As you might be able to tell by our name, the Lord Elgin Hotel has the absolute pleasure of being located on Elgin St., which is known to be one of the best streets to eat in Ottawa. Therefore, we thought it was only fitting to discuss a “top 11” of the best restaurants on Elgin. However, we decided to put a twist on the usual “top list.” Instead of counting down to a number one spot, we have decided to list the top restaurants for a variety of different cuisines. Elgin St. has a diverse range restaurants to chose from, ensuring that you never have to settle for fast food while you’re here! So without further ado, here are our top choices of restaurants on Elgin.
1. Italian: Johnny Farina
Johnny Farina’s is a casual Italian eatery serving wood-fired pizza, and pasta on top of many classic Italian dishes such as chicken parmigiana and veal piccata. The restaurant has a casual yet classy atmosphere offering a main dining area, a bar and lounge as well as a deli if you’re in hurry. They offer up an assortment of Italian sandwiches you can grab on the go. Stop by if you’re in a rush or if you’re in the mood for a glass of wine, dessert or for a lovely full course meal.
2. Mexican: El Camino:
This little dive is a hotspot almost everynight of the week! This urban chic bar pairs contemporary Mexican plates with a vast assortment of tequilas. Tacos, chips, churros and a whole menu of cocktails ensures that El Camino is certainly worth the line known to form on the weekends. If you don’t feel like waiting for a table, this hip spot also offers a take-out window to satisfy all your taco needs!
3. Pub: Lieutenants Pump
Walk down the stairs and into a relaxed atmosphere for great pub fair. This British pub offers traditionally pub grub and diverse range of beers all at reasonable prices. Monday night is Trivia night and the weekends get a little more lively with a DJ on sight, come eat, drink and have dance at this local favourite. Be sure to stop by Sunday morning for that hangover brunch you may be needing!
4. Mediterranean: Fattoush Lady
Located just one block away from the hotel, the Fattoush Lady is a great place for a quick lunch or takeout. This small spot has definitely become a lunch time favourite for many of the people who work in the area. Whether you want a salad, sandwich or wrap the food is always fresh and will never break your wallet!
5. Japanese: New Generation Sushi
While the restaurant is small there is no need to worry as it makes up for it in flavour! New Generation Sushi blends traditional and innovative Japanese cuisine with a special focus on their sushi and maki. Regardless of what you order, each meal is served in unique and eye appealing ways. They offer a variety of fish, meat and vegetarian options, ensuring that there is something for everyone! Reasonably priced dinners and specials available for lunch, New Generation will please your sushi cravings!
6. Asian: Datsun
A newer restaurant on Elgin Street, Datsun continues to become increasing popular! Situated next to El Camino, the restaurant has the same industrial and urban vibe. Their must have’s are the steamed buns and dumplings. While the restaurant does not serve many vegetarian options there a couple to choose from. The restaurant is open until midnight throughout the week and open late on the weekends, making it perfect for that late night snack. The restaurant also offers a take out window, allowing you to grab your food and enjoy some warm buns in the comfort of your bed!
7. American/Canadian: Grill 41
Grill 41 puts a spin on the traditional American and Canadian cuisine. The restaurant is always playing with new flavours and creating new specials for customers to try. The restaurant is open from breakfast until dinner so there is always something for you to try. The menu offers a range of food from interesting salads to burgers and pizza, always fresh and always delicious!
8. Seafood: Whalesbone
The Whalesbone has two locations both relatively close to the hotel. The restaurant opened their first location on Bank St. in 2005 and became renowned for their quality oysters. After the success of the first location, they opened a second on Elgin St. The restaurant has classic seafood dishes such as fish and chips and lobster rolls but also serves creative and innovate recipes such as scallop ceviche and steelhead trout. The Whalesbone has a large group of regulars and continues to be increasing popular within the Ottawa community. An added bonus is that the restaurant is Ocean Wise certified which means that all their dishes are seafood sustainable!
9. Vegetarian/Vegan: Pure Kitchen
Pure Kitchen embodies that fresh, hip lifestyle that we usually see on the streets of California. Amidst the cold Ottawa winter, Pure Kitchen has fresh food that makes you feel healthy inside and out. Providing a juice bar, take out and table service options, Pure Kitchen has many options to choose from ensuring that each meal is full and satisfying- even the meat-eaters will forget each meal is plant based.
10. Indonesian: Lemon Grass
This relaxed eatery serves familiar Thai noodles and curries! They never take shortcuts and their flavours and dishes always stay true to authentic Thai flavours. The extensive menu ensures that there is always something new for you to try. There are dishes for anything you’re feeling from salads to rich curries, this Bangkok inspired cuisine won’t make you break the bank to taste a medley of great flavours.
11. Fine Dining: Riviera
While technically not on Elgin St., we thought that this spot on the adjoining Sparks St. needed to make the cut! Riviera takes the idea of fine dining and quality food to a new level, come in to the restaurant in a suit or jeans and still feel comfortable, with this casual fine dining experience. The restaurant has and extensive cocktail and wine menu to paired with all of their exquisite and exceptional menu items. This art deco inspired restaurant is definitely worth the price!
– the intern (Terina)
Winterlude is the spectacular annual festival which spans across Ottawa and Gatineau and celebrates all things winter! The Lord Elgin Hotel has the pleasure of being located across Confederation Park – a hotspot during the festival, where the park transforms into a winter wonderland.
During Winterlude, Confederation Park is filled with ice sculptures, all of which are created by internationally acclaimed ice carvers. During the day, everyone is welcome to walk around the park taking in the sights, enjoying hot chocolate and all the other winter treats that are available. At night, the park transforms into a beautifully illuminated ice palace, with each sculpture having lights showcasing their every detail. On the weekends, the stage is filled with performers and DJ’s all there to help celebrate winter. Just last week, Thunder Bay native, Coleman Hell performed on stage at the Winterlude kick-off party.
Having had a front row ticket to all of the festivities over the years, the Lord Elgin Hotel finally wanted to get in on the fun and the annual ice bench photo contest was born. Starting five years ago, the hotel contracts new ice carvers yearly to create a unique ice bench, which is always situated outside the lovely Grill 41. Each year the ice bench looks completely different, but one thing remains the same – it always manages to pull a crowd. From families and couples to kids and adults, many Winterlude goers and passersby take photos of the ice bench.
The ice bench isn’t only perk the hotel offers, anyone who posts a photo of the bench along with #MyLordElgin is entered in to win a romantic getaway package! The contest starts as soon as the ice bench is completed, which usually coincides with the kick-off of Winterlude and ends on February 20. Each year the contest gets many entries, not only from Ottawa residents but also from tourists visiting the city! The winner is chosen by a random draw so everyone has a chance to win.
The staff at the hotel love to see the passersby outside sharing a fun moment with their families and friends while posing for photos on the ice bench. The staff believes it is a great way to participate in all the Winterlude entertainment and to engage the neighborhood!
“It gives me great pleasure to sit in Grill 41 overlooking the patio and watch everyone take their ‘winterlude’ photos on our bench! We have become part of that ‘Winterlude’ experience, which is so unique and special!” says Ann Meelker.
The contest is currently underway and everyone is welcome to participate. All you need to do is stop by the Lord Elgin Hotel and take a picture of the ice bench. Everyone is encouraged to sit and pose on the bench! This year’s contest winter will be announced on February 20. The Lord Elgin teams hopes that everyone has as much fun with the bench as they do!
– Terina (the intern)