1082 Wellington

This is a pizza place with an attitude. A GOOD attitude. They make wood-fired pizza and a few other dishes to round them out as a restaurant.

Pizza at Tennessy Willems
Pizza at Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Pizza at Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Macaroni and Cheese at Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Salad at Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Salad at Tennessy Willems
Caesar Salad at Tennessy Willems
Caesar Salad at Tennessy Willems
Wood Oven Thin Crust Pizza at Tennessy Willems
Wood Oven Thin Crust Pizza at Tennessy Willems
Wood Oven Thin Crust Pizza at Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Tennessy Willems
Foods from Tennessy Willems

2011 May 29
We finally made it here after hearing so much. The atmosphere is casual and quite loud; people are enjoying themselves.

Food quality and value is very good! Beverage selection is not great. A good handful of wines but no apparent cocktail capability. The draught beers were St Ambroise, Beau's Lug Tread, and Steam Whistle. Good beers, to be sure, but all on the pale side for my taste. I went for the Beau's and enjoyed it well enough, although I find it to be just too hoppy for a malt lover like me. Sorry. :P

Water is supplied by leaving a bottle at the table. The server was good about helping top up our glasses once in a while.

This was our order:

Warm Beet Salad
Charcuterie Plate

Margherita Pizza
The Elmdale Pizza

Lemon Tart
Chocolate Terrine

The Charcuterie Plate was excellent and generous. Duck terrine with cranberries, duck prosciutto and Pingue’s cured meats with cornichons and grainy dijon. I'll mention the other items under the appropriate food entries.

There are some hygiene issues. The wooden surface of our table was a little sticky and I found a tiny black eyelash or beard hair suspended on top of the head of my beer.

Overall we were pleased and will be back!

2011 Mar 30
After reading so many positive reviews, I was super excited to try TW -- a restaurant I didn't even know existed until recently. Sidebar: that's the great thing about this site, new culinary discoveries.

So we made our way to TW last night.

First impressions: the restaurant is definitely not pretentious. The atmosphere is very casual and the decor minimalistic.

Their menu (for the mains) is mostly comprised of their wood-fired pizzas although they do have offerings of pasta and steak.

Their drink offerings are fairly narrow: no virgin caesar for me last night so I stuck with water. At the very least, I like how they leave you with a bottle so you can refill your glasses.

We ordered:
- smoked mackerel: we were both surprised by the appearance of the dish as I had expected a pile of mackerel slivers or pieces. Instead three toonie sized rondettes of 'mashed' mackerel atop pickled cabbage came out. The dish was delicious! I could have consumed much more.

- Wild Boar Pizza (boar sausage, pear, garlic pesto-type drizzle, cheese)

- Napolitano (capers, mozzarella, anchovies, tomatoes):

Overall impressions of the pizzas:
- not as good as I had been expecting given the reviews
- both were tasty and the portion size surprisingly big although not overwhelming (I proudly gobbled up my entire pizza!)
- hubby really liked the crust
- similar to Hungry Hungry Hippos comment, both hubby and I would have liked more ingredients on the pizza (more sausage on mine dispersed throughout would have been divine, and splitting the anchovies on his would have been preferred) - there were too many bites of only dough with some sauce and cheese; hubby actually said he would have preferred the same amount of ingredients but on a smaller sized pizza

All in all, good food. The service was also good. I would definitely return, but I'd just take my time.

2011 Mar 27
I have to say, this is hands down, the best pizza in Ottawa. Though I know that isn't saying much, considering many people claim places like The Grand, Colonnade, and ZaZaZa actually make "good" pizza. Still, the pizza here is outstanding. The crust is perfect, properly fermented and skillfully baked and charred in their hot wood burning oven. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, it has a great crumb structure just like high quality bread. Whoever makes the dough (I'm told one of the guys used to work at Canada's top pizzeria, Libretto in Toronto) clearly knows what they are doing.

The sauce is different than any other sauce I have tasted, it has more depth of flavour and a bit of spice to it. It makes its presence known without being too dominating. The cheese, again, is outstanding. They use fresh mozzarella, none of that rubbery stuff. They also top their pizzas in a well balanced way, the ingredients are in perfect equilibrium whereas most other places put tons of toppings on their pizza to mask their bland crust, sauce and cheese, and others put too little toppings on their pizza because they're just plain cheap.

So far I've had 5 different pizzas, all of them delicious in their own unique way, and I plan to try them all in due time. The best so far wasn't on the menu, but was a special with hot Italian sausage made from scratch, red onions, and a few kinds of cheeses. It was crazy good.

Finally, don't think this place is just about pizza! They have great salads, and amazing desserts. I highly recommend the lemon tart, the shortbread crust is phenomenal and the lemon filling is out of this world.

