Canada: Discovering Ottawa's Little Italy - The360 Travel

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  • Friday, December 13, 2019

    Canada: Discovering Ottawa's Little Italy

    Canada: Discovering Ottawa's Little Italy

    Are you planning a getaway in Ottawa this fall, for a museum trip, exploring Gatineau Park or visiting the House of Commons and the new Senate building? We suggest a gourmet walk in Little Italy, less and less Italian, but still very attractive.


    Gray Jay: no compromise

    Several small independent businesses have recently moved to Preston Street. The commercial artery is still affordable and its geographical location is interesting, thanks to the development of neighborhoods like Chinatown, Hintonburg and Mechanicsville, among others.

    Dominique Dufour of Quebec opened the Gray Jay restaurant there four months ago, with her husband Devon Bionda. The tandem worked in a few Montreal restaurants (including the late Ludger and Magdalena) before heading to the federal capital in 2018 to open Norca, the hotel's chic hotel.

    It's in a former Domino's pizzeria - made unrecognizable by pretty renovations - that Dominique decided to practice his Canadian cuisine without compromise.

    Composed of homemade cold cuts, medium and large plates, a fine selection of cheeses and desserts, the menu is unique and resolutely the brand of his autrice. This is evidenced by the dish of small "berlingots" of dough stuffed with hemp seeds, on Quebec tomatoes and Ontario peaches, all washed down with a "labneh" sauce. The bone marrow is served with a plate of autumn vegetables. The unctuous stuff topped with crispy rye is scraped on the beautiful pieces of cauliflower, Jerusalem artichoke and squash.

    While cocktails also make good use of local ingredients, the wine list is not limited to Ontario and Quebec. Certainly, there are some Canadian wines, but also beautiful French, Spanish, Italian, Californian, etc. juices. This is an address that embellishes a stay in Ottawa in a delicious way.

    Farinella: as in Rome

    Another endearing tandem, composed of Cesare and Nina Agostini, created a superb pole of attraction for Little Italy by opening Farinella last spring.

    The pizzeria and gelateria is located on Rochester Street, east of Preston. Throughout the summer, workers from neighboring government buildings, residents of surrounding neighborhoods, and other lovers of packed crust lined up in front of the black building at the large glazed garage door.

    Not at all interested in university studies, Nina went to learn how to make gelato in Italy in 2014. No longer focused on studies, her older brother, Cesare, joined her in Rome a year later, to complete her studies. culinary knowledge.

    He ended up working at the legendary Roscioli bakery. It was here that he learned how to make the very thin and crispy pizza that he now serves to the weight, noon and night, to his loyal customers.

    Here, we only offer the two specialties of the owners, coffee and some very typical pastries, such as maritozzo, a sweet bun filled with whipped cream. In winter, ice bars are served rather than cornets.

    "In the summer, I prepare the gelato every day, from A to Z, but in the winter, it would be wasted," says Nina, obsessed with freshness.

    Plant & Curio and Vincent: between two meals

    Lovers of decorative greenery will want to enter Plant & Curio, where Leslie MacDonald sells beautiful plants and their handmade accessories. Perhaps you will leave with a little heart-shaped hoya or a gigantic philodendron. It's hard to resist.

    If you're more like looking for exclusive clothes, the Vincent boutique is worth the detour. But beware, it's not for small budgets! You'll fall in love with the big I Love Mr. Mittens sweaters, but will be eyebrows at the label. Some more affordable finds are nevertheless possible.

    Ward 14 and Corner Peach: Drink and Shop

    Preston Street is also home to a number of small bars for aperitifs and digestives. The cute Ward 14 is a "consignment bar" where you can shop the decor while sipping a beer or whiskey. The Moon Room is famous for its cocktails and also offers some snacks. At the Eldorado Taco, the cocktails of the great Quintana Taylor are as famous as the tacos.

    For our part, we have chosen to start the evening at Corner Peach, located in the adjacent Chinatown, a five-minute walk from Ward 14. This lovely neighborhood establishment is much more than a bar. It goes on all day. It's a cafe, a lunch table, an afternoon stopover and a nice address for the evening meal. Beers, ciders, wines and spirits have in common to come from artisanal producers. If we lived in Ottawa, we would be far too often!

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