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See also: Taylor's Genuine · Domus Housewares

Domus Cafe
Domus Cafe
Domus Cafe
Main Course at Domus Cafe
Main Course at Domus Cafe
Salad at Domus Cafe
Soup at Domus Cafe
Dessert at Domus Cafe
Domus Cafe
Domus Cafe
Domus Cafe
Domus Cafe
Domus Cafe
Domus Cafe
Dessert at Domus Cafe
Foods from Domus Cafe

2010 May 11
I went with two friends to Domus for lunch this week and was thrilled to enjoy the good food in such a sunny, bustling location. Nice ambiance. We were near the front window so we didn't get to see any of the action at the open kitchen.

Two of us had the smoked trout dish and it was well prepared and plated. It looked as good as it tasted.

The third lunch was Berkshire chorizo sausage with polenta. My friend didn't know what chorizo sausage was so was pretty disappointed when it was so spicy. I wished I had known that she wasn't familiar with the name. She was feeling so keen on going to Domus so in some ways it was a double disappointment.

The bread they gave us to start was fresh and they provided oil and balsamic for dipping. The cutest little dish and little spoon! I have mixed feelings about bread at a meal. It is filling but when it is so tasty, it is hard to resist it!

Then only two of us went for dessert. I had the Crème Brulée. I know I have had creamier but it was still really good. The top was just the right doneness and not too thick. There was a swish of rhubarb coulis on the plate beside the dessert which I quite liked. Anything rhubarb is okay by me.

The other dessert was the Domus House Classic “Mini” Truffle Cake. With all the chatting I forgot to ask about it and I missed sneaking a taste. Picture looks pretty!

Also, I quite like the cranberry spritzers we had to start. They looked so Spring-like and beautiful in the tall glasses. I am not sure I would have gone for them as I tend to just get water. The others had decided on them so I just followed suit. Glad I did.

Domus is not a cheap place to go for lunch. I like the idea that it is a bit dressy. And that it focuses on regional seasonal Canadian ingredients. It was lovely. I didn't have an eyeball rolling experience but I did like it and would love to go back.

Our waiter was thoughtful. I did notice another review that suggested that their waiter may have been too attentive and I do believe there is such a thing. I only say that as I think there are times that a table is so into themselves that there is no room for an 'extra'. And when a waiter notices those times, it is good to remain silent, no need for conversation, and go easy on the water refills.

I was lucky to find metered parking on the street that was for two hours. Lucky considering that is how long we were at lunch! So comfy and relaxed and lots to talk about.

For more details on the review to see pictures you may want to read my blog:

2010 Mar 6
We went for lunch this week. For many years, Domus was our main go-to place for a good meal when we headed downtown, but in our last couple of visits, maybe 2-3 years ago, we were a tad disappointed, and felt that the quality had slipped a notch or two. Based on our recent lunch, however, I'm happy to report that Domus seems to be back on form.

I had the daily "sustainable fish" selection, "king" (chinook) salmon, with fingerling potatoes, beets, and greens. This description does not do the dish justice - it looked great, and tasted even better! It was good to the last morsel, and I was grateful to have some good bread on the side to sop up those last few molecules. My wife was equally pleased with her dish, house smoked trout and Yukon Gold potato rosti, with root veggie slaw, creme fraiche and beet/apple chutney. We also shared a very good pear meringue tart for dessert, accompanied by excellent coffee.

Domus has a very interesting, and fairly reasonably-priced, wine list, with heavy emphasis on Ontario VQA wines. I had a glass of excellent 07 Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay, while my wife partook of the zippy and refreshing 08 Henry of Pelham Sibling Rivalry white blend.

Service was also exemplary. Domus is not inexpensive by any means (mains are around $20 at lunchtime, and $30-$35 at dinnertime), but I think the value is there. A lot of restaurants are on the localism bandwagon, but Domus is one of the few local establishments that also takes the sustainable seafood concept seriously - a big plus in my book. Kudos to John Taylor!

2009 Nov 2
Finally went to Domus over the week end for a family celebration. Overall, we were pleased - but not wowed- with our mains and the wine. Service was efficient, rather unfriendly, and prompt. I was very surprised at how quickly food was served. I noticed that everyone had the same sides, regardless of what was ordered, so that might speed up service.

4 of us ordered the daily soup (butternut squash) and we unanimously did not like it as it was way too sweet. I didn't finish mine. For me, the soup ruined the experience a bit. I love squash and was really looking forward to taste a good squash soup. I could not taste the squash.

