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Ottawa’s Riviera Offers Pretty Plates for Politicians and Food Fans


If politicians in the US capital must suffer by painfully chewing on overcooked steaks and endless cans of Diet Coke at the Trump Hotel in DC in an effort to rub shoulders with bold faced names, their Canadian counterparts in Ottawa are certainly winning.

Last year Riviera was crowned one of the country’s top new restaurants by Air Canada’s enRoute magazine, instantly throwing the restaurant in the national where-to-eat-now spotlight. The dishes aren’t just cooked well here, a parade of pretty plates proves that a first time feast here is fantastic.

Located just a short stroll from Parliament Hill, Riviera is where Canada’s law makers prefer to book the power lunch. Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau has been seen here dining with her children, and her hubby (Canada’s dashing Prime Minister) hosted the Liberal’s post-budget private party at Riviera not so long ago.

The space was formerly a bank, then a store for stamp collectors, and its sky-high ceilings and 1920s Art Deco interior instantly command attention. The restaurant is outfitted with a soaring 50-foot white plaster tray ceiling, marble on grey-and-white panelled walls, brass fixtures and massive windows which offer a splash of natural light. The open stainless steel kitchen integrates effortlessly into a 70-foot long brass bar where some of the city’s top mixologists shake up lovely libations. The old bank manager’s office has also been transformed into the restaurants private dining room, while the old vault on the main floor houses unisex washrooms.

Chefs Matthew Carmichael and Jordan Holley first opened the restaurant in 2016. The kitchen offers an Italian inspired menu which focusses on showcasing produce from local growers such as Wakefield’s Juniper Farm, Carp’s Acorn Creek and North Gower’s Rideau Pines. Highlights include Mushrooms on Toast topped with perfectly poached egg, an Iceberg Salad decorated with petite nordic shrimp, pillow-soft Gnudi, and inventive “Duck Ham” served alongside sweet scalloped squash.

Lucky No 7 | dillon’s dry gin 7, dillon’s black walnut amaro, dillon’s vermouth, aromatic bitters

The Grapefruits of Wrath | tromba tequila blanco, campari, ipa, lemon, simple syrup, bittermen’s hopped grapefruit bitters

Jockey Full of Bourbon | buffalo trace bourbon, taylor fladgate port, ancho reyes liquer, scrappy’s chocolate bitters, peaty scotch rinse

Mushrooms on Toast | shaved black truffle, poached egg

Iceberg Wedge | bagna cauda, bacon, grated egg, nordic shrimp

Scallop Crudo | apple, fennel, enoki, sesame

Ricotta Gnudi | black truffles, whey butter

Rabbit Pappardelle with pancetta

Duck Ham with scalloped squash

Pavlova with Ganache and Crumble

Triple B Doughnut

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