I spent just a little over a year living and travelling in Europe and one of the first things I started to miss the most when coming back to Ottawa was all the food I had eaten over there. Obviously.
Unfortunately, I couldn't afford another flight back to Italy, France or England, but thankfully there were plenty of authentic European restaurants right here in Ottawa that fed both my stomach and nostalgia. There's plenty of great eats in Ottawa that bring a lot of authenticity from their home countries, from delicious Greek food to hearty Ukrainian dishes.
Here's a list of 8 restaurants that will make you feel authentically European:
1. The Soca Kitchen // Spain
Spanish. Tapas. Feel like you're in Madrid when you're snacking on Spanish finger food. Because, who needs one big plate when you can eat a ton of small plates of small appetizers?
2. The Greek Souvlaki Shack // Greece
There's plenty of quality Greek fare to be found in Ottawa, but the Greek Souvlaki Shack on Bank Street has a simplistic, unassuming charm that really focusses on the quality of the food. The owners never disappoint. Their greek salad is one of the best in the city and their lamb tastes just so good.
3. St. Martha's Brasserie // France
Terrific French fare, from their rich and flavourful onion soup to their hearty ratatouille. Located in Orleans, St. Martha's offers French cuisine at its finest.
4. La Bottega // Italy
It's extremely tough to just pin down one Italian restaurant to represent the finest Italian cuisine in Ottawa. Some of my favourite restaurants in the city are right on Preston Street, but La Bottega takes this one home. It's more than just a place to pick up a fresh sandwich - they have some out-of-this-world cannoli and plenty of authentic Italian groceries if you want to make your own dinner at home.
5. Ottawa Perogies // Ukraine
Also proudly featured as one of our top places to get perogies in Ottawa. Truly some of the best and most authentic perogies offered in the city, founded by the Riabko family who opened shop here in Ottawa almost 10 years ago.
6. Topkapi // Turkey
Only a small bit of Turkey is actually on the European continent, but that so-called "small" bit is Istanbul: The crossroads of Europe and Asia. The bustling city provides some of the most flavourful cuisine on the European continent and Topkapi captures it perfectly. Head down to try an authentic Turkish coffee. There's no going back to the regular brew, I can guarantee.
7. Dutch Groceries and Giftware // The Netherlands
Not necessarily a restaurant, but it would be an absolute sin to neglect this place. Dutch food is probably one of the most underrated food on the continent of Europe. Fact. The names of their cuisine may not sound pleasant: Hagelslag, for example. But that's chocolate sprinkles you can put on your buttered toast on home and it's just. Wow. Sorry. It's bliss. But, of course, come pick up some stroopwafel here (a thin layer of caramel syrup sandwiched between two thin waffles) and their croquettes.
8. Moscow Tea Room // Russia
Named after Russia's mighty capital, this quaint lounge on Sussex captures both the cosmopolitan flare of the Slavic city and its country's finest, traditional cuisine. Come on a cold wintery afternoon and enjoy a nice warm bowl of borscht (and a shot of Russian standard, of course).
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