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Foodie Review: Vittoria Trattoria

Apple Crum­ble and Cin­na­mon Ice Cream

I usu­ally avoid eat­ing in the Byward Mar­ket because some of Ottawa’s worse restau­rants oper­ate there, and because food can be pricey and mediocre. I always feel for tourists who end up there and pay big bucks for bad food.

But some­times, there are nice surprises.

One of my foodie friends and I hes­i­tated for­ever before head­ing to the Byward Mar­ket. She had been to Vit­to­ria Trat­to­ria before and had liked it. I was in the mood for pizza, but not the Pizza Pizza kind with five-inch thick dough, and I hoped this Ital­ian restau­rant wouldn’t disappoint.

It didn’t.

We headed there around 7:30 p.m. on a rainy Tues­day night, and we joked that we would prob­a­bly be the only cus­tomers in the restau­rant. Ottawa can be very quiet dur­ing the week, and peo­ple here typ­i­cally eat much ear­lier. Oh, we were wrong!

We showed up and imme­di­ately noticed the restau­rant was busier than we had though. The first con­tact with the host­ess was bru­tal. No “hello”, just “got a reser­va­tion?” I admit­ted we didn’t and she shrugged. “It’s gonna be like… I don’t know, fif­teen min­utes?” “Fif­teen min­utes, roughly?” I repeated for the ben­e­fit of my friend who was stand­ing behind, and for my own. “Well, I don’t know. I can’t guess. Wait or not, it’s up to you,” she replied, walk­ing away.

I was really put off by her atti­tude and actu­ally stepped out of the restau­rant, but the menu looked good and we fig­ured we would give it a chance.

Twenty min­utes later, we were lead to one of the din­ing rooms upstairs and greeted by a much friend­lier waiter, who apol­o­gized for the wait and imme­di­ately brought us some fresh bread (delicious!).

We ordered an appetizer—the spinach and arti­choke dip—because the place was packed, and we fig­ured it would be a while before we’d get the main, two pizzas.

The appe­tizer turned out to be one of the best I had in a restau­rant. Usu­ally, when you order a “dip”, you get the same kind of dips you buy at the super­mar­ket, along with some bread. This one was a work of art. It was fresh out of the oven and creamy, and was served with enough pita bread and toasts for two. We actu­ally didn’t even fin­ish for fear of not being able to eat the pizzas!

I had the salmon, leeks and toma­toes pizza, and my friend got the spe­cial of the night, pancetta and toma­toes. The dough was per­fect: thin enough, with plenty of ingre­di­ents on top. They weren’t cheap on the salmon! I couldn’t fin­ish and brought the last slice home.

Finally, we shared the apple crum­ble with cin­na­mon ice cream. I usu­ally skip dessert in restau­rants unless they are home­made (what’s the point of pay­ing $7 for some frozen pie or cake?) but this one turned out to be pretty good, although a tad too sweet for my taste.

Except for the grumpy host­ess down­stairs, the ser­vice was excel­lent and fairly fast con­sid­er­ing how busy it was. We said from the begin­ning we weren’t in a rush (we stayed over two hours!) and the wait­ers mostly left us eat at our own pace, but our glasses of water were always refilled promptly.

The bill came to $30 each (split­ting the appe­tizer and the dessert)—pretty good for a three-course meal in the Byward Market.

Highly rec­om­mended!

The Good

  • Great pizza
  • Good bread (although I would have loved some but­ter rather than oil)
  • Friendly ser­vice

The Bad

  • Grumpy host­ess wel­com­ing customers
  • Long wait on busy nights
  • The din­ing rooms can be very noisy

At a glance

35 William Street
Ottawa ON K1N 6Z9
(613) 789‑8959

Sun­day      10:00 AM — 2:00 PM, 2:00 PM — 10:00 PM
Mon — Fri    11:00 AM — 3:00 PM, 3:00 PM — 10:00 PM
Sat­ur­day    10:00 AM — 2:00 PM, 2:00 PM — 10:00 PM

Spinach and Arti­choke Dip With Bread

Salmon and Leeks Pizza

Vittoria Trattoria on Urbanspoon


  1. I don’t have this patience for bad ser­vice, I would have walked away! That looks yummy, though…

    • Well, we had finally picked a place, so we decided to stick to it. But I hear you, some­time I have no prob­lem walk­ing away.

  2. Met a friend for lunch today and we both felt so vir­tu­ous say­ing “no” to a dessert. See­ing this one, I wish we hadn’t.

    And what is it with these places that just offer oil with bread? But­ter, please!

  3. oh wow the dip looks good! so does the pizza.

    i find it funny that the busi­ness hours are divided into two when there is no gap in between. is that an indi­ca­tion of a morn­ing and a evening menu? cos if in this part of the world, we nor­mally just state 10am-10pm! :D

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