Savour the City: Take a tour of some of Ottawa’s best secret garden patios

The Moonroom patio
Bartender Sheyne Blandford shakes up a cocktail at The Moonroom. Photo by Yvonne Langen
Editor's Note

Savour the City is an occasional column prepared by well-known local food and drink writer Yvonne Langen of Taste and Tipple celebrating all that is delicious in Ottawa.

Al fresco dining is a limited-time offer here in Ottawa. To help you make the most of the short-lived summer season, we’ve rounded up a handful of quiet courtyards and secret garden patios that let you take some air without the accompaniment of squealing bus brakes and car horns.

The Moonroom

442 Preston St.

This date-night mainstay has managed to take its inimitable atmosphere outside with a back-garden patio that doubles the capacity of this Little Italy cocktail bar. Belly up to the outdoor bar to learn more about the craft cocktail you’re sipping on, or pull up a stool at one of the high-tops for an intimate conversation with your drinking companion.

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This 54-seat patio features both open-air tables amidst the flora and covered seating in the alleyway. Order the house-made truffle parmesan popcorn to complement the spirit-forward drinks on offer. 

The Clarendon Tavern

11 George St.

A cocktail ready for sipping at The Clarendon Tavern. Photo by Yvonne Langen

Nestled into one of the ByWard Market’s historic courtyards, The Clarendon Tavern offers an idyllic setting to enjoy happy hour specials offered daily from 4-6 p.m.

The ivy-covered stone walls match the green-and-white patio furniture in this sun-dappled outdoor space. Enjoy approachable bites and refreshing cocktails in this lovely setting. 


340 Somerset St. W.

This Centretown hotspot recently took the No. 62 spot on Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants thanks to Chef Jamie Stunt’s taut menu of locally sourced fare and Sommelier Alex McMahon’s expansive cellar of natural wines.

During the warmer months, do your best to nab a table on the back patio. This space is a secret garden oasis tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Somerset. This heavenly hideaway is partially covered by a tree-shaded canopy, with bench seating, bistro chairs, potted plants and string lights that twinkle in the night sky. The centrepiece is a bathtub brimming with bottles of natural wine for your sipping pleasure. Ask the sommelier to recommend a glass best suited to your palate.

The Whalesbone on Elgin

231 Elgin St.

Nothing says summer like sucking back freshly shucked oysters under a clear blue sky. When you head into the Whalesbone on Elgin Street, make a beeline from the hostess stand to the back of the restaurant and take your seat at one of the communal high-top tables on the patio.

This sunny patch is petite compared to the sprawling interior of the restaurant, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm. Hanging floral baskets and string lights enhance the atmosphere as you sink your teeth into a delectable lobster roll. 

Tavern at the Gallery

380 Sussex Dr. 

The cornhole set-up at Tavern at the Gallery. Photo by Yvonne Langen

This expansive patio is the largest on the list. Get yourself to the National Gallery of Canada and follow the signs to unearth this hidden treasure. Shade and sun are both on offer along with a variety of seating options – cozy couches situated around firepits, standard dining tables, or hanging chairs.

Pizza is the main attraction on the food menu, with a cocktail list comprised of familiar classics like the Aperol Spritz and Espresso Martini. If you’re feeling competitive, challenge your friends to a game of cornhole. 

Yvonne Langen is the food and drink content creator behind Taste & Tipple. She is also a regular fixture on TV and radio as a lifestyle expert. You may have previously read her work in Ottawa Magazine.  

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