Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Dessert at Play Food and Wine
Dessert at Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Foods from Play Food and Wine

2009 Jun 5
My review is waaaay overdue. Have been here twice now, once with friends (one of which worked with Mr. Beckta way back in the day) and, and once just Mr. Omnivore and I (seated at the open kitchen bar).

I have to say it is currently one of my faves. I love the high quality ingredients, expertly prepared and served in smaller portions so my wallet and weight don't take a beating. The wine served in 3 sizes (3oz, 5oz, and bottle) is also fantastic for those of us that love to try different wines with different dishes but don't want to get sauced. This place meets all my criteria!

The service is as top notch as it is at Beckta and the staff are well versed on the entire menu and proper serving etiquette.

Our first time there, we had a bottle of wine, 5 dishes between 2 of us and 2 more glasses each and 1 dessert and 1 coffee. The bill came to around $110 plus tax. I believe our 2 other friends paid $38 each for theirs, consuming about the same minus the bottle (we ordered it). Amazing for what we had!! I've paid more than that at a chain restaurant for crying out loud...and there we didn't have the pleasure of several visits by the owner to chat and make sure we were well taken care of. Take that Mr. Keg!!

If you want even more delight, sit upstairs at the open kitchen bar. We were blessed with the opportunity to sit directly in front of the souschef's station the second night. She made sure we were taken care of and was excited when we shyly asked for some explanation of the dishes coming out. Amazingly while she was busy calling out the dishes, plating and overseeing the operation, she still managed to chat some with us and share in our enthusiasm of the food and wine. Excellent experience and would welcome it again. Just wear light clothing as it tends to be very warm near the kitchen.

All in all, I would recommend this place if you love well-prepared food, appreciate fresh ingredients, must have quality over quantity (no FBA meals served here my friends, thank goodness), and served by knowledgeable, professional and friendly staff. We will be coming back for more!

2009 Jun 1
Finally made it to Play. It was of course very busy on a Saturday night. Reservations highly recommended.

Found the Decor matched well with the concept of the restaurant. We sat upstairs so I can not comment on downstairs. It was quite noisy as previously mentioned.

The quality and quantity for price was superb. I already want to go back for more. Servers were pleasant and knowledgable. Even on the wine. Wine selection is wonderful and affordable. Each dish has a wine slection match available in 3oz and 5 oz pours, which we totally took advantage of. We each had 2 or 3 selections from the menu for dishes and all tummies were quite satisfied in the end.

Only one gripe. The washrroms are quite small upstairs and were not what i would call fully stocked... I am sure this was an oversight on a busy night.

In the end it is a great affordable way to get a taste of Beckta without the expense. It is in no way Beckta though (and I did not expect it to be.) I have no doubt will be just as successful!

2009 May 20
Dropped by Play again on a lazy Tuesday afternoon after work and got a chance to try some more items as well as snap a quick picture :) This is the halibut with snow peas and a potatoe salad, across from the grilled hangar steak with frites...mmm!

2009 May 5
I can finally take this one off my wish list. We came, we ate, we left impressed.

We were seated upstairs, near a window (just over Stephen's left shoulder, in this photo:
We had no issues at all with noise. It probably helped that it was early on a Sunday evening. Also interesting to note that Mr. Beckta himself was dining with us, just a couple of tables over. Perhaps checking out the new tweaks to the menu?

We started with the scallop dish, now featuring fiddleheads instead of edamame - in a word, yum! The halibut with bbq tamarind and potato salad was also very good, the fish perfectly cooked. We also had a side of wilted spinach with raisins and pinenuts, which was very tasty, and then moved on to the lamb panini, which was much enjoyed. We finished by sharing a dessert, and were well satisfied.

The selection of wines by the glass is quite large and eclectic, a good thing for this style of restaurant. And both 3 oz and 5 oz pours available, a nice touch. Prices seem reasonable too.

Minor quibbles? They could be more generous with their bread - only one very small slice (each) was offered during the meal. And coffee was delayed while they made a fresh batch, but they brought the dessert anyway. We couldn't wait for the coffee to accompany the dessert, since the gelato was melting and turning into a puddle.

Minor quibbles aside, we really enjoyed Play. Nice ambience with a casual atmosphere, good service, reasonable portions, an interesting array of dishes, good wine selection, prices that are not outrageous (especially by Byward Market standards) - what's not to like? We'll be back.

2009 May 2
Yes, Play does source a number of their wines through a Wine Agent. We asked for the name when we were in, as we are in love with the Bon Courage Shiraz.

