Eat Out: Black Cat Bistro

by jc

On Preston Street there is a wonderful bistro that I’d have to say is currently my favourite restaurant in Ottawa.  This is simply because I have been consistently served extremely good food every time that I’ve been there.  The head chef Patricia Larkin doesn’t know it yet but I think I love her.

photo (10)

The Black Cat Bistro has had many homes in Ottawa over the past 30 years.  Originally located along the canal, it reemerged in the market on Murray Street in 1998.  Its current location (since 2008) on Preston Street not only has a wonderfully warm atmosphere, but the waiters are very friendly as well.  We recently escaped into their chic and cozy interior to escape a snow storm.  It was so nice to be sheltered and looking out on the softly falling snow in Little Italy.

No problem waiting in here

No problem waiting out the storm in here

The waiter gave us fair warning that they are members of the “slow food movement” and that we should expect our meals to take a bit longer than normal as everything is made from scratch.  This is a GOOD thing to me.  I have no problem waiting for quality!

Love the white brick wall

Love the white brick wall

Not tonight... trying to behave

Not tonight… trying to behave

We were first served this awesome light, whole wheat bread with maple whipped butter on the side.  This combination is incredible and we [twice] had to resist the waiter’s offerings of more bread throughout the meal – we were trying to behave!

Their bread and butter

Their bread and butter

To start, my Mom and I shared the BCB’s frites (okay we’re not that well behaved) and an arugula salad.  The salad was okay but neither of us is a fan of blue cheese, so I think by substituting the intended [blue cheese] dressing for oil and vinegar took away the punch of this dish.  The fries were served with a garlic aioli and were quite good.  I found the seasoning on the fries to be particularly tasty.  I realized towards the end of the meal that fries are one of those foods that are so damn good when they’re piping hot (and you can’t stop eating them), but once they cool off they’re pretty much like cardboard.  It left me pondering the things I shove in my mouth sometimes.

BCB frites + garlic aioli

BCB frites + garlic aioli

Arugula salad minus the blue cheese dressing

Arugula salad minus the blue cheese dressing

For the mains, I chose the chicken and my Mama chose the salmon.  Both were incredible.  The thing I really appreciate about BCB is that the dishes are never over-salted, but yet never lack for taste.  I find this a rarity in restaurant food, even in most quality restaurants.

The parsnip puree that was served with my chicken was simply to die for.  I could have eaten a whole vat of it.  The chicken was perfectly cooked – moist and tender.  The brussel sprouts were also a nice side with this dish.

Smoked chicken...

Smoked Quebec chicken breast (bone in) with truffle oil: leeks + mushrooms + carrots + brussel sprouts + Parsnip puree + lemon garlic jus


Fisherman Frank’s BC Sockeye Salmon: green beans + beets + radishes + Nappa cabbage + fennel + horseradish + puffed rice

As I mentioned, we were trying to behave ourselves somewhat, so we passed on dessert.  From past experiences however, it wasn’t easy skipping out on BCB’s delicious dessert offerings.

Overall, I would give our experience at Black Cat Bistro a 9/10.  Their food is classically delicious, good quality, and [by my standards] healthy enough.  On top of that the service has been great and friendly every time that I’ve been there.  This place is a gem in the heart of Little Italy that I hope remains for a long time to come!  I’m still dying to try their burgers and will hopefully get around to this soon.

If it’s good enough for Justin Trudeau it’s good enough for me… HA!

JT reppin' BCB back in the day

JT reppin’ BCB back in the day