Family trips to Ottawa are full of appetite-building experiences, and great meals are part of the fun! Canada’s capital has many restaurants and places to eat that are kid-friendly while also being satisfying for adults. Take a look at our suggestions for eateries that will fill your children’s bellies and make you happy while on vacation. Best of all, most are within walking distance of downtown hotels!
The Grand Pizzeria & Bar
Italian food is as kid-friendly as it gets and The Grand in the ByWard Market neighbourhood has some of the best in town. The kid’s menu includes classics like spaghetti & meatballs, pasta with butter and cheese, and plain pizzas. While you wait, you can gather around the traditional Napoletana Pizza wood-burning oven and watch the pizzas sizzling away.
Johnny Farina on Elgin Street is another great option for friendly service and Italian favourites. Their large, two level dining room is perfect for eating-in, and kids can order their own small-sized pizza or pasta and pick their toppings. If takeout is what you’re looking for, visit the attached deli for daily specials of paninis, soups, salads and pastas (not to mention sweet cannoli).
Lone Star Texas Grill
Ottawa chain Lone Star Texas Grill is Tex-Mex central. The kid’s menu boasts items like cheese quesadillas and meat fajitas along with common pleasers like chicken fingers and burgers. Or consider sharing nachos, burritos, enchiladas or ribs as a family. Try not to fill up on the complimentary homemade chips & salsa!
Diners are perfect for fussy kids and Zak’s Diner has everything they want: all-day breakfast, burgers and sandwiches, as well as multiple types of poutine (the Canadian delicacy made of fries, gravy and fresh cheese curds). Don’t leave without having one of their famous milkshakes made with premium ice cream. Zak’s ByWard Market neighbourhood location is conveniently open 24 hours.
The King Eddy
The King Eddy may be the ultimate combination of restaurant, pub and diner – ideal for a family meal. Affordable diner classics like all-day breakfast, burgers and hot dogs share the menu with fried chicken, a toasted tuna sandwich, chili and even salads. The drink list – including local craft beer and spiked milkshakes – is sure to satiate the adults in your group. Love a family brunch? You can enjoy it any day of the week at The King Eddy!
Flapjack’s Canadian Diner
Channel your inner lumberjack (and your appetite) at Flapjack’s in Little Italy. The Kids Tree House menu has filling options like waffles, French toast and grilled cheese. The regular menu items are just as tasty: sandwiches made with pancakes, gooey macaroni and cheese, as well as fun fried foods like pancake-batter dipped bacon or sausages served with real maple syrup. And what kid wouldn’t want a milkshake with toppings like Oreo Cookie and Fruit Loops?
Pubs may not sound ideal for a family meal, but many – like Lowertown Brewery – cater to the kiddos. Children can choose a burger, breaded fish or chicken fingers from the kid’s menu, or regular items like poutine, kettle chips or nachos. In the meantime, parents can dig in to dishes like smoked beef brisket or beer-brined chicken, accompanied by one of Lowertown’s own craft beers brewed on-site. In the warmer months, grab a table on their large patio – a perfect spot for people-watching in the ByWard Market area.
D’Arcy McGee’s Irish Pub at the corner of Sparks and Elgin Streets has a stellar location near attractions like Parliament Hill, the National Arts Centre and The Haunted Walk. Along with traditional pub fare and beverages for mom and dad, the restaurant offers kid-specific items like small-sized shepherd’s pie and pizza, as well as chicken nuggets and noodles.
Known to Ottawans as “The Pump”, this popular pub on Elgin street is surprisingly kid-friendly. Kids stay entertained as they play with The Pump’s toy box and colouring sheets. Although there’s no specific kid’s menu, many of the regular dishes can be downsized (and downpriced). From wraps, burgers, nachos and zucchini sticks, to steak frites, roasted salmon and impressive vegetarian options, you’ll understand why locals love this place.
CF Rideau Centre Dining Hall
When family members’ tastes don’t match, CF Rideau Centre’s Dining Hall is the answer. With over 30 vendors to choose from, this is not your average food court! Familiar favourites like A&W, New York Fries and Subway rub shoulders with ethnic options like Asian, Greek and Italian. The Dining Hall is also environmentally-friendly: diners eat with real dishes, glassware and cutlery!
Planning a picnic in Ottawa is a breeze when you visit the many vendors and stores in the ByWard Market area. Grab a baguette (and treats) from Le Moulin de Provence in the ByWard Market Square; in season, purchase local fruits and vegetables from the outdoor stalls; and visit the surrounding businesses to select cheeses and meats. The hardest decision will be where to eat! Consider stellar sites like the lawn of Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, Confederation Park, Nepean Point or the grounds of the National Gallery of Canada.
The world-renown delicacies called BeaverTails were born in Ottawa in 1978, and their first kiosk is still located in the ByWard Market area. The whole-wheat, float-cooked pastries are shaped like a beaver’s tail and come with toppings like cinnamon and sugar, maple butter and Oreo crumbs, among many others. A quintessential treat when visiting Canada’s capital!
If your family has a sweet tooth, take a look at our suggestions for some of Ottawa’s sweets and treats.