Anchoring one of the ByWard Market's busiest corners is an historic brick building more than 125 years old. Once home to Ottawa's Grand Hotel, this gracious edifice (at the corner of George and William Street) has been newly revived as The Grand Pizzeria and Bar, offering an authentic southern Italian menu served up in a fresh, friendly atmosphere.
Sister restaurant to the well-known and successful Empire Grill and Métropolitain Brasserie, The Grand Pizzeria and Bar's diverse menu includes traditional Italian antipasti, salumi (cured meats), insalata (salads) and an impressive variety of mains including delectable pastas. But it's the pizzas that really shine - thanks to a huge authentic wood-burning oven visible from much of the dining room.
As befits true Neapolitan pizza, the thin, hand-pressed crusts are light and crispy, garnished in over a dozen different ways with fresh toppings such as prosciutto, grilled vegetables, salami and a genuine bufala mozzarella. The crowning touch? Dolce (sweets) such as gelato, tiramisu or pannacotta. Those who prefer a savoury finish might be tempted by the Italian cheeses on offer. The Grand's lunch menu also includes pannini (sandwiches) served on fresh bread, baked daily in their kitchen.
The Grand's contemporary, comfortable décor is complemented by the expanses of exposed brick which hint at the building's proud heritage. Walls of windows offer terrific entertainment as all the hustle and bustle of one of Ottawa's most lively neighbourhoods passes by. Cast your eyes across the dining room and you'll see three spacious eating areas. Settle into a table for two, four or more, or sit at the bar and admire the impressive selection of wines - predominantly Italian, of course. Or, choose a ring-side seat to watch all the Market's action on The Grand's huge three-season patio. Wherever you park yourself, you're guaranteed a delicious meal of generous proportions, delivered with warm, professional service. —Written by Paula Roy