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Is Cantina Gia Ottawa’s best date night spot?

By Michael Bercier on April 22, 2022

Cantina Gia is an Italian comfort food restaurant and specialty shop in the heart of the Glebe, created by co-owners Chef Adam Vettorel and Chris Schlesak who started North & Navy back in 2015.

Their vibe strikes a perfect balance between intimate and lively, ideal for date nights. The decor is quirky and warm with exposed brick walls, cute archways, and a beautiful white marble bar. The added bonus of sitting at the bar is that you’re close to the Negronis, which they serve on tap.

 

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I can be indecisive when presented with giant menus full of tasty options, so I was glad to see the varied but concise offerings at Cantina Gia. To start, we shared some grilled corn arancini eith bomba aioli, which were flavorful and crunchy, great for dipping. Our server recommended a beautiful Italian Chianti that paired well with our entire meal. 

The pappardelle and lamb ragù was absolutely wonderful, with slow-braised Quebec lamb leg, tomato, and rosemary. I think about it more often than I’d like to admit. The sugo all’Amatriciana (bucatini, guanciale, and tomato), part of their ‘’Roman Holy Trinity,’’ was also amazing.

 

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Tiramisu is one of my favourite desserts and while it was phenomenal, the star of the show for me was the Guiseppe Luigi: An elevated take on the classic Joe Louis made with Nutella chocolate cake, whipped cream, and salted caramel.

 

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Cantina Gia also offers a rotating selection of sandwiches and focaccia for lunch daily. On weekends they also serve a scrumptious-looking brunch that I want to check out ASAP. Next door is their specialty shop, the perfect place to pick up curated grocery items like quality oils, preserves, pastries, and wine.

 

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If you don’t fall in love with your date at Cantina Gia, you’ll definitely fall in love with the food.


Cantina Gia is located at 749 Bank St. in the Glebe and is open daily from 11:30am–8:30pm. Visit their website or reserve a table online. Prices for apps and desserts were in the teens, while mains were in the $20-30 range.