Carben Restaurant

4.7
468 reviews
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CAN$30 and under
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Global, International
Carben is located in Hintonburg and thrives from the vibrancy and support of the community. The restauarant is named after the owners Caroline Ngo and Kevin Benes. It is a play on carbon, which is a compound found in all living plants and animals.



The food at Carben is expressive, modern and ever evolving. We are inspired by local and international ingredients and cuisine. We are always challenging ourselves, our staff and our customers. We love collaborating our food with craft cocktails which are created with the same intensity as our food.



The space was designed by Shannon Smithers-Gay from one80 Design. The space is modern and rustic with a touch of industrial – from the quartz bar, to the personalized back wall, and the large modern light fixtures. We want the space to feel inviting and a place that everyone wants to keep coming back.
What 468 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.8
service
4.5
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Quiet
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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PD
Ottawa
23 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was spectacular and service was awesome. 1/2 price bottles of wine Wednesdays is a great deal. Our only critique was the ambiance. Thought the tables and chairs were a little too "ikea" for our liking. But don't let that stop you from visiting this Ottawa gem!

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LM
San Diego
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Had the tasting menu. It was delicious. Service was prompt and friendly. Great time had by all.

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JB
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I had a wonderful dinner here with my boyfriend the other night. The Tuesday 2 for 1 entrees is a fantastic deal, love it! Our appetizers were incredible, and our meals were tasty. The reason I gave the food 4 stars is because we found that our mains weren’t as satisfying as the apps. My scallops and sweet bread were very tasty and well cooked, but I found that the accompaniments such as the beans and the scrape didn’t really fit with the dish. Our server was wonderful, he knew the menu inside out and made good recommendations. He also had a great sense of humour. our cocktails were SO flavourful. Would absolutely come back here soon.

Thanks!

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K
Toronto
20 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

There's very few restaurants I would have a meal and have an after thought of coming back really soon. This place did. The fusion of asian ingredients with a French mash up is amazing! Typically, i find fusion restaurants very gimicky and not all that good. Considering a lot of restaurants don't integrate cultures very well, siding one culture over the other. However, Carben did this really well in terms of picking the right ingredients, making the right dish and mashing up a unique flavour. Very unforgettable meal.

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C
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Best casual fine dining experience in Ottawa. Exceptional personalized service, supreme food quality and presentation.

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SH
Ottawa
13 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

The food and service were great but the food was overly salty.

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MM
Toronto
3 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

High end gastronomy in a relaxed and relaxing setting. A wonderful meal for locals and a venue to show off to “out of town-ers”.

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r
Montreal
2 reviews
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were pleasantly surprised that since we got different dishes for the tasting menu we had 10 dishes to sample rather than five... ...and they were all really, really good.

Service was excellent as were the wine pairings. we will definitely be going again

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AM
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent spot for a small business meeting.

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EG
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food was not only BEAUTIFUL but nothing on the plate seemed to be added just for aesthetic reasons; every element (I had the trout, my dining companion had the scallops) also appeared to have been well-considered in terms not only as stand-alone elements but for how they played off all the other flavours on the plate. Dessert was creative and skillfully assembled (I had Apple of my Eye, my companion had You Mocha Me Crazy), but I did find the sweetness level overwhelmed the more subtle flavours after a few bites. I don't have much of a sweet tooth though, so others might not have an issue with this. Overall, service was thoughtful and attentive and my companion appreciated the inclusion of a handful of interesting alcohol-free cocktails. Loved dining with all those windows open!

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CB
Toronto
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

Overpriced for what it was - only in Ottawa would you pay what I paid for that meal.

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HJ
Charleston
1 review
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best meals I've had this year! This place is a gem--stylish, casual, and the food and service are a cut above. The vegetarian menu option was creative and beautifully plated--a mix of crispy rice balls, gingered squash, spiced peanuts, Asian greens. Husband had the flank steak and was impressed. Glad we saved room for dessert--the apple bread pudding with butter sauce and burnt-sugar almonds was sensational.

