The Best Thing about Italian Restaurants? Ottawa’s Winters Are No Match for their Hearty Meals
With the cold weather hitting the nation’s capital, there’s nothing like a hot, hearty meal to help warm you inside. And if there’s any culture that truly appreciates the value of a hearty meal, it’s Italian—from the kitchens of Italian-Canadian families to the best Italian restaurants Ottawa has to offer, there’s no shortage of delicious dishes guaranteed to drive away the cold. From pastas and traditional-style pizzas to full-bodied secondi (entrées, or main courses), here are some delicious and belly-warming ideas for Italian food in Ottawa this fall and winter:
True Italian pasta goes well beyond spaghetti and meatballs (which is actually an Italian-American invention anyway). If you’re reluctant to move past the traditional tomato sauce, why not start with a dish of Pollo—grilled chicken and rosemary over a bed of fresh fettucine noodles? Or if you like the sound of a creamy seafood pasta dish, a plate of Salmone delivers smoked salmon and white wine in a creamy tomato sauce. Hey, remember the canned ravioli you used to love as a kid? How would you like to try the real thing? Perhaps a Granchio—pasta shells in a cream sauce with fennel and mushrooms, stuffed to bursting with crab, ricotta, and sun-dried tomatoes?
Here’s a dish you’ve had plenty of in your life—but the best Italian restaurants in Ottawa do it like you’ve never had before. From the traditional Margherita (tomato sauce, basil, and mozzarella) to the seafood-laden Pescatore (pesto, shrimp, mussels, salmon, and ricotta), these pies are bound to cure your chilly fingers and red noses with ease. If your ideal for hot food includes both temperature and flavour, then you’ll love the Piccante—literally, Italian for “spicy.” Decked out with tomato sauce, spicy Italian sausage, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and mozzarella, when you bite this pizza, it bites back in the most delicious way, and you won’t even remember what cold feels like.
Pastas and pizzas are great, but when it comes to Italian food in Ottawa, secondi—the entrées—are where it’s at! Warm yourself to a hearty plate of Vitello Alla Bolognese; that’s veal scaloppine, pancetta bacon, and parmigiano cheese in a delicious white wine sauce (all the best Italian restaurants in Ottawa know how to cook with wine!). If you’re more of a white meat person, a mouth-watering Pollo Alla Gorgonzola will fill you with joy. This dish is a chicken breast grilled to perfection with a roasted pecan and gorgonzola cream sauce. Salmon Picatta, with capers, tomato concasse, and a lemony white wine sauce, is another fine choice on a brisk fall evening or cold winter night.
The best way to defeat the cold with Italian food in Ottawa, however, is to enjoy it with good company—friends, family, and loved ones, the way it was meant to be eaten!