FYI - We walked past last night and saw that red fabric has now been draped along the ceilings on both levels. Hopefully this will dampen the sound a little. The restaurant really stands out now when you're walking along Sussex at night.

2009 Apr 23
Poutine - I'm thinking that Play must source the majority of their wines thru a Wine Distributor (Great to see some Cdns on the list), as none that you've listed are available thru the LCBO.

The LCBO however does however carry Status Wildass 2005 Red, V#86363 for $ 19. And many wines from Cave Spring, just not any Chenin Blanc. :-(

2009 Apr 23
We dropped by Play again the other night to check it out. Overall a much better experience this time around.

We were seated upstairs across from the bar and open kitchen. Had a great view of all the action and I recommend getting a seat at the bar if you want to see how a well run kitchen operates. Decor is the same as downstairs although upstairs seems to have more of a restaurant atmosphere. It was packed by 8:00 and lively. Our waiter was CJ and he took good care of us. Very knowledgeable on the wine list and menu items.

Started with a glass of Bon Courage 2006 Shiraz. Very impressed with this South African wine. Definitely worth keeping in the cellar. Great value. Not sure where to get it.We then chose 2006 Wildass Cabernet/Merlot blend from Stratus Winery in Niagara. Good choice Lighter bouquet than the Shiraz. Fruity and well balanced.

First plate was beef shank and foie gras terrine with red wine jelly. It came with some homemade crostinis. It was delicious! The terrine was 2 good points of firm and creamy foie gras paté studded with small tender nuggets of beef shank. The sweetness and texture of the jelly paired beautifully with the terrine. Excellent dish.

Next we had the salmon gravlax. It came with black eyed peas and crumbled goat cheese.The salmon was tender sweet however the peas were slightly undercooked/dry and the taste just didn't go well with the mildness of the cheese and salmon. The cheese matched perfectly. The sommelier paired this dish with a 2007 Chemin Blanc, Cave Spring Niagara. Light with a hint of acidity, it complimented the mild and delicate texture of the salmon. Next up; Ontario pickerel with grilled artichoke and lemon. The pickerel was cooked perfectly. We finished our meal with a plate of cheese, very good selection and portions. Play is now at the top of our list!

2009 Apr 19
So I have been wanting to try this place since it opened and finally last night we went. It was amazing! To start we had the elk keilbasa (no idea how to spell that) and the beef shank and fois grois terriene, both were excellent. We then had the scallops (best I have had in Ottawa)they were perfectly browned but still not over done and came with bacon and edamame. I will go back for it! We had the lamb panini which was my husband's favourite,it was great as well. The lamb was so tender and yummy. We also had the chorizo and rice. The chorizo is not that spicy but it was good and the rice was rice, nothing special really. We had desert..bread pudding and apple cobbler. Next time I would go for the cheese plate. The price is reasonable. All that food, 6 alcoholic drinks, cappucino, coffee for $130! I love the whole concept of small portions, sharing and trying a bunch of things. We sat upstairs and it was quiet there and we could see into the open kitchen which was fun. The washroom situation upstairs is a bit akward..kind of opens right into the sitting area and if you have to wait in line you are standing near someone's table. But for the great food experience I can deal with that:) I can't wait to go back!

2009 Apr 16
Mr. Nanookie and I dined at Play Food and Wine last Saturday night. We had reservations, which we made via the online system without a problem.

We arrived and were seated promptly upstairs. I quite liked the modern, understated decor and the open kitchen. We ordered the cheese plate to start: the Mamirolle, Tomme du Haut-Richelieu and the Thunder Oak Gouda. I paired this with a glass of German riesling, while Mr. Nanookie ordered a taste (3 oz.). I do love that the server pours the glass of wine in front of you, so you know that you're drinking the right wine, and you get to see the bottle.

Next we ordered the Proscuitto/Fig and the Grilled Flatbread/Dipping sauces. Mr. Nanookie ordered a glass of a Spanish White Blend. Both were nicely presented and I quite enjoyed the carrot/coriander dip with the last of my Riesling. I do agree that the 2 person tables are too small if you are sharing more than one dish. Both we and our neighbours dropped utensils on the floor several times, as the table gets too crowded with the sharing plates, side plates, water and wine glasses.

