Ottawa Eats: ByWard Market
As the capital of Canada, Ottawa offers up some of the best cuisine in the country. Located in Ontario but on the border with Quebec province, Ottawa is home to over 1,000 farms and the produce and dairy are always impeccably fresh. Even in the middle of the big city you will find farmer's markets with fresh seasonal produce from both Ottawa and Quebec. ByWard Market is one of these places. Nestled in the heart of the city, a few minutes walk from Parliament, the ByWard Market is a historic outdoor market surrounded by shops, food stalls, and cafes. The local farmers and artisan stands offer fresh fruits and vegetables and you can buy all the authentic maple syrup and maple-inspired treats you desire.
Grabbing a snack or a bite to eat at ByWard can be a bit overwhelming because not only are there restaurants and stalls, but there is a food all with all the cuisine you could imagine. I stopped for lunch at Corazon de Maiz, a Tex-Mex restaurant offering tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. Don't miss out on their homemade hot sauces - there are several - and the extensive selection of Jarritos sodas and Mexican Coca-Cola. I ordered the tortilla soup, which was topped with cheese and a some fresh tortilla chips and it was full-bodied flavorful.
I did order the shredded beef taco and I did not enjoy it. Unfortunately, the meat made the corn tortilla soggy and the taste was underwhelming. My friend ordered the quesadilla, which she loved and came it came with all the fixings.
ByWard Market has many options for that appeal to the sweets aficionado. I stopped in Maverick's Donuts Company and got a half dozen of the most delectable flavored cake donuts. But simplicity won and my absolute favorite was the Honey Dip Classic. It melts in your mouth and the honey is a simple touch of sweetness without being too sugary.
Finally, you cannot leave Ottawa without a visit to Beaver Tails. Often called a Canadian donut, these flat pastries are shaped like, you guessed it, a beaver's tail. The menu consists of simple beaver tails like The Classic, which is sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or The Killaloe, which is the Classic with a wedge of lemon. I tried the Apple Pie, which is topped with whole apple slices, caramel sauce, and crumble. There is something for everyone, like Nutella or brownie, but it can be a challenge to finish one on your own as these sweets are best shared.
ByWard Market is only one area of Ottawa to explore for great food, but nowhere else can you find so many options concentrated in an open-air setting. Bring your appetite and don't worry about having cash, all of the stalls and stores accept debit and credit cards.