Eat like a local in Ottawa


Couple eating at restaurant

Read Time: 10 minutes

The capital of Canada is far more than just government HQ. From exquisite architecture to cruises on the canal, this wonderful city is home to all manner of interesting things to see and do. So much so, in fact, that you are destined to work up an appetite while you explore! The good news is that there is a myriad of delicious dining destinations for you to enjoy while in town. From trendy hangouts and taco havens to relaxing pubs and incredible burger spots, there’s so much here to enjoy.

In this guide, we have collected a handful of the very best eateries to add to your list, helping you to eat like a local in Ottawa and experience the capital’s food scene the right way. Furthermore, we’ve also included some nearby places of interest, just in case you want to hire a car in Canada and see all that’s on offer.

If you are new to our blog, make sure you take a look at some of our other Ottawa and Ontario guides and articles so that you can discover all of the region’s virtues before your Canada holiday. This is a great place to start: 48 hours in Ottawa. We’ve included a few more pieces throughout this guide so keep an eye out!

Ola Cocina

Ola Cocina Ottawa

Image credit: Ola Cocina

If you are in the mood for some excellent Mexican cuisine while in Ottawa, Ola Cocina is the place to be. It’s popular with both locals and visitors alike. The star of the show at Ola Cocina (located downtown) is their fantastic array of tacos. Both colourful and creative, you’ll have a lot of fun and enjoy a delicious meal while you’re there. This proud Ottawa establishment shouldn’t be missed during your visit! Explaining a little more about what diners can expect, the team at Ola Cocina told us:

“Ola Cocina is pretty close to downtown. We are that ‘hole in the wall’ resto that all the locals go to. We are off the beaten track and people enjoy that aspect of it. Also, lots of free parking!

“Our menu is full-on real Mexican food. Hand pressed corn tortillas, all food is made in house. Half of the business comes from our taco page. We have 15 different kinds of tacos to explore. Each one with their own personality. Also, our food caters for people with gluten allergies (the menu is 100% gluten-free), dairy allergies, or any other food sensitivities.”

Nearby places of interest

– National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces

Rideau Hall

– Stanley Park

The King Eddy

Situated near the popular Byward Market, The King Eddy is the place to be for great burgers in Ottawa. Open seven days a week, visitors to The King Eddy can look forward to a relaxing dining experience and local favourite hangout. Their classic diner-style cuisine is all made fresh every day and served up to hungry Ottawans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s even 24-hour extended service from Thursday to Sunday, just in case you fancy a burger after a night on the town!

Speaking to us about this cherished Ottawa establishment, the team at The King Eddy said: “The King Eddy is truly a local experience and our love for this city runs deep! Sample some of Ottawa’s best craft breweries, enjoy a glass of Ontario VQA wine on tap for only $1/oz, or a fresh cup of King Eddy coffee roasted just around the corner. We pride ourselves on being the ‘locals’ spot, serving up the city’s best burgers, fried chicken, shakes, and all-day breakfast!

“We are central to everything Ottawa. Whether you’re visiting Parliament Hill, skating the Rideau Canal, biking along the Ottawa River, or cruising the many shopping districts (Sussex, Byward, North Dalhousie, Rideau Centre), The King Eddy is there to fuel and reward any Ottawa excursion.”

Regarding their completely takeout-friendly menu, The King Eddy said: “The legendary King Eddy Burger is a double cheeseburger freshly ground in-house that is classically simple and delicious (no ‘gourmet’ burgers here folks!). Our famous Northern Fried Chicken is hand breaded to order with our own secret spice blend; enjoy it on a sandwich or by the bucket (seriously)! For the breakfast traditionalist, we offer the King Eddy All Day Breakfast; our version of the classic two-egg breakfast with real hand-cut potatoes and homemade chilli for only $10.99 ($8.99 for you early birds). But for those looking to venture out of their breakfast comfort zone try the Locco Mocco, a rice bowl topped with two King Eddy beef patties, gravy, and sunny fried egg – you will not be disappointed!

