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ottawa food blog

Best Of

Top 10 Cheap Eats in Ottawa

Whalesbone Elgin

#Haddock catch of the day brown bag lunch at @thewhalesboneonelgin 🎣

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From 11:30AM-4:30PM each day, the Whalesbone location on Elgin Street serves up famous brown bag lunches, featuring an ever-changing “Catch o’ the Day” cut of fish on a bun for approximately $10. Whalesbone prides itself on fresh seafood and and its usually one of our favourite sandwiches in the city. If you’re in the mood to splurge, for a couple dollars more, you can try their other rotating lunch specials or fish n’ chips.

Price: $10/Catch o’ The Day brown bag lunch, $13.50/Fish n’ Chips

Shawarma Palace

We’ve tried many shawarma places in Ottawa, but none beats the palace. While shawarma may be known to some as a means to prevent a hangover, shawarma here deserves your full, sober attention. Both the beef and chicken varieties are packed with flavours and never teeter on the too-dry side of things. For a real treat, and provided no one will need to smell your breath for the next couple of days, get potatoes on the side with extra garlic sauce.

Price: $5-7/shawarma sandwich, 5$ for garlic potatoes; 15$/ shawarma platter

Quê Hùóng

$5 well spent. #banhmi #quehuong

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Pay a visit to this tiny Vietnamese eatery for homey, no-fuss cheap Vietnamese staples like bánh mì sandwiches or lemongrass beef on vermicelli.

Price: 5$ for subs, under 8$ for vermicelli bowls.

New Pho Bo Go La

Whether it be 4pm or 4am, the only obstacle to satisfying a craving for pho is deciding between the never-ending options of restaurants with startlingly similar names. This one serves our favourite bowl, with a fragrant broth and all of the fixins. We’d also recommend their BBQ Pork Rice Wraps ($5.50).

Price: $8.50 for a “small” bowl; $5.50 for BBQ pork rice wraps (2)

La Bottega

This quaint Italian grocer has been selling great-value panini at the back of their shop to for years. Quality bread, cold cuts, cheese and toppings (e.g. spicy eggplant) make for generous, custom made, meat-filled, hunger-satisfying sandwiches.

Price: 6$/sandwich

Di Rienzo

14 with the spicy eggplant, one of my favourite lunches in #Ottawa #dirienzo

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This family-run grocer in Little Italy is known for their cheap custom made sandwiches, and tasty, no-fuss pasta (served to-go in styrofoam containers). A special trip on weekends is worth it for Italian pastries (“leave the gun, take the cannoli”), imported from Montreal.

Price: under 6$ for sandwiches and pasta; 2$+ for pastries

Pataterie Hulloise

While it’s hard to find poutine that beats one you’d find in a small Quebec town that has an unrecognizable name, La Pataterie Hulloise knows all of the secrets to a good poutine: fresh fries with multiple layers of tasty gravy and audibly squeaky cheese curds.

Price: $5.45 for a medium classic poutine

Bread and Sons

This cozy bakery serves our favourite pizza by the slice (also available at the Bank Street location of Herb & Spice). Their thin crust slices with creative toppings like ricotta, kale or squash make for a satisfying quick lunch. They also happen to serve one of the tastiest cookies in the city – it’s warm, chewy, and chocolaty with candied orange and likely also contain some of what dreams are made of.

Price: under 5$ for a pizza slice; about $2.50 for their Perfect Cookie

So Good

The best #tofu in #Ottawa #sogood

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King of pan-asian cuisine, made to satisfy the Canadian palate, So Good offer up tasty treats like salt and pepper tofu (bet you can’t eat just one). It’s…so good?

Price: Fried tofu with pepper-salt: $10.95


One of our all time favourite spots in Ottawa for delicious Korean food. Our mouths water at the thought of bibimbap, gamjatang, and their bulgogi or spicy pork.
Price: 8 – 20$

Other favourites: Kothu Rotti, YKO, El Camino and Datsun windows, Corazon de Maiz, La Cabana, Meatpress, Sansotei.

*Prices are approximate and may change with time

Best Of

Top 10 Patios in Ottawa

The “best” patio in Ottawa can be difficult to define. Is it a place with incredible food? A great beer selection? Smaller crowds? A nice view? We considered all of the above when formulating this list (which is in no particular order) and tried to include options in a range of neighbourhoods. Above all else, each of the following 10 patios has a vibe that we’d enjoy on a sunny day, in and around the Nation’s capital. They’ll also have good beer.

