cuiscenes does Ottawa
Apparently the best pizza in Ottawa, we experienced a lot of hype about Slice &Co. before we actually found ourselves sitting in the cozy restaurant. Shortly after ordering our pizza, a local walked in for a quick slice and proceeded to rave for about 10 minutes about how much she loves Slice's pizza and how it's hands-down the best slice in the city. No pressure.
Offering both thin crust and deep dish pizzas, Slice &Co. makes 12" pizzas to order but later at night usually offer only slices. Their most popular pizza is the Amatriciana ($16), a pie with tomato sauce, double-smoked bacon, onion fresh garlic, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, parsley, and chilies – a very clear choice to our hungry minds.
The workers are incredibly friendly and seem to have as much of a blast as their customers, constantly joking around with each other and their guests. As for the pizza, the hype is very much justified: pulling out a slice is like watching a legitimate pizza commercial, stretchy cheese and all. The combination of double-smoked bacon give the pizza a bit of a kick that makes each bite heavenly. Honestly, it was love at first slice.
A Thing For Chocolate
The name itself did it for us, there's no way we couldn't walk in. The small chocolatier truly lives up to its name too as everything from food to decor has a chocolatey theme (we're talking chocolate brown leather armchairs and tables that could pass for very large chocolate bars from afar).
Left to right: House Special ($7.50), Callebaut Mocha Latte ($4.50)
They offer a selection of sweet and savoury crepes, café drinks, and homemade chocolates and we opt for their House Special ($7.50) and the Callebaut Mocha Latte ($4.50).
The House Special has a simple formula: homemade milk or dark chocolate spread with your choice of season fruits such as bananas, strawberries, and blueberries (we go for dark chocolate with bananas and strawberries). With a homemade chocolate spread that could give Nutella cause to worry, this crepe still haunts our dreams. The mocha latte is another one of their signatures, made with real chocolate and paired perfectly with the House Special, we wish we could start every day like this.
We definitely have a thing for chocolate.
Right across the street from Slice &Co. is El Camino, a tacos and tequila raw bar that we've fallen in love with. Be warned: waiting times are terribly long. We were advised it would be a 45-minute wait and an hour later, we got a text that our table was ready but by the time we were seated, wait times were up to an hour and a half.
Completely worth it though. The entire restaurant is black as night with overhanging pipes, concrete floors, and a framed image of "Don't be a dick" hanging at the entrance resulting in an overall very cool, industrial vibe.
Left to right: Ox Tongue Taco ($4), Crispy Fish Taco ($4)
We order the Crispy Fish Taco ($4), Ox Tongue Taco ($4), Shrimp Dumplings ($9), and Churros w. Salted Caramel ($5) to finish off the meal. Used to Toronto's messy fish tacos, both tacos were astonishingly well put-together: they didn't fall apart within seconds and everything originally inside the taco actually ended up making it into our mouths instead of the plate. The fish taco was comparable to any other but the ox tongue was our favourite, it's their most popular taco for a reason – it basically tastes like a summer BBQ.
For those not down to wait that long for a meal, there's a take-out window just outside the entrance to satisfy your craving quick.
Lapointe Seafood Grill
Unfortunately, we didn't snap a photo before digging into our delicious
Haddock Fish and Chips ($13.50) at Byward Market's Lapointe Seafood Grill. However, we still feel obliged to talk about this particular restaurant because while the fish and chips were excellent, this was the worst customer service we've experienced in years.
Subtly foreshadowed by their reluctance to seat us as a slightly larger group, the waitress greeted us by saying nothing and slamming down our glasses of water on the table. As a friend asked about the special, said waitress rolled her eyes before answering any questions, again with reluctance.
After a meal of general terrible service, we finally received our bills with the gratuity included (smart move on her part) and since we all had cash, the waitress short-changed everyone and essentially tipped herself extra, excusing herself saying, "there are no nickels or dimes in the waitressing world."
Again, the fish and chips were some of the better dishes we've had but the entire night was ruined by the startlingly rude waitress. Rest assured we won't be back.
Union 613 is another one of Ottawa's gems that offers communal seating with an excellent aesthetic that works quite well with their all-out cabin vibe (you can't look anywhere without finding a mason jar, whether it's your drink or the lamps above).
Described as "A Canadian take on Southern hospitality," their menu lives up to just that. We go for the Ritz crusted Louisiana catfish, pecan purée, wilted frisee, and lemon ($17) with a side of the Cast-iron cornbread w/ bourbon brown butter ($4) and yes, both taste as good as they sound. The catfish sat atop a pool of the pecan purée and was cooked to absolute perfection. The cornbread stole the show though, shining in all its buttery glory and turning out to be just as filling as the main itself.
Left to right: Louisiana catfish ($17), Cast-iron cornbread ($4)
We couldn't leave without trying their Union mudslide cheesecake w/ orange ganache, toasted marshmallow & candied pecans ($8) despite how full we were. It was one of the richest cakes we've ever eaten, full of flavours and textures that you wonder why no one ever put them together before. We were waddling our way home.
An incredibly chill restaurant where you could sit beside friend or stranger paired with mouth-watering food is the perfect union for an exceptional dining experience.