This past weekend Nick and I spent time in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. Just a 90-minute plus train ride away from Montreal, we caught a morning Via Rail and spent the night in the city. Two days were just the right amount of time needed for us to explore the city at a leisurely rate. At arrival, we checked into Hotel Indigo downtown and got all necessary information needed on transportation and where to go for lunch.
First stop, lunch at Simply Raw Express. This all organic and whole-foods raw-based cafe is located on Wellington Street West, outside of downtown. We took a short bus ride and walked through a residential to get to a small strip of shops and restaurants.
After conversing with the owner, we both ordered a simple bowl of quinoa and fresh veggies on top, with a side of tamari. Though simple, it was just what we wanted and it was so delicious. I paired our light meal with the best smoothie I’ve ever had out. Named Super Immunity, it was packed with orange, mango, banana, goji berries, ginger, turmeric, flax, cayenne and maple syrup. Usually, smoothies ordered out are a disappointment, but this one impressed me. Not only was it super delicious, it was also quite spicy. Yummy!
After exploring Wellington Street for a little bit, we returned to downtown and walked to Parliament Hill. Along the way we stopped at Freshii and I had beet juice, while Nick had another meal of custom-ordered black bean wrap.
The weather was nice and there were lots of tourists plotted on the Hill’s verdant lawn. It was impossible to snap a shot without human contamination.
I learned that we were just a week off from seeing the Tulip Festival, so we’d miss it, but I’m glad I got to see some tulips anyway. They were simply eye-candy — bright and beautiful.
Our next stop, we visited the Rideau Locks and strolled along the canal.
We then visited the famous Byward Market to see what it was all about. Surprisingly it was not what we expected, as we were expecting a market full of fresh produce where we could stock up on fruit. But nevertheless, it was a good visit to satisfy our curiosity.
Heading back towards the hotel, we ambled on Elgin Street, catching sight of many sculptures.
After a little break at the hotel, we caught a cab to Westboro, a neighborhood farther out from downtown. Our dinner was at Pure Kitchen, the popular organic vegan-based — with some vegetarian options — restaurant. Upon our arrival, the restaurant was packed and we were told the wait was an hour-long. We took the opportunity to explore the long strip of shops and restaurants before getting texted that our table was ready.
We both ordered a modified version of the Mystical Bowl: lime tofu, black beans, sweet potato, pico de gallo and sprouts over brown rice. The only difference was that Nick had his without tofu. And we both ate it without the oily sauce it came with. It was full of flavor and with the zing of the lime, no sauce was really needed after all — especially since the sauce was extremely oily. Although Pure Kitchen is a popular spot, we didn’t find it great. Our food was tasty, but the place is not completely health focused, and the way the food was prepared was not to our satisfactory.
After dinner, we had a ghost tour scheduled and headed back downtown.
For breakfast, we visited a recently opened raw-based restaurant chain from Toronto, Rawlicious, near our hotel. The weather had changed drastically from Saturday and although sunny, it was freezing cold. Located in a duplex, the restaurant smelled newly constructed. Although small, the place was bright and inviting and the decor cute and modern.
Nick ordered two modified Tropical Green smoothies. I had a fresh green juice, Tropical Green smoothie, and a watermelon salad without the dressing. It was just what we wanted: fresh, hydrating fruits and vegetables to start the day with. I really enjoyed my salad, but we both agreed Rawlicious made the rookie mistake of adding ice to the smoothies. Although tasty, not the best smoothies we’ve had out.
After breakfast, we headed east for the National Gallery of Canada Museum. That pretty much took up all of our time before we ended our trip and headed back to Montreal.
Ottawa is a lovely city. I enjoyed its architecture and the cleanliness and fresh air. It’s definitely different from Montreal, and the time we spent was just enough for what we wanted to do and see. If you’re visiting and want to visit more museums than we did, you probably need an extra day depending on how many you’re planning to visit.