Next, we moved on to heartier fare. We ordered the Chorizo Sausage/Roasted Red Peppers/Rice and the Duck Confit/Cassoulet/Sherry Redux and we each ordered a glass of the Bon Courage Estate Shiraz. I loved the duck dish and the richness of the flavours of the meat and the sauce. I was a little disappointed in the Chorizo as the menu stated it was spicy, and I found it quite mild... though spiciness would certainly be relative to the diner's tolerance. It could've used more roasted red peppers, but the rice was delicious as it was done in the style of a pilaf but had the intensity of flavour you'd expect from risotto.

For dessert, Mr. Nanookie ordered the Cave Spring Cab Franc Icewine and the banana split. The split was half of a banana, baked, and then coated and cooked in the same way as creme brulee. It came with brownie pieces, gelato and possibly some other pieces... it disappeared quickly, so I didn't get to try it! I ordered the gelato trio as I was feeling pretty satisfied at this point. It came with a scoop of berry, vanilla, and cookie gelato. Loved the quality and flavour of the vanilla and berry!

With tip, the bill came to $150, which I consider reasonable given the quality of the dishes and how much wine we ordered. A bottle of wine would've been more economical, but we wanted to try different wines with the various dishes.

My only real negative comment is, again, the noise. I had to ask Mr. Nanookie to repeat himself a lot as it was hard to hear him and I didn't want to be loud for the sake of the couple next to us. A hum about the dining room is one thing, but by the time we left, the tables were full upstairs and I had a headache from the noise.

I quite liked the ambiance, decor, and the relaxed, yet formal service. I found it to be much less of an "experience" than dining at Bekta, but a very enjoyable, affordable restaurant that we could go to on a regular basis. I look forward to returning to play some more!

2009 Mar 30
Went on a Saturday night around 8pm. We had reservations from their online reservation system. People that were walking in off the street that had no reservation seemed out of luck. We were brought upstairs to our table. It was right beside an area that they could curtain off for a larger group. They have wood tables and baby blue walls. The service was extremely good. It's small plates menu, we tried a few things including the cheese plate, we advised the server that we liked more mild tasting cheese and he said they go from mild at top of list to more 'blue' strong tasting at the bottom, so we went with the first of them was such a strong taste we couldn't even eat he was wrong, but the other two were amazing. Other items we ordered were "Berkshire chobai / olives / dijon" Hungarian-style sausage made from Berkshire Pork was very good for people who like that sort of meat and was very fresh tasting... The olives were nothing special. frites / aioli were very confit / cassoulet / Sherry redux was extremely good the duck tasted like it had either been slow cooked in a soya /asian type sauce or marinated in it for a long time, the last bite was very dry though and had to gulp some water to finish chewing it. Curried shimp was also very good came with a cashew butter I believe which one of us liked and the other thought it was too strong condensed a flavour to accompany the shrimp. I may be forgetting an item or two. The bill without the bottle of wine without tax would have only been $40, which is amazing. The portions are smaller for items towards the top of the menu and then the items towards the bottom and more expensive ($15 hangar steak/fries/aioli) the server said would be larger portions.

Overall we would go back. We'd make sure we had reservations and we recommend it to other people.

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2009 Nov 26
Play's sommelier, Grayson, is the nicest guy. He always goes the extra mile to make us feel welcome, and is extremely adept at providing excellent wine suggestions. He's also quite the comedian, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

Wine 3



Dessert 1



2014 May 9
I had the mini baked alaska a few weeks back, which apparently was on the menu quite some time ago. Glad they brought it back. It was the best dessert I've had at a restaurant in recent memory. Chocolate base with After 8 gelato and covered in a soft and sticky peppermint meringue.

2011 Oct 18
Their creme brulee is basically their signature dish, though it changes with the seasons. The first two times that I went to Play, it was an earl grey creme brulee, and I scraped the ramekin down each time. I've since tried the lavender one...another one...and a cinnamon creme brulee with poached pears. Each was magnificent.

2011 Oct 15
I had the lavender crème brûlée here a few months ago, and honestly... I still dream about it. I'm not even a huge crème brûlée fan, nor even a lover of lavender, but it was FANTASTIC! The flavours were perfectly paired, the dessert itself was creamy and light. GET IT!!!

2009 Jul 13
My friend's pavlova. I tried some and thought it was excellent!

2009 Jul 13
The cookies I ordered for dessert. They were good, but I prefer crispy-chewy cookies. These were very shortbread-y. As Fresh Foodie always says "my problem, not theirs" :)

From left to right - lemon poppyseed, chocolate chunk, lemon sugar.

I'm a big chocoholic as well so wouldn't have complained if there were more chocolate chunks in the chocolate chunk one ;)