When everybody's trying to start new trends, diners are sticking to the status quo. And if that means all-day breakfast, greasy comfort foods and milkshakes, I'm cool with that.
Diners have catered to all walks of Ottawa life over the years. From the family that's been there for the quick Sunday bite to eat, to the awkward first dates in the evening. Then there's the more interesting types that come in after midnight. Diners have seen them all and they're at the beating heart of this city's dining culture, even if you didn't know it.
They're not going anywhere. Their charm and uniqueness is what's been keeping them going for decades. You don't go to a high-end restaurant for 3am bacon eggs and a milkshake.
Here's a list of the six places in the city that top these comfort food havens:
1. Zak's Diner // 14 Byward Market Square
Or the one you stumbled into after a night out in the Byward Market. Of course you knew this was going to be #1. This 24/7 centrally located greasy spoon has been serving the city for 30 years. Try the off-the-menu breakfast poutine: golden home fries topped with melted cheese curds and unforgivably drenched in hollandaise sauce.
2. Elgin Street Diner // 374 Elgin Street
Yes, there's a diner in Ottawa that has lineups. This is a bucket list diner for some. This cozy little unpretentious gem has been recognized by Lonely Planet and Macleans. Their blue plates are the biggest and heartiest in the city and their poutine is a cult classic.
3. Wellington Diner // 1385 Wellington Street
Let's talk about mac and cheese. Their carbonara mac and cheese loaded with cheese and bacon is something sort of poetic. The double bacon double grilled cheese cheese burger and their mac 'n cheese bacon eggs benny is unholy. I don't even know how any city deserves this, but Ottawa has this diner. And their home fries. Those home fries.
4. The King Eddy // 45 Clarence Street
Their chicken and waffles are a unique, unmatched delicacy in the city. Their fried chicken's got the Colonel running back to Kentucky. They also have one of the most affordable all-day breakfasts in the city. Oh, and $3.99 dollar tall boy drinks on Saturday.
5. Fil's Diner // 1209 Wellington Street
This unsung masterpiece has one has the most true 60s diner feels in the city, even if it's only been serving foodies since Y2K. Come here for the atmosphere (and for the Insta), but the food in itself doesn't take a step to the side. It's also next door to West Park Lanes, a newly-renovated bowling alley that's been around since 1946.
6. Chesterfield's Gastro Diner // 1433 Wellington Street
Labelled as a “Not so greasy” spoon, Chesterfield's still offers an eggs benny to die for and has a more modern diner atmosphere than the other places on the list.
7. Eddy's Diner // 777 Bank Street
Some of the best all-day breakfast in the Glebe and just a few minutes walk from Lansdowne, if you're looking to get your greasy fix before a RedBlacks game. You'll probably sit through the football game though because their french toast is on-point.