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8 Restaurants in Ottawa to try

8 restaurants in Ottawa

Are you planning a trip to Ottawa? Indeed, it’s a beautiful city to visit in any season, for its architecture and its parks. Its international constituents expect a culinary scene that meets its expectations, and Ottawa does not disappoint. Therefore, while developing our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we identified several restaurants in Ottawa that have been acclaimed by many food critics while making the top of popular foodie lists.

8 restaurants in Ottawa

  1. Beckta
    • The Beckta Restaurant is located in a historic mansion on Elgin Street, not far from the Lord Elgin Hotel.
    • This is one of the best upscale restaurants in Ottawa.
  2. Whalesbone
    • Whalesbone is a seafood restaurant, also located on Elgin Street, much appreciated by locals and food critics.
  3. BridgeheadBridgehead
    • Bridgehead restaurant is rated 4.3 stars on Google and is one of Ottawa’s best restaurants according to several publications. It features Canadian cuisine with home-roasted coffee and organic teas.
  1. Town
    • Also located on Elgin, south of Somerset W, this restaurant features reinvented Italian dishes.
  2. E18hteenE18teen
    • The E18hteen Restaurant (4.5 stars on TripAdvisor) is on York St. between the Byward Market and the Millennium Fountain.
    • Similarly, it is among the best restaurants in the area, it serves seafood and various steak cuts, always with a seasonal flavor.
  3. The King Eddy
    • Located on Clarence in Lower Town, between Notre-Dame Basilica Cathedral and the Byward Market, this restaurant is open 24 hours a day from Wednesday to Sunday.
    • Its specialties are burgers of all kinds.
  4. RivieraRiviera
    • Riviera is on Sparks pedestrian Street opposite the Ottawa Insectarium, near Elgin St.
    • It is, according to many, one of the best places to have a cocktail and snacks at the end of the evening.
  5. Sansotei Ramen
    • This Asian soup restaurant is located on Bank Street, at the corner of Laurier.
    • In fact, you will find 6 varieties of noodles to put in your soup.

Try it

We invite you to try our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-3 hour self-guided walking tour of the downtown area that you do with your smartphone (how it works). In sum, it costs $45 for a group of 2 to 6 people. Indeed, you’ll come across most of these restaurants and much more. Moreover, you’ll enjoy solving the various challenges at each step of the way while learning the history of Ottawa.

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7+ Restaurants in Midtown Manhattan

7+ restaurants in midtown manhattan

Do you seek out the best restaurants when visiting a city? As you can imagine, there are quite a few great restaurants in Midtown Manhattan.

In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 7+ restaurants to see in New York Midtown.

7+ restaurants in Midtown Manhattan

  1. AureoleAureole
    • Aureole is located on W 42nd, midway between 6th Ave and Broadway. This is one of this Midtown’s best restaurants. It serves New American cuisine emphasizing traditional dishes with unique twists.
  2. Hunt & Fish Club
    • One of Midtown’s best restaurants is east of W 44th, at Broadway, the Hunt & Fish Club. If serves up New American, Steakhouse cuisine in an elegant décor.
  3. Totto Ramen
    • The best place for a bowl of noodles is Totto Ramen which has 2 locations. One is at 248 E 52nd, and the other is at 366 W 52nd. Here you’ll find chicken paitan ramen and tons of variants.
  4. American Cut
    • A great place for a big steak dinner is American Cut at 109 E 56th Another location is found in Tribeca. They serve 30-day dry-aged steaks.
  5. La Grenouille
    • This classic French restaurant is found at 3 E 52nd It opened in 1962 and remains to this day a fancy dinner outing.
  6. Becco
    • At 355 W. 46th Street, this Italian restaurant serves authentic pasta dishes the traditional way – all you can eat! The prices are also very reasonable.
  7. Hard Rock CafeHard Rock Cafe Times Square
    • Ok, not necessarily one of the very best in the city, but for a great dinner at a great price, with an awesome atmosphere and music, this is our personal favorite! Try the Local Legendary Burger for a taste of New York.
  8. Restaurant Row
    • On 46th St, to the left of 8th & 9th Ave, is what locals call, Restaurant Row.
    • 20+ restaurants offer French, Brazilian, Japanese, Spanish, and many more types of cuisine. Many offer pre-theater menus at reasonable prices, timed to get you to your show on time.

Try our New York City scavenger hunts to see these restaurants

We invite you to try our Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown. It is a 2.5-hour guided walking tour throughout Midtown Manhattan from Grand Central Terminal to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and everything in between. You do it on your mobile phone (how it works).  In sum, it costs $45 for your group (1 to 6 people). Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these restaurants and much more while completing challenges and learning about Midtown’s history.

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Top 2018 travel trends on Pinterest & Scavenger Hunts (infographic)

2018 travel trends on pinterest

Pinterest for Business recently published an infographic (below) presenting its current top travel trends. Here they are as they relate to Tourist Scavenger Hunts. We thought we’d share this with you as you actually travel and don’t just dream about it.

