RestauRanting: Play Food & Wine, Ottawa, Ontario

Play Food & Wine is amazing and still remains one of my favourite restaurants in Ottawa (and everywhere else so far). Sure I’m a little biased since my best friend used to work in the kitchen here, but even after her departure, the food and service continue to be top notch.

I love their lunch menu, (which is the same as their dinner menu) but they offer 2 for $22 on their dishes. Play offers small plates and a constantly changing menu, based on what’s in season. What “small plates” means is a normal dinner would be 2 or 3 selections from the menu. I do find that 2 plates with a drink or two is quite substantial however. I appreciate the small format, cause I like variety. 😀 I’m a fan of trying more than one thing from the menu and with the small plates, it makes it possible without overeating.


On the last trip to Play, Dan (the fiancé) and I brought my best friend Dickie, who had never been to Play before. We went for lunch, and each ended up with two selections from the menu. The boy chose a great bottle of wine, but again, I don’t remember the name. *(This is why he’s in charge of the wine selections.) I was saddened to see that my go-to usual wasn’t on the menu, the steak tartare. I’m hoping they do bring it back, but I was just as satisfied with my other choices.

I started out with the scallops and I’m happy that I did. These were the highlight of the meal, well that’s what I thought. Dickie chose the scallops as well and he was also greatly impressed by them. I’m pretty sure we all licked our plates clean at the end.


Dan started with the Beef Laab. It was like a spicy beef lettuce wrapped taco. They were really good, but made quite the mess. It was suggested to eat with our hands, which we did, but it was very drippy and messy. Even still, the mess didn’t detract from the awesome flavour packed into these totally tasty taco-like things.


The Arctic Char was my next selection. This was awesome. The broth was rich in flavour and the skin of the fish was super crispy. While I’m not a potato girl, I really enjoyed these potatoes, (most likely cause they were in that amazing broth).


Dan chose the Pork Belly. While I normally love pork belly, this dish didn’t seem to have the same “WOW!” factor the other dishes did. I’d like to say that it was missing something, I thought maybe salt, but I doubt it would be that simple. Dan and I both agreed that it was our least favourite out of the four selections. This didn’t stop us from cleaning this plate though. Even a mediocre dish at Play is still really awesome.


When we were done lunch, the waitress came by with the dessert menu.


While I wanted to say no, since my waistline DOES NOT NEED more fat, there always seems to be room for creme brulee. I asked Dan if he’d consider sharing one with me and when he said yes, I put in the order for the Autumn Spiced Brulee, which was absolutely divine.


All in all, it was another amazing outing with great food and excellent service.  Play continues to impress me on all levels of food and hospitality and it continues to be one of my top rated restaurants.

I would fully recommend this restaurant if you are ever in the Ottawa area. (Let me know if you decide to go, I’ll join you for sure.) 😉

Chef-In-Training Mandy

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