Do you ever find yourself looking for something different to do when you have a free night out with your bae/bestie/sister/mom? Sign yourself out of Netflix and walk out that front door. “Experiencing Ottawa’s dining scene has never been so easy” says Corey Henry, the entrepreneur behind Ottawa Tasting Tours. Beginning at the J’eanne D’Arc Courtyard, where we met up with our awesome guide, this foodie adventure moves between four undisclosed locations, but not to worry, all are the Byward Markets’ top restaurants. This tour allows them to showcase their atmosphere and award winning cuisine. You’ll enjoy one different course at each resto, where wines are hand selected and paired accordingly. Spend an evening relaxing into the social fabric of the superb food & drink scene here in Ottawa. I promise you’ll have a blast, and you’ll leave with bragging rights about the interesting and unique foods that you got to sample over the weekend.
FIRST STOP PLAY FOOD & WINE
Play Food & Wine began as a “Beckta/Moffat-ioso” (the owners), and continues to be a great success since opening in 2009. While it specializes in exceptional wines by the glass and small plates, the menu changes constantly. We began the night with something savoury; fresh fig/orange/walnut/blue cheese/prosciutto/chive paired with the Pinot Gris of the HaHa Winery in New Zealand. The small plates format is a definite winner, because it allows you to try out a few different dishes without having to commit to simply one main course as you would in a traditional restaurant. Their wine director, Connor Gallagher, suggests wine pairings under each menu item, so don’t be intimidated by the plethora of choices. Another reason to eat here? Their lunch deal, “2 plates for $22” remains a popular offering.
SECOND STOP MUST KITCHEN & WINE BAR
With our palettes warmed up and ready to go, we made our way over to Must Kitchen & Wine Bar at 41 William Street. Rustic and expensive, I had the chance to knock something off the food bucket list – Beef Tartare. Accompanied by pickled radish, shallot, dijonnaise, cilantro and sweet thai basil pesto, along with a shaved cured egg yolk I probably would have never ordered it of my own accord. However, in my experience, some of the best tasting dishes sound all but delightful. “Must” is in a changeling phase, moving toward a more casual, chic, and current atmosphere. It totally delivers though, with some rad art pieces hanging on the wall and an extremely accommodating kitchen (especially if you have any food allergies/sensitivities).
THIRD STOP BROTHER’S BEER BISTRO
Obviously a little brew is seriously necessary to balance out all of that fancy wine, so this next stop was a welcome one. Don’t think for a minute that it’s simply greasy nachos and wings – there is an excellent burger and fries but Brothers Beer Bistro emphasizes a way more sophisticated menu, including charcuterie boards and our third course of the night, steak frites. Pairing beer with food is their thing, which is probably why beer is actually incorporated into nearly all the food – as either the braising or brining liquid or in complementary items such as vinegar, mayo, salad dressings and bread. It’s working out well – they’ve been open and in business for 5 years now and are going strong.
LAST STOP THE BRIG PUB
It was at The Brig Pub, our final stop, where I volunteered to try something new, and that I had only ever seen on The Real Housewives of Orange County. I was really stoked to be the one to try sabering – which is basically opening a bottle of sparkling wine (don’t call it Champagne unless it’s from well…Champagne, France) with a sword. Real Housewives meet Game of Thrones. Anyways, along with the bubbly, we had just enough room for dessert; bread pudding made from cinnamon-raisin bread, studded with dried cranberries, sauced with salted caramel and topped off with house-made vanilla ice cream. So. So. Heavenly.
This food excursion around the Byward Market with Ottawa Tasting Tours was definitely the highlight of my weekend. They have ten restaurant partners right now that can be used in rotation on the tour, but they’re still expanding, and plan on beginning a Preston Street Tour (Hello, Little Italy!). In the meantime, sampling four various courses at four very different restaurant locations, with all the planning and reservations made on your behalf is really an ideal night out on the town. As someone with a lengthy list of resto’s that I would like to try, this was a really fantastic way to knock four of the classiest restaurants off. Throw all your cares away, and follow along on a fun food-filled adventure right here in your own city.
Ottawa Tasting Tours is currently offering the Contemporary Food & Wine Tour (which we did) for $110.00, and also offers a more inexpensive version called The Casual Craft Lunch Tour with the option of adding the sampling of craft beer for $55.00. And then, of course, there are custom tours for bachelorette parties, anniversaries, corporate events, etc. Click here for all of the info.
Originally posted 2017-06-29 03:10:36.