Pasta, pizza and gelato: A guide to Ottawa's best Italian restaurants

We've compiled a list of every Italian restaurant you need to visit at least once

Craving some pasta, cannoli or pizza? Ottawa has a surprising number of places to check out. From hearty northern food to airy Neopolitan pizza, the city has something for everyone. 

Our team has scoured the city, talked to our readers and read hundreds of reviews to bring you this guide to the best Italian restaurants in the city. There's something here for everyone.

North and Navy

Description: "Our menu is inspired by tradition and dictated by the quality and availability of ingredients. We play off the similarities between the climates of Eastern Ontario and Northeast Italy, and create our take on classic dishes made with seasonal game, seafood and vegetables. Plus, sometimes we’ll just add whatever we want."

Location: 226 Nepean St.

Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday 12:00pm to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 9:00pm

What customers love: The first-class food experience, along with the decor, are real stand outs. They offer both casual and high-end dining. The pasta is a must-try, including the short-rib ravioli.

Dreamland Cafe

Description: "Located in the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy, DreamLand Cafe offers incredible fresh pasta dishes, made with love and finesse. Since the beginning, owners (and sisters) Marlo and Coco De Leo, have created an inviting atmosphere for clientele. The food however, is what brings customers back. The Ottawa native sisters elevate classic Italian family recipes. Some outstanding signature dishes include their Spaghetti & Meatballs, Carbonara, and Pesto Mac n’ Cheese."

Location: 262 Preston St.

Hours of Operation: Wednesday and Thursday 4:00pm to 9:00pm; Friday and Saturday 4:00pm to 10:00pm

What customers love: An intimate atmosphere with many delicious, fresh pasta options. Readers call it a fantastic take on traditional Italian dining. 

Anthony's

Description: "Anthony’s is Ottawa's first true Neapolitan wood-fired pizza. We are proud to bring you flavors directly from Italy using a combination of fresh ingredients, and passion, in a family environment."

Hours of Operation: Most days 11:30am to 9:00pm or 10:00pm

What customers love: If you try a wood fired pizza in Ottawa, make it this spot.

Vittoria Trattoria

Description: "In 1991, the first restaurant, Vittoria Veal and Delicatessen, on Bank Street in the heart of the Glebe was opened. Being their first foray into the business, the Santaguidas knew they would need some help, so they went right to their source of inspiration: their Nonna Rachele. She had given them their love of cooking and furthermore had all the best recipes in her head. As the word spread about her famous 'Rice and Potato Rolls,' customers would come in not just to eat, but to see Nonna as well. It truly is a family affair."

Hours of Operation: Every day 12:00pm to 9:00pm

What customers love: An affordable option in Nepean, but plan to get a reservation during peak hours. Reviewers rave about the calamari and chicken parmigiana.

What Lookout readers say: "Vittoria Trattoria is a favourite Italian restaurant of mine and I first frequented the market location in 2008 with my wife. Our order then, and usually to this day, is a prosciutto and pear antipasti (prosciutto, pear and brie cheese...so good!), beet and goat's cheese salad (the dressing is fantastic), wood fired oven pizza (margherita or tradizionale), and the gorgonzola pasta (tortellini in a gorgonzola cream sauce with sliced red grapes...mouth watering)."

Visit the website, follow them on Instagram 

Pub Italia

Description: "Canada’s first Italian Pub reflects Joe’s strong Italian roots and those of his Irish wife, Rosemary Casey McLewin. Pub Italia therefore represents the perfect marriage between an Italian trattoria and an Irish pub with its combination of wonderful pizza and pasta dishes, and an incredible selection of over 200 beers."

Location: 434 Preston St.

Hours of Operation: Every day 11:00am to 1:00am

What customers love: Beer and coffee, with a retro atmosphere. Not just for drinks, but for food as well. The layout and structure of the place is just gorgeous to be in. Teh pub is busy, but the layout of each booth ensures privacy for you and your group. 

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Mama Teresa Ristorante

Description: "From the hills of Parma, in northen Italy, to the dining tables of Mamma Teresa’s in Ottawa, The Boselli Family brought the best of traditional Italian cuisine. Ten years after the family arrived in 1960, Giuliano and his mother, Mamma Teresa, opened the doors to a world of tempting tastes. Together, they prepared the dishes of Italy, always remaining true to the original recipes, and creating a new tradition of dining pleasure for the National Capital area."

Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Thursday 4:30pm to 9:30pm and Friday to Saturday 4:30 to 10:00

What customers love: A date night hot spot for you and your loved one. The quality level of service is top-notch, making visitors feel like family. Try the veal parm, bolognese and seafood pasta.

La Strada

Location: 697 Bank St

Hours of Operation: 5:30 to 9:00/9:30 most nights, closed Sunday and Monday.

What customers love:  A beautiful venue with a lovely atmosphere, the perfect place for a date. Food is described as fresh and authentic. 

What Lookout readers say: "It never disappoints even after the decades we have been going. Dining in or take out is always superb"

The Grand Pizzeria

Location: 74 George St

Hours of Operation: 11:00am to 12:00am every night

What customers love: Wood-fired pizza ovens are the standout item. You should a try the meatballs in marinara sauce.

Visit the website or Instagram

La Dolce Vita

Description: A great spot with a nice patio catering to gluten-free eaters.

Location: 180 Preston St.

Hours of Operation: Sunday to Thursday 5:00pm to 9:00pm Friday to Saturday 5:00pm to 10:00pm

What customers love: Gluten-free certified with a dedicated gluten-free menu. Portion sizes are generous. Visitors rave about the polenta bites (yum!) and the tiramisu. Service is friendly and attentive to your needs. 

What Lookout readers say: "Not only are their standard offerings amazing (the *calzone!!!*) but they are also one of the very few restaurants in Ottawa that actually are gluten-free certified by the GFFP (which means they're actually safe for folks who have celiac/dietary issues). Gluten-free pasta can be really hard to find, and these guys have a full menu!"

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La Roma

Description: "Located in Ottawa's Little Italy, we're an Italian, from scratch kitchen, focusing on contemporary Italian cuisine that is rooted in tradition. Celebrating 31 years as a small family business!"

Location: 430 Preston St.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Thursday 5:00pm 9:00pm Friday and Saturday 5:00pm to 10:00pm

What customers love: Made-from-scratch pasta. Be sure to try the pesto with sausage and the beef shortrib. 

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Pizza Nerds

Description:  "Let's get obsessed with pizza. That's kind of what we decided. It's fun and we're happy trying to get better at it every day. We're weirdly obsessed with trying to figure it out and having a good time doing it. It's a pretty great gang of nerds we've got here. We believe that along with the best ingredients and craaaazy amounts of care, the secret is the dough and the various stages of fermentation it goes through."

Location: 478 Bank St

Hours of Operation: Most days 12:00pm to 12:00am

What customers love: It's all about that crust. Reviewers also loved the creative ingredient combinations. It's clear Pizza Nerds are nerds about pizza.

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Giovanni's Ristorante

Description: "Since first opening its doors in 1983, Giovanni's has endeavored to pride itself by creating first class mouth-watering dishes served up night after night by their expertly knowledgeable wait staff.  Nestled in the heart of Ottawa’s little Italy, Giovanni’s has been the go-to Italian restaurant for over three decades. Tradition and authenticity is the heart and soul of Italian cuisine and since its inception, Giovanni’s has believed in sharing those traditions with its patrons."

Location: 362 Preston St.

Hours of Operation: Monday to Saturday 11:00am to 10:00pm

What customers love: Could this be the number one Italian restaurant in Ottawa? Many reviewers say so! It's a classy place with great ambiance and high-quality service. Pasta carbonara is a must-try.  A favourite place for events like birthdays or dates. 

Visit the website, follow them on Instagram 

Town

Description: "Our philosophy is simple – good food, good prices, great location, grand times"

Location: 296 Elgin St.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Saturday 5:00pm to 11:00pm

What customers love: Sitting at the chef's table watching the team work is a real treat. The pasta and whipped burrata are to die for. Their bottle shop is stocked with an excellent selection of wines. 

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Fratelli

Description: "Established in 1996 in the Glebe, our vision was to create a neighborhood restaurant with good Italian food, good wine & friendly service in an unpretentious atmosphere. Robert and his mother Louisa ran the kitchen, while Richard and his father Pasquale worked the dining room."

Location: 275 Richmond Rd.

Hours of Operation: Monday to Wednesday 11:30am to 9:00pm and Thursday to Saturday 11:30am to 10:00pm

What customers love: A delightful experience with attentive staff, and a great place to bring the family. You can't go wrong with the gnocchi gorgonzola, fusilli Genovese and their delicious pizzas. 

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Cocina da Vito 

Description: "Serving clients with the highest quality of Italian food and service."

