2012 was a rewarding and decadent year for Riley and I. Among other personal accomplishments, we started our fabulous blog that has allowed us to try new recipes and enjoy new culinary experiences. We discovered that Ottawa is quickly becoming an urban diner's paradise as restaurants and food trucks are setting up shop and reviving traditional dining to appeal to a new (as well as older) generation of local foodies.
2013 is set to be another great year for some new restaurants by locally and nationally acclaimed chefs, as well as some already established ones creating new and exciting menus.
Here are our picks for the top 10 must-visit dining spots for the coming year:
1. Supply and Demand Foods & Raw Bar
Chef Steve Wall, formally from the Whalesbone, Town and Luxe, is set to open his own seafood bar on January 21st. The menu will focus on East Coast traditions and will most definitely feature a raw bar. Look out for this new culinary feature popping up at 1335 Wellington Street W.
Stephen Beckta and Executive Chef Michael Moffat have recently opened their newest culinary venture sure to impress with their comfortable and intimate atmosphere, serving internationally inspired dishes in a local and sustainable way. Visit Gezellig at 337 Richmond Road for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch.
3. El Camino
Award winning Chef Matthew Carmichael is set to open his new vintage style diner in late April to May of this year. The menu will feature a mix of Mexican, Thai and Seafood dishes. Carmichael hopes to create a casual and fun atmosphere featuring great quality food. Look for El Camino on Elgin at Gladstone in the coming months.
4. FatBoys BBQ
FatBoys Southern Smokehouse in the Byward Market is a must visit if you like fresh barbecue, smoked and slow cooked meats, and traditional Southern fare. Popular menu items include pulled pork, ribs and brisket. It's a Southern experience with the atmosphere and food to match.
5. Slice & Co.
Slice & Co. is set to open in March of this year on Elgin street offering Italian hand-tossed pizzas, Chicago deep dish pizzas, Brooklyn style pan pizzas and California thin-crust pizzas. Chef Warren Sutherland's goal is to offer high quality pizza with a cozy atmosphere and good prices.
Atelier has been open since 2008 and it is a culinary experience not to be missed this year. Executive Chef and owner Marc Lépine, who won the 2012 Canadian Culinary Championships, focuses on offering a 12-course tasting menu every night featuring the best quality meats, seafood and vegetarian fare. Atelier's ultimate goal is to offer a total culinary experience, personalized service and exceptional cuisine.
7. Richard's Hintonburg Kitchen
Look for Chef Richard Nigro's (formerly from Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar) new restaurant in the new year which will feature heat-and-eat meals for people on-the-go who still appreciate good quality, healthy, and fresh food. Look for Nigro's new establishment at 1200 Wellington Street W in the coming months.
8. Art-is-in Bakery
Art-is-in Bakery is an Ottawa local favourite, featuring decadent baked treats, fresh breads, and handcrafted sandwiches and pastries.
9. Brothers Beer Bistro
Recently opened in May last year, Brothers Beer Bistro is an entirely beer themed restaurant with over 40 different beers on draught or by the bottle. What sets this bistro-pub apart from other pubs around Ottawa is their passion for fresh homemade food. In addition to the vast selection of beers for drinking, all of the dishes also contain one element of beer in the cooking process. If you're not a beer lover, don't fret, they also have a fair wine and cocktail list.
10. Food Trucks, Food Trucks, Food Trucks!!!
- Bite This Food Truck - Featuring healthy options and creative cooking. Menu items include pad thai, sesame ginger noodles, sandwiches, wraps and burgers. (181 Richmond Road)
- Trailer Pork Boys - Menu features pulled pork, Cuban sandwiches, ribs and Schnitzel sandwiches, among other pig related items. Closed for the Winter, will re-open in the spring. (1274 Carling Avenue)
- Stone Soup Foodworks Mobile Food Truck - Constantly changing menu of fresh homemade soups, chilis, and tacos at festivals and on the University of Ottawa campus. (University of Ottawa Campus)
- Relish Food Truck - Menu items include smoked trout and bacon guacamole with homemade cumin chips, beer-battered haddock with tartar sauce and fries, masa cakes with pulled jerk chicken and mango-apple salsa, and fresh mini doughnuts filled with homemade strawberry sauce. (Various pop-up locations)
- WannaWafel - Pure Belgian waffles with the freshest toppings. Featured on Dragon's Den in 2010. (856 Bank Street. Glebe)
And don't miss the 20 new possible food trucks that will be popping up all over the city this spring. One to look out for - Urban Pear's Ben Baird is looking to park a truck and serve international food such as Tacos, Shawarmas, Indian and Thai food.