Le Café at the National Arts Centre - Le Café au Centre national des Arts

3.9
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980 Reviews
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CAN$31 to CAN$50
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Continental
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About

Le Café is an establishment in Ottawa, Ontario that offers up contemporary Canadian cuisine. The eatery is a nice place to visit whether you are having dinner with a friend or a corporate lunch. It offers some delicious options for starters, including baked eggplant, sockeye salmon and beef tartare.

Le Café has some excellent main course options, too, including shrimp & pappardelle pasta, lentil ragout, Cornish hen, bone-in pork chops, beef tenderloin and striploin. Le Café also offers side dishes, such as potato wedges, roasted beets, mushrooms and wilted greens. Make sure you try some desserts, too, such as the spiced apple pie cheesecake or the carrot cake.

Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Continental
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Hours of operation
Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30am to 2:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm, Sunday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm (when Southam Hall is open).
Brunch: Sunday: 10:30am - 1:30pm
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Phone number
(613) 594-5127
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
John Morris
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Private party facilities
http://nacmeetings.ca/en/eventspaces
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Private party contact
http://nacmeetings.ca/en/eventspaces: (613) 594-5127
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Catering
http://nacmeetings.ca/en/eventspaces
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Albert
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Parking details
http://nac-cna.ca/en/visit
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Special events & promotions
http://nac-cna.ca/en/
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Liquor, BYO Wine, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 980 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
3.9based on all time ratings
4.0
food
3.9
service
4.0
ambience
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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P
Ottawa
2 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service were excellent. Practical for dining before attending event at the NAC

l
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our evening turned out to be a great experience. After attending a joyful matinee at the NAC featuring "the Hockey Sweater", my wife and I enjoyed a delightful dinner at the Cafe. The lamb sweetbreads appetizer was well prepared. We stuck to two other appetizers on the menu and found them just as delicious.
The service was superb.
Hats off to the restaurant staff.
Thanks.

BB
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on January 9, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We are subscribers of the NCA Orchestra and half the time have dinner at the NAC Café before a show. The food is exquisite, ambiance between casual-chic and formal and the service is excellent. It is walking distance to the Ottawa Byward Market and tourist attractions like the NAC, Museums and Parliament Hill.

OT
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2014
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Food was good .Service excellent. Nice view and convenient when attending a show as we were. We found the prices high though.

r
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2014
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Been there before,great food,will definitely go again;will make it part of the entertainment--show included.May go to brunch if in the city. It took awhile toget service but when it finally came it was very good.

H
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2014
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Excellent place to take friends or business colleagues for an elegant meal where you can talk uninterrupted. Menu is always interesting and varied to please all tastes. The service is on par with what you would experience in Paris or London.

l
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2013
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

The choice for the different servings could be much better, for such an expensive new year's eve dinner. The cauliflower soup was too heavy, the quail was too fatty and the desert which tasted like a sugar/maple tart was terrible. For a meal that came with wine to $208 was not up to expected quality

b
Toronto
4 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2014
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

We visited for valentine day and we were disappointed with the food. We started off the meal with a smoked haddock soup. The broth was very bland and there was only one minuscule piece of fish in the entire bowl. The veal chop was nicely cooked but the sauce was heavy. As for desert, we had the special which was some heavy dough with a chunk of melted chocolate surrounded by a passion fruit sauce.
Overall, our dinner experience was very disappointing. We had been in the past and had always been pleased. I'm not sure what has changed at the Café, but that change is not good.

LF
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Truly enjoyed the Chowder offered on Valentine's Day. Never tastied anything like it before!

MM
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Went to Le Café for lunch before a show. Got a lovely seat by the window. Our waiter was professional and pleasant. Menu has a good variety. Can satisfy the foodies and the picky eaters. Our entrées were all excellent and disappeared in no time. Had the red & white quinoa salad, was beautiful and excellent. I had the duck as did my daughter. Mine was a little dry but hers was excellent. The gallet and red cabbage salad that came with it were so yummy. Decent wine list as well/. Would definitely return.

