At some point Ottawa was slapped with an inaccurate label: “The city that fun forgot.” To be fair, the country’s capital and bureaucratic hub doesn’t call to mind the late-night clubbing you’ll find in Montreal or Toronto. But the city’s food scene cannot be painted with the same rude brush. Hip restaurants serving small plates and natural wine are widespread in both Ottawa and its sister city across the bridge, Gatineau, providing dining experiences as good as anywhere in North America. The bagels are just as good as Montreal’s. And the capital excels in global eats, including some of the best shawarma outside of Lebanon, Vietnamese pho bursting with flavor, and hulking Italian sandwiches. Eating in Ottawa is, in fact, fun.
Joel Balsam is an Ottawa-born freelance journalist and guidebook author. His work has appeared in TIME, National Geographic Travel, Lonely Planet, Travel + Leisure, and more.Read More