The Branch Restaurant nourishes responsibly by brandishing a menu of delectable organic fare conceived by a published cookbook author. Within The Branch's art-ensconced confines, sate the most gargantuan of lunch appetites with the restaurant's signature rubber boots buffet, which includes a spread of homemade bread, two soups, salads, a hot entree, and a hot date ($9.99; Sundays $12.99 with extra options). Or, reserve digestive energy for the third-pound Branchburger ($13.99) made with 100% local, naturally raised beef. Dinnertime beckons worldly fare to congregate on the menu with an array of hunger-hobblers such as stir-fry ($15.99), which adorns tofu with seasonal veggies and a sweet-spicy sauce, or cheese fondue ($9.99), coating veggies with a more delicious veneer than their natural briefcases. Hunger cowers before the eatery's Austin City Limits platter of Texas-style barbecue, the fruits of which run a gut-sating gamut of house-smoked beef brisket, spicy house-smoked beef and pork sausage, barbecue sauce, beans, and jalapeno-cheddar cornbread ($22.99). House-made desserts ($5.99–$6.99) and kiddie offerings such as grilled cheese and a chicken wrap ($5.99–$9.98) complement the menu's conscientious cornucopia.
Since its humble beginnings in Edmonton, Alberta in 1964, Boston Pizza has grown into Canada-wide franchise that serves more than 20 gourmet pizzas. The menu boasts more than 100 items, ranging from crispy chicken wings dressed in spicy to sweet sauces and rubs to succulent burgers and sandwiches. Big-screen TVs broadcast hockey or prime ministers' wrestling matches as guests dig into hearty pastas or dive into desserts such as the Chocolate Doughcano.
Mustache Joe's, named for the man?and the mustache?who founded the restaurant, is a casual and comfortable spot for a business lunch or special evening meal. From the menu, chefs plate familiar classics, starting off with colorful and fresh caprese salads before transitioning to larger, heartier plates of their signature seafood linguine, tossed with shrimp, scallops, and lobster meat. During lunch, guests can head up to the counter for a quick, easy meal of pasta, panini, or a small personal pizza.
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.
Fish Market Restaurant, housed within the walls of a bright red-brick heritage building in the historical ByWard Market, actually encompasses three restaurants. Founded in 1979, the maritime-themed eatery keeps traditions alive as staff brings in daily catches from international waters to the kitchen where chefs craft these fish, shellfish, and crustaceans into dishes. They reflect the restaurant?s global mentality in their cooking, blending culinary styles such as Canadian, English, Cajun, Thai, and Caribbean.
In Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro, local jazz musicians play live music each Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night as servers ferry more than 300 wines and 200 imported beers to tables?a feat that requires enormous strength. Inside the main restaurant, tables draped with blue cloths sit in rows on hardwood floors, under walls hung with nautical paraphernalia such as chains, nets, and crabbing traps. The dining room fills with myriad aromas of such dishes as deep-fried coconut-crusted shrimp, spicy Cajun shrimp linguine, PEI mussels, and house platters featuring queen crab, Nova Scotia lobster, and triple A rib steaks. Servers complement dishes with a roster of 21 wines by the glass or bottle and several local craft beers on tap.
Among the local artwork and surrealist paintings that pepper Zola Restaurant?s walls, diners sit at granite tables isolated by gauzy red curtains. Wafting aromas of fresh-baked bread emanate from an open-concept kitchen, where guests watch as chefs combine handmade pastas with savoury sauces and blanket gourmet pizzas with smoked cheeses and cured meats. Just like wrestlers training for a match on a lifeboat, guests can enjoy a light lunch or brunch, or delve into hearty plates of housemade sausage or slow-roasted porchetta??local pork shoulder spiced with Italian truffle, sage, rosemary, and thyme and hiding beneath a layer of hot pancetta.
On Saturdays, live jazz enhances the atmosphere, mingling with the sounds of cooking and tinkling glasses raised in celebration. Sommeliers and bartenders pair the dishes with local and imported wines, beers, and cocktails, though patrons can also bring their own wine or steal sips from their child's juice box. In an effort to outsmart dietary restrictions and expose all palates to Italy?s culinary traditions, chefs can make their dough or pasta gluten-free upon request.