Chris Knight’s Top 10 Picks for Restaurants in Ottawa is out!

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Ottawa's Best for 2007

Ottawa’s Best for 2007

Two weekends ago, friends came over to my place after dinner to chat and enjoy dessert. Jenn disappeared into the kitchen to make a Japanese sponge cake, called a kastella. I entertained.

While several of my guests argued the finer points of application development on mac vs. Linux platforms, another guest, a fellow foodie and dear friend from my university days, picked up my November 2007 issue of the Ottawa Magazine. Like me, she immediately turned to this year’s list of top 10 “Best Restaurants” according to guest columnist, respected critic, and cooking television producer, Chris Knight. That’s right folks, Knight’s top 10 for 2007 is out!

Ottawa's Best for 2006

Ottawa’s Best for 2006

For people new to the Ottawa Magazine, each year, around November-ish, Knight releases a top 10 list for restaurants in the national capital region. It is his determination of the best and brightest in the local restaurant scene. The criteria for Knight’s top 10 list follows:

  1. The restaurant needs to be a fine dining establishment.
  2. The restaurant needs to be on the tip of your tongue when your current boss, former mentor, hero, and father in law says he’s coming to Ottawa and wants you to recommend a place to go with the “missus” for their 40th wedding anniversary.

If you don’t believe me, I’ll happily show you the page in the November 2006 issue of the Ottawa magazine, where Knight actually states this.

Along with his annual top 10 list, Knight also includes a short list of restaurants that just nearly missed edging someone out and joining the list themselves. These restaurants will most likely be contenders for next year’s list.

And without further ado, here are Ottawa’s Best Restaurants for 2007:

  1. Beckta Dining and Wine: 226 Nepean Street – (613)238-7063
  2. Le Baccara: 1, boulevard du Casino – (819)772-6210
  3. Domus Caf̩: 87 Murray Street Р(613)241-6007
  4. Restaurant E18teen (new head chef since 2006: Matthew Carmichael, proteg̩ of Susur Lee): 18 York Street Р(613)244-1188
  5. The Wellington Gastropub (chef/owner: Chris Deraiche, former head chef of E18teen): 1325 Wellington Street – (613)729-1315
  6. Ambiente: 101-18 Beechwood avenue – (613)744-6509
  7. Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar (changed location since 2006): 245 Richmond Road – (613)728-0220
  8. Social Restaurant + Lounge: 537 Sussex Drive – (613)789-7355
  9. Perspectives: Brookstreet, 525 Legget Drive – (613)271-18000
  10. Les Fouger̬s: 782, route 105, Chelsea Р(819)827-8942

Here are Knight’s 6 Restaurants “to watch”:

  1. Absinthe Caf̩ Resto Bar (new location since 2006): 1208 Wellington Street Р(613)761-1138
  2. Canvas Resto Bar (at the former location of Absinthe): 65 Holland Avenue – (613)729-1991
  3. Allium (my personal favourite restaurant): 87 Holland Avenue – (613)792-1313
  4. Benitz Bistro: 327 Somerset Street West – (613)567-8100
  5. Luxe Bistro (formerly 47 York Restaurant, new name, new ownership, new head chef: Ren̩ Rodriguez): 47 York Street Р(613)241-8805
  6. The Whalesbone Oyster House (new head chef: Steve Wall): 430 Bank Street – (613)231-8569

As I told my friend, the November issue of the Ottawa magazine is to foodies what the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue is to sport fans. Both are issued once annually. Both are eagerly awaited.

For me, my meager restaurant budget only permits me to visit a precious few fine dining establishments during a given year. Chris Knight’s top 10 list and his write-ups on each incumbent restaurant provide much needed reconnaissance, information that will let me spend my money more wisely.

Regarding this year’s choices, Knight has confirmed the existence of Ottawa’s Epicurean Row. Two of his top 10 and three of his 6 “to watch” are located in the Wellington Village, almost within walking distance of each other.

To Arup Jana, chef/owner of Allium, congratulations. I’ll be by your restaurant soon to get my copy of the magazine signed!

Oh, if you’re interested in Knight’s top 10 pics for last year, they follow:

Ottawa’s Best Restaurants for 2006:

  1. Beckta Dining and Wine: 226 Nepean Street – (613)238-7063
  2. Domus Caf̩: 87 Murray Street Р(613)241-6007
  3. Perspectives: Brookstreet, 525 Legget Drive – (613)271-18000
  4. Le Baccara: 1, boulevard du Casino – (819)772-6210
  5. Ambiente: 101-18 Beechwood Avenue – (613)744-6509
  6. Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar (at former location): 1293 Wellington Street West – (613)728-0220
  7. Social Restaurant + Lounge: 537 Sussex Drive – (613)789-7355
  8. Le Cordon Bleu Signatures: 453 Laurier Avenue East – (613)236-2499
  9. Restaurant E18teen (presumably under former head chef: Chris Deraiche): 18 York Street – (613)244-1188
  10. The Urban Pear: 151 Second Avenue – (613)569-9305

Here are Knight’s former 3 Restaurants “to watch” for 2006:

  1. The Wellington Gastropub (chef/owner: Chris Deraiche): 1325 Wellington Street – (613)729-1315
  2. The Whalesbone Oyster House (under former head chef: Steve Vardy): 430 Bank Street – (613)231-8569
  3. Parfyum Bistro Moderne: 70 promenade du Portage, Gatineau – (819)770-1908

As you can see there was some shifting at the top of the top 10 list for 2007. The Wellington Gastropub made it. The Urban Pear and Cordon Bleu Signatures fell off. The re-listing of The Whalesbone Oyster House as a restaurant “to watch” is presumably because former head chef Steve Vardy recently took off for locations unknown in Newfoundland. The restaurant is now in the hands of Vardy’s once sous-chef Steve Wall.

Mild-mannered IT professional by day and food blogger by night, I founded foodiePrints with a single intention, to share my love of all things food. My first post shared a recipe. Many followed. Eventually, I learned Ottawa prepares and serves great food. Thereafter, I started meeting restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, farmers, and other local producers, all good people. Ideas for food-related content swirled in my head. foodiePrints grew into a place to put them. From exploring foreign and domestic cuisines to shopping for exotic ingredients and cobbling together my takes on dishes in my meager kitchen, there are stories to tell. Welcome to foodiePrints. Here, you will find stories about food and drink, cooking, and eating in Canada’s capital. Be it food-related or just food-for-thought, I hope you find something tasty here.