Enjoy family-style dining at these Ottawa restaurants

Dining out should be fun. Grab some friends and head out for a culinary adventure at these Ottawa restaurants where dishes are served up family-style. Food was made for sharing.

Lowertown Brewery

1
73 York St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5T2

Inspired by Ottawa in the 1880s, the meats at Lowertown Brewery are slow cooked daily in an authentic wood smoker. The meat-centric sharing platters are a carnivore’s dream. Diners can choose from a whole rotisserie chicken with all the fixings; the signature meat platter, which features two meats of your choice and two salad options; or a massive butcher platter served with smoked meat, brisket, slow roasted pork and sausage, chicken, fries and a large salad. Paired with in-house brewed beer, these meaty dishes make a perfect meal out with friends.

Lone Star Texas Grill

2
128 George St, Ottawa, ON K1N 9N9

The now ubiquitous Lone Star chain was first launched in Ottawa in 1986 by a couple of Texas boys playing for the former Ottawa Rough Riders CFL team. Today there are six locations in Ottawa alone (and over two-dozen across Ontario) and the ByWard Market outpost is extremely popular with the university crowd. If you’re looking to dine family style, the sizzling fajita meal can feed easily feed one to three people. The top protein choice is the mesquite-grilled chicken and steak combo served with unlimited fresh tortillas and fixings of cheese, lettuce, sour cream and diced tomato.

Yangtze

3
700 Somerset St W, Ottawa, ON K1R 6P6

Families have been dining at this Chinatown banquet hall since 1982. In fact, loyal regulars come in with their children and then grandchildren for the popular cart-based dim sum lunch and Cantonese dinner dishes. Yangtze serves one of the flakier egg tarts in town and there are cooks dedicated to preparing the fresh shrimp dumpling har gow every day. For many in Ottawa, Yangtze served us our first taste of yang chow fried rice and beef with rice noodles. Tuck into a table with a lazy–Susan and practise those chopstick skills.

Mamma Teresa Ristorante

4
300 Somerset St W, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J6

Established in 1970 by Guilano Bosseli, many a Canadian politician and celebrity have dined here, enjoying his mother’s Parma-inspired comfort food. Legend has it, the Canada Act of 1982 materialized over plates of pasta prepared by Teresa herself. Her recipes are still served today and include family-favourite staples such as cannelloni al forno, linguini in clam sauce, fettuccine alfredo, and spaghetti aglio olio picante with porcini mushrooms. Rather than ordering individual plates, ask for a pasta sampler and share a few different dishes. Be sure to check out the autographed photos of famous diners adorning the walls.

Shawarma Palace

5
464 Rideau St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5Z4

Canada’s capital city showcases food from around the world and thanks to a large influx of immigrants of Lebanese heritage there are now shawarma joints on every street corner. Locals will happily share their personal favourites but Shawarma Palace on Rideau Street is arguably one of the city’s best. If you’re dining with a group, tuck into generous platters of shaved meat, fresh salad, earthy hummus, potatoes and the most ethereal garlic sauce. A chicken platter with pita bread easily serves two. Paired with canned or bottled drinks, a family of four could feast for less than $60.

North & Navy

6
226 Nepean St, Ottawa, ON K2P 0B8

Opened in spring 2015, North and Navy moves beyond the red sauce that traditional spaghetti houses serve and focuses on Northern-inspired Italian food. The formal dining establishment espouses the communal experience with dishes that showcase the season’s best ingredients One-bite cicheti (small plates) feature cheese, fish and meat while the house-made pastas are tossed with seafood or dressed in mushroom ragu. A glorious 46 oz. porterhouse bistecca is a meaty marvel that’s meant to be shared among friends and family. Service is amiable and the dessert menu includes a signature twist on the Joe Louis, a classic childhood treat.

The Albion Room

7
33 Nicholas St, Ottawa, ON K1N 9M7

Hotel restaurants often have less-than-stellar reputations for their uninspired menus. However, the Albion Room at the Hotel Novotel stands out. Talented young chef Stephen La Salle turns out an ever-changing farm-to-table menu that showcases local meats, vegetables and cheeses. The seasonal food is contemporary Canadian cuisine with British undertones and the brunch might just be the city’s best-kept secret. Try the full English breakfast for two served with pork chops, eggs, farmer’s sausage, bacon, potatoes, baked maple beans, roasted tomatoes, black pudding, roasted mushrooms, foie gras torchon and country loaf toasts.

Tennessy Willems

8
1082 Wellington St W, Ottawa, ON K1Y 2Y5

For the best wood-oven pizzas in Ottawa, this is the place to be. The crust is quite flavourful as the dough is proofed for several hours. Purists will enjoy the classic Marghertia topped with fire roasted tomato sauce, fior de latte and fresh basil. More adventurous crowd favourites include the wild boar sausage with apple, cheddar and sage oil and the house-made chorizo with caramelized onion and goat cheese. Pizzas range from $12 to $20 so it’s best to order a variety to share with friends. The patio is open from late spring to mid-autumn and reservations are recommended.

Blue Nile Ethiopian

9
1-707 Gladstone Ave, Ottawa, ON K1R 6X2

For those looking for a cuisine outside their norm, consider this popular African restaurant for some exotic Ethiopian food. You’ll find lots of vegetarian and meat options and combination platters that are designed for sharing. Ethiopian meals are traditionally eaten communally and feature spongy flat bread called injera that’s used as both a plate and utensils. The bread has an airy texture and slightly sour taste and is used to scoop up onion-based stews of meat, vegetables and lentils with varying degrees of spice. The sweet Tej (honey wine) is incredible and pairs well with the entire menu.

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