This fourth instalment of the Dining Guide by region takes us to neighbourhoods east of the Rideau River, starting in the north, with the Beechwood Avenue strip (restaurants serving Rockcliffe Park, New Edinburgh, Lindenlea, Manor Park, and Vanier), then heading east to where Montreal Road becomes St Joseph Blvd, and finally drifting south, through Alta Vista, down to Hunt Club and South Keys.
I recommend every restaurant here (though some with reservations, sometimes noted). They’re expensive, cheap and everything in between; fancy and casual, whatever your mood.
As always, I provide a caution: this guide, like my weekly reviews, is based on my experiences. As they say on TV, individual results may vary.
Loosely based on a three-course dinner for two, with taxes, but before drinks or gratuity.
$: Under $40
$$: $40 to $70
$$$: $70 to $100
$$$$: Over $100
NEW EDINBURGH/VANIER/MANOR PARK
94 Beechwood Ave., 613-744-8484 www.elmeson.ca $$$
Stately old house in New Edinburgh serves hearty dishes of the Iberian Peninsula: Garlic soup with chorizo, zarzuela, paella, filet of beef with cepes. Finish with crema Catalana
Farbs Kitchen and Wine Bar
18 Beechwood Ave., 613-744-6509 www.farbskitchen.com $$$
A short list of wintry dishes on a February menu at the new Farbs – oxtail ravioli, smoked pork chops with roasted apple, braised lamb shanks with garlic polenta. Food was solid, but service was soft.
143 Putman Ave., 613-749-1444 www.frasercafe.ca $$$
Small, cramped, endearingly cluttered, the Fraser brothers have turned a hamburger joint into a neighbourhood gem with a short list of Canadian comfort food. The “kitchen surprise” is fun.
7 Springfield Avenue, 613-749-3369 www.fratelli.ca $$$
The fourth Fratelli in a chain of five, this one has the same modish décor, Italian-ish cuisine, and mid-range prices. Good soups, carpaccio, house antipasti plate.
186 Barette St., 613-749-4877 $$
On a skinny side street just off the main Beechwood Avenue restaurant row, this modest Italian bistro may just have the best lasagna in town.
1690 Montreal Rd., 613-742-0242 $
A long menu is divided into Malaysian, Indonesian and vegetarian sections. Flame-throwing dishes (chili fried squid) along with milder ones (Singapore noodles) and those that linger in the middle (the rendang Java).
853 St. Laurent Blvd., 613-742-4444 www.coconutlagoon.ca $
Cuisine: south Indian
This east-ender cooks dishes from the south, specifically from Kerala, where rice, coconuts, fish and root vegetables abound, prepared with intoxicating spices.
622 Montreal Rd., 613-746-4678 www.hostindiaca.com $
The wood-fired tandoors get much credit for the superior flavour of breads and meats at this cavernous restaurant. But sauces are also a cut above, and prices a cut below.
Le Saint O
327 St. Laurent Blvd., 613-749-9703 www.lesainto.com $$$
An enduring French restaurant that continues to offer a menu of French classics with Quebecois accents: ris de veau with local honey, duck confit with maple syrup.
Aiyara Thai Cuisine
1590 Walkley Rd., 613-526-7103 $$
Service is soothing, and attention to detail a cut above at the sister-run Aiyara, found in a mini mall and festooned with the elephants that are its namesake. Good seafood, fragrant curries, well balanced pad Thai.
Flying Piggy’s Bistro Italiano
1665 Bank St., 613-526-4900 www.flyingpiggys.com $$
Affordable, tasty food served by a kind crew in busy, unpretentious surroundings. Soups are a strength, so are mussels, homemade pasta, pecan pie.
Napo Farm To Table
1542 Bank St., 613-523-9595 www.napofood.ca $$$
In a little brich house bordered by traffic and industry, Napo Farm to Table Restaurant delivers simple, flavourful Italian-inspired dishes devoid of any attention-seeking chic. Bread salad with grilled squid, duck with blood oranges, lamb shank, deconstructed tiramisu.
Pelican Fishery and Grill
1500 Bank St., 613-526-0995 www.pelicanfisheryandgrill.com $$
A long-running suburban fish cafe attached to a fishmonger where the bill of fare is all fish, the service all kind and the prices kept reasonable.Thai Lanna
2401 Bank St., 613-249-9524 www.thailanna.ca $$
Another tiny gem run by sisters. The ambience is perfectly pleasant, and the food is fresh-tasting with good strong flavours and plenty of contrasting textures.
4 Lorry Greenberg Dr., 613-736-1965 $
Family-run strip-mall restaurant concentrates on the cooking of the Szechwan province. Top marks to the fish specials and the authentically hot Szechwan dishes.
3625 Riverside Dr., 613-731-8959 www.riverside.vittoriatrattoria.com $$$
Two Vittorias — the original in the Byward Market, and newer location in Ottawa South — both with exceptional wine lists and a food list that touches the usual bases – pasta, pizza, veal.