Great to see Ottawa finally coming to its senses as far as pizza is concerned.

2011 Mar 23
Been here three times, twice for dinner, once for lunch, all awesome. Had the Elmdale, great sweet-spicy sauce, nice thick, tomato paste-like texture. Very good toppings, great crust. The salami was delicious too, spicy as well.

The Caesar was delicious too, nice shreds of cheese and big chunks of bacon.

Great draft beer, Beau's, St-Ambroise Ale, Steam Whistle. Fantastic service, reasonable prices.

This is my wood-fired pizza of choice in Ottawa.

2011 Mar 6
Went with my wife and 2 youngsters yesterday for lunch. A couple of comments:

1) They open at 11:30am. Which is very nice for those of us with kids. 30 minutes seems like nothing... unless daycare has conditioned your children to eat precisely at 11:30.

2) The margherita was amazing. WAY better than anything I've ever had at Grand. WAY WAY better.

3) The greek pizza was equally amazing.

4) The boar sausage and carmelized apple was well conceptualized, but IMO needed some sort of sauce/oil. The condiments were too far spaced and many bites were of only crust and sharp cheddar (a bit dry)

5) Service was excellent.

As per other comments it makes for an expensive lunch (especially when apple juice is $3 a glass). But it was worth it. I wish there were a far west location like this as it would certainly be my go-to takeout place. So much better than the lebanese-style cheese bombs that dominate Ottawa.

2011 Mar 6
Nooschi just posted a great write-up with nice photos on her blog: www.nooschi.com

2011 Feb 21
stopped in for lunch today, glad to see it was open on family day. it was 1/2 full, most tables had small people with them.

we had the wild boar pizza (husband) and my son and i split the margherita. i would have rathered tried something more exciting, but compromised. both pizzas were excellent. i am really looking forward to trying the helen pizza next.

the pizza's were a generous size and we had some of each to take home with us.

we had 1 full pint and a 1/2 pint, 1 apple juice and 2 pizzas. it was $48 with tax (before tip).

definitely not a cheap lunch out. next time we will consider take-out and have a bottle of wine at home.

my husband is really looking forward to drinking beer at the elmdale and ordering over a pizza from here :)

2011 Feb 14
I've been to Tennessy Willems three times now, and I must say, it is without a doubt, the best, most authentic Italian pizza in town.

I've had the Elmdale, Soppressata, and most recently, the Capricciosa. So far, I think the Elmdale is the standout for me. Each pizza has dough made from doppio zero flour, the tomato sauce is brilliantly spiced, the buffalo mozzarella is fresh and milky, and the toppings sing their songs in unadorned ways. Simpler is better, and less is more. The pizzas are perfectly cooked with the essential charring and blistering in just a few spots.

As for the restaurant itself, the atmosphere is chilled out and the service super friendly. They even have Beau's and St. Ambroise on tap.

Now if they only had a proscuito and arugula pizza, it'd be perfect.

Highly recommended.

PS, fixins for a negroni wouldn't hurt either.

2011 Jan 20
Just had lunch there today or, to be more exact, a Helen's pizza (spinach, parmesan, goat cheese, pinenuts for $14 ). Pie was a good size, I wasn't very hungry and split this with my fellow diner. We requested that the pine nuts be left out and that tomato sauce be included and the kitchen was fine with that, although I was surprised that the server said she'd have to ask. Crust was somewhat chewy, middle sagged and was somewhat limp but I like a really crisp thin crust pizza. Good selection of microbrews on tap. Hmmm... what else? Table next to me got the Caesar salad and it seemed like a good size to share before the pizza if you've more of an appetite.

So why doesn't my review glow as others here? Good question, the prices were OK, the servers were OK, the decor and atmosphere were OK, and the pizza was OK. It's certainly a good addition to the neighbourhood but to be honest I just don't see what is so inspired and groundbreaking about this restaurant. Perhaps I'm starting to tire of the sameness to all these "we-love-food-and-love-to-feed-you-and-use-local-organic-ingredients-when-possible" type places?

In terms of pizza though, I have to say that I much preferred the thin crust offerings at ZaZaZa on Beechwood Ave -- I love their crust and their toppings sing louder for me. I jones for their pizza but Tennessy Willems? It's convenient and in my neighbourhood but unlike ZaZaZa, I can't say I left pining for an encore.

2011 Jan 8
love it, amazing food, wonderful service! GO

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2011 May 29
The pizza here is very good! Is it better than Grand Pizzeria and Bar? Given my experience there two years ago I'm not sure I can say (time for a revisit!). It is definitely better than what we had at the famous Lombardi's restaurant in NYC a couple weeks ago.