The bread was ok, but really not what I was expecting, and it was sliced way too thin. I must be a purist, but I don't quite understand why they would serve an sweet apple vinaigrette instead of butter. Again, that vinaigrette was extremely sweet and it really did not complement an already too-sweet soup. None of us understood how we were supposed to deal with the vinaigrette. We finally ordered butter and dismissed the vinaigrette.

The main is where things got more interesting. I had the fish: pickerel and scallop. The scallop was divine, the fish was really good. My favorite part of the dish was probably the mushrooms; I could have had just a bowl of those and would have been happy. The cale was good but too salty. It had to be eaten separately as the saltiness would completely hide the delicate fish. I was a bit puzzled as to why they would serve these two together - but then I noticed that we basically all had the same sides, regardless of what we ordered. My blue potatos were not cooked enough - they were really hard. My partner's potatos, on the other hand, were burnt. My plate also had two coulis and a green tomato "salsa". I could not eat either of those three because they were too sweet. A sweet couli on pickerel? Go figure.

My partner had the bison. The meat was delicious, cooked to perfection exactly as ordered. It was served with a blueberry sauce (I love blueberries, but this was also way too sweet). Other dinners had duck and lapin. I didn't try the lapin but other diners seemed to think it was the best of the mains. The duck was tender, flavourful, but it did not wow anyone.

No one had dessert.

We all thought that the red wine was too cold, but we could be wrong on that - none of us were wine experts. I'd be curious to know other people's opinion on the matter.

Looking at the pricelist, we were expecting a bit more originality and inventiveness with the flavours.

2009 Sep 15
Run. Run as fast as you can to Domus and order the Braised Beef “Shortrib” and C’est Bon Goat Cheese Ravioli” before the menu changes.

I've reviewed Domus before. This time I've upped my rating (from 4 to 5 stars). The second I took my first bite of the ravioli starter I knew it would change. I haven't been in awe like this in a while. The flavour of the tender meat in each little pocket was so powerful that even with the goat cheese on top, you could clearly taste it. Each ingredient only complemented each other more and more with every morsel.

My husband ordered the “Memories of Manitou” Warm Summer Tomato Puff Pastry Tart served with yellow cherry tomato salad, green basil pesto and C’est Bon goat's cheese. Also very yummy.

Our mains were equally delicious. My husband went with the Cast Iron Crispy Skinned Barbarie Duck Breast and Ian's Brown Smoke served with yukon whipped potato, pan roasted sweet corn, cauliflower, swiss chard chutney and jus. I tried his duck, cooked rare, and it was fantastic.

My main, the special of the day, a rare cooked venison steak served with similar sides as my husband, as well as Le Coprin mushrooms, and bathing in a red wine and garlic jus was simply to die for.

The wine, 2007 Thirty Bench Red from Niagara Lake.

Every single food item on this menu is local. I would have to say that this is THE place to bring someone who is from another town in another country far away if you want them to experience local foods at their best. The service is also consistently impeccable. You are guaranteed to have an amazing evening.

2009 Apr 19
Their stacked tomato salad (Metropolitain's doesn't even come close to comparing), professional and courteous service, the restaurant's cleanliness, the choice of wine and the general comfort of knowing I will not be disappointed by the experience has me go back to Domus Cafe over and over again. The only downside is you run the risk of being treated as a second class citizen if you don't have reservations.

2009 Mar 7
I was on a business lunch today and went to probably one of the most consistently delicious restaurants in Ottawa. I wouldn't say the food knocks you off your feet but you always know it's going to be fresh and highly pleasing. The presentation also makes your mouth water within seconds. One of the best parts of Domus is the fact they are the first in Canadian, regional and seasonal cuisine and have their ingredients delivered directly from local-area farms. Today I had their Canadian Coast to Coast Sustainable Fish Selection which was a fabulous in-house smoked trout chowder. The fish was so flavourful and they were extremely generous with the portions. That along with their fresh bread and blueberry oil for dipping had me ready for a glass of port and an afternoon off. Unfortunately that didn't happen. What I did get to do, and which is unusual for a business lunch, was try the other dishes on the table. I tried the other plate I almost went with myself, the “Domus Cow” Meat Pie made with rosemary jus, roasted potato, root vegetable slaw and delicious tomato apple chutney. I also had a bite of the Canadian Wild Rice and Toasted Pearl Barley Risotto made with Le Coprin mushrooms, goats cheese and herb oil. Although every dish was fantastic, the risotto would have probably been better as a side dish and not a main; however, it makes a great vegetarian option. The service, as usual, was superb and very attentive. Soups range from $7 to $10, salads from $14 to $16 and mains from $18 to $24 on the lunch menu. For dinner, starters range from $8 to $20 and mains from $28-$32.

