DiVino wine studio is an Enoteca - an Italian Wine Bar. The food is tapas-style and there is a sommelier on hand to help you pick a wine to go with your food. They also offer wine classes and trips to Italy's wine region.

Foods from DiVino Wine Studio

2013 May 27
I dined at Divino for the first time this past weekend.

First off, we were extremely pleased that Divino was able to accommodate us since when we had called for reservations the prior night, no tables were available so we asked to be put on a wait list. Unexpectedly we received a call shortly before 8 p.m. on Saturday and were asked whether we were interested in a table at 8:30 – we jumped at it.

The restaurant is beautiful. I love the sky-high ceilings and the open kitchen (quite literally the most open kitchen I have experienced) was interesting. I was initially seated in the kitchen (literally) so when we asked whether we could be seated side by side, the staff happily obliged.

It was a great start! But as the night rolled on, the overall experience had both hits and misses.

We shared the following:
- Olive Miste (olive mixture, three kinds)
- Baby Arancini (mini risotto balls) – HUGE disappointment! Both arancini were burnt on the bottom and there was something off about the taste. My friend felt they were rancid. We couldn’t eat them and the server happily took them away and off our bill.
- Tartar di Pesce (fish tartar with olive tapenade and buffalo mozzarella) – the tartar was delicious, particularly with the tapenade. A definitely hit! There was nothing remarkable about the mozzarella. The menu said the dish came with crostini but they were never served.
- Capesante e ostiche croccanti (seared scallops w tempura oysters) – the scallops were delicious, along with the hollandaise sauce but came to our table barely warm. This was disappointing because had they been served hot, they would have been perfect! The tempura oysters were tasty.

For our mains, we both had the Fettuccine with tuna – the dish was satisfying in that we were both wanting something filling. I appreciated the house-made noodles and enjoyed the texture. The sauce was tasty although I didn’t think the tuna added very much. Frankly I thought a nice slice of barely-cooked tuna atop the noodles would have been better. All in all, I enjoyed it although it was quite salty.

So, food-wise, the fish tartar was a huge hit! The arancini were a big miss. Everything else fell somewhere in the middle. Because of the arancini, the chef gave us a complimentary dessert – completely unexpected but very appreciated. We were presented with a crème brulee which was very good.

Service-wise, it was a bit inconsistent in my view. The server was nice and smile-y but we waited a very long time to even receive the bowl of olives (we had to ask him about it). Had we been served the scallops immediately, the dish would have scored really high.

Price-wise, Divino offers options. I thought the value of the olives ($2 per person), arancini ($2 each), and fettuccine ($16) was good. The fish tartar and scallops (each at $16) were a bit high but still worthwhile to try.

Overall I’d return to Divino at some point.

2011 Oct 24
I find it fascinating that NU4278 took the time to survey the ethnic origins of other customers, rather than, oh... i dunno... ask for bread or send the pasta back.

2011 Oct 24
Went for dinner At Divino, Some of the food was great the Filet was great the pasta was small and undercook (not enough to share as they suggest). What really disappointed me was the service, this was one of the worst service I have ever seen. If you were Italian they were licking your shoes, if you were not they did not even bring you a basket of bread. For a expensive restaurant you would expect them to serve you better. I would not recommend this restaurant.

2011 Apr 7
The food portions are ridiculously small and utterly overpriced. If you want to feel "ripped off" then come to this restaurant.

2009 Aug 23
One of the most over-rated restaurants in town. The concept is interesting, except it doesn't work. The staff is uncoordinated and the food inadequate. The portions are ridiculous (ok, it's tapas, we got that), the sauces inconsistent (same dish served once with sauce, the next visit, without), the choices limited, the service confused. Would not go back. My conclusion after two visits.

2009 Feb 9
We had my husband's birthday dinner here last Saturday night with our other foodie cohorts.
We decided against the $45 fixed price 3-course Winterlude menu. We figured out that it was more expensive than ordering all the items separately. That was the only downside of the evening.

We were seated at the bar in the back and the boys were seated as if they were in the kitchen. At first I was perturbed as I am vertically challenged and stools are usually not designed for me. But the seats were pretty comfortable and it was in fact nice to be smack dab in the action. Nice to be beside the slide show of Italy as well. Brought back lots of memories of our trip.

We started out with 4 small plates to share along with some opening martinis and bread with fabulous olive oil. Much the same quality as we bought at a winery in Italy to bring home. They ran out of fire roasted peppers so subbed some of the crostini's with the bruscetta. The bruscetta was the best I'd ever tasted and the peppers were excellent as well. The cheese plate was good, and the homemade chutney was an excellent accompaniment. We also had the squash ravioli which I would have again. The only one that wasn't brilliant was the cheese, pears and prosciutto. But I think it may have been because we let it cool off too much. It was VERY cheesy.

I ordered a 5-ounce glass of white off of the menu (no self-serve here....I prefer service which appears to be the way to go) and the birthday boy ordered a bottle of Borolo (since it was his special night). Not cheap but we did get a 1998 which was a spectacular year.

