To celebrate Ottawa’s amazing chefs, we’re publishing a series of articles to offer you a look at the best restaurants in 7 neighborhoods of the Nation’s Capital.

 Regions

Old Hull

Little Italy

Hintonburg

Somerset Village

Elgin Street

The Glebe

ByWard Market

You can discover them all firsthand on these tours


Little Italy

Ottawa’s Italian Quarter is a prime spot for going out for a nice dinner. Some would say it is the area of the city with the best restaurants. At the very least, it is recognized for having a very high concentration of quality restaurants. Here you will find excellent Italian restaurants (of course!), but also quality French, Greek, and more eclectic spots. That is not counting the quality watering holes, the always appreciated restaurants that source their products locally, and one of Ottawa’s only molecular cuisine.

In fact, this molecular cuisine restaurant, Atelier, is considered by many to be one of Canada’s best and has received many awards. Add this to the multiple other awards won by other restaurants and you have a prime dining neighborhood. Needless to say, going out on Preston is worth the travel.

Here are 5 places that need to be visited. All of them are on the Experience Food Tours.

Restaurants are in no particular order.

Food Tour Ottawa

Atelier

540 Rochester street, Ottawa

Located in what looks like an abandoned building, without a sign and only a civic number, this restaurant has made a name for itself by simply creating amazing food. Marc Lepine, owner and Chef de cuisine at Atelier, is one of Ottawa’s only Chef that serves molecular cuisine. Here your palate will be confronted with all sorts of flavors you may not know but will be happy to discover.

Awards won by Chef Lepine and his restaurant include two “Ottawa Chef of the Year” and two Canadian Culinary Championships. This is on top of his multiple Golden Plates and other distinctions. Atelier was also recently named one of Canada’s top 100 restaurants and continues to impress everyone it serves.

When going to Atelier, you will be served a 12-course tasting menu complete with impeccable wine pairing. Each course is carefully crafted by Chef Lepine, and each wine paired by Steve Robinson, their sommelier. A night out at Atelier is more than just a meal, it’s an experience. And while the prices might seem high, those who have been there will tell you that it is well worth it.

Best Restaurants in Ottawa – Little Italy

Reserve your Little Italy Food Tour here

MeNa

276 Preston Street, Ottawa

There seems to be a theme developing in Preston street restaurants. Restaurateurs in that area want you to have a distinctive dining experience. To them, dining doesn’t seem to be something you do before going out, it is going out. This is precisely the case with MeNa’s blind tasting menu. There you will have a 3 to 12-course meal during which each dish is more creative than the last.

MeNa was in the running for the top 10 best new restaurants in Canada list in 2014 and has been serving their guests to satisfaction ever since. You can’t be afraid to try new things when you go to this restaurant, however. They will accommodate allergies, but the chef’s creations need to be honored for the art that it is. Mostly of French inspiration, MeNa will serve bold and delicate flavors with presentations that defy gravity. All paired with great Canadian wines, most not available at the LCBO, this is an experience any foodie must have.

Make your reservation today, or explore it on Experience Food Tours, since this small restaurant books long in advance.

 Best Restaurants in Ottawa – Little Italy

Reserve your Little Italy Food Tour here

Food Tour Ottawa
Food Tour Ottawa
Food Tour Ottawa

DiVino Wine Studio

225 Preston street, Ottawa

The idea of a wine studio (or wine bar) isn’t that original in itself. Outside of Ottawa, many places have taken the concept and turned into their own things. Simply calling DiVino a wine bar wouldn’t do it justice, however. Owner Eric and his staff have taken the concept and pushed it to new lengths offering great modern Italian cuisine and great wine pairings. This is perhaps why it is a “studio” and not a “bar.” In fact, wine is only one of the things they do well.

The food at DiVino is Italian and quite authentic. It is, however, quite different from the classic Italian food served at other Italian restaurants in Little Italy. The work put in by the kitchen incorporates new ingredients to old recipes, or uses classical ingredients in new ways, reflecting the creativity of the chefs. Here the food is always flavorful and the service on par.

What makes DiVino’s truly original is its laid back atmosphere and its “at home” layout. We’re not sure if you dine in the kitchen, or if the chefs cook in the dining room, but the layout creates an interesting experience. Especially the tall island in the middle of the restaurant that allows you to look at the chefs at work.

Best Restaurants in Ottawa – Little Italy

Reserve your Little Italy Food Tour here

two six {ate}

268 Preston Street, Ottawa

From the curb, this little, unassuming place, looks like a quaint neighborhood restaurant. Decorated with reclaimed wood and sitting about 25 people when at capacity, it looks like the kind of place you could go to hang out, have a drink and nibble on some sharing plates. What you wouldn’t expect to find is one of Ottawa’s best restaurants.

This is precisely what Emily Lenzi and Steve Harris have created. By taking a nose to tail, locally sourced, and sustainable approach to their cooking and concentrating on quality local brewers and vineyards, this restaurant has been a favorite of many in the Ottawa area for half a decade. The reason for this is simple. It’s absolutely delicious!

The food at two, six, {ate} is thoughtful and offers a nice mix of new world and old world. The menu changes regularly and is a testament to the passion of its chef. Italian and French dishes with a local influence are listed under new creations of ingredient-driven dishes.

Best Restaurants in Ottawa – Little Italy

Reserve your Little Italy Food Tour here

Food Tour Ottawa
Food Tour Ottawa
Food Tour Ottawa
Food Tour Ottawa

Giovanni’s

362 Preston Street, Ottawa

Right in the middle of Little Italy in one of Ottawa’s most enduring and well-known restaurants. For over 30 years, Giovanni’s has been bringing fine Italian cuisine to Ottawa. Using fresh and authentic ingredients, it has garnered a reputation as a destination for not only Italians in Ottawa, but everyone, including celebrities from all over. 

Their attention to detail is reflected in all aspects of their product. From the freshly pressed linen to the free valet service, to the attentive service and the food, this is one of few Ottawa restaurants that treats dinning as an event, entertainment. In the plates, guests are welcomed with traditional Italian cuisine. In fact, Giovanni’s has not attempted to follow trends or set them. They aim to respect the rich history of Italian food. This means that the dishes they served are delicate, which is different from the bold flavors served in other top restaurants. This is the result of an exceptional respect their chefs have for the ingredients used and their ability to make their natural flavors shine.

If you plan on dining at Giovanni’s, be sure to reserve your seat ahead of time and dress up. Take advantage of the valet parking offered in this sometimes crowded area and really go out!

Best Restaurants in Ottawa – Little Italy

Reserve your Little Italy Food Tour here

Honorable Mentions

Food Tour Ottawa

EVOO Greek Kitchen

438 Preston Street, Ottawa

Great little spot for Greek food. Affordable, non-pretentious, and very tasty.

Food Tour Ottawa

The Moonroom

442 Preston Street, Ottawa

Great cocktails and ambiance. A good place to go with friends or on a date.

Food Tour Ottawa

Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana Ltd

200 Preston street, Ottawa

At Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana Ltd. they specialize in Italian sweets, like their made in-house gelato.

Discover 4 of these great places on the same night with Experience Food

All Little Italy tours are organized to allow you to discover 4 of the great restaurants listed above in one evening. Join us for a Gourmet Experience where you will eat a four-course meal complete with paired drinks, or participate in the Premium Experience where restaurants are given higher budgets to serve top-shelf ingredients. This way, you will discover the quality of Little Italy dining. On top of that, you will get to meet some of the chefs, owners, or sommeliers that make these places great. Book your tour now.

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 613-897-2136

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