137 Murray St.
Signature Dish: Hamburgers
Chez Lucien is easy to miss but not to forget. It sits at the end of the gastro alley for which Murray Street in the Byward Market has become famous. Its signage is humble, and I walked past it numerous times before someone pointed it out to me. There is a buzz around it, though, and it's a gem that the locals don't really want the rest of the city to know about, so keep this to yourself.
It's a great place to grab a gourmet burger and a white-capped beverage. The combinations of flavours on their burgers are irresistible. I ordered the Chez Lucien burger ($10) topped with bacon, cream cheese and mushrooms. The patty was nicely grilled, a touch dry, but the richness from the toppings covered any sins. The fries had a good color and paired well with the ranch-flavoured dipping sauce, but the salad on the side was naked without dressing. If you like some heat, the Frida and Diego burger ($10) was a brilliant alliance of jalapeño, Monterey Jack cheese and fried onions.
The Chocolate Fondue ($7) dessert for one was filling enough for two with a pile of kiwi, orange, grapes and banana to dip into the warmed chocolate. It was simple yet satisfying.
Enjoy elevated pub fare at the end of gastro alley in this modest local hangout.
Shawarma Palace For one of the largest chicken shawarma platters in town, visit the Shawarma Palace at either their Rideau or Carling location. 464 Rideau St. (613) 789-9533
Silk Road Kabob House For authentic Persian and Afghani cuisine, head to Silk Road Kabob House. All meals include rice, afghan naan and salad, and the portions are large. 1021 Cyrville Rd. (613) 741-7888.
NOURISH yourself with a cooking class by Chef Larissa Beznaczuk-Smyrnew who will bring Tuscan home cooking to the table this Sunday at The Urban Element at 6 p.m. www.theurbanelement.ca