2008 Jun 19
Great food, great service!! My duck with foie gras was cooked perfect. The braised radishes are worth going there for alone!! Some of the best food ive had in ottawa yet!!

2008 May 23
I took my mom to Domus for a late supper on Mother's Day. I would say we were satisfied overall, but not wowed. I've eaten at Domus in the past, I lived in Ottawa briefly six years ago, and at that time I was wowed by their food and service.

My mother had their stacked tomato salad with mascarpone. It was lovely, inspiring a (vain) attempt to recreate it myself the following week. I had the appetizer wild mushroom risotto. The presentation was stunning on a huge gorgeous white plate (I ended up buying smaller version of the same plates at CAParadis a few days later), but I found the risotto itself disappointing. There's no other way to say it: it tasted like Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, and was on the mushy side. Souper rice--o! childhood comfort food--how out of place you are in fine dining.

We both had fish for our mains, I had the tuna, my mother the daily selection (halibut? I can't remember). We were both a bit quiet in the first few bites and then both asked Is yours cold, too? Mostly it was the side vegetables that were cold, my mother's fish was perfect and mine was, well, cool. I mean, I know rare tuna isn't exactly scalding, but this was cooler than I would expect. Regardless, the waiter apologized and had the kitchen prepare us new sides (I didn't bother asking for new fish) which arrived super quick and were oustanding. Three spears of asparagus, wild mushrooms, and sauteed spinach. Really, the vegetables, once properly prepared, quite outshone every other aspect of the meal for me at that point.

I had their lemon quartet for dessert, lemon curd, lemon cake, lemon sorbet and lemon pannacotta, each a little miniature, but together on a lovely rectangle plate packing a terrific lemon punch. The variety of intensity, from the subtle creamy lemon of the pannacotta to the puckering zing of the sorbet, was delightful, and it felt deliciously sinful to get to eat "four" desserts. I also had a raspberry dessert wine, which was a foolish choice, since once the lemon had seared itself into my taste buds I couldn't taste much of the wine. My mother had vanilla crême brulée and pronounced it fair to middling, while characterizing the coffee (decaf to be fair, it was close to 10) excruciating.

I have a few complaints. First, we looked at their menu online when I made the reservation and were surprised when we got to the restaurant to see an entirely different menu than the Early Spring 2008 they still have on their site. I was particularly disappointed there was no duck at all, since my fondest Domus memory is of an outstanding duck main.

Second, obviously the problem with the room temperature main course.

My third complaint was a lot of repetition in the menu. It seemed like every main had the same vegetable side, which meant if I wanted the risotto, like it or not I was having wild mushrooms twice in the meal. Now I like wild mushrooms a lot, and I really wanted that risotto, but I would have liked the option of not having them again in my second course. There were other repeats, too, which slip my mind now, and the online menu isn't what we were offered, so it's hard to be specific. It felt like maybe the edict of market and local was getting in the way of a fuller menu--it is still spring after all, we've got a few months before the local bounty overruns with variety.

The service was polite and affable, if a little over-attentive. The waiter re-filled our sparkling water glasses every time he passed the table, whether we'd sipped or not, so that as the meal progressed our glasses got fuller and fuller, which was a litle weird.

Overall, as I say, the meal was satisfactory, but not outstanding. And honestly, it was a gift to my mother, and the meal cost $175 (no alcohol other than my dessert wine): for that price on a special occasion, I feel outstanding was warranted.

2008 Apr 6
Domus has been on my wishes list for a long time. I kept delaying to try the food there, partly due to the snow and partly due to the review of my friends although the foodies here gave very good reviews to Domus.

What my friends said
A friend told me that Domus’s food itself was good; but for the food price they charged, he expected something more unique - basically, a restaurant with a character (for example, something like Sweetgrass, Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro , where you can understand the culture from the food). Interesting way of looking at food!

Another friend's colleague made the comment that Domus's wine list contains a majority of good Canadian wines and the food itself was good. Overall, for the price, his colleague indicated that he could have done better elsewhere.

My review
I have finally tried their lunch on a Saturday. To be honest, I had an enjoyable lunch there although I have to agree that their lunch menu price is a bit more expensive (about $50 per person without wine or drink). Considering the fact that Domus is located in the Byward market (i.e., higher rent) and the minimum wage has just been increased, I guess that many restaurants will increase the menu price accordingly. I notice that Domus has increased their menu price by about 10% for the mains when I had my lunch there few weeks ago (their website was not updated with the new price when I went there and now they have already updated their website’s menu with the new price.)

