Designed to dine forPublished on October 13, 2017

  • Oz Kafe
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Coconut Lagoon
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • La Maison Conroy
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

Well-crafted meals become more appetizing when served up in an appealing environment, as proven by three chic Ottawa-area restaurants where design doesn’t take a back seat to the delicious dishes on offer.


The sister and brother team of Ozlem and Ozden Balpinar have reopened Oz Kafe after completely renovating an NCC-owned building in the ByWard Market’s historic Clarendon Court at 10 York Street. It is a rustic, warm space decked out in stone, copper and wood with exposed beams and eye-catching bars on both levels. A unique, cage-like staircase does double duty as a wine storage area. New Chef Kristine Harting is putting her own spin – with lots of fresh flavours and European-inspired flair – on the menu, which will change regularly.


Having just been named the second-best chef in the country at the prestigious Gold Medal Plates culinary competition, Chef Joe Thottungal decided that after thirteen years it was time to refresh the décor at his popular Coconut Lagoon at 853 St. Laurent Boulevard. The mid-century building now offers a modern, neutral decor which serves as a pleasing, understated backdrop to Coconut Lagoon’s delicious and colourful Indian cuisine. Hand-carved woodwork, evocative of Joe’s home state of Kerala, enlivens the space with pretty pops of texture throughout the room.


A former family home at 61 rue Principale in Aylmer, built in the mid-1800s, has found new life as an upscale restaurant that plays up the building’s heritage, complementing the rough-hewn stone walls with modern flourishes. La Maison Conroy opened late last year after adding elegant chandeliers, banquettes and rich textures and colours to accent the dark wood floors. A stunning bar and open-prep kitchen for raw foods and charcuterie add atmosphere while Chef Kyle Mortimer-Proulx’s inventive, playful menu is a delight for all the senses.

Paula Roy

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