By Adam Slight
Sometimes you just need an unpretentious cup of Joe in the morning, accompanied by a cheap plate of sausage and eggs, fluffy blueberry pancakes, or crispy strips of bacon. When these appetites call, you know you need to visit one of Ottawa’s old fashioned diners. Here’s a round up of our favourites.
The Wellington Diner bridges the gap between the rustic diner experience and sophisticated cuisine. The genuine diner atmosphere inside, with its red booths and prominent drip-coffee pots, is complimented by a menu of thoughtfully-presented egg benedicts, freshly baked treats, and heaping fruit pancakes. You will leave Wellington Diner satisfied, and possibly ready for a nap.
A local favourite in the Byward Market, Zak’s Diner assumes the appearance of a 1950s diner, with bright colours, checkered decor, and lofty cushioned booths. The menu is packed with all-day breakfasts, club sandwiches, and nostalgic milkshakes (that come with extra reserves). After a long night of running rickshaws, our staff can sometimes be found devouring breakfast burritos at 3am in this 24-hour joint.
This city staple is a favourite for anyone in Centretown who favours cheap breakfast fare. At Ada’s, the coffee is hot, the food is quick, and the service is friendly. Sometimes a hot coffee and a friendly smile are all that you need in the morning, and Ada’s delivers on all fronts.
If you’ve ever been in need of a quick breakfast or lunch in Vanier, then you’re probably familiar with Eddy’s Restaurant. While a little rough around the edges, this only adds to the charm of this family style restaurant. It’s nothing fancy or kitschy, but they’ll serve you a decent BLT and fries quickly, and it won’t set you back too much at all.
Operating much in the same vein as Zak’s Diner, Elgin Street Diner assumes the 1950s look and feel with much authenticity (not that I was there in the 1950s to really be an accurate judge). Open 24/7, Elgin Street Diner is just the place for some late night munchies or a greasy breakfast to offset your night’s activities in the morning. Much like Zak’s, the price is a bit higher than what you will find at the less glitzy places on this list, but I suppose that’s what you pay for a little showmanship.
While not strictly a diner, Olga’s Deli and Catering offers a pretty authentic diner experience if you are to ever drop in one morning. Their dedicated staff will be hard at work preparing sandwiches and fruit platters for corporate lunches, but will be happy to make you a nice greasy breakfast with a cup of coffee if you wander in during the early hours. Olga’s is located in The Glebe, beside The Works, across from The Clocktower.