Courtyard Restaurant
Courtyard Restaurant
Weekend Brunch at Courtyard Restaurant
Weekend Brunch at Courtyard Restaurant
Courtyard Restaurant
Courtyard Restaurant
Foods from Courtyard Restaurant

2016 Jun 1
Haven't been to Courtyard in forever but w.c. and I decided to hit a patio lunch here and I was actually wowed. Absolutely fantastic server younger lad (Jonah I think his name was...) who was very knowledgeable about wine and the menu and didn't miss a beat on service.

Everything we ate was golden.

The mushroom gnocchi in a cream sauce with broccoli rabe with a lovely smokey Quebec cheese and a delightful cheese crisp garnish may just be the best thing I have eaten in an Ottawa restaurant all year - Let's keep in mind that Gnocchi is in in my my 5 most favourite foods so I maybe biased, but still... It was flavourful, the ingredients were balanced, and the homemade gnocchi texture was darn close to perfect.

w.c. had the patty melt that featured perfectly cooked ground chuck, a deliciously buttery brioche bun, with cheese and pickle and a great sauce that held it all together. The wedges were crispy and lightly seasoned and very tasty. Considering we tend to usually prefer frites I will be honest in telling you I would order these on there own if they came with some kind of epic dip.

The meal was also served with Nat's Bread Company sourdough which was a great accompaniment to the pasta. On a sidenote Nat's makes some great bread!

Courtyard got an A+ this round. Lunch prices are quite reasonable if you want a cheaper non-dinner option. The patio is a great place to enjoy the recently pleasant weather as well!

2013 Aug 12
Date of Visit: July 14, 2013

I picked this spot for my evening meal during a scouting expedition in the Byward Market area one very hot Sunday morning. What appealed to me, perhaps even more than the menu, was the lovely cool and shaded courtyard from which it takes its name. The menu, though brief, and consisting of just 16 items excluding desert, was quite rich with the promise that anything I might order would be both complex and interesting…

Scallop Appetizer ... Rating: 4 out of 5
Elk ... Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Courtyard is a lovely restaurant with great service and it us obvious they take pains over the quality of food. Despite a couple of flaws in the meal I will be looking to come back here with my wife sometime. Rating 4 out of 5.

See full pictorial review at:

2012 Apr 24
Curtis Luk will be leaving to start his own resto in Vancouver:

2011 Aug 6
We had lunch here a couple of Saturdays ago after checking out several other menus in the market. It was very hot and I would highly recommend eating inside in a lovely air conditioned, stone/brick dining room rather than on the hot patio. The patio was full and all diners outside were obviously distressingly warm.
We already knew what we wanted because we had looked at the posted menu. Like Arugula I had the chilled melon soup with crab salad and avocado (delicious and refreshing on a very hot day). Hubby was set on Nicoise Salad and Courtyard’s was a very good rendition—haricot beans, tiny grilled red potatoes, greens, olives and capers and the highlight was the tuna (4 pieces) seared on the outside and rare inside. The dressing was light and delicious. (I had several bites). No hard cooked egg but he didn’t miss it. Neither of our choices were large dishes but we started with bread (Art-is-In) and on a hot day for us it was plenty. Those with large appetites might want an appetizer or dessert.
The service was excellent—we were the only ones inside (32C outside + humidex!...) so the server had to come in and check on only us and we were never neglected. Water was topped up, drinks refreshed, she checked if everything was ok, 3 or 4 minutes after we received our lunch. Dessert was offered but we declined.
The food at other tables looked great (burger & frites in particular). Servings might be smaller than some other places but they were priced accordingly. The service was efficient, prompt and friendly and the whole ambience was pleasant. I think this would be a great spot to bring out of town visitors after some touristy outings.

2011 Jul 26
After reading the reviews here, I decided to go there for lunch with my Mother again (We work downtown, she pays, it all works out for me). My god, I think I have a new favourite resteraunt in Ottawa. I had the Bees Knees cocktail, which was nice, and the braised short rib wrap. Holy crap, melt in your mouth, delicious does not even begin to cover it. It was beyond delectable. I have half of it sitting in my fridge, waiting for me to consume it. THank god my Roomate is a vegetarian, so I don't need to worry about her stealing it. The fries was also heavenly. Right amount of crisp. I often find that when a resteraunt advertises a specific salt on fries (I.E. truffled salt) it's often overused, but this was perfectly used. So good.

My mother had the warm beef salad, and I stole a chunk of the beef, and it was also good. What's more is that we paid less than I would have expected. Definatly going back.

2011 Jul 25
Last week my fabulous boss took me out for lunch. I chose the Courtyard because I had been hearing that Chef Hay's food was way above the neighbouring venues.

