Dessert at Beckta
Dessert at Beckta
Foods from Beckta

2017 Feb 8
I'm a frequent reader but intermittent reviewer on here, but I promised my mother I'd post a review of our dinner at Beckta last week for my birthday.

TL:DR Food, and especially service, were amazing. Also Beckta handles the concept of customers having allergies or other food restrictions with far more aplomb and dignity than any other restaurant I have visited in this city.

The service was fantastic even with us having very high expectations. In addition to the usual (and met) expectations (e.g. being attentive without being overbearing, being able to make good wine pairing suggestions), I especially liked that they asked about the allergies when we first made the reservation and that they naturally and unobtrusively accommodated them throughout the meal (e.g. re-confirming who had what allergy once we were seated, providing an alternate amuse-bouche).

I also liked that when our server saw that my dessert was mostly uneaten, she offered to substitute it for another option when I explained that the initial dessert had not been to my liking.

So the food:

I had the sunchoke veloute, and the duck margret, and both were fantastic. The veloute was well-spiced and had a nice tanginess from the sea buckthorn (which the server had described when I asked as being slightly similar to ground cherries: this was an apt description). The duck was extremely tender and delicious, and well balanced with it's accompaniments.

My parents both had the cod, and both declared it wonderful (although most of my dad's kale was treated as a garnish rather than as a food :-). My father ordered the oysters as his app, and though I don't like oysters then just from the presentation I was almost a convert to trying them again. He thoroughly enjoyed them. My mother's app was the perch, which was also declared splendid.

The only slightly iffy note on food/service was in the desserts.

My father ordered the caramel nougat bar and thoroughly enjoyed it. My mother and I each ordered the lemon tartlet, but we both found the smoked elements of the dish vastly overpowered the other flavours, and neither of us finished much of our tarts.

While it was nice that the server asked me about my enjoyment of the dish, and offered me a substitute when I explained that I hadn't liked it, then she didn't make the same offer to my mother (who had similarly left most of her tart behind), and I think it might have been better if she had.

It wasn't a disaster though: I ordered the nougat bar as my replacement dessert which my mother and I then split, and since the nougat bar was quite large this still left both of us feeling that we had had a reasonable dessert.

So to sum up (finally,they said), other than finding one dessert off and one very, very tiny element of service slightly askew, than we had a fantastic meal and a fantastic night out, and I would definitely highly recommend Beckta dining room to anyone who wants a special night out.

2015 Nov 3
I visited Beckta this last weekend. It was my first time. I'm a huge fan of Play, and have visited countless times since its opening. Since this was a special occasion (my partner's birthday), we enjoyed the tasting menu, and also the wine pairing.

I don't consider myself a foodie expert at all, but I love food. Was the food well executed? Absolutely. Foie gras was melt in your mouth good, lobster was delicate and succulent and the sweetbreads were an absolute delight.

A few things were a bit of a letdown though. The pumpkin soup was a bit too spicy and had too much of a tomato taste. The server said the kitchen was going to a bisque texture, but I did not taste any pumpkin in the soup.

Swiss chard with the duck seemed too powerful. I actually left if on my plate.

The cheese and apple dessert could have been a bit more creative. I say this because the Chestnut dessert was spectacular (homemade beavertail? Yes!) I found the Cru du Clocher a bit too powerful for the delicate apple ice cream. Made me regret not getting the Milk & Cookies option instead.

One other thing that remains a mystery, and maybe it's just because that's how Beckta works is that there was no pairing for the dessert course. I was too shy to ask why not, but maybe it is something that could be considered? I know Play and Beckta don't cater to the same clientele, but there is a suggested wine/dessert wine/cocktail for the desserts at Play. This could be an idea for this place.

Overall, a very nice meal. I am glad I got to try it after all those years, but I think I'll stick to Play from now on, and will also head to Gezellig to see how it compares.

2015 Aug 6
Stopped in this evening with a pair of out-of-town visitors, more or less on a whim, after deciding over beers at the Pump that we should have dinner Somewhere Nice.

I started off with an excellent Manhattan (rocks), my companions opted for a bottle of white (Pinot Gris, maybe the Five Rows?), selecting from three recommendations from our server (shout-out to follow below).

I decided on the three-course prix fixe, opened with greens with baby radish, blistered olive, goat cheese, grilled corn vinaigrette; followed by venison striploin with chimichurri, ricotta parsnip puree (with granola, clever crunchy), snap peas, and chard (was the chard from the seventh-floor terrace? I took the visitors there afterwards and they were delighted by the little 'Beckta' spikes in the plots -- 'we just ate there!,' haha). Finished with a suitably scaled-up s'mores dessert. Couple of glasses of a nice Sangiovese (again, one of the server's recommendations) with my venison, and a double espresso, short, with dessert.

The visitors opted to order from the wine bar menu, but wanted the salad I got with my prix fixe, and were graciously accommodated. One of them got a brace of oysters, which he was pleased with, while the other ordered the tuna sashimi with soybean aioli, as well as the beef tartare (hemp seeds, dijon, served with taro chips). I sampled both of the latter, and they were well-prepared and fresh-tasting. Good stuff.