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JG
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Have managed to go to Carben every 6-9 months for last 3 years or so. Food and service always excellent. I highly recommend it. Bonus this visit was 50% of a bottle of wine on Wednesdays!

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ST
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrated our friends 25 wedding anniversary with the chef’s 5 course dinner and wine pairing, and to our fabulous surprise, we were served 10 courses and 10 different wine pairings. Apparently you and your date each get 5 unique dishes, which you can of course taste or share. What a great concept- 5 stars! Every dish was intricately prepared, visually appealing and just tasted glorious. Our waiter was very attentive and introduced and explained each dish and wine. Loved the experience- we highly recommend Carben.

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IT
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

Ordered the chef tasting menu with my friend as well as two signature cocktails (A Walk in the Woods and Dragon Punch)

The drinks came and we werent overly impressed. For $18 I expected a little more flair on the dragonfruit punch... there wasn't any, at all. It tasted like kool aid actually.

The dishes in the tasting menu weren't cohesive. The individual pieces tasted good , but as a whole plate the flavour was disjointed.
Plating was awkward and made eating some of the dishes unnecessarily difficult due to poor plate choice.
Anecdotally, the toast with mussels was burnt and hard to cut through; the chocolate cake was bland, the fudge stiff and in an awkward position, and why would you put just straight coffee ice (granité) on a plate?
As for service: our male server didn't seem well-versed in the dishes he was serving. It also took 2 hours to eat a 5 course meal due to inattention of staff. Plates were left uncleared between courses and courses were spaced unevenly far apart.

Wouldn't return, wouldn't recommend the tasting menu, can't speak about their other dishes.

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OT
Ottawa
2 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We decided to try the tasting menu, which translated into sampling 10 of their dishes. It was a wonderful culinary exploration! The food was amazing!! A truly enjoyable evening.

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LS
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Funky decor, great cocktails, DELICIOUS fresh bread, and generally excellent food. Hanger steak was particularly tasty. We'd go back for more!

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KP
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Second time dining here! Awesome again! Glad I brought my sister to experience this amazing place. We both enjoyed it immensely!

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LG
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on May 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite restaurants in Ottawa. Wood ear mushrooms are a win.

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MD
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The personal touches for Mother's Day, the food, and the exceptional service made our visit to carben extremely enjoyable! The food is in a league of its own! Would highly recommend!

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D
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were very pleased with our experience at Carben Food and Drink. The staff were very pleasant, courteous, and helpful from the get go. The ambiance is relaxing, and the food delicious. We would highly recommend this restaurant.

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OT
Ottawa
2 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Had an amazing meal, we did the Chef’s tasting menu. It was sublime. The staff was great and attentive and the whole evening was a success

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G
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 2

Very disappointing! I went to Carben for the first time last night and I will start by saying that the service was great... But you don't go to a restaurant for the service. I started with the duck tartare which was a perfect app size and quite nice. My wife had the marinade muscles which unfortunately was served on burnt baguette. My main... Wow, where to start. I ordered the beef serloin and what I ended getting was 2 pieces of beef that literally measured 2"x2" and 1/4" thick with 3 tiny potato fingers and 1 thin grilled spring onion...for $28???? I had to cut the beef in 1 cm cubes just so I could stretch out my meal to the pace of the people I was with but in reality, I would have been finished in 3 min.

All in all, very small and overly priced portions of food is what you should expect from Carben. I'm happy I tried it but will never go back. If you want the honest truth, I would look elsewhere cause there are a ton of restaurants that offer the quality you would expect at far better value.

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KL
Las Vegas
2 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 1

Accoustic in the restaurant are horrible, we had to shout across the table to hear each other. I would also recommend blinds or tinting the windows, headlights from cars parking on the street were shinning into our eyes which was very distracting. Service was just ok, we had to wait at least 5 minutes to get menus and water despite the restaurant not being full. The food was very good, nice presentation and fair value.

