Her Campus at U Ottawa is located on the unceded, unsurrendered land of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. I recognize the valuable past and present contributions of all Indigenous peoples to this land, whose presence here reaches back to time immemorial.
If you grew up in Ottawa, you’ve probably heard “Ottawa is boring” too many times to count. And admittedly, it’s a relatively quiet city. But what Ottawa lacks in excitement, it makes up for in food! Over the past several years, I’ve tried so many food places around Ottawa—some forgettable, but some mouth-wateringly good. So, if you’re looking for a new go-to spot, consider visiting one of my favourite cafés, restaurants, or bars in the city!
Whether you need to study, get some work done, or meet a friend, a coffee shop works for almost every occasion.
Equator Coffee — various locations
Equator Coffee has five locations in Almonte, Westboro, Stittsville, Elgin, and Kanata. Personally, I especially love studying at the NAC location! It has lots of natural light, and the lattes are delicious.
Little Victories Coffee Roasters — Various locations
Little Victories Coffee Roasters has two locations in the city’s downtown core. Their latte art is so cute and I love how the Elgin location is decorated! This is my go-to café to visit when I’m introducing out-of-towners to our city.
Drip house — various locations
Drip House has three locations in Hintonburg, Chinatown, and Mechanicsville. Not only do they serve coffee, but they also serve an assortment of lunch items like toasts and sandwiches!
Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar — 1073 Bank Street
Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar is a book lover’s dream. The café serves warm drinks and pastries and is located inside a used bookstore! This spot is so cozy and perfect for a solo study date.
If you’ve ever visited New York City or anywhere else with a big nightlife, you’ll know that rooftop bars are all the rage. Although Ottawa is small, it has a few rooftop patios I think are worth the visit (once the snow melts)!
Atari Garden — 297 Dalhousie Street
Atari Garden is my favourite birthday spot for elevated cocktails. It’s open on Wednesdays to Saturdays from 5-11 pm and serves tapas if you feel like eating! During the warmer months, be sure to check out the rooftop patio.
Copper Spirits and Sights (Andaz) — 325 Dalhousie Street
Copper Spirits and Sights (Andaz) is located on the 16th floor of a hotel in Byward Market. The bar serves cocktails and elevated small plates if you get hungry! I highly recommend making a reservation at sunset for the view.
Ottawa has so many options for casual dining and these spots are perfect for work lunches and friend dates. The best part is that new casual dining spots open so often that it’s almost impossible to run out of new places to try!
The Clarendon Tavern — 11 George Street
The Clarendon Tavern is located in Byward Market. It serves lunch, brunch, dinner, and late-night drinks. Located near the U Ottawa campus, The Clarendon Tavern is perfect for grabbing a post-exam bite with friends.
No Forks Given — 191 Somerset Street East
No Forks Given is right near campus and has delicious food and drinks. This spot is great for grabbing a quick snack alone or with friends! Bonus points if you can order one of their cocktails with a straight face.
The Brig Pub — 23 York Street
The Brig Pub is located near The Clarendon Tavern in Byward Market. This restaurant is comfortable and works best as a casual lunch/after-work spot. It also has an outdoor dining area!
Joey — Various locations
Joey has two Ottawa locations in Lansdowne and Rideau, and I’d highly recommend either one! They can get a little crowded, but the food and atmosphere are definitely worth a visit!
LOCAL public eatery — 107, 825 Exhibition Way
LOCAL Public Eatery is located in the lively Lansdowne area. It has amazing food, local craft brews, and an outdoor patio for the warmer weather. If you love a restaurant with a sporty vibe, this spot is for you.
Although all the restaurants on my list have vegetarian options, sometimes they’re just not enough! As a vegetarian, I confidently recommend these top spots in Ottawa for plant-based food.
Pure Kitchen — various locations
Pure Kitchen has five locations in Westboro, Kanata, Elgin, Preston, and Rideau. They’re a vegetarian food and juice bar with a rotating seasonal menu. All their menu items can be made vegan with substitutions!
Wolf down — 380 Bank Street
Wolf Down isn’t strictly plant-based, but it have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available. The restaurant also serves Berlin döner, a German street food. Although Wolf Down’s food menu is small, everything on it is absolutely delicious.
Mad Radish — Various locations
Mad Radish has four locations in Ottawa. They serve innovative plant-based foods like salads, soups, smoothies, and more. They describe their food as “tasting as good as it makes you feel,” which I think is accurate!
Kuidaore — 420 Preston Street
Kuidaore is a Japanese restaurant in Little Italy with so many vegetarian options. Good vegetarian ramen is difficult to come by, but I was absolutely blown away by Kuidaore. Even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, give it a try!
If you have a sweet tooth, this section is for you! Ottawa has a wide variety of bakeries, pastry shops, and more that I’m so excited to share.
Suzy Q Doughnuts — various locations
Suzy Q Doughnuts has three locations in St. Laurent, Hintonburg, and Bells Corners. Their doughnut flavours are so unique and pair perfectly with a hot latte. These fun doughnuts also make a great birthday gift!
Cacao 70 — Various locations
Cacao 70 has two locations in Byward Market and Lansdowne and they’re every chocolate lover’s dream. Their menu features chocolate crepes, pizzas, waffles, and more. They also have non-chocolate menu items like sandwiches.
Moo Shu Ice Cream — 477 Bank Street
Moo Shu Ice Cream is located in Ottawa’s downtown core. Its menu features a wide variety of ice creams and fun cones you can mix and match!
The SconeWitch — various locations
The SconeWitch has four locations in Beechwood, Cyrville, Elgin, and Westboro. This bakeshop serves fresh, handmade scones that pair so well with tea. If you end up visiting any of its locations, I highly recommend buying a few extra scones for breakfast the next morning!
It can be easy to fall into a pattern of visiting the same restaurant over and over again until you can’t even look at it without rolling your eyes. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Next time you find yourself thinking Ottawa is boring, consider visiting a new food spot. Catch those taste buds off guard!