Some Stats

  • 3 in 4 travel Pinners find useful travel pins from brands. It can provoke an unplanned trip or a visit.
  • 40+ million Americans visit travel pins a month.

Planning a trip on Pinterest

+593% There is a spike in solo adventures. That is traveling alone without friends or family.

While a Tourist Scavenger Hunt is a whole lot of fun with family and friends, it is also intended to be doable by one person. In fact, 20% of our clients do the hunt alone.

+194% Filming locations are popular among travelers wanting to see the set of their favorite shows and films.

We like to point out all film locations along our Tourist Scavenger Hunts. Of course, some cities have much more of them than others. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York have many while Paris, Quebec City, Rotterdam and Ottawa have very few.

+167% Train travel is becoming more popular, cheaper than renting a car and more practical if you remain inside a city where local transit can get you around easily. +346% enjoy River Cruises, allowing them to cover more ground.

Many of our Tourist Scavenger Hunts point out major train stations and terminals, while some point out cruise-line terminals. You can hop off the boat or train and do a scavenger hunt to discover the city in under 3 hours.

+207% share food photography, either at restaurants or cooking classes. +207% seek restaurant guides for new flavors to discover.

We point out a city’s or neighborhood’s top restaurants along all our Tourist Scavenger Hunt routes. That way you can plan where to eat during, or after your discovery walking tour.

2018 Pinterest Travel Trends

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7 great places to eat in Old Montreal

7 places to eat in Old Montreal

When you travel, do you make a point to try some of the city’s best, or most local, restaurants? Are you looking for the best places to eat in Old Montreal? Old Montreal is chock full of very old, and some new, restaurants, many of which are among the best the city has to offer.

Whether you are planning a visit to Old Montreal or if you live here but have never bothered to visit this historical neighborhood of the city, we’ve got you covered. In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Old Montreal, we came across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

We also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 7 great places to eat in Old Montreal. In fact, some of the places presented here actually enclose several restaurants.

7 great places to eat in old Montreal

  1. Marché des éclusiersMaison des éclusiers
    • Located in the extreme west of Old Montreal, where the Lachine Canal ends in the Old Port of Montreal, the Maison des Éclusiers now houses a food court showcasing the best products Quebec has to offer. In addition, a second story deck offers great views of the Lachine Canal and of the Old Port of Montreal.
    • Maison des Éclusiers translates to Lock Keeper’s House. The lock keeper resided here while managing Lachine Canal’s two final locks.
  2. Food Trucks
    • Food trucks are permanently located outside the Montreal Science Center on King Edward’s pier. Perfect for a quick bite, Montreal’s food trucks are all high-end cuisine, offering a variety of quality fares for foodies. As a matter of fact, you will be hard-pressed to find hot dogs and hamburgers or other common foods offered by street vendors in other cities.
  3. Le Bremner
    • You will find Le Bremner located at 361 Saint-Paul E, across from the Marché Bonsecours. Indeed, Le Bremner is an upscale seafood restaurant from TV food personality, Chuck Hughes.
  4. La Champagnerie
    • You will find La Champagnerie practically adjacent to Le Bremner, also across from the Marché Bonsecours, at 343 Saint-Paul E. La Champagnerie boasts the biggest Champaign list you have likely ever seen!
  5. Bonsecours Market
    • Opened in 1847, the Bonsecours Market houses art galleries, artisan shops, and outdoor cafés. With this in mind, some of the better restaurants here include:
      • Le Cabaret du Roy,
      • Pub BreWeskey, and
      • Sushi Ya.
  6. Place Jacques-Cartier
    • Here you will find street performers and vendors in the summer, as well as great restaurants of many different cuisines and budgets, open year-round. Some of the better restaurants here include:
      • Jardin Nelson,
      • Bistro 179,
      • La Grande Terrasse,
      • John Michael’s Pub,
      • Rodizio Brasil,
      • Gio,
      • Restaurant Jacques Cartier,
      • Restaurant Le Fripon,
      • Maggie Oakes, and
      • La Marée
  7. Auberge Le Saint-Gabriel
    • You will find Auberge Le Saint-Gabriel located in the middle of Rue Saint-Gabriel, at the intersection of Rue Sainte-Thérèse. This is the oldest inn, still in operation, in North America. Montreal issued its very first alcohol license to this establishment. In any event, it’s restaurant offers creative grill, regional and market fares.

With this in mind, we invite you to try our Old Montreal Tourist Scavenger Hunt. This two and a half hour guided walking tour will take you around Old Montreal. As a result, we expect you will enjoy seeing these restaurants and much more while completing challenges and learning Montreal’s history through your mobile phone. is done on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group.


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The rise of food tourism

food tourism

Have you engaged in food tourism? Do you make it a point to try some of the best local restaurants when you travel? Or do you seek out familiar tried and true restaurants?

