Ottawa is beginning to have many different cafes. It is starting to be more metropolitan like Toronto and Vancouver in this respect.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure in visiting 4 shops…Pressed, Bridgehead Roastery, Art-Is-In, Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana.
A coffee/ sandwich shop on Gladstone near Bell St. This place is very hard to find if you are just driving by. The sign is in black with small white letters. This shop uses Equator coffee and Bigelow teas. They have a kids menu consisting of mac and cheese and grilled cheese. Sandwiches are pre-prepared and displayed in a refridgerated display case. On this occasion we were there just for coffee and tea as we had just filled up on lunch at the little Korean place on Bank St. called Doslot which is attached to the Korean grocery store beside the gas station on Catherine. (Awesome Korean food…see review at the end of this post)
This coffee shop was very busy on a Sunday at 2PM. The cappuccino was unfortunately not very good; watery was the description my husband had for it and the tea was very unmemorable especially at 2 dollars. However, looking around, the food looked quite good. Soup came in a big bowl with a piece of bread. Everyone’s plate seemed to be clean with some crumbs after their meal. I’m thinking we need to go back to indulge in some food and review again.
Bridgehead is a local Ottawa coffee chain that just opened another location on Preston street close to Somerset, near the Plant Bath. This is their new roastery where they roast their coffee beans. Again we were there for some coffee and tea. The inside of the building is warehouse like with huge ceilings. 1/3 of the building is for serving coffee/tea/snacks. The rest holds the roastery machinery and admin offices. The roaster was operational when we were there. I found it quite deafening when the machinery is on.
The tea selection was the same as other Bridgehead locations with a selection of very good loose leaf tea. This occasion, I had the Jasmine green which had a beautiful floral aroma and taste. There is a on tap coffee selection and a coffee bar which we did not partake…it looks like the daily freshly roasted coffee selections. My husband’s cappuccino had a thick foamy head and was very bold. He could taste the fresh roast of the coffee. My son’s lemonade tasted like fresh squeezed lemon juice with sugar and water; very refreshing. The ham and gruyere croissant was light and flaky with a rich taste of butter…yum.
This gem is hidden in an industrial building in the City Center where you can only access it from a car via Albert St or is it still Scott St at that point (I hate when this city changes the street name in middle of the street…too many examples..Wellington to Richmond to Robertson to Hazeldean…oops I digress). The location has not deterred its followers as the couple times I have visited, it is always busy.
It is here that they bake their signature breads and offer a selection of sandwiches, baked treats and coffee/tea. There are racks of bread that you can choose from. If there is something that you can’t find, you can always ask when you get to the counter as there maybe a loaf hidden on shelf that you missed. At the counter, you can order your sandwich/soup and they give you a number…then as you traverse along the counter by the desserts and baked goods, there is someone there to package those treats up…then you get to the cash where you can order tea/coffee and pay for all those lovely baked things that you acquire on your journey along the counter.
There are a number tables and chairs…there are quite a few that are communal where you can seat 6 comfortably. Once paid and seating is found (there is also seating outdoors too). A server with food will come by trying to match the order number with the food she has in her hands.
The sandwiches are very good using their bread and warming/toasting it so the cheese is melted and the bread has a crisp exterior. My husband has not been disappointed with their cappuccino and there is a good selection of tea.
Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana
This bakery on Preston Street is just down the street near the Roastery. One of my favourites is the chocolate turtle creme brulee which is to die for. They have a huge selection of gelato, in addition to their cakes and cookies. Another place where my husband had never been disappointed with their cappuccino. The large selection of tea is mainly herbal and black..not a lot of green teas…also all in bags.
They also have hot food such as lasagna and they now serve breakfast. This is definitely a great place to go for a bit dessert or afternoon tea. I’ve never had the hot food and need to find a time to go for lunch there.
You wouldn’t have thought that there was a restaurant here as the entrance is the same as the grocery store…but take the left option as it leads into this small Korean restaurant. The decor is cafeteria like but there are two rooms and the adjoining room looks like it is equipped to do Korean BBQ. The menu is very Korean…I had the chicken bulogi and my husband had the bibimbap. The portions are very generous and the Korean pickles (kimchee etc) are very good. I really enjoyed the taste and after only ordering one dish, I was rolling out of there very full after lunch.