Ottawa, Canada
Ioana, 29
Travel Entrepreneur
see her Ottawa city guide

ask Ioana about

ethnic food cocktail bars art galleries music venues fine dining vintage breakfast and brunch

What do you do and why do you do it?

I run a cultural travel company that connects people to the underground scenes and local realities of offbeat places around the world. After a few years working as a marketing and brand strategist, my love for travel and passion for storytelling led me to start a travel company focused on culturally immersive and creative travel experiences (@comunatravel).

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

The last time I felt heartbroken was when Charles Bradley passed away, so I spent that entire week listening to a whole lot of blues, contemporary soul and roots.

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Seinfeld, Friends, House of Cards, The West Wing, Parts Unknown, The OC, The Simpsons, The Office, Arrested Development, SNL

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

I've never used Tinder, but some of my favourite date spots in general are C'est Japon de Suisha, Moonroom, Oz Kafe, House of Targ, National Art Gallery, Picnic in one of Ottawa's parks.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I usually pick up unique pieces at small boutiques while travelling, but I keep my wardrobe stocked with plenty of versatile basics and vintage/thrift store finds.

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

Barrhaven and Kanata are probably the 2 suburbs of Ottawa that are the least enticing to ever venture out to.

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

Visiting all of the cute small towns surrounding Ottawa.

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

Every meal at Allium Restaurant.

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

VJ's Piano Bar

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?

I've never stayed at a hotel in Ottawa, but the Andaz seems to be one of the most expensive and it has a nice modern design.

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

Ceylonta (doesn't look crap, but it's a hidden gem underneath an old apartment block in Centretown that can easily be overlooked).

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

Bar Laurel, Fauna, Common Eatery and Ward 14 all have really delicious cocktails.

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

A morning wandering in the Gatineau Hills, followed by a late lunch in Old Chelsea and Nordik Spa to catch a sunset in the woods and an evening of baths and treatments.

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

Poutine! But also Montreal style bagels, Smarties and Beavertails.

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

All of the amazing independently owned restaurants with cuisines from around the world. Ottawa is a vibrant and multicultural city and you could spend your entire time eating through Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Syria, Eastern Europe, Mexico, Vietnam. Seriously, every little food joint in Ottawa doesn't get enough love. These places are what make the fabric of our city so rich!

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

Stonetown has always been a dream destination, but recently it has been Havana. The creative spirit and electric vibe of this changing and evolving city is intoxicating, and every visit back reveals a new and deeper layer to the city and Cuban culture as a whole.

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Zara Ansar