Josh McJannett is a local public affairs professional who took Ottawa to brunch after an 80s night eight years ago; they’ve been in a committed relationship ever since.
I love brunch. I don’t care if that makes me indecisive (Lunch? Breakfast? That’s a false choice peddled by the forces of evil as far as I’m concerned,) or if Stuff White People Like is to be believed, just plain predictable.
For me, there’s nothing like sitting unshaven (a weekend luxury) around a table of good friends over a refilled cup of coffee and a plate of egg soaked, bacon infused, pan-fried potatoes to make you appreciate how good life truly is.
Fortunately for Ottawans, this city is teeming with unstoppably delicious places to tame your pork and maple flavour fever.
For my $10 with tip (or so), this list represents the best of what I think Ottawa has to offer.
For more great LTOttawa coverage on brunch spots, click here.
For years this place has been my mainstay. Ottawa has no shortage of pub breakfasts on offer. Friendly service and reliably good fare put the Pump head and shoulders above the rest. After a big night out there’s nothing like the refuge of one of the Pump’s darkened back room leather booths. A great destination for bigger groups. Order the breakfast special with a side scone, you won’t be sorry.
Funky retro seating and a streetside window in the heart of Old Ottawa South make this place something different. A great starting point for exploring an often overlooked neighbourhood with lots to offer.
It’s the little things about this tiny neighbourhood restobar that earn it a spot on the list. Breakfast macs (named after the cooks who created them (Serge is my favourite), the jar of homemade jam on every table and the spicy Diablo sauces on offer are all things I’ve come to love. Be prepared to wait if you join the rush at 10am on Sunday.
Stone Face Dolly’s
Come hungry. The people behind this Preston Street mainstay don’t mess around with small servings—everything about this brunch is supersized—from the thick cut, homemade molasses loaf toast to the colourful personality of the guy who negotiates your seating during the inevitable rush at 10:30am. Highly recommend the lemon curd blueberry pancakes.
Heart & Soul Café
If you’re looking for something different, this place is worth the drive. Located just west of Kanata in the village of Dunrobin, H&S serves healthy servings of what can best be described as comfort food. Hearty potatoes, delicious pancakes and piping hot coffee go down just that much better on the veranda overlooking the countryside. A great spot.
Bank Street Diner
A reliable and simple spot in the heart of Centretown. This place doesn’t look like much from the street, but fast service, comfortable booth seating in a bright diner-styled room get it off to a good start. The fact that they soft poach my eggs to perfection and eschew frozen potatoes for the fresh, pan fried, basil topped variety and the fact that I got out of there for $7 carried it over the finish line. I’ll go back for their ‘Breakfast & Beer’ special served after 11am!
Saturday morning at this place is what happens when southern U.S.-style soul food makes a passionate love baby with brunch. Try the breakfast pizza and you can’t go wrong. Constructed with a hash brown crust, held together with egg and cheese and topped with pretty much anything you can imagine (the southern fried chicken is a particularly delicious option)—it’s an understatement to say you won’t be hungry until dinner.
Beyond the scones, which are fantastic (for reals, get the vanilla cream), the devon cream imported from the UK and the top notch jam selection, this place also puts on a killer egg breakfast. You have to be willing to brave a wait for a seat in this small, humid restaurant (they make everything on site and the ovens keep the place nice and warm), but it’s worth it. The scrambled eggs are always cooked to perfection (not overdone like most places) and served with greens, fruit and your choice of scone. An Ottawa institution.
Morala Specialty Coffee
Earlier this year our neighbours at Apt 613 polled to find the best pancakes in Ottawa. I’ll leave the flapjack verdict to the masses, but I humbly put to you that Morala takes the title for the capital’s best waffle. This small café has a range of homemade baked goods and excellent coffee. More significantly for brunch lovers, this place is the opportunity to be treated to a feat often attempted and rarely achieved; the perfect waffle. Like any good thing, it’s available in limited supply; served Saturdays and Sundays before 11:30am. Made to order and topped with a generous serving of banana and strawberries with a side of real maple syrup and topped with whipped cream, these waffles are a decadent, delicious treat. The perfect place to grab some newspaper and a window seat with a friend and just catch up.
Nestled in the heart of the Glebe and decidedly upscale (and reliably more than the $10 max you’d expect at most of the places on this list), this place is like an amusement park for your taste buds. If I concentrate I can still taste the stacked apple, cheddar and bacon French toast I ordered two years ago.
Is there a great Ottawa brunch destination that Josh left off his master list? Send us a note and tell us about it!