The other 3 had the duck main on the goat cheese polenta with roasted veg with port sauce. Nicely done and presented. Maybe a touch...and I mean a touch overdone but nice just the same. I had the veal scaloppini (which was a small plate as I wasn't very hungry) made with Limoncello. Wow, that was great!!

Desserts were also a hit. The best though by far was the very creamy (almost to the point of being butter) tiramisu. It is the best I've ever eaten. I will get it again for sure.

Overall, the service was friendly and professional, the atmosphere was great and the food is definitely worth a second visit.

Our bill for 4 for the evening with tax was approx $350 (of which $95 was the bottle of wine). This also included 3 single glasses of wine, 2 martinis, a couple of bottles of water, 3 mains, 5 small plates and 4 desserts. Not too bad if you could keep the wine cost down a bit.

2008 Aug 8
Food&Think -- I see your point, although as you mention, you really are serving yourself. Insofar as taking a seat goes, there are plenty of other places where one serves oneself and then takes a seat to eat/drink, but you don't pay an additional $5 premium for that privelege. Also, with wine pours ranging from $25-$50 for a single 5oz. glass, the additional $5 charge feels a bit like gouging. For what its worth, in both of my visits, I haven't seen anyone buying wine from the machine who isn't also ordering a bite of food.

Anyway, I suspect the $5 charge is a way of 1) making additional profit, perhaps to offset the significant capital likely spent on purchasing the machine and 2) a way of getting you to return, as you've now paid for the card, so it seems silly to just throw it out after one visit (which I did anyway!).

I'd be much more amenable to the charge if either it went toward your first glass of wine, or if you had the option to return the card when you finished, and could receive back your $5 deposit. Paying a fee for a restaurant to lock in your money to be spent at their restaurant in the form of a card just doesn't agree with me. After all, restaurants don't charge you to purchase gift cards, right? Similar concept.

2008 Aug 8
Marno - Interesting about the "pre-paid" card for the Enomatic wine dispenser, I was unaware there was a "Service Charge" for this card. But I suppose it makes sense considering that the idea is that one can walk in (supposedly aimed at locals), pour a glass and sit and read a book etc. The "Service Charge" must be in someway the compensation for the fact that self-serve would otherwise leave the wine bar without a tip... although lets face it if you "serve yourself" one isn't technically receiving service (so why tip). But then again, one does occupy a seat.

2008 Aug 7
We have been to DiVino twice now. Once for some small plates and wine; the other time, for a wine tasting. Our overall conclusion is that its extremely overpriced for the Ottawa market. Don't get me wrong -- I am from Chicago, and have lived in NY and London, and my husband is from Toronto, so we are accustomed to paying insane amounts of money for the right experience. DiVino does not live up.

In short, lovely space. Wine machine is cool, but beware that if you get a wine debit card to use in the machine, there is a $5 fee just for the card -- and -- it doesn't go toward the wine. So, I asked for a $20 card (0h, foolish me, thinking that would pay for 1.5-2 glasses of wine). The bill was $28.75-ish. $20 card, $5 card purchase fee, $3.75-ish tax.

When I inserted the card, I was given a spending value of $20. I then realized that this got me a 3 oz. pour (literally, by the measurement) of an amarone. Woo hoo. I guess okay in the 3 sips I had, but for $28.75, not that great.

Other time I went we had some food, which was good but some element of it was just "okay", as in, blander or less authentic or well-executed than expected. Anyhow, we could have lived (sort of) with paying $12-$15 for every sharing plate of a few noodles or bites, but the wine list, definitely favoured high-end priced wines -- there were a few $30-$50 wine, which we of course were very quickly steered away from. On top of that, the sommelier is a very nice, but incredibly obnoxious/cheesy/annoying person who feels a strong desire to inordinately push wines on you until you feel you must just say yes so that he'll leave. Also annoying was that he gave us the option of selecting food, and he'd select the wine, or vice versa. I told him I'd prefer to select both, to which I got a roll of the eyes, followed by a sad face, followed by a weak "You really should consider what I recommmend". Anyhow, bill that dinner was $190 for 2, which included 5 shared "small plates", a bottle of montepulciano (apparently a "cheaper" bottle in the cellar, and an odd bread plate that came at the end of the meal, and was clearly destined for the beginning of the meal.

Would I go back? The wine prices are not in line with what most Ottawans are willing to pay (particularly given the stark, half-casual atmosphere and less-than-stellar service), so with an expense account colleague, perhaps. On my own, never, ever again. I can spend $190 on far greater things than pasta small plates and some olives/cheeses/charcuterie. And if I'm going to spend close to $29 on 3oz. of wine, it had better be fantastic and well-poured (the wine machine shot it out of a spigot, resulting an an unbecoming 1/2 inch of purpleish foam atop the pour).

2008 May 26
“The Man” and I have been excited to try out this new spot, ever since we first read about its impending opening in the Ottawa Citizen. On Friday evening we had a dinner reservation somewhere else on Preston Street, and decided to drop in beforehand for a glass of wine, and get a feel for the place.

