If you’re in Ottawa, you’d be forgiven for thinking of poutine or BeaverTails for your comfort food needs. But as much as these classic eats scream the True North, mac and cheese is arguably the ultimate feel-good dish—and O-Town is serving up some of the country’s best. From a BBQ-style version to one topped with cheese curds, here’s our round-up of our fave mac and cheese dishes in Ottawa. And if you want to taste test our top picks from coast to coast, click here to see our fave mac and cheese across Canada.
Bite Burger House
Find it: 108 Murray St.,
The low-down: Aside from their standout burgers and nachos, this locale in the Byward Market knows how to do mac and cheese, which contains ingredients from local suppliers—everything tastes better when it’s from home.
Cost: $10 to $12, depending on your add-ons
Varieties: One customizable main with St. Albert sharp cheddar, parm breadcrumbs and your choice of meat (pulled pork, double smoked bacon, hot dogs) and veggie toppings (red onions, mushrooms, tomatos, jalapeño) to truly make it your own. Or amp up your burger with panko crusted mac and cheese on the Mac Daddy ($18).
The Wellington Diner
Find it: 1385 Wellington St. W,
The low-down: Whether it’s the all-day brekkie or the endless line-up of baked mac and cheese, this casual, family-friendly diner is a fave amongst locals in the nation’s capital looking for their comfort food fix.
Cost: $13 to $16
Varieties: Seven baked mac and cheeses, including the Pesto Chicken with basil pesto, baby spinach, bell peppers and grilled chicken and the Sicilian with spicy sausage, peppers and onions in a garlic cream sauce. Try the chef’s fave: the Philly Cheese Steak with tenderloin steak, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms smothered in a cream cheese sauce.
The SmoQue Shack
Find it: 129 York St.,
The low-down: This downtown resto offers traditional BBQ like ribs, pulled pork, brisket and jerk chicken from the smoker, but their gooey and crispy mac and cheese is the perf pairing that might just steal the show.
Cost: $5 or $10
Varieties: One homemade mac side dish in two different sizes, made BBQ-style—a substantial accompaniment to some good ol’ Southern BBQ.
Find it: 356 Richmond Rd.,
The low-down: This contemporary tavern, located in the heart of the Westboro village, is fully equipped with draft beers on tap, local pub eats and a quaint patio, perfect for people watching.
Varieties: One smoky, cheesy main for lunch or dinner made with macaroni noodles coated in a three-cheese bacon béchamel sauce, St. Albert cheese curds to add a classic Canadian touch.
Find it: 250 City Centre Ave.,
The low-down: A mix between the cafés of Paris and Brooklyn, this gastrobakery has a menu of scrumptious baguettes, baked goods and breads—chef and founder Kevin Mathieson is a classically trained pastry chef (nbd).
Varieties: Stop in for brunch or lunch on Mac Mondays for a special, once-a-week savoury treat. The resto’s mac and cheese is made with their famous cheese sauce and finished with panko, parm and pesto, an added ingredient (or two) depending on the chef’s inspiration each week.