Dear readers & restaurants…

The new year marks 25 years I’ve written a weekly restaurant column. Twenty of those I was the Ottawa Citizen’s critic; the past five I’ve been with Ottawa Magazine. To have had a supported platform these many years to guide diners toward the good stuff has been a privilege, and it’s been an honour to write about the men and women who elevate the restaurant scene in this great city. But the time feels right to put down the fork. Or at least to leave the pen at home. I am moving on from my role as restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine.

Some of my happiest moments have been in this region’s restaurants, discovering their charms, the quality of their ingredients and the imagination of their cooks, and feeling the professional kindness from a well-trained floor staff. Yes, there have been a fair share of lousy meals over three decades, and many more characterless ones — always the trickiest to write about. But when a restaurant sings and dances it’s been such fun to scream from the rooftop: “Hey, Ottawa, I’ve found you a gem!” And then maybe try to tell people why it’s good, what they’re doing right, where they might improve a titch…

I’ll miss it. My husband and friends — my faithful ‘other mouths’ — will miss it. I’ve raised four sons on restaurant leftovers: the older ones still talk about the joy of all the foil swans in the home fridge when they’d go rummaging for lunch fixings. (“Hey ma, what’s up for grabs?”) They’ll miss the vestiges of their mother’s job.  I’m deeply grateful for their support, and that of my husband, Ken, who’s been a superstar, left alone most nights to handle the snowy owl projects and to weather my dark mood whenever I had to write a gloomy report. That I won’t miss. Not a bit.

To every chef, restaurateur, sous chef, pastry chef, cook, sommelier, baker, maître d’, server, bartender, floor runner, dishwasher, and to all the farmers and producers and suppliers: you have made the past quarter century of my life fascinating and delicious and I thank you. I have learned so much from your hard work.  I thank as well the readers of my columns over the years, for your interest and feedback.

I do not plan to go hungry. My affection for the restaurant culture of this city is abiding. I will continue exploring our foodscape, just less often and on my own dime. I’ll eat exactly what I please and won’t boss around my dinner companions. And, from time to time — why ever not — I’ll let you know my thoughts on what I’m eating, and whether it’s any good, on this blog.

All best,








8 responses to “Dear readers & restaurants…”

  1. David Lewis Avatar
    David Lewis

    Thank you, Anne. I have been faithfully following your eloquent reviews for the past 25 years. I have enjoyed them all. You’ll be missed by many.

    1. Anne DesBrisay Avatar

      Very kind, thanks David.

  2. Jamas Avatar

    Thanks for all the great restaurant tips over the years.

  3. Martha Scott Avatar
    Martha Scott

    You will love retirement but we will miss the columns! Glad you are keeping the blog going!

    1. Anne DesBrisay Avatar

      Thanks Martha Scott! All best to you.

  4. Roger Ball Avatar
    Roger Ball

    Best wishes… I always trusted you. I still remember your review of the Mill Restaurant. In my inexperience I had been there just a few weeks before, and when I saw you had reviewed it, I knew it was going to be legendary.

    1. Anne DesBrisay Avatar

      I fear that review of The Mill will be etched on my tomb stone. Thanks for your best wishes, Roger.

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