“At The King Eddy, we hope to offer an experience that is non-intimidating, family friendly, and one that people gravitate to for all occasions. As much as the food and drink are great, we want the atmosphere, the music and the King Eddy culture to be a big part of the equation for a memorable visit: #KElovesall.”

Nearby places of interest

– Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

– National Gallery of Canada

– Parliament Hill

SEE ALSO: The best festivals in Ottawa

Fraser Café

Chef de cuisine Sara Shpyth Fraser Cafe Ottawa

Fraser Café in New Edinburgh is in a prime location for those wanting to enjoy the best of what Ottawa has to offer and chow down on some delicious grub in the process. The café has been a mainstay of the local neighbourhood since 2008, delighting diners with their simple approach to great food, from fresh oysters to meatballs, all comprised of the highest quality ingredients. Both casual and lively, there’s no question that this spot is one of the best places to be for top food at reasonable prices. Telling us what visitors can expect to enjoy, Fraser Café said:

“Fraser Café is a bustling restaurant, offering a warm environment with welcoming service and creative dishes. We are located in the charming neighbourhood of New Edinburgh just a few minutes east of historic Byward Market. The dining room offers intimate tables, as well as relaxed bar seating and, for larger groups, reservations are available in our private dining room Table 40. The atmosphere is comfortable and approachable for all guests.

“Offering brunch on weekends, lunch weekdays and dinner daily, our menus focus on quality and value with dishes that are fresh and unique to us. Everything is made in house, from ice creams to bread and sauces with ingredients that are seasonal, sustainable and local whenever possible.

Please join us for a delicious meal at your home away from home.”

Nearby places of interest

– Byward Market

– Stanley Park

– Rideau Hall

Soif Bar à vin

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Thank you to @transparentkitchen for the great photo! Come enjoy some small plates made with local, seasonal ingredients. 🍽❤ Merci @transparentkitchen pour la belle photo! Venez savourer des petites assiettes faites à partir de produits régionaux. #Repost @transparentkitchen with @get_repost ・・・ Grab some friends and head to @soifbaravin for a tasting flight and a few beautiful sharing plates. Check them out – new menu is live on TK! Link in bio. 🥂🍷 . . . . #food #foodie #local #farmtotable #menu #visualmenu #farmersmarket #chef #chefsofinstagram #ottawaeats #ottawa #yow #ottcity #myottawa #exploreCanada #ottawalife #gatineau #sharingplates #wine #winebar #vin #thirsty #sommelier #ottawatourism #ottawafood #bytownbites

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Many of us are well aware of the joys associated when pairing great wine with delicious food. This is just what is on offer at Soif Bar à vin, a wonderful wine bar located in Gatineau, just across the bridge from Ottawa in the Old Hull sector. By fusing the two great pillars of passionately made wines and a tremendous kitchen producing award-winning food, it’s easy to see why locals are fond of this particular establishment. Describing what’s on offer for guests in a little more detail, the team at Soif Bar à vin told us:

“Soif Bar à vin is a true wine bar. We offer an extensive list of wines by the bottle and a concise but ever-changing list of wines by the glass. The list has completely different wines from what you will find elsewhere in the region. We focus on real, authentic, terroir-driven wines produced using organic, biodynamic and natural practices. Here at Soif, we really love wine but also, we don’t take ourselves too seriously! Guests can expect a great vibe, a warm and laid-back ambience, and to be guided by a staff of friendly and knowledgeable sommeliers-servers. Soif is owned by Véronique Rivest, one of the most respected sommeliers in Canada and abroad, who placed second at the World’s Best Sommelier Competition in Tokyo in March 2013.

“We offer an award-winning menu of small and sharing plates, allowing guests to grab a bite or have a full meal. The food makes use of great local ingredients and focuses on simple preparations, to let flavours shine through and be very wine-friendly.”

