18 York St.
Rating: **** 1/2
Dinner & drinks for two: $100
Eighteen reasons to go to Restaurant E18ghteen:
1. To taste cuisine by a top Ottawa Chef, Matthew Carmichael.
2. To visit one of the top ten Ottawa restaurants (Ottawa Magazine).
3. To appreciate the passion of Carmichael who inherited his love of food from his grandmother.
4. To consider the influence of Domus’ Chef John Taylor on Carmichael.
5. To imagine being a protege of world-renowned chef Susur Lee (Toronto).
6. To speculate about what it takes to be the national winner of Bronze at the Gold Medal Plates Canadian competition.
7. To appreciate the award-winning (Wine Spectator) wine list.
8. To compare wines with one of the wine flights ($36).
9. To enjoy a glamourous, yet unpretentious, restaurant setting.
10. To be surprised by the traditional French cuisine with a twist.
11. To appreciate the visual impact of each plate.
12. To sip a simple Shellfish Chowder ($15) that was enlightened with frothed coconut milk and filled with hearty prawns and mussels.
13. To choose from the varied menu that included a delicious Espresso Roasted Ostrich ($39) served with a soubise sauce.
14. To munch on crispy but tender fries, superb with the Grilled Ribeye ($42).
15. To mull over the tempting dessert choices, and be delighted with the mini domes of Vanilla Flan ($12) with crispy, cinnamon-dusted wontons.
16. To be thankful for small plates, enabling more tasting (even though pricey).
17. To linger over the meal with attentive, albeit unhurried service.
18. To escape the stress of daily life and feel pampered.
A well-established Italian restaurant in Bells Corners offers four nine-inch pizzas or pasta dishes along with its famous semolina buns for only $40 plus tax as part of their take-out menu. For those who eat gluten-free, Zolas also makes corn flour penne pasta or soy bean angel hair pasta. 194 Robertson Rd. (613) 721-0227.
A new Italian restaurant on Merivale is beckoning pasta lovers. In the open kitchen, they make their bread, pasta, sauces and desserts from scratch. Their Salmon PLT with crispy pancetta, lettuce, and tomato sounds irresistible. 1465 Merivale Rd. (613) 224-4442.