Ottawa has a number of blessings that make for an interesting collection of restaurants. It has a strong immigrant community, it is home to many embassies, and its high-tech and civil service workforce are well-travelled, and exposed to many cuisines and culinary influences. His creates a demanding audience, attracting a number of innovative chefs and restauranteurs.
There are a number of areas that seem to attract more than their fair share of dining spots: Byward market, eclectic Elgin Street, Bank Street & the Glebe, Preston Streets' Corso Italia, and Somerset Heights' Asian corner.
Byward Market is known for its classic stone architecture and turn-of-the-century wooden structures. There are many restaurants taking advantage of the architecture and atmosphere in Ottawa's oldest neighbourhood. The types of restaurants run from simple greasy spoons & bagel joints to very toney restaurants serving the last blend of fusion cuisine.
The Downtown core, west of the Rideau Canal, has a number of lounges that cater to the office worker. Many are in office towers, and several are located in unique heritage buildings that dot the area. The lounges tend to be in restaurants along the major thoroughfares parallel to Wellington, or on the Sparks Street pedestrian mall.
Close to downtown, just west of the Canal, is the eclectic Elgin Street, which runs from the NAC south to the Queensway. There are many restaurants and boutiques in this neighbourhood, taking advantage of brick buildings that date back to the 1910s and 20s. The area is residence to the city's arts communities, being close to the core and very convenient to the city's two universities.
Also south of downtown, but a little further west, is the Bank Street and Glebe area. While there are enough restaurants along the Bank Street Promenade north of the Queensway, Bank Street's charm doesn't reach the peak of its charm until it gets south of there. North of the Canal is the Glebe residential area, and further south is the neighbourhoods of Riverside and nearer to Carleton University.
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