At BLACK FOODIE we believe the best way to experience a new city is to explore its local food scene beyond the tourist favourites. While Ottawa may be known for its tasty beaver tails and flavour packed shawarmas, it’s also the perfect city for a BLACK FOODIE adventure. Here’s how to spend a weekend eating your way through Ottawa’s best Black restaurants and shops while enjoying some local favourites along the way.
Explore Byward Market
You can’t visit Ottawa without stopping by the city’s beloved Byward Market. A stay at the Andaz Ottawa, a modern hotel by Hyatt, will place you right in the middle of Byward’s lively community. Andaz’ comfy beds, modern design and convenient location make it the perfect base for a foodie ready to explore. At Byward market you’ll find local artisan goods, fresh baked goods and some of the best maple treats in the province but a deeper dive will give you a chance to experience the really great Black owned businesses here.
This unique cafe, restaurant & hair salon located in Byward Market is the only place I’ve been where you can grab an awesome meal and get your hair done too. Salon guests have easy access to spiced lattes while being pampered and the glass barrier separating the salon space ensures that the food is kept free from the bustle of the busy salon. HQ’s all day brunch includes a variety of comfort foods and brunch classics. My favourites included HQ’s signature root beer maple home fries & fried chicken. The trendy setting, delicious food and great music make this a fun visit on your Ottawa trip!
Afrotechture shop has a unique selection of artisan goods from Ottawa based Black businesses. At Afrotecture, you’ll find hidden gems from Canadian creatives like beautiful ankara print clothing, handcrafted accessories, Black children’s books and of course some fun foodie finds. My personal favourites from Afrotecture were the premium shea butters, sustainably sourced Eight50 coffee and the trio set of Baccanalle Caribbean sauces. Skip the typical souvenirs and try something new from Afrotecture to bring a piece of Ottawa home.
Wake up your tastebuds with an island inspired brunch! Nestled in Byward Market, Bess is a tropical oasis with lots of lush decor and creative twists on Caribbean classics to enjoy. Try the oxtail breakfast bowl & creamy Jamaican banana porridge for brunch or Bess’ popular jerk chicken and rum cocktails for dinner.
Discover African & Caribbean flavours
If you have never had East African food before, now is the perfect time to try it! D’Afrique serves homestyle Ethiopian dishes in a cozy environment. Flavourful stews are served on a large platter of spongy flatbread meant to be eaten with your hands and shared amongst friends. I recommend the vegan combo and beef tibs, an East African spicy stir fry. The rich stews, spiced tea and coffee ceremony are the perfect heartwarming culinary treat to enjoy on a winter getaway.
YKO is home to some of Ottawa’s best bbq chicken, so much so that you can find a long line of locals outside eager for YKO’s fiery smokey chicken every weekend. Marinated in traditional West African spices and packed with both flavour and heat, their popular chicken combo comes with traditional rice, cabbage and crispy ripe fried plantains. These sides pair perfectly with YKO’s spicy smoked bbq chicken and make the hearty combo well worth the wait. For a real treat, add a bottle of YKO’s bissap, a spiced hibiscus sweetened tea to complete your meal.
Located in Orleans, Tipikliz is a cozy authentic Haitian restaurant that is worth the drive from downtown. Try the riz djon djon, a flavour packed black rice dish made with special Haitian dried mushrooms or Tipikliz’s fried fish with pikliz, a super spicy pickled slaw. You can’t leave without tasting the banane frites, a crispy twice fried plantain that is also served with pikliz. One bite and you’ll be transported to the islands.
Enjoy local favourites
If you are looking for a one of a kind experience and ready to splurge, Atelier’s 44-course meal is the ultimate foodie stop on your Ottawa tour. This award winning restaurant offers a twist on Canadian cuisine and encourages diners to think and play with food during the dining experience. Chef Marc Lapoine takes familiar flavours and completely remixes the textures and presentation for a unique culinary adventure, for example his desserts included a lavender cotton candy and surprisingly delicious tomato soup cake. The best part of the experience is the wine pairings from Zambian born Sommelier, Bernard Joseph Lemoyne. He presents a diverse selection of perfectly paired wines, while his team walks you through an informative and fun breakdown of each pairing. While this may not be a typical stop on a BLACK FOODIE tour, I encourage foodies to get out of their comfort zone and have fun with food at Atelier!
A local favourite based in Byward market, Le Moulin de Provence has served the Ottawa community loads of tasty sweets and baked goods for the last two decades. The maple leaf shaped Obama Cookies are their claim to fame and are absolutely delicious! Grab a few cookies for the road – these treats are perfect to snack on.
This post was sponsored by Destination Ontario. The views and opinions expressed in this article, however, are from BLACK FOODIE.