Ottawa bakeries for carb connoisseurs

If there were a hall of fame for comforting aromas, the scent of fresh-baked bread would surely make the cut. And when it comes to tastes, buttercream icing can transport you right back to Grandma’s kitchen. Having a stressful day? A few delectable treats from these Ottawa bakeries will help cheer you right up.

The Capcake Lounge

324 Richmond Rd, Ottawa, ON K1Z 6X6

Guests at the Cupcake Lounge can choose from 17 cupcake flavours every day, including seasonal specials and several gluten-free varieties. With intriguing choices ranging from blood orange to butterscotch bourbon, you’ll likely find something to tempt your sweet tooth. All of the options are made without lard, trans fats, preservatives or artificial flavours, and are iced by hand. You can even order gift boxes online and have them delivered. Cakes, brownies, cinnamon rolls and other treats are also available. Cupcake Lounge also has a second location in the ByWard Market.

Suzy Q Doughnuts

969 Wellington St W, Ottawa, ON K1Y 2X7

It may be located in a little white shack that looks like the office of a used car lot, but don’t let that deter you; some seriously good gourmet doughnuts await you inside SuzyQ. Moist and fluffy, these rings of goodness come in inventive flavours that you’re unlikely to see at your local Tim Hortons – think salty caramel, London fog and maple bacon. At $2 a pop, they’re pricier than Tim’s, too, but you can get a box of six for $10. Seating is limited to a picnic table outside, but you’re not here for the ambience, right?

Art-Is-In Bakery

250 City Centre Ave, Ottawa, ON K1R 6K7

At farmers’ markets across Ottawa, bread lovers line up for their favourite loaves from this self-described “gastro-bakery.” Local favourites include the dynamite potato and dill baguettes; other choices include fig and roasted walnut sourdough, and buttermilk multi-seed bread. You can also buy Art Is In breads at some Farm Boy locations, but for the ultimate treat, come to the main bakery – located in a so-hideous-it’s-trendy 1960s industrial building – for squash caponata or a Thai chicken sandwich.

Kettlemans Bagel

912 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON K1S 3W6

Even after moving to New York, my niece is still craving these Montreal-style bagels, so I think that settles the argument about which city’s bagel style is best. As you wait for your onion, muslix or blueberry bagels (there are 14 flavours in all), you can watch the bagel makers rolling dough or extracting hot doughy discs from the huge wood-burning oven. Pick up lox and cream cheese to go, or order a fresh sandwich. Got a late-night craving? Kettleman’s is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

French Baker

119 Murray St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5M5

When The New York Times anoints a croissant as the city’s best, that’s pretty high praise. But this ByWard Market bakery’s fan base extends far beyond the NYT; pastry aficionados flock here from across the city to pick up buttery crescents and crispy baguettes. The store’s name is quite literal; many of the employees come from or were trained in France. The tiny 30-seat café at the back serves light French fusion fare, such as mushroom and leek confit tacos. There’s a second bakery location in the Glebe.

Bread By Us

1065 Wellington St W, Ottawa, ON K1Y 2Y2

Sourdough breads are the star attractions at this small-batch bakery. You’ll also find pain au lait, croissants, scones and other baked goods, including some sugar-free and vegan products. The espresso bar serves up fair-trade java roasted by the nearby Happy Goat Coffee Company, as well as loose-leaf tea. The Suspended initiative – which lets you pay for a coffee or pastry in advance for a future customer who may be short on cash – is part of the bakery’s progressive ethos.

Boko Bakery

4-280 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1M2

Fancy it isn’t – there’s nowhere to sit, and you’ll use a tray and a set of tongs to pick out your own breads, croissants, brownies and pies. But the prices at this long-time Ottawa favourite are competitive, and the clever iced cookies – often resembling the latest cartoon and video game characters – are a huge hit with kids. The daring bakers aren’t afraid to try new things so, depending on the day, you might find a shelf of wookies (a cookie-waffle hybrid) or matcha green tea almond croissants.

Thimble Cakes

369 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1Y2

Everything in this bakery is prepared without nuts and eggs, and you can find cupcakes free of dairy, sugar, gluten or soy as well. Ask about the photofrost cupcakes; use one of the premade designs or bring in your own logo or illustration that the talented bakers will then recreate in detail on a cupcake topper. Specialty cakes include the lemon bomb (vanilla cake topped with tart lemon curd), as well as traditional favourites such as black forest and tiramisu. Wedding cakes and cupcake towers are also available.

The Cake Shop

1200 Rue Wellington, Ottawa, ON K1Y 2Z7

If you can imagine it, these creative bakers can probably make it. Want a cake resembling a DSLR camera, a radio announcer’s microphone, a case of Bud Light or an electric guitar? They’ve been there, done that. You don’t have to settle for a horizontal cake, either; one of the bakery’s most intricate designs resembles a 3D pirate ship that looks ready to set sail. Not surprisingly, the shop also has a fine line of wedding cakes. The bakery is completely nut, tree nut and peanut free, and you can order vegan, gluten-free or sugarless cakes.

Martinis are old news in Ottawa – unless they’re made with herb-infused vodka from an artisanal distillery. These days, craft cocktails are all the rage at the capital’s trendy restaurants. Whether it’s shaken, stirred or garnished with a sprig of rosemary, a drink from one of these inventive establishments will quench your thirst in a whole new way.
Frothy bubbles, elegant flutes, that one-of-a-kind tingle – nothing says “special occasion” quite like a glass of champagne or sparkling wine. Whether you’re looking to celebrate an engagement, an anniversary, a promotion or simply the weekend, here are some excellent places to clink your glasses.
Why settle for a candy bar from the office vending machine when you can revel in chocolate fondue, hand-made truffles or chocolate-covered pretzels? If cocoa is your pick-me-up of choice, pay a visit to one of these chocolatiers or cafés and treat yourself to something truly special.
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