OT
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 27, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

I brought my out-of town visitors for lunch. My Czech-born daughter-in law loved the view of the canal. The sweet potato & pear soup was delicious. B.C. salmon slightly overdone, but the vegetables were excellent. Restaurant was very quiet and the staff attentive.
Merci!

H
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Ambience was great; just the right amount of attention from the staff; quiet enough to have a conversation and to relax; food was very good except my pickerel was slightly overcooked; good selection on the menu.

s
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2013
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 1

a restaurant located within NAC....my expectations are different. restaurant needs a huge renovation.... many other restaurants around with great ambience and amazing service.

The renovation involves upgrading of the ceiling bulbs to nice chandleries, nice backsplash, pillars to be glass covered with nice lights.
Le café should be able to attract local crowds 'one should go to the restaurant for the experience'. Artsy furniture, nice paintings, some nice arts pieces, vibrant colours, complemented with nice music, staff to also dress added with nice jewellery pieces..... one should /would want to bring friends to this place for the experience- decoration, service, and ofcource food- beautiful presentation.

M
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent and the service was impeccable. The portions were quite sufficient and the presentation very artistic. The cost of the dinner was very reasonable.

The only negative point, and I do not blame the Café but rather the CNA management, was the very high parking costs: $11.00 for less than 3 hours. One would have thought that, specially for the Christmas dinner when it is difficult to get a bus or even a taxi, the parking cost would have been at a fixed and reduce rate. Somewhat obcene when your parking costs are more than 1/3 of the meal!

NM
Montreal
8 reviews
Dined on December 25, 2013
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

We went for Christmas Diner. Neither the website nor the reservation system informed us that only the table d'hote menu was available for this day. Disappointing ! I live in Montreal and compared to Towne Hall, 40 West, La verita or places of the same type, this was inferior. Besides that, the rest was good.

OT
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We were there for Christmas Day lunch. We found the speed of the meal very good. There was no rushing even though they would probably be full for dinner that day. It was a very enjoyable time.

N
Ottawa
2 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2013
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

We had a great meal at Le Café prior to our show. They kept the service moving, which was good given the fact we had a show to get to but would have perhaps felt rushed if we didn't. We were seated just outside the main door to the restaurant in the foyer which we were disappointed by. I would have liked to have known this when making reservations (well over a month in advance) because I am not sure I would have gone ahead. I guess it is a first come, first serve restaurant and our reservation time was 6:30pm so the earlier folks get the best tables. Anyhow, the host was accommodating and everything else was fine. At least it was quiet and we were able to talk. The flashing lights prior to the 7:30pm show was kind of disruptive however.

D
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 5

We always have wonderful food when we attend at Le Café. The restaurant appeared to be somewhat understaffed while we were there on December 23, however, as part way through our meal our server changed (though our original server was still assisting those at the tables around us) and the result was a whole debacle with dessert ( my partner didn't wish to have any, while mine came with the special......and I had to ask 4 times to get it, which almost made us late for the show).

My suggestion would be to assign staff tables and leave them there, or have enough staff so that staff are not assigned too many tabled. It put an unfortunate smear on the end of our dining experience which ruined an otherwise wonderful meal.

V
Toronto
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Food was excellent as always. Service was superb. Excellent ambiance. Wine list could have more Italian and French labels.

u
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent meal and good service! A winning combination! Also booking online was a bonus.

4
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2013
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

We dined at Le Cafe before the Stuart McLean concert , and the best thing was we were done in time for the show.
My husband ordered the gnocchi and they were dry and boring.
He also ordered the lamb, and, while tasty, the serving was very small.
Two of us ordered the salad and the salmon - they were both good, but, nothing special.
we all had the crazy mini dessert - that was a joke! There was barely enough of any one thing to get a true sense of the flavour - with the exception of the mini-pears.
Very disappointing, for a restaurant that suggests it will serve great food.