Sir John A
Best for: A pint of domestic or foreign beer.
While there are a selection of patios on Elgin Street, we enjoy Sir John A for its fantastic beer list, street level people watching and reasonable turnover, meaning there’s usually not a huge wait to be seated.
Copper Spirits and Sights
Best for: A bird’s eye view of the city, with cocktails.
Copper Spirits and Sights is the rooftop patio of the Andaz Ottawa Byward Market. Without question, it’s one of the best views in the city. Though the food menu is limited to snacks, the cocktail list and atmosphere are well worth the elevator ride.
Mill Street Brew Pub
Best for: A view of water.
While there are a few Mill Street locations, none can rival the view from the patio in Lebreton Flats, a converted mill originally built in the 1800s overlooking the Ottawa River.
Quinn’s Ale House
Best for: A pint of Ashton beer and pub grub.
An Old Ottawa South institution, Quinn’s has a great range of draft options from Ashton Brewing Company and reliably tasty pub staples.
Bistro L’autre Oeil
Best for: An extensive beer list and quaint surroundings.
With one of the most impressive beer lists in the Ottawa region, L’Autre Oeil is worth the drive (or bike ride) over to Aylmer. Plenty of room and only a short distance away from the Aylmer waterfront, a great place to catch a sunset.
Metropolitain Brasserie
Best for: People watching and classy snacks (mussels, oysters).
The French Brasserie’s patio is tucked beside parliament and is frequented by government types. After-work patio snacks on special during their famed “Hill Hour” (4-7 pm on Mon-Fri) include oysters and steamed mussels.
The Lieutenant’s Pump
Best for: A pint of domestic or foreign beer.
Partially subterranean and always buzzing, the patio of the Lieutenant’s Pump is a staple on Elgin Street. Enjoyable if you can get a seat.
Best for: One of the best wine lists in town.
Soif, located in Gatineau, pairs small plates with some fantastic wines. All the more enjoyed under the sun.
Pub Italia
Best for: A literal bible of beer.
While known for its kitschy interior decor, Pub Italia’s patio is also a great place to enjoy a selection from their extensive beer list.
Chelsea Pub
Best for: Poutine, beer and charm.
The beautiful surroundings of Chelsea and a range of unique beers, Chelsea Pub is one of our favourite Ottawa getaways.

Honorable mentions:
Les Vilains Garcons, Social, Irene’s, Brother’s Beer Bistro, Les Brasseurs du Temps, Lowertown Brewery, Union Local 613, Fairouz.

Best Of

Top 10 Brunches in Ottawa

So it’s Sunday morning and you’re in the mood for some variety. Your stomach may be grumbling for a variety of reasons but let the anxiety of indecision not be one of them by simply choosing from one of our favourites.

Bytown Bites Top 10 Brunches in Ottawa.

  1. Edgar
    A cozy brunch haven in Gatineau. Folks flock here for indulgences like their famous “dutch baby” with maple syrup, sharp cheddar and pork belly ($14).
  2. Benny’s Bistro
    Tucked in the back of the French Baker, Benny’s Bistro is consistent and full of brunch surprises like their confit albacore tuna loin ($19). Breakfast (with a smaller menu) available on weekdays.
  3. The Manx
    Affordable and delicious, The Manx offers up a variety of brunch, bruncher and bruncherer options. Our favourite is “The Soho” which consists of two eggs, cowboy beans, braised mushrooms and hashbrowns ($10.50)
  4. Fraser Cafe
    Upscale surroundings and brunch options that will take your around the world including the Huevos Rancheros ($13.50) and Okonomiyaki ($14.50).
  5. Union 613
    Soul food brunch, their fried chicken and waffle sandwich (with poached eggs, pickled green tomatoes and spicy maple syrup) is a sight to behold ($15)
  6. Les Vilains Garcons
    An adventurous menu that always changes, with options typically around $15. A great change of pace for brunch.
  7. Art-Is-In Bakery
    Despite its large warehouse setting, the lines for brunch never seem to dissipate. And for good reason. Their famous fried pickle melt ($8.95) is a must.
  8. Wilf & Ada’s
    A scratch diner that does the basics and more. “Eggs in Purgatory” ($13.50) features eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce that will set your brunch on fire (in a good way). Full menu available on weekdays.
  9. Brother’s Beer Bistro
    More than just beer, their brunch features many items made in-house, including a 36-hour sous vide porchetta served with eggs ($15)
  10. Mariposa Farms
    Literal farm to table. If you are looking for an adventure, drive out to Mariposa Farms and try their $45 3-course “Sunday Lunch”. Ingredients like duck confit and foie gras can’t get any fresher.