There are a few Ottawa establishments that have earned a reputation as favourite spots to celebrate life's special occasions. From engagements in the making to milestone birthdays and anniversaries, these restaurants know how to make events - big or small - even more memorable.
Those living in the southern reaches of the region know that the Main Street Cellar in Manotick is a great spot for a private party - whether you're a group of two or a gathering of up to forty. Housed in a beautifully appointed century home, regular events include rehearsal dinners, weddings, birthdays and retirement parties. "Our space is flexible so people can have an evening that is intimate or lively, depending upon their taste. We are small enough to be able to respond to individual requests," explains Kim Burns, co-owner and trained sommelier (one of several on staff). The Main Street Cellar is well known for its wine selections, but the food is also superb. They can provide customized menus for groups, as well as guided wine and food tastings, to make a special event more unique and enjoyable.
Perspectives restaurant in Kanata's Brookstreet Hotel draws people from all over the city. The food is exquisite and the décor is understated, yet refined, with a mix of open areas and secluded nooks. Their entire Brookstreet team is only too happy to facilitate your special occasion, whether it's helping to present an engagement ring or providing special treats from the bar or kitchen. Packages combining dinner and an overnight stay in one of the hotel's luxurious rooms, followed by breakfast in bed, are particularly popular. "It's the ultimate pampering, whether you're a couple looking for a romantic retreat or a group of girlfriends wanting a sophisticated sleepover," confirms Anthony Bailey, Brookstreet's food and beverage manager.
The Shore Club, in the Westin Hotel, has a clubby feel with a sophisticated vibe. Favoured spots for couples include the quieter, romantic tables along the windows in the lounge area, and there is also a lovely semi-private table by the wine cellar that can seat up to eight people. In addition, the private dining room is perfect for parties, as is the Bridge area that can accommodate up to thirty people. "For those celebrating something special, we offer a few extra touches, like a glass of prosecco, amuse-bouches or house-made truffles," says Jay Thomsen, the general manager. With a wide-ranging menu of great food and a team with an impressive attention to detail, a celebration here is sure to build many happy memories.
If its gorgeous stone walls could speak, Restaurant Eighteen would have innumerable stories of milestones marked and accomplishments toasted. As one of Ottawa's most romantic settings, it's a favoured venue for weddings and follow-on anniversary dinners. "We certainly do welcome a lot of guests who are celebrating," confirms Cory Tower, general manager of Eighteen. "If people ask for our help, particularly in the case of wedding proposals, we are delighted to participate. We never lose sight of the fact that guests have chosen to spend their special time with us, so we want to make things as memorable as possible." Flavourful food combined with a refined, but non-intimidating service, Eighteen charms visitors who can add some extra romance and ambience by grabbing a table by the fireplace or settling into one of the restaurant's many nooks.
With its sleek, sophisticated look and refreshingly open space, Juniper is a favourite for both intimate celebrations as well as larger gatherings. Known as the spot that brings a touch of New York City to Ottawa, Juniper is becoming increasingly popular for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs as well as weddings, birthday and anniversary parties. "Our layout makes it possible for us to offer a range of nice options for special occasions," explains Paul Munroe, Juniper's general manager. Each event at Juniper is completely customized, right down to the menus, which are reflective of the clients' tastes but presented in Juniper's unique style. Signature cocktails and updated favourite foods are just a few of the many things offered for a party at Juniper. Their booths are perfect for a tÍte-ŗ-tÍte, although grooms-to-be should ask about their private dining room if they want an ultra-private and romantic setting to pop the question.
Almost immediately after its launch a decade ago, Beckta became known as a celebratory spot. Their highly professional staff is both attentive and discreet; offering congratulations without being intrusive. "We are genuinely humbled when people choose our venue for their celebrations," says owner Stephen Beckta. "We like to offer a few little extra surprises to enhance their experience." In addition to several more intimate tables, the restaurant has two private dining rooms for small and medium-sized groups. The atmosphere is elegant, yet comfortable, with universally pleasing food and a tasting menu that is ideal for a celebration as it feels like the chef is cooking exclusively for you.
Stephen believes his establishment may also have been branded as a romantic destination as a result of the well-publicized story of his own courtship and marriage, which took place at the restaurant. "People consequently love to share their stories with us when they are celebrating."