T
Toronto
3 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Le Cafe at the NAC offers an incredible choice of well-prepared starters, mains and desserts at their weekend brunch buffet. The seared tuna and the spicy green bean salad were sublime. The Alberta beef was tender and delicious. The desserts were served in tasteful small portions, perfect for sampling.

a
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I am already your client. Will return.

N
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We had brunch there recently, and the main part of the brunch was absolutely excellent! And good value for your money. The desserts were just ok....

WA
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had an excellent dinner. Our servers were very accommodating of requests to choose items from both the regular and table d'hôtel menus. Also accommodating and respectful of gluten free requirements from one of our party, while ensuring that she had several options. And the food, of course, was terrific.

S
Naples
3 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

My salmon was delicious and perfectly cooked, however my husband was disappointed in the pork tenderloin because it had been overcooked. He was not asked at the time of our order how he would prefer the pork. We mentioned it our waiter who spontaneously offered us free desserts. We shared a delicious chocolate dessert.
I love dining at Le Cafe. It is probably my favourite dining place in Ottawa. The view from the dining room is always interesting no matter the season. In summer one can watch the boats on the canal waiting to go through the locks, and in winter, it is most enjoyable to look out at the snow and the frozen canal and enjoy seeing skaters of all ages having fun.

OT
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was excellent and service was also excellent.

My only complaint was that the coffee and tea was cold. Time did not allow us to reorder.

DA
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2013
Overall 3food 1service 5ambience 5

The title says it all. What happened as we usually have great tasting food.

d
Ottawa
2 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

We were impressed by the service especially. Our servers were efficient and very pleasant without being intrusive.

Le Cafe is a special place to dine and we were helped to feel it was with the combination of a very good menu choice and the efficient, attentive service.

P
Ottawa
5 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great and the service even better

G
Ottawa
3 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Big improvement since the new chef has taken over. Very enjoyable.

FO
Toronto
1 review
Dined on December 18, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The restaurant is large enough to hold a crowd, and quiet enough to have a conversation. We love the food, the wine and the service. The menu is always innovative, but varied enough that we can find things we like. We had the wild sockeye salmon with two different appetizers and desserts, both of which we shared. We were welcomed by the staff and served promptly without being rushed, but out in time to get to the performance.

MG
Ottawa
2 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Le Café is reliable. Never worried that it wont be good or that the service will be off. Usually only go before a show, so appreciate appropriate speed of service.

Would like greater selection of sizes of wine by the glass.

MB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2013
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 1

Le Cafe @ NAC is a restaurant with a great potential. The location at the National Arts Center makes is very convenient for all the theatre goers. The food is better than average and on the sophisticated side, but somewhat lacking in imagination. The service is professional and pleasant. What totally destroyed the experience for us was the overflow seating arrangement which we have been sent to despite making a reservation well in advance. It consists of a bunch of tables setup in a glorified 2-story hallway with people looking over your plates during intermission and virtually no decoration but bare concrete walls.

p
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2013
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

Expensive but handy to the theatre with wonderful food. Cheese plate excellent..

OT
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Nice ambience, a friendly and professional staff, and a well presented and very good meal. I would prefer a more varied menu but what I selected was certainly excellently prepared. A good wine list, but I thought in most cases overpriced. This is certainly a place where I would bring out of town visitors for a special occasion.

SP
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 9, 2013
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

We found the waiters great in leaving us lots of time to select our food and enjoy our drink.
We enjoyed the food and will be back again.
We have eaten at Le Cafe during the summer and its was great to see the boats going by on the canal, very nice atmosphere.

O
Ottawa
9 reviews
Dined on December 10, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

This is a very nice place to have dinner before or after performances at the NAC.

The food is very good ... and the view even better.

Service could be a bit more polished, however.

I would recommend it for "something different" if you're around Ottawa for a while and have the desire for something a bit different.

PD
Ottawa
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

It was our first time for brunch and will definitely go back at some pony!

D
Ottawa
2 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2013
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

We have dined here many times in the last few months and, while the food continues to be very good a change of menu would be appreciated.
D./

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