First course blew me away: chilled melon soup, crab salad, chili, lime. Gorgeous ruby-coloured soup topped off with a crown of succulent crab meat. They didn't scrimp on the crab either; I had a nice pinkie-sized piece wedged in the mound of crab in the middle of the bowl. With the temps hovering around 46 that day, it was the perfect dish.

Second course went the other direction. It was dubbed "house-made lime dusted corn chips, duck leg ragout, aged cheddar sauce, chef's pickled onions, sour cream, chives." Nice idea, not great in execution. I pictured the duck nachos as having lots of great duck fat moistening the chips, with the cheese notes just adding a hit of richness. The actual plate was a plate of chips with slightly dry duck confit (my guess is that they drained too much fat off). It was dry, bland and overwhelmed by corn flavour. Totally disappointed. At least my boss enjoyed his ahi tuna, cooked slightly more than he requested but good all the same.

So a hit and a miss. BTW, I didn't provide this feedback to the waitress given that my boss was treating me and I didn't want to spoil the festive occasion. I might try them again to see if this was a one time misfire.

2010 Oct 27
Sadly, 3 months ago, the Courtyard restaurant suffered a kitchen fire. One that closed their doors over the summer. But they are now open again and the new menu is more than fitting for the season, filled with dishes that warm your heart and your soul. I attended the re-opening of the restaurant the other night and it was amazing.

Inside, the soft atmosphere of dimly lit tables and old stone walls awaited. Already, an alluring amuse-bouche was anticipating our arrival. Silky tuna tartar with crumbled foie gras torchon, so rich, yet my palate quickly refreshed with the tartness of passion fruit. And just like that, it was gone.

As the dishes continued to arrive, so did the wine. Without my even noticing, my glass never emptied. I was too enthralled by the visual presentation and care that had gone into every single course. The roasted beets had me in awe before the first bite even made it to my mouth. These fresh root vegetables, combined with the goat's cheese coulis, frosted walnuts, golden beet pickles and citrusy lime fluid gel that decorated the plate, created a spectrum of flavours in my mouth like no other. Can you say heaven on a fork?

Crispy pork roulade with celeriac remoulade, siracha and watercress was up next. This exquisitely presented plate was my favourite. The precision in each slice of celeriac was mind-blowing – at first glance it looked like an arrangement of thin, fresh pasta.

The comforting main dish is all anyone would need to get through a cool fall day. Slices of rich, braised beef short ribs, cooked 48 hours sous-vide, rested on a giant pillow of velvety smooth cauliflower coulis. Hints of truffle, king oyster mushrooms, arugula and coffee spaetzle made it difficult to continue in any of the ongoing conversations. At this point, it was me and my plate of food. The world around – nonexistent.

Dessert you say? There's always room for dessert. Luckily I have a separate stomach reserved for that. Otherwise, I would have had to pass on this decadent treat. Bringing me back to my childhood, a generous creamsicle was the headliner to pistachio-fennel cake, creamy licorice namelaka, fragrant orange blossom, candied orange peel and sticky molasses. Wow.

I'd be surprised if you've made it this far into the post without quickly wiping the drool off your keyboard and running to the Courtyard. All of the marvelous people that made this evening (and the many more to come) possible are simply amazing.

This is a place that you will get well taken care of (I still remember a friend's wedding being a huge success). Best thing I can say now is, yay! they're open again!

2010 Mar 26
We had our wedding at the Courtyard on January 9th, and we couldn't be more happy with how it went. Our coordinator was wonderful, the food was phenomenal (especially the butternut risotto) and the staff bent over backwards to make our night perfect. I don't have anything negative to say about our experience, and I highly recommend the Courtyard for any group affair.

2009 Jun 25
Went here for lunch today with my mother and aunt & uncle (visiting from North Sydney, N.S.).
We had just taken a double-decker bus tour of the city (surprisingly good I must say) and were wind-blown/scorched and looking for shade. We scored a perfecto spot outside in the courtyard around 1:00 p.m..

Mom had the Chicken Caesar with double-smoked bacon, lemon dressing, croutons, and caper berries. Aunt had the PEI Mussels served with frites and rouille and Uncle had the baked prosciutto and grilled provolone sandwich with an organic greens side salad. All really enjoyed their lunches.

Me? I had the watermelon salad: olive oil compressed watermelon, feta cheese, chioggia beets, sweet pickled watermelon rind, and micro-greens. (Sounds BIG doesn't it?! Yeah, I thought so too.)
My plate arrived just/less than a minute after theirs - for effect maybe. :) It was placed before me and, you know when everyone looks sympathetically at the person that ordered...uh...not the greatest choice maybe? That person was me. It was beautiful. Oh, indeedy, yes. Stunning! But, ahem, petite. My fork appeared HUGE going in for a landing.

