Restaurants

Ottawa’s Nominees Vying for EnRoute’s Best New Restaurants People’s Choice Award 2014

Mena Restaurant's Bar Mena Restaurant's Bar

While San Pellegrino‘s “World’s 100 Best Restaurants” list has snubbed Canadian restaurants for four consecutive years, Air Canada’s in-flight magazine, EnRoute, continues to celebrate Canada’s developing culinary identity. In 2010, San Pellegrino named Calgary, Alberta’s Rouge Restaurant to the 60th spot and Cambridge, Ontario’s Langdon Hall (now under Chef Jason Bangerter) to the 77th. Canadian restaurants have never broken the top-50. Conversely, EnRoute prepares annual lists of “Best” new Canadian restaurants for the year, collecting nominations from a panel of local journalists and visiting various city’s nominations. In the end, the submitted restaurants are judged... | Continue reading article

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Fauna Finally: Jon and Kate Svazas Open their Highly Anticipated Restaurant

Fauna Restaurant Fauna Restaurant

Forty-eight hours have passed since Chef Jon Svazas and his wife Kate threw open the doors of their much anticipated restaurant to the public. Leading up to Fauna’s first dinner service, the Svazases engaged in a bit of tongue-in-cheek marketing, routinely changing the papers covering the slightly tinted floor-to-ceiling windows. Emblazoned with Fauna’s Momofuku-esque branding, they communicated the restaurant’s status, from “opening soon” to “opening slowly” and finally counting down the days until reservations were being accepted. Located directly across from Josh Bishop’s almost decade-old Whalesbone Oyster House, the embattled Fauna has been the subject... | Continue reading article

Pop quiz, hotshot! You’re Hungry! You’ve a Credit Card! Ordering by Phone is so 2000-and-Late

Big Plate Chicken from Ju Xiang Yuan Big Plate Chicken from Ju Xiang Yuan

With the beginning of September, a scary thought comes to mind. Patio season will end. Eateries and shops will pull back their encroachments onto public sidewalks as the weather takes on a familiar chill. Leaves will change colour and fall from their branches. Meteorologists will forecast the city’s first encounter with snow. Eventually, tables and chairs will be gathered together and put into storage until the next spring. Interestingly, 15°C seems warm after 6 successive months of frigid winter weather. When the temperature dips below 20°C during the summer months, Ottawa locals threaten to turn... | Continue reading article

Relatively Wordless Wed…I mean Thursday: Atelier Home Delivery

Atelier Takeout Atelier Takeout

Honestly, I thought I had seen it all last week. Jenn and I sat down at the bar of our favourite diner, Mellos in the ByWard Market (290 Dalhousie Street). We ate a rather late dinner, chatting with the amiable kitchen and laughing about many things food. At the end of a surprisingly thin service for a Friday evening, Mellos’ dishwasher asked for a plate of poutine and ate it with sliced white bread. He made poutine sandwiches. Chef Mike Franks, who takes over the 70′s era diner at 2 pm, shook his head, but... | Continue reading article

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Titans Fall: ZenKitchen and Domus Close

Kyle Mortimer-Proulx's Brigade from Zen Kitchen Kyle Mortimer-Proulx's Brigade from Zen Kitchen

Traditional media takes sides. It largely has to to ensure brevity-is-wit pieces are published according to the aggressive timelines required by modern journalism. You gotta be first to break the story. You gotta get that quote. You gotta polarize your audience to ensure viewers tune in; customers buy issues; and readers click links. There are good guys. There are bad guys. Issues are black and white with few shades of gray. The words chosen tend to be inflammatory. Increasingly, content consumers are grazing, getting their news from a multiplicity of sources. Loyalty to one newspaper... | Continue reading article

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Return to El Camino: Something’s Up…

El Camino El Camino

If you’ve heard me describe popular El Camino (380 Elgin Street) as Ottawa’s “answer” to Toronto’s Grand Electric, you may be wondering, “What on earth is that food nut mumbling about now?” Odds are I am tweeting with someone, visiting from the Big Smoke who asked for recommendations for where to eat. Odds are that someone is familiar with Toronto’s food scene. Odds are that someone also asked for unpretentious dining and value-oriented plates. Contemporary takes on classic Mexican street tacos usually fit the bill. Tacos, soft or hard shelled, are already universal crowd pleasers.... | Continue reading article

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Return to Hooch Bourbon House: Great Eats from Gumbo to Greasy Bastard

Hooch Bourbon House Hooch Bourbon House

This June will mark a year since Chef Danny Mongeon worked 72-hours straight with local contractors and Heidi Helm of Urbanomic Interiors to complete renovations and open Hooch Bourbon House (180 Rideau Street). Mongeon and his then fiancé Shannon Hargadon pitched in to re-finish furniture, distressing tables and chairs. They painted. They put up dry wall. They worked on wall and ceiling accents, including the unique light fixtures. They scrambled to assemble knickknacks to fill shelves, adding character. Hooch is Ottawa’s second bourbon bar to open and the city’s third significant whiskey purveyor since Petit... | Continue reading article

Relatively Wordless Friday: Reminder to Drop by Gezellig Tomorrow for “swab-a-thon”

Grilled Hanger Steak with Mushroom, Frites, and Aioli from Play - $16 Grilled Hanger Steak with Mushroom, Frites, and Aioli from Play - $16

A number of irritable people say some rather unfortunate things about food bloggers who participate in the “meatless” Monday, “wine” Wednesday, and “throwback” Thursday weekly “recurrence” exercises. “Gimmicky nonsense,” I’ve heard these posts described. They contribute to entropy in the World Wide Web, “base quality content.” These same people are least charitable of “wordless” Wednesday posts that lack “context” or “description.” “If you haven’t the time to string words together, why bother?” they say. Me, I am guilty of “relatively” wordless Wednesday posts since there is oftentimes too many incongruous smaller bits content to share.... | Continue reading article