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OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

This is a great spot in trendy Hintonburg. My husband and I did the tasting menu and both loved it. Each course we both got something different, allowing us to try almost the entire menu. In reality, the 5 course menu becomes 10 course, as you are able to try two different meals each course. It was a really unique and fun twist we weren't expecting. I would definitely recommend this spot for a nice dinner. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu!

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CP
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food with bright flavours, great drinks and wine, and excellent service.

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HR
Montreal
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

The service and atmosphere were great, and the menu was very interesting, but it didn't quite hit the mark. I tried three dishes, the beef tataki, a woodear mushroom dish and a chocolate fudge and chocolate cake dessert. The beef was excellent and the brussel sprout accompaniment was delicious (in fact I would have liked more of them!). The woodear mushrooms with aioli had some interesting flavors, but it needed some contrast against the rubbery texture of the mushrooms. There was baby book choy served with it and I feel like it needed more book choy to balance the flavour. The dessert was had some delicious elements - the fudge disc and coffee granite were very good. The chocolate cake fell a bit flat and the jelly that accompanied everything had no taste. The food has so much potential but it needs a bit of a flavour boost.

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AK
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I really enjoyed this place. Not loud at all. Inventive and well made food. I left feeling full but not gross.

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JM
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome atmosphere, love the tunes. Food was great, wine was great, took my first date here...we will be back!

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F
Ottawa
2 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was really outstanding and very unique in its presentation.Many items were unlike anything I have eaten elsewhere.Very creative.
Meredith our server was excellent.Offering suggestions in drinks that worked well and describing and explaining the food and the portion sizes of dishes that was very helpful.
We Will return soon.

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ND
1 review
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our first visit to Carben was a pleasure. The food was delicious, the service friendly and attentive but not overbearing. We did find the portions a bit on the small side for the price, but the quality of the ingredients, the beautiful presentation, and the innovative flavour combinations were excellent. Would happily return.

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NP
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We thoroughly enjoyed this first experience at this restaurant. We will definitely recommend it and go back there again. The quality of the food and the knowledge of the staff and professionalism was quite awesome.

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SM
Toronto
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

As always, Carben offered incredible dishes with exceptional service.
I've never had anything I didn't love when visiting Carben.
Looking forward to the next visit.

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L
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

For my first course,I had the artichoke flan which was absolutely delicous. For mains I had the scallops. I enjoyed the flavour profile of the dish but, the scallops were a little over cooked. However, the ambience and servie made up for this small deficiency. I would recommend Carben to anyone and hope to return soon.

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m
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We celebrated my birthday amongst a few friends and were thrilled with our meal, the service and the atmosphere of Carben. The owners are very present and engaged with the clients. I will happily go back many times to keep exploring the wonderful food and the simple delight of the place.

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w
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cocktails are the best! The atmosphere is nice and servers are very friendly.

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SM
Toronto
3 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an absolutely fantastic dinner. Every appetizer at our table and entree was outstanding. In addition, the lovely owner was so sweet and explained what was on each of our plates. The meals are a work of art and utterly delicious. We also had fabulous wine! We will absolutely return!

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HJ
Hawaii
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Extremely good modern cuisine with great service.
One of the best restaurants in Ottawa in our o opinion.

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LL
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We have eaten at Carben a number of times, and the food is always very, very good.

On March 22, we shared a mushroom appetizer accompanied by turmeric aioli; also a lovely apple dessert which celebrated every texture from creaminess to a taffy-like topping. Oh -- I almost forgot the delicious multi-section warm roll served with its flavoured butter. A delightful start.

In between, we chose the duck -- moist, flavourful, and well-accompanied -- and the trout, which was done to a turn with perfect crispness on the skin.

When we think of places we have dined (eighteen, Beckta, Stofa, les Fougères, and l'Orée du bois, for example), we are finding that Carben stands up to the best meals we have had in those places.

Last Friday in particular, we found the kitchen really outdid itself.

If you or your friends have enjoyed meals at any of the above places, it's time to RUN to Carben. It was superb.

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BB
Toronto
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

A wonderful addition to Hintonburg - the three of us enjoyed our meals and plan to return soon.

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