Nearby places of interest

Canadian Museum of History

– Gatineau Park

National Gallery of Canada


SEE ALSO: What should be on your Ontario Winter bucket list?

The Wellington Gastropub

The Wellington Gastropub is an upmarket pub that is also one of Ottawa’s brightest lights when it comes to top food. With wine and beer dinners, a monthly record club and an outdoor patio, there’s certainly a lot to love. You can look forward to traditional pub fare such as burgers, steak and fries, as well as a two-page long menu of craft beers and a wine list with vintages from across the globe. Speaking to us about their establishment, The Wellington Gastropub said: “We are in a very cosy spot, located 10 minutes west of downtown in the neighbourhood of Wellington West.  We also have a private dining room that seats up to 20 people.

“For almost 13 years, our daily changing menu reflects the seasons and our many excellent farmers and suppliers in the Ottawa area. We bake bread every morning and make all our own pasta, ice creams and cured meats. We offer 20 wines by the glass, as well as 13 taps of Ontario craft beer.”

Nearby places of interest

– Remic Rapids

– Hampton Park

The Great Canadian Theatre Company


Considered to be one of the most memorable dining experiences anywhere in Ottawa, Atelier on 540 Rochester Street is certainly a restaurant that should be added to your to-do list. Boasting a wonderful high-end, 12-course tasting menu every night, which is constantly evolving, visitors to Atelier will often be in for a new surprise upon every visit. Headed up by their star chef, Marc Lepine (highly respected across Canada), there’s always something creative going on at Atelier, with playful and flavourful dishes paired with superb wines being a constant presence. The menu is an ever-evolving one but to give you a taste of what to expect, diners can look forward to the likes of langoustine and Boudin Noir, Cornish hen and black garlic, and mackerel and blood orange.

Nearby places of interest

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

Dominion Arboretum

Canadian Museum of Nature


SEE ALSO: The ultimate Ontario bucket list


Found on Bank Street, Fauna is yet another excellent member of Ottawa’s food scene and a great place to secure a table when attempting to enjoy the city as the locals do. Trying (and succeeding) to present the best things in life – food, drink, friends, and family – Fauna has assembled a seasonally driven menu while supporting local farmers and producers at every chance they get. Fauna is serious about its place in local Ottawa society, loving the neighbourhood they call home and proud to be a regular meeting place for local residents. Their menu features both small and full-sized plates, perfect for trying more than one dish during your visit. Combining cocktails and local draughts with steak, burgers, scallops, salmon tataki, duck breast and more, there’s a little something for everyone at Fauna.

Nearby places of interest

– Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Canadian War Museum

– Central Park


The upscale-casual restaurant known as Fairouz, located in Somerset Village, is a true must for those fond of Middle Eastern cuisine or just exceptional restaurants in general. Housed inside a heritage mansion, their modern Middle Eastern cuisine has truly taken Ottawa by storm since opening in 2016, becoming known as one of the places to go to for a terrific meal in the city. With farm-fresh produce and traditional herbs and spices from the Middle East, alongside a wine and beer list that can’t be ignored, there’s a truly elegant evening awaiting. Their versatile menu can see guests dining on the likes of fresh pita with fennel and tahini dip, sharing main courses such as sumac glazed half chicken, and tasty desserts like baked halloumi custard. Explore more of their fascinating menu yourself via their website.

Nearby places of interest

– Memorial Park

– Chinatown

– Victoria Island


SEE ALSO: Best scenic drives around Ontario

Where to eat in Ottawa


As you can see, there’s no shortage of wonderful dining destinations in Ottawa. No matter what you are looking for or the occasion planned, when you spend time in Canada’s capital, there’s an exciting restaurant, café, bar or eatery ready for you.

The great food available in Ottawa is only one of many reasons to visit this part of the world, however. To get a broader glimpse of what could await you during your trip to Canada, explore more of our blog, containing tips, guides, and advice.

If you are left feeling inspired and ready to book your next adventure, take a look at the many wonderful holidays available in Ottawa.

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