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Lavender Grill and Lounge adds some definite flavor and color to the Byward Market

    Lavender Grill and Lounge opened in the Byward Market in the summer of 2022, the vision of owner Reza Khakbaz.

    Lavender, of course, is a light shade of purple or violet. It applies particularly to the color of the flower of the same name. Khakbaz and his team have certainly taken advantage of the connection, from the décor to the coloring of some of the drinks like my blackberry smash tea mocktail, a combination of blackberry and Earl Grey tea.

    The magic touch of John Borsten: Starling, YOW and Apothecary are his latest creations

      John Borsten is indeed the picture of success when it comes to Ottawa restaurateurs. Borsten is the visionary behind five Zak’s Diner locations, Zak’s Cantina, Grand Pizzeria, the Metropolitain Brasserie as well as the historic York on William (YOW) building, which encompasses Starling Restaurant & Bar and Apothecary Cocktail Lounge The latter are part of a multiple-dining concept featuring a rooftop terrace and street-level patio.

      A return trip to the fabulous Métropolitain Brasserie in Ottawa

        Last summer I made my first visit to the Métropolitain Brasserie in Ottawa, conveniently located next to the Byward Market at 700 Sussex. That is just steps away from Parliament Hill. Home to Ottawa’s largest oyster bar, the restaurant is open seven days a week, serving lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends.

        The iconic Zak’s Diner opens its fifth location in the trendy  Westboro Village area of Ottawa

          Readers of my stories on Ottawa will be very familiar with the fact Zak’s Diner has become a true “go-to” stop in the Nation’s capital. Established in 1986 by John Borsten and some partners, one of whom had a son named Zak, there are now five separate locations for this ’50s-themed eatery: the happening Byward Market, Elgin Street, Carleton Place, Kanata and now the Westboro Village area at the spot that previously housed the once popular Savoy Brasserie.

          For some of the best Japanese cuisine in Ottawa, Shinka Sushi Bar fits the bill

            Shinka Sushi Bar (previously known as New Generation Sushi) is located on Laurier Avenue West near Elgin. It has been around since 2004. When the COVID-19 pandemic, it pivoted exclusively to take-out and delivery. Their clientele responded in strong numbers so they have stuck to this format. A second location will open later this year at a location to be determined.

            Suffering from Red Lobster withdrawal? A trip to Ottawa will do the trick

              Red Lobster still operates in four Canadian provinces – Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. There are two locations in Ottawa. The one at 1499 St. Laurent Blvd., just as you enter the city, has always been our “go-to” spot. Twenty years ago, I did a few reviews for my newspapers and connected with General Manager Ian Forrester. When I went there for a curbside pickup back in December, Ian was still on the job. It turns out he has been there for an incredible 36 years.