The watermelon was a small block slightly larger than an ice-cube, the feta cheese was as a decorative sauce, the beets ~ three paper thin slices, and the micro greens were a tiny pile atop the watermelon cube.
It WAS delicious - this is just a friendly heads-up for others expecting more.
By the way, watermelon + feta cheese is a great combo.

The bread - multigrain & white baguette - was really good (guess who polished-off most of it?).
Our waiter was superb and efficient.

2008 Jun 20
Went to dinner with friends tonight. Tried the Courtyard after some buzz about a new chef and a renewed menu. Certainly the menu on their website looked promising.

When we arrived, 7:00 on a Friday night, the place had only one other couple in it (not a good sign) adding to my trepidation was the combined effect of the wait staff in hotel-server-style uniforms with (ugh!) name tags and menus that looked from right out of the 70s.

The food on the menu as described looked good though.

The starter cocktail was wonderful -- A George Street Martini, a heady mix of Havana Club Rum, Grand Marnier and lime juice.

Our wine selection was not available and we were warned by the maitre'd that they were changing their wine list and very little was available. Not good. We did settle on a bottle that they said they had in stock, and it was fine.

3 of us had a duck confit terrine as a starter and it was very good. my wife ordered a marscapone truffle risotto as a starter, and we were surprised to see a large portion, completely unadorned brought to the table. All of the appetizers were very good. The duck terrine was truly wonderful. My wife's risotto was tasty but the poor presentation and the sheer volume of it were surprising and showed some cluelessness from the kitchen staff.

Then the entrees came. My wife and had ordered a slow-braised short rib and it came to us looking like pulled pork on mashed potatoes -- shredded to smithereens. This is a presentation choice of the chef I suppose, but it was entirely unnecessary. As well, it was nothing special. Again the presentation was stark -- mashed potatoes with shredded meet on top and that was it.

One of our friends had a scallop dish with pork belly I believe... He said it was okay, just unremarkable.

The other friend, however ordered a yam gnocchi dish with lamb shank and brussel sprouts. The gnocchi was browned to a dark crisp on each side and crusty and tough and the lamb was also burnt crusty on the plate. It's as if the cook finished the dish in a saute pan and just left it still on the heat for 10 minutes. It was horrendous and the fact that it wasn't caught in the kitchen, and THEN wasn't caught by the waiter was a big problem for me -- that's just the sign of a business that stopped caring -- it went along with the hotel-waiter uniforms!

They took the meal back and said she could order anything off the menu for free, but by this time we were mostly done, so she opted to wait for dessert.

We did order dessert and the they were terrific - however, they got my wife's order wrong and she had to wait plateless for a full 15 minutes while we had already finished ours.

So, all in all a disappointing evening. If any one thing went wrong, we could always chalk it up to chance, but a few things went wrong and to me, it was the sign of a business that's tired and not that interested in competing with its newer, more popular neighbours. There comes a time when tradition stops mattering, especially if the core business owes it popularity to location and proximity to other popular environments. The Courtyard in its current form, cannot stand up to the quality standards set by it's neighbours like Ei8hteen, Luxe, and others. Merely changing the chef is not enough.

So, our evening wasn't a disaster. It was just not up to par with expectations. The food was not great, the service was confused and the atmosphere was sorely dated.

As a result, while we have had good experiences in the past here with set-menu functions (wedding party meals etc.)I can't recommend this restaurant for someone looking for a modern dining experience.




2011 May 16
The Green Eggs and Ham were aweseome! Scrambled eggs mixed with arugula pesto resulted in classy and tasty green eggs. The chunk of sous-vide bacon was spectacular! The roesti was the only (mild) disappointment.

The angle of my photo doesn't do the size justice -- there were probably three eggs used in this scramble. We were all very satisfied with the quantity.

2011 May 16
Took my parents here for brunch on Sunday and had a great time! The dining rooms are cozy and elegant, with lots of space between tables. Service was super friendly and accommodating. We were a table of seven, including my 7-year old kids.

We were each given a brunchy amuse-bouche of a little biscuit with butter and strawberry jam. Nice touch!

The Tried and True Benny featured the most perfectly poached eggs (Bekings) I've ever encountered. The ham was a nice thick slice, and the Hollandaise was good. The Roesti was a pretty strange interpretation of this classic Swiss dish, featuring super finely grated potato, some onion, and a cooking method (likely deep frying) that resulted in a crisp and dark exterior and an undercooked interior. I found it to be all right but my wife gave me most of hers.

The compressed fruit is a neat touch, although some people might prefer fresh.

All in all, we were very happy with the food and thrilled with the environment and service.



2007 Sep 26
They have a flat-iron steak cut of Kobe here on the dinner menu. It's from Snake River Farms which is a fairly large producer of American Wagyu.