Once a bustling trading post for hunters, gatherers, and fisher folk, the Ottawa of today is a multicultural city boasting a vibrant restaurant scene. From intimate bistros and oyster bars to fine-dining and molecular gastronomy, this city has something for everyone!
Over the last 15 to 20 years, Ottawa has made a dramatic shift from a ‘meat and potatoes’ food culture to one that emphasizes sophistication and authenticity above all else. Whether you’re in the Byward Market, Wellington West, or the Glebe, there are literally dozens of trendy chef owned-and-operated restaurants serving everything from modern Canadian cuisine to Asian fusion. In addition to these dining options, Ottawa is shaping up to be THE premier foodie destination in Canada. This is due in part to the return of annual food festival staples combined with the arrival of new events on the heels of Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Read on for a list of some of the city’s most anticipated food events this year!
A Taste for Hope
Featuring eighteen renowned Ottawa chefs, the 5th edition of the A Taste for Hope event returns this spring to raise funds in support of Shepherds of Good Hope. Located at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park on March 22nd, 2017, tickets start at $150.00 per person, including a $100.00 tax receipt. Proceeds from this food lovers’ event will go towards helping care for Ottawa’s most vulnerable men and women. www.foundation.shepherdsofgoodhope.com/taste
Bon Appetit Ottawa
Offering unlimited bite-sized dishes prepared by chefs from the region’s trendiest restaurants and caterers paired with samplings from local wineries, breweries and beverage companies, the Bon Appetit Ottawa food and wine show is sure to be one of Ottawa’s most popular events this year. With tickets priced at a reasonable $85.00 per person, including a $50 tax receipt, the event will take place on May 2nd at the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park. Proceeds from the evening will go towards supporting the operational needs of several children’s oriented charities in the Ottawa area. www.bonappetitottawa.ca/
Ottawa Poutine Fest
With 20 ‘poutiners’ on site serving both traditional and more exotic poutines from Ontario and Quebec, this year’s Poutine Fest will feature an expanded live entertainment schedule, cooking demonstrations, a craft beer garden and wine bar, a kids fun zone and poutine eating contest, and much more! From May 4th to 7th, 2017, enjoy Canada’s most famous dish at the Festival Plaza at City Hall. Proceeds from the Poutine Fest will go towards supporting local food shelters. www.ottawapoutinefest.ca/
Known as the festival that ‘never disappoints your taste buds’, the annual Ottawa Ribfest event is back with vendors from across North America showcasing their signature dishes of mouth-watering, finger licking BBQ chicken and ribs. Head to the Sparks Street Mall between June 14th and 18th, 2017 for some of the best BBQ north of the 49th parallel. www.ottawaribfest.ca/
If you’re still feeling like you haven’t gotten your fill of BBQ this year, the Capital Ribfest event promises to deliver a new BBQ experience featuring live performances by some of Ottawa’s best musicians, a craft beer garden, and a demonstration booth with professional BBQ tips, tricks and best practices. Check-out Capital Ribfest from August 3rd to 7th, 2017 at the Festival Plaza at City Hall. www.capitalribfest.ca/
With the Sound and Light Show as a backdrop, twenty chefs from across Canada, including ten from the Ottawa Valley, will stage a four-course dinner with wine pairings on August 27th, 2017 for guests seated at a 305-metre (1,000 feet) open-air table on Wellington Street. At $175.00 a head, proceeds from the event will be used to aid a variety of local and national food security causes. www.ottawa2017.ca/canadas-table/
Ottawa Wine and Food Festival
Hotly anticipated each fall, the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival has grown over the past 30+ years to stand out as one of the most successful gourmand events in Canada providing a unique opportunity to sample bite-sized portions of food, wine, beer and spirits from around the world. This year’s event runs from November 3rd to 5th, 2017, with the venue and ticket details still to be confirmed. www.ottawawineandfoodfestival.com/
C’est Bon Food
And if after all that you still feel like your taste buds need additional stimulation, check out one of the gourmet year round walking tours offered by C’est Bon Food in half a dozen neighbourhoods across town. With outings in the ByWard Market, the Glebe, Wellington West, Hintonburg, Little Italy and Chinatown, these tours are an ideal introduction to Ottawa’s vibrant food scene – and a great way to see the city on foot while sampling some delectable dishes along the way. www.cestboncooking.ca/gourmet-food-tours/
Happy eating Ottawa!!
Written by food fanatic Danuta Whetton