Raise a toast: Superb spots for champagne in Ottawa

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.

Restaurant 18

18 York St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5S6

The 16-page wine list here is renowned among Ottawa oenophiles, while reviewers from enRoute to CNN have lauded the fare – such as herb-crusted rack of lamb and roasted black cod with truffles – as among the city’s best. As well as a small selection of bubblies by the glass, you can choose from more than a dozen vintages from around the world by the bottle, at a very wide range of prices. Savour it all in an upscale but not stuffy dining room that features exposed stone walls, white linen and cozy lighting.

Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro

54 York St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5T1

Even though it has won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year for more than a quarter century, this atmospheric basement wine bar isn’t pretentious. The extensive wine list, which offers a small but carefully chosen selection of sparkling wines and champagnes, includes a handy page of wine terminology. Ask lots of questions; the knowledgeable servers are happy to answer. Try the cheese or charcuterie boards, each served with a baguette. The crowning touch: live jazz three nights a week.

The Metropolitain Brasserie

700 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 1K4

The parent restaurant of the Savoy, this busy French-style restaurant serves a wide range of sparkling wine cocktails. Sure, you can get a classic kir royal, but why not try a Champs Elysées (bubbly and Calvados) or Sicilian Kiss (sparkling wine with Disaronno and Southern Comfort)? If you prefer your bubbles straight up, there are almost a dozen champagnes and sparkling wines by the bottle, with some available by the glass. Another Wine Spectator award winner, Metro is also home to one of the city’s biggest oyster bars.

Beckta Dining & Wine

150 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1L4

Located in the historic Grant House, this award-winning restaurant offers both a sophisticated dining room and an intimate 50-seat wine bar. In the bar, which doesn’t take reservations, guests can enjoy top-quality nibbles such as pozole with smoked pork belly as they sip vintages from a 25-page list. Deep leather chairs give the space a club-like atmosphere, and sparkling wines range from moderately priced prosecco through a variety of French champagnes to a few bottles made for that once-in-a-decade splurge.

Signatures Restaurant

453 Laurier Ave E, Ottawa, ON K1N 6R4

Not surprisingly, French wines reign supreme at the lone Canadian outpost of the legendary Cordon Bleu culinary institute. However, you’ll also find Italian and Canadian sparkling wines, at prices ranging from modest to stratospheric. Housed in a Victorian mansion, Signatures offers inventive takes on classic French cuisine, such as sautéed escargots with celery root purée or venison loin with port wine figs. Thoughtful touches and unexpected amuse-bouches make it a popular destination for special occasions.

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.
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.
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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