DiVino’s markets themselves as an Enoteca, which is the equivalent to a wine bar in Italian towns and villages. A casual place where locals gather, drink wine and chat. In that essence, DiVino’s is definitely bringing something new to the Ottawa market, as an Enoteca they will be much more than a wine bar or restaurant, they will be a touchstone to Italian culture.

There is an open kitchen, surrounded by a wrap around counter where patrons can sit and watch the action, or learn from the chef during many of their interactive dinners. There is also a smattering of tables upfront in the wine area… one wall here is a giant wine rack displaying Italian wines from all regions, the other wall features the enomatic wine dispenser. Unlike other wine bars, here at DiVino’s you can sample wines in 1 – 3 – or 5 ounce portions. There is also a Sommelier on duty who can answer your wine questions, or suggest wines to match with food, or food to match with wine (whatever your preference).

Our drop-in visit “just for a glass of wine” turned into so much more than we expected! From the friendly greeting at the door by Antonio, to the fact that while seated at the wrap around counter we were introduced to various members of the staff. Martin our Sommelier was great, we told him that unfortunately we had reservations elsewhere, and were just checking out the joint. He explained the Wine List, which featured 12 wines (4 White and 8 Red) available in the measured amounts, as well as countless bottles listed by their Region of origin. We decided to each have a 5 oz glass (and share). “The Man” chose the Umbria IGT Trescone 2006 ($ 3 - $ 7 - $ 11) while I selected the Monile Ripasso DOC Salvalai 2005 ($ 3 - $ 7 - $ 11.50). These two wines were mid-range, the most expensive wine was $ 30 a glass.

We were most impressed with the service. Having come unanounced, and dressed very casually, and not having dinner, we were still treated as if we were spending big bucks. A particularly nice touch was that Martin having noticed that we were sharing wine (switching glasses back and forth) came over with water so that we’d be able to cleanse our palates between sips. He also also suggested an appropriate small plate from the menu (in case we changed our mind about eating). Both wines were wonderful. I enjoyed my Ripasso immensely, it filled my mouth with dark berries and had no severe after taste. I found the Umbria also good, but not quite as intense… and the tannins a little more harsh IMO. “The Man” liked them both.

Although we didn’t eat, we did check out the food that was being prepared in the open kitchen in front of us. Everything looked tasty, and well presented. In addition to a variety of side plates ($ 5 - $ 14), they also have Chef’s Daily Main Specials ($ 15 and up).

Apart from the individual attention, what sets this Wine Bar apart from everything else is the variety of cultural activities offered. There are Chef’s Themed Dinners, Cooking Lessons, Olive Oil / Cheese Seminars. Most events are teamed with wine flights. In addition, they also offer Italian Language Lessons, Organized Tours of Italy, etc.

They also have a back room that doubles as a conference room that is available for rental… in fact they say on their website that the whole restaurant in one format or another is available for functions. For more info on their upcoming events see their website at www.divinowinestudio.com

All-in-all a great experience, unlike anything else I’ve encountered in Ottawa. Reminded me of the wine tutoring that I enjoy so much on my visits to Niagara vineyards. We were impressed, we will be back!




2008 May 26
When it comes to wine, the first impression here is BIG… From the Big Greeting by the Host, Past the Big Wine Rack that covers one wall as you come in the front door, thru to the Big Wine List (there has to be over 200 wines by the bottle), to of course the main event, the Big Flavourful Wines that come from Italy.

Many things set this wine bar apart from others… to start with the individual attention. A Sommelier gladly helps you thru the wine list, and answers questions, and explains the differences between grapes and regions.

Another, is the Enomatic wine dispenser. This allows one to purchase wine is premeasured sizes, 1 – 3 – or 5 ounces. And as Nanoonk has stated, you can even purchase a pre-loaded cash card to make the experience even easier. But, I think the fact that wine is available in a variety of sizes is pure genius. This allows you to sample a wine (1 oz), enjoy a flight of wines with a meal (3 oz) or settle into one (5 oz).

The third element, that says this is not your average wine bar… you can self-serve a portion of wine and sit by the windows reading a book, but you can also get right in there and learn about wine, food and Italian culture. The staff are friendly and outgoing, and eager to share. Sign up for a wine tasting course, or a cooking class, an olive oil seminar, attend a Chef’s Dinner (each one themed on a different region), or learn to speak Italian (comes in handy if you decide to take one of their tutored trips to Italy).

Yes when it comes to Italian Wine, this is one BIG Experience!

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And oh ya another BIG Plus... say you are a wine collector in your own right, and you happen to have a very nice Italian that you've been cellaring for awhile, and would like to open it but the thought of your own cooking and a great wine leaves something to be desired (Captain Highliner and $ 100 bottle from Tuscany just don't match up somehow)...

DiVino's will charge you a moderate corkage fee... and be pleased to make suggestions from their menu on possible food matches. And, chances are pretty good that you'll also learn something about the wine you've been storing so carefully at home for just the right moment, and of course the region of Italy where your precious bottle of vino is from.