suzy Q: Fresh homemade donuts in unique flavours like maple bacon, Fruit Loop, Oreo cookies, red velvet, and more!
Meat Press: Creative charcuterie and sandwiches, as well as local craft brews, are on offer in this unique butchery/lunch spot.
Beyond the Pale: Ok, ok, technically BTP is a craft brewery, not a restaurant. However, their creative craft beers paired with local barbecue on the menu earned this unique hangout a place on our list!