We arrived at 11:30 AM and were seated promptly (At that time, the place was very empty, only 2 tables were filled). The place was filled up very quickly and was full at 12:30PM.

Service was not bad, but it is not like the same restaurant class as Le Baccara, Le Baccara. Still very good though.

Note on Parking
With an increase to on-street parking rates to $3 per hour , it is best to park your car in the parking lot at the corner of Dalhousie and St. Patrick ($5 for the whole day).

2008 Mar 27
Domus Café has great food, great presentation, great service, great atmosphere! Last time I went was for Valentine's day (evening menu is almost twice the price as the lunch menu), I had seared foie gras (one of my favorites).
If you want to try it out on a budget, you should go there at lunch time ;-) Try the soup of day, it's always very tasty!
(A similar place with similar prices is the bistro at the French Baker on Murray too, only opened at lunch time).

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2008 Apr 6
We want to try their "Crazy Good" Warm Chocolate Cake originally. However, we were told that this will take about 20 minutes preparation time.

So, we changed our mind and tried their Carrot Cake ($10) instead. Delicious as it looks!

2007 May 27
I'm still thinking about this chocolate truffle cake.

2007 Jan 3
Sure. I posted it in the Forum.

2006 Dec 14
Care to share that recipe with us? :)

2006 Dec 14
I remeber being in charge of the desserts the first night I was there, and I must say that the Creme Brulee was hands-down the most popular item. It's almost as good as my Chocolate Banana Strawberry Creme Brulee ;)

2006 Dec 9
Desserts here are made-to-order, as should be expected from a restaurant of this caliber. I ordered the vanilla creme brule, and my husband ordered a cranberry and white chocolate tarte. My creme brule had the perfect amount of 'crust' on top. His tarte had a lovely, flaky crust. Both were wonderful and beautifully presented.


2007 May 27
I asked our waiter to recommend a robust red wine, and he immediately suggested a Cabernet Sauvignon. Well played, sir - it was absolutely to my taste (delicious!) and I thoroughly enjoyed every drop :) Next time I may order a bottle of something and just ask them to bring the food slowly throughout the night so I have a chance to finish it!

2007 Feb 7
Domus offers one of the best Canadian wine list in Ottawa downtown. Here I realized that the quality of many Ontario white wines is improved a lot. I match my fish selection (scalopps + mushrooms+ spinachs) with a Canadian no-oaked Chardonnay from Niagara region. It was crisp, with a refreshing acidity, well balanced with hints of citrus and floral notes with a medium finish.
My girlfriend had a good Sauvignon Blanc from the same region. It was very complex with aromas of tropical fruits and grapefruit, full body and with a long finish. It was very crisp. Those wines were good choices for our fish selections. Even the ice-wines list was wide with many good labels.

2006 Dec 9
Like a few other restaurants in Ottawa, Domus tries to focus on local and Canadian cuisine. This is also true with their wine list, which features some wonderful bottles from all over Canada, focusing most on Ontario (and therefore the Niagara region).

I drooled over the first page of the list, which was rare/'last call' bottles of various vintages. We might have been celebrating my birthday, but we also didn't want to drop $70+ on a single bottle of wine, no matter how delicious it might be. Instead, we turned the page over to the local reds choices, and went with a Stonechurch Cabernet Franc. It was a balanced wine with flavours of blackberry and fresh pepper, and a hint of vanilla. Probably not the best choice for my salmon dish, but paired nicely with the risotto and my husband's duck.

I can see why they have won wine awards.





2008 Apr 6
The bread arrived on our table hot with smoke! Fabulous bread. I gave 5 stars for their bread! (I forgot what it was. But very filling and tasted like homemade.) Too bad that I didn't take the photo of their bread.



2008 Apr 6
This was their house chowder ($25). Not too rich and this was what my friend wanted.

2008 Apr 6
This was their Warm House Smoked Ontario Rainbow Trout ($22).



2008 Apr 6
This was the Daily Market Soup I ordered. I forgot what it was. A little bit sour. Good to start! Isn't it beautiful!

The server also asked me if I wanted to have another slice of bread to go with my soup. No doubt about it.


2008 Apr 6
This was the Endive Beet Salad ($14) my friend ordered.

Because we got a window seat, the picture turned out pretty nice with natural lighting. I think this is the best food photo I have taken.