The owners of Fleur Tea House sought to offer respite from modern stresses with more than 100 world tea varieties, an array of food options, and a relaxing tea room where people are encouraged to take a break. The café's pastel-hued tea pots and framed artwork are illuminated from large picture windows, modern hanging lights, and the shiny teeth of staffers, all of whom brush frequently. Behind a glass case filled with sweet pastries, bagels, and cakes, baristas steam espresso drinks and search leaf-filled metal urns for teas such as herbal, green, and oolong. After finishing off a jam-slathered bagel, clients can take second lunch with a panini on the brown leather sofa, or question the barista about open-mic events and movie nights.
The sandwichsmiths at Lazy Pickle give a nod to their community by showcasing local ingredients in each of their healthy menu selections. From hearty meats to crisp veggies, every sandwich is packed with items carefully cultivated by local farmers and distributors. With a special focus on gluten-free items such as sandwiches and cakes and through their Gluten Free Me Kids Club, the owners also help to combat celiac disease, a gluten intolerance that can cause migraines, joint pain, and anemia. They also cater regular and gluten-free items.
Molto Ristorante blends classic Italian cuisine with Québécois influences to populate its lunch and dinner menus. Chefs lob handmade meatballs into a net of ragu-swaddled spaghetti ($17) and use tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella to cross-stitch their pets' initials on to the doughy canvas of a margarita pizza ($13). Diners can choose between cream and tomato sauces to drizzle over an order of mussels ($17), and the lasagna carne ($18) supplies mouths with a luscious layering of ground pork and beef. Selections from Molto's wine bar pair splendidly with the daily chef's creation, and fork twirlers can substitute multigrain penne or gluten-free corn pasta into any dish ($2 fee). Exposed brick walls serve as a rustic backdrop to live jazz performances on Thursday and Saturday evenings.
Chef Brian Vallipuram garnered his flair for flavour in his birth country of Sri Lanka and honed it while training to become a Master Chef in kitchens across Europe and Pangea. After prestigious stints at various upscale eateries in Toronto, Brian headed to Rose Hall, Jamaica where he gleaned invaluable hotel-dining experience at the White Witch Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Currently rooted in Ottawa, Brian populates Grill Forty One's menu with handpicked fresh and local ingredients, enabling him to craft upscale dishes such as rack of lamb, slow-cooked duck, and Atlantic salmon.
Located inside the historic Lord Elgin Hotel, Grill Forty One takes its name from the year it came into fruition: 1941. Conceived of as a space where luxury mingles with warmth and a casual vibe, the eatery comprises a lounge with flat-screen TVs and huge windows where guests can gaze out onto vistas of Elgin Street and Confederation Park where squirrels are known to perform Shakespeare. Earth tones, wood trims, and a wall with built-in glass cabinets showcasing fine wines embellish the dining room. With booths and banquet seating, Grill Forty One accommodates those popping in for a cocktail before a night at the theatre or larger groups meeting for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
At Southern Cross Grill on Queen, Chef Ashley Johnson draws from all over the world to create her menu. She layers corn tortillas with grilled chicken, chickpeas, cheese, and roasted-red-pepper cream sauce, calling the invention Mexican Lasagna. She glazes North Atlantic salmon with maple syrup and roasts it atop a cedar plank to soak up the woody flavors. She slow-smokes pork belly right out on the restaurant's patio, pulling the meat, dressing it with barbecue sauce and dijon aioli, and piling it high onto buns.
Although international influences abound on the menu, the decor celebrates all things local. The walls boast an array of black-and-white pictures?which are available for purchase?snapped by two Ottawa photographers. The images show off the city's landscape, reinterpreting it through the use of interesting angles, high-contrast elements, and extreme close-ups of otherwise mundane things such as brickwork or passing UFOs.
For more than 50 years, Denny's has been stifling rumbling stomachs with a menu of around-the-clock breakfast plates and classic dinner entrees. Guests may begin the comfort-food extravaganza with appetizing selections such as beef-barley soup or Caesar salad. Main courses including lemon-pepper-grilled tilapia schmooze with country-fried steak, which is known for its rustic charm and country gravy. Diners can challenge appetites with an Ultimate omelette, a three-egg amalgamation sporting sausage, bacon, fire-roasted peppers, and onions, and others can stick to Denny's classic Lumberjack Slam. After the main event, teeth avoid cramps with a series of stretches before plunging into desserts such as caramel apple crisp or a banana split. Denny's boasts free WiFi, a friendly staff, and a warm family-oriented atmosphere where griddled grains and cured bacons meld to energize hungry patrons for a day at work or for an afternoon staring contest.