The Rideau Canal – one of Ottawa’s most popular attractions – is the perfect setting for memorable dining experiences throughout the year. Within the city centre and in the countryside, you’ll find unique eateries sprinkled along Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. From canal-side restaurants to elevated terraces, here are some of the best places to eat or drink located beside this picturesque waterway in Canada’s capital region.
Some of Ottawa’s best views can be enjoyed from a large terrace attached to a castle-like hotel. Perched above the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal, La Terrasse at the Fairmont Château Laurier offers unique vistas of the Parliament Buildings and the Ottawa River. This seasonal patio is a perfect spot to catch spectacular sunsets!
1 Elgin (formerly Le Café)
The patio at 1 Elgin, the National Arts Centre’s restaurant, feels like a slice of Europe in downtown Ottawa. In the summer, the covered outdoor area is a peaceful, hidden spot located along the Rideau Canal. The indoor restaurant space also has a lovely view – even in the winter when the canal becomes the world’s largest skating rink.
About 3 kilometres from the downtown core near the lively Glebe neighbourhood, the Canal Ritz boasts panoramic windows overlooking the Rideau Canal, plus a large patio that gets you as close to the water as possible. Order from the Italian-inspired menu and enjoy the unobstructed views year-round. Why not enjoy dinner and a paddle? In the summer, boat rentals are available at the Fifth Avenue dock next door.
Dows Lake Pavilion
The expansive Dows Lake portion of the Rideau Canal located near Ottawa’s Little Italy is home to three eateries with great views. Lago Bar & Grill, Mexi’s and Umbrella Bar at the Dows Lake Pavilion all have wraparound patios and interior spaces overlooking the water. In addition, the ground-level facilities rent paddling craft in the warmer months, and ice skates in the winter when the Rideau Canal Skateway is open.
Thirty kilometres south of downtown Ottawa along the Rideau Canal is the pretty village of Manotick. Locals love Kelly’s Landing, a waterfront restaurant that serves comfort food on a large patio and cozy interior. There are also on-site docks and fuel access for boaters!
The Swan on the Rideau
Manotick is also home to The Swan on the Rideau, a quaint British pub. Eat inside the Tudor-style building or on the patio which is adjacent to the Hurst Marina of the Rideau River (boat slips are available).
Stella Luna Café Merrickville
Ottawa-based Stella Luna Gelato Café has multiple locations throughout the Ottawa area, including one a half hour south of Manotick in Merrickville. This European-style eatery serves internationally acclaimed gelato as well as sandwiches, desserts and other treats. Make sure to wander behind the shop to the charming village’s lockstation along the Rideau River.
To fully appreciate this beautiful historic waterway, check out our suggestions for the best ways to experience the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.