My wife ordered my usual choice, the Margherita. This was spectacular, with a generous distribution of fresh basil leaves (unlike Grand Pizzeria and Bar) and tasty cheese. The crust here is great when done right -- thin, chewy, slightly charred. Our only minor complaints were with the sauce; slightly too much of it and it was somewhat undersalted for a meatless pizza. Nevertheless, we highly recommend the Margherita Pizza!

I opted for The Elmdale after reading opinions here. It was delayed because they messed something up in the kitchen and had to make another one for me. When it arrived it was a little too charred. My wife would have sent it back but I don't mind a couple bitter carcinogenic mouthfuls. This pizza was over the top tasty and very salty (in contrast to the Margherita). There was just too much of the acidic sauce, presumably to counter the rich salty salami. This is kind of a wood oven pizza meets Ottawa pizza joint meat-lover's pizza. Some people will love that, but I'm a bit of a purist. Next time I will definitely get the Margherita for myself!

2011 May 11
Greek ... Kalamata olive, roast red pepper, pesto and feta cheese.

Yummy. And not too salty.

2011 May 11
Pear, prosciutto, gorgonzola and walnut.

The walnuts pull it all together.

In the background ... duck confit. OK but the pear and prosciutto is much more interesting.

2010 Dec 22
Here is a blurry camera phone picture (sorry) of the delicious Sopressata pizza. I have nothing but good things to say about this pizza.

The sauce was rich, sweet, and a little spicy. The sweet red onions pulled out the sweet in the sauce, and the spicy salami pulled out the spice in the sauce.

I personally don't care for heaps of cheese on my pizza - I like that the sauce is exposed to the heat of the oven and touches the toppings, so the way the pizza is topped is right up my alley.

The crust wasn't too crispy, but not too soft. All in all it was excellent and would easily recommend it.

Pizza 6


2017 Oct 1
Nice thin crust, not too much cheese and generous application of fresh basil makes the margherita pie at TW a real winner!

2016 Sep 2
Well, this time the Margherita Pizza was adorned with lovely shaved Parmesan! So I don't know if the last one was an anomaly or if they changed how they do things. Either way, good on ya!

I was there with 4 friends and we each ordered a different pizza and then shared. I thought the Margherita was by far the best as it allowed the great crust and sauce flavours to come through.

2015 Apr 19
This Pizza Margherita is still great here! My wife opted for The Elmdale (background in pic) and regretted not getting this one. I find that with the more complex pizze at Tennessy Willems, the toppings overpower the very thin crust. With the Margherita, it's just perfect.

Definitely accept the offer of spicy oil. It makes the dryer bits of crust really nice.

But WTF is up with the powdered parmesan cheese shaken over this pie?! This can't be anything other than the green-can Kraft dreck. Not cool. A wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a microplane would help differentiate this pizza from other offerings in town.


2013 Sep 29
I am not sure if this is a new addition to the menu or not. I have only ever ordered pizzas here because they are so good in my opinion that it is all I want to order. We did order the Mac n cheese as a supplementary platter to each our pizzas because we were hungry and did not want to share with our 4 year old (lol).

It is very good! Try it! With chunks of mushrooms, bacon, onions and a bit of bread crumbs on top. The pasta was a good texture, not too soft - a pet peeve of mine. Tasted cheesy.


2011 May 11
Caesar close up. Notice the coarse crate on the parma. Nice touch.

2011 May 11
Pour deux.

Double smoked bacon, house croutons, fresh crisp lettuce, hint of anchovy, lightly dressed.


2011 May 29
After seeing Captain Caper's picture, we expected the Warm Beet Salad to be a miniscule thing; it was not! Very generous, with mild and tasty beets. The goat cheese was rich and creamy, and the whole thing came together well.

For sheer flavour, I preferred my Charcuterie Plate, but this is a nice menu option.

2011 May 11
Warm Beet Salad.

'C’est Bon' tarragon goat cheese, apple vinaigrette, pickled fennel, purple and golden beets.

Very nice. The flavors made some chamber music in my mouth.

2011 May 29
Hit and miss!

Hit: My Chocolate Terrine was just great! A dense slab of silky milky creamy chocolate terrine studded with pistachios, swimming in a generous puddle of lemon-scented custard. What's not to love! The custard is what made this dish.

Miss: My wife's Lemon Tart was more of an overcooked shortcrust filled with runny lemon pudding. She admitted to having been spoiled recently by excellent lemon tarts at Black Cat Bistro and (less recently) Domus Cafe , but this was really not very good. Our expectation of a lemon tart is that the crust should be tender rather than crunchy, and the filling should hold its shape when cut rather than dribbling out onto the plate.

Get the terrine! :-)