Beat the Cold with Italian Food, Ottawa!

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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!

Ho-Ho-Hosting the Best Christmas Office Party Yet!

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Have Your Annual Work Event at an Ottawa Restaurant this Holiday Season

It’s hard to imagine while we’re in the middle of a November heatwave, but Christmas is right around the corner, and it will arrive sooner than you can say, “Ho-ho-hold the phone, I gotta prepare the annual yuletide office party!” That’s right, it’s never too soon to book your Christmas party and begin inviting staff, making plans, and getting the (snow) ball rolling. First things first, you should go out of your way to host it anywhere but in your office. The quickest, most sure-fire way to kill all the fun of your evening is to spend it in the same place where you do your job, sipping punch and trying to pretend to have fun amidst the photocopiers and the calendar of project deadlines. Fortunately, there are plenty of beautiful venues like restaurants in Ottawa that can accommodate you and keep the holiday cheer high.

Hosting your party in a place like a restaurant that is used to having corporate events, especially around the holidays, also means that you can take it a little easier—these are the holiday party professionals. From creating the perfect winter wonderland atmosphere to making sure everyone has a hearty meal in front of them and the eggnog never gets too low, they will be a major help in ensuring the success of your office party. Now you just need to bring the rest of the ingredients together.

Now that you’ve found the right Ottawa restaurant to bring your coworkers together, you should select some sort of theme or activity—or both—to add to the cheer. A popular one is the ugly Christmas sweater. It lets people take a night to not take themselves too seriously, and adds an element of fun as people compete to bring the most cringe-worthy outfit. A secret Santa exchange is also a recipe for fun—but a price cap or a fun twist such as only vintage items you already owned means no one has to spend an arm or a leg on it. If I may suggest one cardinal rule, however—avoid office gossip, shop talk, business politics, and everything else that belongs in the office. After all, this is meant to be a night to be enjoyed. Leave work at work, and take the time to get to know the people you work with as regular, everyday people.

Of course, the best ingredient to a successful holiday party at an Ottawa restaurant is the right attitude. While that may sound like the corny message of a children’s Christmas TV special, it’s a truism to any get-together. Create a welcoming atmosphere, and make it clear that, regardless of whether you call it a Christmas party or not, all people of all faiths are welcome.

Merry Christmas, and here’s to an office party to remember!