One of the greatest discoveries we make when we travel is the food we discover and appreciate abroad. For us, food isn’t the principal reason for a travel destination. However, it quickly becomes an important factor in our overall appreciation of our trip.

Recently I saved this infographic from Social Media Today, but it was produced by Venngage.

Food is important

Saying food is important is like saying the air is important, so, ok, it doesn’t really say much. However, food is an important part of our travel experience for 88% of us. One-third of your travel budget will go to food, which is likely the largest share!

More and more we seek to try new experiences! Have you ever photographed your plate at a restaurant? When we travel (I don’t mean you readers in general, I mean myself and my family), we regularly take pictures of our plates at a diner to remember what we’ve eaten.

My 20-year-old son impressed us last year when we noticed he was taking notes on his phone when at a particularly good restaurant in New Orleans. He said he was adding this restaurant to his list of places to return to eventually! He’d been keeping that list for 2 years already, although it wasn’t very long, food represented a profound experience for him. His list easily doubled if not tripled on that particular trip to Louisiana and Texas.

In Austin Texas, we made a point to eat at Franklin BBQ which appeared on the TV show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and played a prominent role in Jon Favreau’s 2014 film Chef.  And thank god we did! Was that ever good! We took a cooking class in New Orleans at the New Orleans School of Cooking.

Tourist Scavenger Hunts & Food Tourism

We make it a point to identify the great local restaurants along our Tourist Scavenger Hunts routes. We identify over 6 of Montreal’s best restaurants along our Old Montreal walking tour. We do the same in Philadelphia’s Museum District, in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf / Russian Hill neighborhoods, and in Hollywood.  We are also including them on our new Amsterdam, Paris – Montmartre, Maastricht, Utrecht and Rotterdam scavenger hunts.

Rise of Food Tourism

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RIP Hard Rock Cafe Montreal

Hard Rock Cafe Montreal

The Hard Rock Cafe Montreal closed down in 2009, but its memory lives on…

If you are a world traveler, chances are you’ve noticed, or have visited a Hard Rock Cafe or more.

In our case, it is much MORE. In fact, we’ve visited together almost 100 Hard Rock Cafe locations around the world – across North America, Europe, and Asia.

We live in Montreal, in Quebec, Canada, the French-language holdout of North America. Our local Hard Rock Cafe closed on September 25th, 2009. We’ve since met and reconnected with the manager at the time. He still works for the chain. He is currently in south-east Asia.


The HRC Montreal was established in a century-old building on Crescent Street in the heart of downtown Montreal. Crescent is lined with great restaurants and terraces and a popular destination during the Montreal Formula One Grand Prix weekend.

It opened here on September 20th, 1990 and showcased a huge and very high skylight, typical of older Hard Rock Cafes around the world from this time period.

Every HRC boasts a wide variety of musical paraphernalia and often concentrates a little more on one or two artists. These are usually local artists or some who’ve had a more significant impact here.

Montreal’s HRC was dedicated to the Beatles with bright glasswork of Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and facial sculptures of the fab four in the outer entrance. It also paid special attention to KISS and Guns & Roses.

John Lennon Paul McCartneyWhy the Beatles in Montreal? Because this is where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their second Bed-In at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel (few blocks away) in 1969. This is where and when they wrote: “Give Peace a Chance”. There are wax figures of Lenon’s Montreal Bed-in at Musée Grévin Montréal.

I’ve been countless times to this location over the years prior to its closing, both on business lunches and with friends and family.

Why did the Hard Rock Cafe Montreal close?

So why did the Hard Rock Cafe in Montreal close in 2009?

Originally rumors went around attributing it to the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Montreal not returning for a few years. This actually cost local merchants quite a bit – that weekend accounts for 30-40% of some restaurants’ annual income.

However, the real reason it closed is due to required renovations which the landlord wasn’t willing to perform at the time. Moreover, the ever-increasing lease forced the franchise owner to make the difficult business decision to close.

Today, almost all Hard Rock Cafes in Canada have closed. Ottawa closed on September 1st, 2013 and Toronto closed on May 22nd, 2017. The last 2 holdouts are the Niagara Falls Cafe and Club, also in Ontario, as well as the Vancouver Casino in British Columbia. A Harc Rock Casino is announced in Ottawa for 2024. 

Are you visiting Montreal?

You should try one of our 7 self-guided walking tours & scavenger hunts around the city! In fact, the Downtown Montreal scavenger hunt takes you on Cresent St, where the Hard Rock Cafe was located.

2 years later…

2 years after the closure the location remained unoccupied and much of the original glasswork, as well as the plasters of John Lennon and Paul McCartney outside the front doors, were still clearly visible.  It stood empty for a few more years but has finally found a new tenant – although it isn’t clear whether those required renovations were ever done.

You can consult my original posts about the closing and visit 2 years later on my personal / business blog here: