Ottawa, Canada
Diana, 31
Foodie, Grad Student
see her Ottawa city guide

ask Diana about

fine dining breakfast and brunch cocktail bars rooftop bar pub cycling beauty salon

What do you do and why do you do it?

I arrange and facilitate interactions between foreign officials with leaders of the Canadian public sector as well as private industry leaders. I enjoy my responsibilities as a liaison conduit because I enjoy meeting people from different cultures and being an ambassador for my country. My job is dynamic and I am never bored. I get to showcase every part of this country to foreigners.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

Guns N'Roses - Don't Cry; Sinead O'Connr - Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor; Adele - “Someone Like You”; Eminem feat. Rihanna "Love The Way You Lie" ; Lady Antebellum - "Need You Now" ; Adele - "Rolling In The Deep"

What are the best TV shows of all time?

I'm not sure I could name the best TV shows of all time at the moment. What I can share are the ones I'm following and have been watching consistently for the past few years: House of Cards: Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are phenomenal. Suits: Hello Donna ;) and Harvey ;) Outfits in this show are gorgeous. Game of Thrones: I love the tale of the seven kingdoms. And, dragons.

Name some spots in Ottawa that are good for a Tinder date.

Pink Lake Trail (Gatineau Park), Tavern on the Hill -- a new outdoor patio that just opened for Canada 150, it has a stellar view of Ottawa and serves several local beers and gourmet hot dogs, Stella Luna Gelato -- maple bacon chocolate gelato, El Camino -- get the drink 'el fuego' -- you can't make a reservation here, but they will take down your name and text you. Rideau Canal locks -- in the summer you can walk down from Chateau Laurier and take the water taxi to the Quebec side; Rideau Canal -- you can rent kayaks and canoes in the summer; wait till winter and you can skate the 7.8 km of the canal and grab beavertails and hot cider.

Who’s your hero and where in Ottawa would you take them out for a serious hang?

Cool Cousin says I have to answer this question. Since it's not obvious to me, I googled 'who's your hero', took the first quiz and got, "You don't need a hero because you truly believe in yourself. You know that if you put your mind to any situation, you can accomplish amazing things" I can deal with that response. I have a girl-crush on Emma Watson -- for a serious hang I would take her to a performance at the National Arts Centre followed by high tea at the Chateau Laurier.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

Canadian brands Aritzia, Club Monaco, Simons; Classic stores Nordstrom, Zara, Bananda Republic. I describe my style as contemporary and feminine with classic lines. My favorite outfit is a fitted knit dress that moves with my body and a pair of comfy wedges.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Most places in Ottawa are pretty safe. The one place I feel less comfortable is the area around King Edward Ave and Rideau Street at night.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

Glengarry Highland Games first weekend every August in Maxville, Ontario. The games are a series of traditional Scottish competitions taking place over three days. The largest Highland Games of its kind outside Scotland. Events include traditional Scottish heavy events, Highland Dance, pipe and drum competitions. I always miss it because I'm traveling elsewhere.

What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Ottawa and where did you get it?

You can't go wrong at Riviera, El Camino and Datsun -- all three owned by the same owner but each very unique in its food, atmosphere and culture.

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Ottawa that you particularly like?

The Albion Rooms in the Novotel is a hidden gem -- good food and fair prices in a nicely decorated corner of the Novotel hotel. Another is The Brig -- you have to see the inside courtyard patio -- you wouldn't know it was there unless someone (like I am doing now) tells you ;)

What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Ottawa? How much did it cost and what did you get there?

Spa: Nordik Spa (access to baths, massage, kaella treatment, port and snacks) I think it cost about $300 for the entire experience. Restaurant: Riviera (cost nearly $300 for my birthday date with hubby)

What restaurant in Ottawa looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

The Smoque Shack's bbq fare. Location is off of the Byward market and isn't particularly pretty, but the food is top notch.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Ottawa? Which one do you like?

Riviera - Pisco Sour I like all their cocktails. I love sitting at the bar and watch the bartenders fix beautiful drinks and serve them on silver platters. You know you have found a keeper of a bar when they serve up a caesar with all the fixings - crispy bacon, pickled bean, olive.

Where would you take your partner in Ottawa if you wanted to really pamper them?

Couples massage and a few hours in the baths at the Nordik Spa in the winter. This would be followed by a romantic dinner at Beckta dining. Finishing up with dessert at Cacao 70.

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

I love my coffee crisps and I know you can't get them in the states at least.. another one is All-dressed ruffle chips.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Ottawa?

The Byward Market. It's okay...but somewhat of a tourist trap. I much prefer the Westboro- Hintonburg area, Glebe/Lansdowne or Beechwood.

What’s the one place you think is underrated in Ottawa?

Carp farmer's market and Alice's cafe. This area, just 20 minutes west of downtown Ottawa is very charming. Great food and atmosphere at both the farmer's market and Alice's cafe ( I like brunch here). The cheshire cat is a great restaurant there too.

What are the Ottawa spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Rideau Canal and Locks - UNESCO heritage site; Parliament Buildings and the eternal flame; walk inside the Chateau Laurier; itself a historic icon and heritage hotel.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Ottawa. How do you spend it?

Spin class at Wheelhouse; get a bacon maple glazed donut from Suzy Q; bike downtown via the parkway trail; grab lunch at Pure Kitchen; stroll the Rideau Canal and Parliament buildings; have dinner at Datsun then drive over to the Quebec side for dipped ice cream at Chocolat Favoris.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

Capetown, South Africa. My husband and I got engaged in the most southern tip of Africa, Cape point a few years ago. That day was so beautiful. I remember the only witness to the proposal was an emu hanging about.

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