Planning on saying your “I dos” in Canada’s capital city? Before your big day gets underway you’ve got one last party to throw: your rehearsal dinner. This is where your entire wedding party and a few close family members will gather to mix, mingle and give a few toasts before the wedding. You’ll need the perfect setting for this one, and good news, Ottawa has a ton of beautiful restaurants with private rooms up for grabs.
Here are my picks for the top restaurants for a wedding rehearsal dinner in Ottawa.
North & Navy (226 Nepean Street)
Head to Centretown if you want to take advantage of North & Navy’s hip private room. The space, like the rest of the restaurant, is outfitted with charming vintage-inspired decor, boasting a patterned rug and leather seats. It can seat 25, so there’s plenty of room for you and your guests. What’s on the menu, you ask? Upscale dishes like quail and polenta, duck confit agnolotti and roasted beet tartare with fried mozzarella.
Beckta (150 Elgin Street)
Perched on the corner of Elgin and Gloucester sits Beckta, a trendy wine bar inside of the historic Grant House. The kitchen likes to keep things local, serving seasonal, contemporary dishes made mainly from Ottawa-sourced ingredients (it’ll craft a special 3-course menu for your event). You’ve got three options when it comes to dining rooms: The Gloucester Room (seats up to 12), The Elgin Room (seats up to 16), or a combo of the two for a larger group. Both are tucked away on the second floor and are decorated with patterned curtains, velour seats and modern lighting fixtures.
Gezellig (337 Richmond Road)
Make your way to Westboro and you’ll find Gezellig right at the intersection of Richmond and Churchill North. This bistro gets a lot of love from the locals, and for good reason - it’s got simple yet swanky decor and a stellar menu. Speaking of the menu, it's a culinary trip around the world, flaunting everything from tuna tataki to Bangladeshi vegetarian curry. If those dishes don’t speak to you, no worries. The chefs here will craft a three course menu suited to your tastes. The private “room” is located on the mezzanine overlooking the rest of the restaurant and can accommodate up to 30 guests.
Fauna (425 Bank Street)
Who could forget about Fauna? This industrial-chic eatery is a fan favourite thanks to its decor and its food. The ultra-Instagrammable space is decked out with exposed brick walls and plenty of cool art ( look up and you’ll see a collection of awesome chandeliers). Move past the bustling crowds at the front and you’ll find an equally amazing private room with space for 24 guests. What’s for dinner? Its seasonally driven menu features wagyu short rib, eggplant pakoras, bison carpaccio and more.
The Shore Club (11 Colonel By Drive)
The Shore Club, located inside the Westin Ottawa, is a nautical-inspired eatery with some serious style. No, there’s no cheesy ocean murals or anchors hanging around, the inside has been designed to look like an art deco ocean liner. Head to the back and you’ll find a cabin-like space - dubbed the Rideau Room - with enough room to fit 16 guests. If you’ve you’re OK with semi-private dining, there is also The Bridge, a 16-person space behind the main bar. The restaurant’s menu is stacked with seafood and steakhouse favourites.
Social (537 Sussex Drive)
Take a short walk from The Shore Club and you’ll find another one of the city’s finest eateries, Social. It serves up local Canadian cuisine and has a menu flaunting dishes like beet brined trout, oysters and pig cheek. It has three sleek, modern private rooms that you can take advantage of for your rehearsal dinner: the S-Lounge Dining Room (seats up to 18), the Lower Lounge Dining Room (seats up to 18), and the Upper Lounge Dining Room (seats 24).
The Wellington Gastropub (1325 Wellington Street West)
In the market for something a bit more relaxed? Head to The Wellington Gastropub. Its specialty is upscale pub grub, with dishes like confit fingerling croquettes and braised beef short rib populating the menu. Head past the bustling crowds near the bar and you’ll find the White Room, the restaurant’s private event space. It’s got the vibe of a country kitchen, boasting rustic-chic decor, and enough room for 18 guests.
Sidedoor (18b York Street)
Byward Market has no shortage of amazing restaurants, and Sidedoor is one of its best. The space is the perfect blend of old and new, with exposed stone walls and modern design flourishes. On the menu you’ll find tapas-style eats, including Vietnamese pancakes, steamed dumplings and tuna sashimi. The private room is pretty big, seating 90 guests, so if you’ve got a smaller party you may want to opt for the semi-private lower bar (which can seat 40).
E18hteen (18 York Street)
Sidedoor’s ritzy neighbour, E18hteen, is also a great option. The restaurant serves up local eats with a heavy focus on seafood and steak. When it comes to private rooms, you’ve got options; there’s the Large Wine Room (seats up to 20 guests), the Small Wine Room (seats up to 12 guests), the Upper Dining Area (seats up to 62 guests), the Fireplace Room (seats up to 30 guests) and the Lower Fireplace Room (seats up to 12 guests). All feature exposed stone walls and contemporary decor.
Ace Mercado (121 Clarence Street)
Another Byward Market gem can be found down Clarence Street. If you and your S.O. love tacos, Ace Mercado is the place to go. The restaurant serves up top notch Mexican fare in its trendy space (expect to see plenty of calaveras and industrial accents). The private room is outfitted white brick walls, green leather booths and some killer artwork. It can seat up to 30 guests for a sit down meal.