In recent years, Ottawa's restaurant scene has been characterized -- and greatly enlivened -- by the arrival of a number of very good, young chefs. Following the example of local mainstays Richard Nigro (of Juniper Kitchen & Wine Bar) and John Taylor (of John Taylor at Domus and Taylor's Genuine Food & Wine Bar), these young chefs have embraced the local produce movement, pushing Ottawa into the forefront of this trend. All this activity on the local restaurant scene reached some sort of critical mass in 2008, when suddenly half a dozen of the city's most interesting chefs were on the move, starting new restaurants or spicing up the menus and food presentation at existing places.

In addition to pushing local produce and meats (with its close proximity to farmland, Ottawa is ideally suited for this), a number of these young chefs have designed their menus to cater to contemporary tastes, with smaller plates that lend themselves to trying more dishes and flavor, and custom pairings with wine. Tasting menus -- a great chance to sample a wide variety of a chef's offerings at a reasonable price -- are popular at a number of the leading spots.

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