SoPa: Ottawa’s new entertainment districtPublished on May 30, 2023

  • Stolen Goods
    Photo by: Matt Millar

  • Cocotte Bistro
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Metcalfe Hotel
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • National Arts Centre
    Photo by:

Reigniting excitement in Ottawa’s downtown is top of mind for a group of hospitality businesses. They banded together several months ago in a grassroots initiative to designate the area called SoPa (South of Parliament) as the city’s entertainment district. With dozens of restaurants, bars, hotels, and entertainment venues, SoPa is hoping this rebranding exercise will breathe new life into the area — from Wellington Street, in front of Parliament Hill, south to Nepean Street, with Elgin and Bay Streets as the eastern and western boundaries — and make it more popular than ever for locals and tourists alike.

SoPa co-organizer Devinder Chaudhary of Aiana Restaurant Collective notes that the diversity and walkability of the district are two of its biggest selling points. “It would be wonderful if we get to a point when tourists come to Ottawa, stay at a SoPa hotel, take in a show at the NAC and have dinner at one of SoPa’s amazing restaurants, then go home and talk about how vibrant and accessible the area is,” he says. “We look forward to these people being ambassadors for the area’s organic growth in awareness.”

Once the initiative gains some traction, organizers are looking forward to working collaboratively with the city and Ottawa Tourism for support on signage or banners to help delineate the district. While there are scores of businesses in total throughout the area, Devinder notes that the initial focus is on the collection of hospitality-related establishments mentioned on these pages, which have banded together to promote the SoPa concept. The eventual goal for SoPa is to have the entire district well-known as a thriving micro-economy within the nation’s capital, with artisans, booksellers, clothiers, and other sectors represented as well.

Fine dining

  • Aiana Restaurant Collective
  • Beckta Dining and Wine
  • Grounded Kitchen, Coffee & Bar
  • Metropolitain Brasserie
  • North and Navy
  • Riviera
  • Thali
  • 1Elgin

Spotlight: Cocotte Bistro

Cocotte, in the newly-renovated Metcalfe Hotel, part of the prestigious Gray Collection, is the Canadian expression of a classic French bistro. It offers a fresh, contemporary dining and drinking experience. Given its location, Cocotte has quickly become a favoured spot for business lunches, special occasions, neighbourhood get-togethers, and brunch. Executive Chef Stephen La Salle enjoys showcasing great Canadian products like sustainable seafood from all three of our oceans, Ontario cured meats, PEI and Quebec cheeses, Quebec‑raised meats, mustard from the Prairies, and more. The diverse and appealing menu includes traditional bistro fare such as albacore tuna Niçoise and PEI moules et frites; their meat and fish tartares have become fast favourites too. The menu, which always includes vegetarian and vegan options, is dynamic with the seasons.

Casual dining, bars & pubs

  • Bar Robo
  • Bier Markt
  • Brown’s Social House
  • Clocktower Brew Pub
  • D’Arcy McGee’s
  • Izakaya Shingen
  • Le Moulin de Provence KD
  • Nando’s PERi-PERi
  • OCCO Kitchen & Bar
  • Orchid Sushi
  • Paradise Poke
  • Plate Gastropub
  • Sansotei Ramen

Spotlight: Stolen Goods Cocktail Bar

Stolen Goods is a chic twenty-seat cocktail bar focusing on sustainable and local ingredients. The vibe is very intimate and personal as every night, guests are served and fed by all of the establishment’s owners — Mike Campbell (general manager), Adam Ghor (chef), and Raymond Tang (bartender). The decor is minimal, classy, and dimly lit in the later evening until their 2 am daily closing. Every aspect of the operation is thoughtful and intentional, from menu art to bathroom music to inventive cuisine, presented with warmth and flair. A seat at the bar is your best bet to take in all the action as some of the city’s most innovative cocktails and exquisitely flavourful small plates from a constantly evolving menu are prepared.

Entertainment venues

  • Afterlight
  • City at Night
  • Live on Elgin
  • Mulligans Golf Bar
  • National Arts Centre
  • Queen St. Fare
  • Places to stay
  • Alt Hotel
  • Arc The Hotel
  • Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre
  • Fairmont Château Laurier
  • Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Downtown
  • Holiday Inn Ottawa Downtown
  • Lord Elgin Hotel
  • Metcalfe Hotel
  • Ottawa Marriott Hotel

Spotlight: ReStays

This boutique condo-style hotel offers 111 elegant suites in various configurations, many of which have balconies and/or terraces. Each has a fully equipped kitchen and the hotel includes luxurious amenities such as a private theatre, tranquil inner courtyard, a fitness centre, and its SkyLounge overlooking Parliament Hill. Ideal for short or extended stays, hotel guests can opt to enjoy the luxury of having their fridges filled by the hotel’s 24/7 concierge team, explains general manager Andreas Spove. Similarly, guests can book the unforgettable experience of savouring a meal prepared in-suite by a top chef. Andreas says they currently have a rotating roster of chefs offering personalized, attentive service with a variety of inspired menus; they plan to expand the service as it is becoming so popular.

Paula Roy

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