Ottawa Citizen Dining Guide 2009 – Part 4 – East of the Rideau

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


 El Meson

Cuisine: Spanish/Portuguese

94 Beechwood Ave., 613-744-8484 $$$

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 $$$

Cuisine: Canadian

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.

Fraser Café

143 Putman Ave., 613-749-1444 $$$

Cuisine: Canadian

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 $$$

Cuisine: Italian

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.

Il Vagabondo

186 Barette St., 613-749-4877 $$

Cuisine: Italian

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.


Chahaya Malaysia

1690 Montreal Rd., 613-742-0242 $

Cuisine: Maylaysian

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).

Coconut Lagoon

853 St. Laurent Blvd., 613-742-4444 $

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.

Host India

622 Montreal Rd., 613-746-4678 $

Cuisine: Indian

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 $$$

Cuisine: French

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 $$

Cuisine: Italian

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 $$$

Cuisine: Italian

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 $$

Cuisine: Seafood

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 $$

Cuisine: Thai

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.

Veranda d’Or

4 Lorry Greenberg Dr., 613-736-1965 $

Cuisine: Chinese

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.

Vittoria Trattoria

3625 Riverside Dr., 613-731-8959 $$$

Cuisine: Italian

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.








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