While it might be thousands of miles from Rome, the Little Italy neighborhood of Ottawa tastes about the same. Here, on the outskirts of Canada’s capital, throngs of war-torn Italian immigrants brought with them recipes, restaurants and wine from the rolling hill towns of Europe.
While the architecture isn’t classically European, the dining scene has quickly turned into one of Ottawa’s best, where upscale restaurants and authentic eateries all celebrate gastronomic pleasures. The wealth of restaurant choices aside, Little Italy is also know for the Italian Week Festival in June, where the entire neighborhood is a frenzy of fun with parades, dance and good cheer. The action centers on Preston Street, the heart of Ottawa’s Little Italy, which is also known as “Corso Italia” for the area's strong Italian roots. Vendemmia in September is another time when the neighborhood springs to life, when locals celebrate the annual grape harvest with singing, dancing and of course, wine.
Little Italy is located 10 minutes from the center of downtown Ottawa. Bus 85 runs from Slater Street station, stops right along Preston Street and takes approximately 20 minutes. Parking in the neighborhood can be somewhat challenging if you choose to drive yourself, especially around festivals or weekend nights in the hours right around dinner.