Looking for a delicious meal in Ottawa? Finding the best restaurants in our nation's capital is now almost as simple as taking a stroll along Murray Street, but that was not always the case.
"Fifteen year ago when I started doing this, if you wanted to eat well in Ottawa, you either went to Montreal or went across the river to Gatineau," says food journalist Ron Eade, the former food editor of the Ottawa Citizen and a veritable encyclopedia when it comes to the city's food scene and chefs.
Eade explains that private clubs, like the Rideau Club or Chelsea Club, were where you went to eat anything other than chain food, but many have now closed "because the competition is so intense."
"The guy who really changed things was Steve Beckta," says Eade. "He opened Beckta in'03 and he really really set the bar." These days Beckta is the owner of Play Food & Wine and Gezellig, as well as Beckta's.
Chef John Taylor at Domus Cafe was another innovator, the first to forge alliances with growers, using local and organic wherever possible, notes Eade.
But more than anything, the restaurants that are doing it right are the ones that are focused and clear in their choices. "You know you're in trouble if you go into a restaurant and see pages and pages of menu," says Eade with a laugh.