Hours of Operation: 5:00pm to 10:00pm Tuesday to Saturday

What customers love: A traditional Italian experience with excellent service. Readers call it a hidden gem in Orléans that's worth a visit.

What Lookout readers say: "Made with love."

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Pizarro's

Description: "Pizarro's Restaurant has been proudly serving authentic, home made Italian food to the Ottawa/Vanier region for 30 plus years. Co-owners, chefs and childhood best friends Pat and Frank are known for their consistency, passion, and commitment to customers. Some Pizarro's staples include their home made Pasta options, with Manicotti, Cannelloni, and melt in your mouth Lasagna rolled and prepared fresh weekly. Other infamous options are Zucchini Fritti, homemade Meatballs and Pizza, cut and prepared fresh by the order, Chicken and Veal dishes and house made Creme Caramel and Tiramisu. Part of Pizarro's charm is the ever present family affair that can be sensed within minutes of your arrival. This not only makes for a knowledgeable and pleasant experience, but genuine service from staff who care and love what they do."

Hours of Operation: Wednesday and Thursday 11:00 am to 8:00pm Friday 11:00am to 9:00pm Saturday 4:30pm to 9:00pm

What customers love: A hidden gem for authentic, affordable comfort Italian food. Great place to take a date. Gnocchi will melt in your mouth. Very accommodating for people with dietary restrictions. 

Visit the website, follow them on Instagram 

Caffé Mio

Description: "Located in the popular West Wellington Village, Caffé Mio has quickly become a favourite place for a romantic dinner, a family celebration or a relaxing summer evening dinner on our beautiful, large patio."

Location: 1379 Wellington St. W

Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Friday 12:00pm to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 9:00pm Saturday 5:00pm to 9:00pm

What customers love: A variety of Italian dishes. Veal and chicken parmigiana are winners. Readers also raved about their crème brûlée. Pasta and lunch paninis are also a great choice.

Visit the website, follow them on Instagram 

Farinella

Description: "Bringing Italy back to Ottawa’s Little Italy."

Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday 12:00pm to 8:00pm

What customers love: Get the metre long pizza. Need we say more? Yes, there's more to say. The gelato is big with lots of rotating flavours. They even have granitas. Price to quality ratio is also excellent. 

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Heartbreakers Pizza

Description: "We are a warm and welcoming family business that love hosting dinners and sharing our food with friends. Our pizzas are made with organic flour and locally sourced ingredients that support our favourite local farms - prizing freshness, simplicity and deliciousness."

Location: 465 Parkdale Ave

Hours of Operation: Most days 4:00pm to 8:00pm

What customers love: They warn don't eat here because it could be addictive. Great and welcoming staff which is only surpassed by the quality of the pizza. Be sure to get the honey 

Original Pizza Georgie’s

Description: "Georgie's Pizza has been serving the Ottawa community since 1984. The Best Pizza you'll ever have. We also make Great Subs, Pastas, Burgers, Shawarmas, Donairs and Wings"

Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday 11:00am to 12:00am

What customers love: It's the place to go for pizza, for those who like pizza in the more deep-dish style. Be sure to pickup a garlic dip.

Joe's Italian Kitchen

Description: "Weaving old world traditions with new world creativity. Our goal is to bring you a diverse menu that not only preserves, but elevates hearty dishes that showcase the essence of Italian cuisine."

Hours of Operation: Monday to Sunday 11:00am to 9:00pm

What customers love: The pizza. Somehow the crust is soft and crunchy. The mozzarella is more like cream (that's a good thing. Also has a great patio option.

Visit the website, follow them on Instagram 

Babbos Cucina Italiana

Hours of Operation: Tuesday 4:00pm to 9:00pm Wednesday and Thursday 11:30am to 9:00pm Friday 11:30am to 10:00pm Saturday 4:00pm to 10:00pm

What customers love: Old school Italian restaurant for anyone in Manotick. Great serving sizes for anyone who's hungry.

La Taverna

Description: "At Little Italy’s little tavern our goal is to bring fresh, delicious, local food and beverages to our guests in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere."

Location: 226 Preston St.

Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Thursday 4:00pm to 11:00pm Friday to Saturday 12:00pm to 1:00am

What customers love: One of the newest spots in town. Small-sized plates so you can enjoy more dishes. Iced coffee is a real treat and the charcuterie board is a great choice. 

What Lookout readers say: "Elegantly casual. Delicious creative menu."

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