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Top 10 lists love Ottawa restaurants

 

Three recent “Top 10 New Restaurants in Canada” lists have prominently featured Ottawa’s restaurant.

Perhaps the highest-profile list comes from Air Canada’s inflight magazine, enRoute. Their prestigious list, published in their November issue, is the Bible for many foodie travellers. Not one but two Ottawa restaurants were cited, in positions #4 and #5.

Atelier, known for its outrageous cooking techniques (liquid nitrogen, solar ovens, sous-vide, anti-griddles), was #4. Located just east of Preston Street in Little Italy, in an unmarked building, Atelier is part entertainment, part decadent culinary experience. The 12-course blind tasting menu presents a surprise at every turn, but is paired with knowledgeable servers, an accessible wine list and an infectious sense of fun.

Murray Street is on the list at #5. Located on a block of the eponymous ByWard Market street that’s becoming known as “Gastro Alley” because of the concentration of great chef-owned restaurants there — to wit, John Taylor at Domus Café, Navarra by René Rodriguez, Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro — Murray Street is known for its charcuterie. Chef and co-owner Steve Mitton smokes his ham in-house, and makes his own terrines, pâtés, rillettes and more! At lunch, try the pulled pork sandwich. For dinner, share a mixed charcuterie plate (meats, cheeses, chutneys, pickles and more await!) before indulging in locally sourced pork, duck, beef or even veggie options. In summer, enjoy the secluded back patio, a true delight!

Next came Michele Sponagle’s Canada’s Top 10 New Restaurants list, published by the Canadian Tourism Commission. Here, Ottawa came in #1 and #2.

Atelier once again headed the list while Play Food and Wine was #2. Play is owned by Stephen Beckta, who opened Beckta in 2003 to rave reviews. Play is the more casual, fun-loving cousin to Beckta. Set in a two-floor space across the street from the U.S. Embassy in the ByWard Market district, Play offers small plates of lovingly prepared food — the better to share with friends. The constantly changing wine list offers dozens by the glass and award-winning local brew Beau’s Lug Tread Lagered Ale is on tap. Sit at the upstairs kitchen bar to see the food as it’s prepared in a small-but-efficient open kitchen.

Finally, WHERE magazines recently announced their Best New Restaurants in Canada 2009 list. Waving the Ottawa flag was The Grand Pizzeria and Bar, which opened in a beautiful brick heritage building in the bustling ByWard Market neighbourhood in May 2009. Known for their authentic Neapolitan pizzas — and great pasta, too — The Grand is a great addition to the scene. In summer, it has the largest outdoor patio in Ottawa, overlooking a prime busking spot in the Market. In winter, its cosy atmosphere and delicious bites will keep you coming back.

Stay tuned for even more culinary achievements from the talented chefs of Ottawa!

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