Ottawa’s best Italian restaurants

Little Italy is not the only spot for top-notch Italian food in the capital. Treat yourself to the tastes of Italy’s diverse regions at these casual and fine-dining restaurants. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the variety of dishes and flavour combinations that go far beyond your average pasta dish.

Mamma Teresa Ristorante

1
300 Somerset St W, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J6

Giuliano Boselli and his mother Teresa opened this restaurant in 1970 to showcase the tastes of Parma, Northern Italy, in the Canadian capital. The friendly, warm and welcoming Italian way of living comes to life through the homey atmosphere at Mamma Teresa’s. Enjoy al fresco dining on the relaxing outdoor patio during the summer months. Menu highlights include veal bocconcini stuffed with fine meat and cheese, as well as a hard-to-resist risotto Parma Rosa.

North & Navy

2
226 Nepean St, Ottawa, ON K2P 0B8

The seasonal dishes at North and Navy are inspired by the similar climates of Eastern Ontario and Northern Italy. The spot also borrows the MO of Venetian “bacari” (Venice restaurants which serve deliciously complex small plates). The dishes are presented on beautiful Venetian plates in shared or private dining rooms that are as intimate as they are romantic. Tagliatelle rabbit ragu, fried salt cod stuffed zucchini flowers, and warm octopus and potatoes are only a few examples of the inventive and ever-changing plates chef Adam Vettorel will imagine on a regular basis.

La Roma Restaurant

3
430 Preston St, Ottawa, ON K1S 4N4

Ingredients, recipes and wines from Italy’s many regions are showcased at this Little Italy restaurant. Homemade pasta, sauces and dips are complemented by fresh ingredients sourced from local farms. Enjoy mouthwatering primi like zucchini fritters, or a delicious, rarely seen dish: deep-fried lake smelt with oregano, black olives and spicy crushed chilies. Then gear up for a secondi like the fazzoletti pasta featuring nothing less than ricotta cheese, spinach, tomato béchamel sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan.

Vittoria Trattoria

4
35 William St, Ottawa, ON K1N 6Z9

This ByWard Market restaurant was opened by two brothers who were inspired by their nonna’s cooking. Vittoria Trattoria has now become well known for fine Italian dining, an extensive wine list of over 600 labels (in a floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar) and, of course, their award-winning sommeliers. Give the signature pasta alla nonna a try: penne with grilled chicken, green onion, red peppers and baby spinach is tossed in a sherry parmesan herb cream sauce.

Giovanni's Restaurant

5
362 Preston St, Ottawa, ON K1S 4M7

Giovanni’s excellent service, presentation of exquisitely traditional dishes, sophisticated interior decoration and extensive wine cellar are on the expensive side but unparalleled in the city. Pair one of the fancy soups like stracciatella (veal consommé with egg and parmesan cheese) with an assorted plate of veal parmesan, manicotti and lasagna. This kind of high-calibre dining experience wouldn’t be complete without some great wine and dessert like panna cotta or tiramisu to top it off.

Flying Piggy's Bistro Italiano

6
1665 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K1V 7Z2

Dark wooden dining tables and chairs give Flying Piggy’s Bistro a rustic charm and a cozy dining atmosphere. The restaurant offers a variety of traditional fresh pasta, chicken and veal dishes as well as featured fusions like the coffee-crusted pork tenderloin, served with watermelon relish, chipotle sweet potato puree, braised fennel and rosemary roasted fingerlings. Don’t miss out on the delicious homemade desserts like the lemon torte made with its signature almond crust.

Caffe Mio

7
1379 Wellington St W, Ottawa, ON K1Y 3C2

This Little Italy restaurant offers a perfect combination of casual and classy, perfect for anything from a family get-together to a group business dinner to a date night on the large sunny patio. Have the Mio thin-crust pizza with grilled chicken and sopressata or a succulent entrée like the eggplant roulade. Gluten-free diners rejoice – Caffe Mio will specially craft your pasta dish to suit your dietary needs.

Mamma Grazzi's Kitchen

8
25 George St, Ottawa, ON K1N 8W5

Offering a casual Italian dining experience, Mamma Grazzi’s Kitchen is a great spot for dinner with friends or a casual date. Enjoy one of the signature pizza or pasta dishes in the bright interior or al fresco on the patio (located in a beautiful cobblestone courtyard in the ByWard Market). Treat yourself to one of many inventive dishes like jumbo pasta shells stuffed with crab, ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes in a Sambuca cream sauce with fennel and shiitake mushrooms.

Fratelli Restaurants

9
499 Terry Fox Dr, Kanata, ON K2T 1H7

This family-owned restaurant started out with two fratelli (brothers) and their parents running the kitchen and dining room at the original Glebe location in 1996. The family restaurant ambiance persists with family photos covering the beautiful brick walls. You’ll love the tasty wood-burning oven pizzas like the Roberto with mixed wild mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan, porcini mushroom, pancetta and black truffle aioli.

Bella's Bistro Italiano

10
1445 Wellington St W, Ottawa, ON K1Y 2X4

Chef Raffaela “Bella” Milito opened Bella’s Bistro Italiano with her two brothers in 1995. Bella’s husband has also joined the team as pasta chef, as have other family members running the dining room. Offering a cozy restaurant ambiance, this family-run business creates a truly warm and welcoming dining experience. The delicious dish variations include spinach linguine with smoked salmon, vodka and capers in a tomato cream sauce.

Weekends in the Glebe are social events that often include a relaxing brunch with family and friends. Local residents love these brunch spots that serve everything from a lumberjack-style breakfast to gourmet crepes to Southern soul food like chicken and waffles.
Late nights and early mornings are not uncommon in the nation’s capital. Whether you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up or a cozy meeting spot, these coffee shops will give you the energy boost you need to get through the day.
When the regular lunch sandwich and sub options start to become a little routine, break tradition with these tasty sandwiches served on freshly baked bagels. Ottawa has picked up on Montreal’s rich culture surrounding the delicious wood-burning-oven-baked delicacies – showcased at these lunch spots that will have you coming back for more.
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