Our server, Paul, was friendly and knowledgeable (the wine recommendations were evocative and practically dizzying), and handled the fact that two of our party had been shooting the breeze over beers at the Pump for some two hours before dinner very well. I like to think we weren't obnoxious, but there was a fair bit of friendly bickering (not with him, amongst ourselves) and he didn't skip a beat, recovered from being talked over as if it hadn't happened. The other staff who delivered the various courses and plates were also very professional but not the least bit stuffy, no haughtiness, no bowing/scraping, no forced smiles (but a good handful of seemingly genuine ones). Service was attentive, yet transparent when it needed to be. All in all, a great evening out for three people who very seldom see each other.

Big thanks to Steve and the team, top-notch work, I'll be back for sure.

2015 Jun 24
Tried the new Becka location this week. Nice spot, I love that the bar menu included light food options. My favourite was the white asparagus with Romano and almond butter:) the radish dish was lovely too:)))

2014 Dec 27
I had the pleasure of dining at the new Beckta recently, and I am pleased to report that everything you loved about the "old Beckta" remains intact - great food, stellar wine list, terrific service. Add to that successful formula a spectacular new location, and I think we can look forward to many lovely evenings in the care of Stephen Beckta and his team.

It really is a special location. I am among the many long time Ottawa residents with fond family memories of the Elgin Street location in its past incarnations. I hoped that the building would survive as a restaurant in some form, and was thrilled to learn that Beckta would be relocating there. The renovations have been beautifully executed. I'm no architect, but it certainly feels to me as though the special feeling of being in an historic building has been preserved, with the addition of a much needed freshness.

As to the food, I enjoyed the sumac cured Arctic Char followed by the duck breast. My husband had oysters followed by the strip loin. Both were outstanding. I think I won on the accompaniments...the "corn nut-crusted croquette, white bean purée, porcini ash, garlic confit, watercress, cinnamon caps, chèvre fondue" combination was our agreed favourite.

I can't wait to try the small plates in the bar area. I checked out the menu on my way out and it was intriguing. You'll hear from me when I've have a chance to try a few things. Meanwhile, if you have a reason to reserve a table somewhere special, Beckta is a great choice.

2014 Nov 19
Wishing Beckta 2.0 an excellent opening night today at their new location on Elgin!

I had the privilege of attending a pre-opening party there on Friday. From the legendary graciousness of Steve and his staff to the beautiful decor and Andrew King artwork, the new digs are sure to help maintain Beckta's position as the cornerstone of Ottawa's fine dining scene.

The new "wine bar" area is particularly attractive, and bartender Paul's version of the Boulevardier cocktail (pictured) was most excellent.

2013 Aug 25
It's been a while since I've been to Beckta and our pre birthday celebration visit on Friday reminded me that we need to go there more often. Everything about the evening was perfect. Excellent service, food, atmosphere - all was as perfect as I remembered.

The menu has so many interesting options that it took us a while to consider them all, and we were not rushed in any way. Enjoyed a perfectly made manhattan, nicely chilled in a cold glass. Being served warm Manhattans is a pet peeve for me at some places, so I generally order them on the rocks. Beckta did it correctly.

Picture is of an amazing appetizer - torchon of foie gras with grilled peaches and pistachios. All our selections were excellent, but this is the one that completely blew our minds. Also had the bbq sweetbreads which were so nice, with a smoky, off the grill taste. Mains were the butter poached lobster and the halibut, both generous portions, perfectly cooked, accompanied by unique preparations of fresh seasonal veggies and sauces.

We shared a corn crusted cobbler of stone fruit and cherries with berries and caramel macarons. We especially loved the tarragon ice cream that topped it off.

The wine suggestions from our server were top notch, and we discovered a very nice Prince Edward County Closson Chase Chardonnay.

Our evening was special in every way and reminded me that Beckta is still setting the standard for innovative cuisine and outstanding service. I enjoyed it so much that I made a reservation at Gezellig for my actual birthday this week and expect that it will also be a wonderful experience.

2013 Jun 27
What a great evening! The food was as excellent as I expected, but what surprised me was the pace. We took two hours to eat, but at no point did it feel rushed nor slow; things flowed so smoothly that we simply enjoyed our time and our food.

I had the young organic salad greens, which was a high pile of baby lettuces of at least four sorts, quite tasty even if the vinaigrette seemed absent, same for my friend's spring salad. Though it did not seem to miss it - or else was present in the perfect amount to not be noticed. Difficult to say at a place of such level. The red pear and goat cheese were of impeccable quality, the cheese of a nice firm consistency and just the right goat tanginess. My friend did not enjoy the chickweed as part of her salad, finding it too sharp, though she loved the rest; the waitstaff enquired when seeing a fair amount of it left, and graciously comped it.

I decided for the Wellington County beef, and said "a touch more than rare" even though I usually go medium-rare. What insight I had! For a piece of such succulent meat, I am happy that I decided to have it at the preparation that allowed me to taste every iota of its juices, tenderness and flavour, and thus paid proper respect to its quality - and that of the kitchen. The sides were all fantastic, and as I requested not to have the olive aioli (olives basically make me nauseous), the kitchen prepared a small demi-glaze which married the beef and its marinade perfectly. The dandelion and cheddar purée was very different, and very very tasty, just a bit of sharpness to counter the mushrooms and the nummy steak.

My friend had the salmon steak, and appreciated its tenderness; she was asked which level of doneness she wanted it cooked, which I found great to ask for salmon of high quality. She said the "translucent" lower level, though in parts it was a bit more - but still highly delicious to her.

Oh, the various-seed and sourdough breads were of course delicious in their own types of flavours, and the brown butter was excellent even if I can't figure out why.

We definitely left space for dessert, and the card was tentalizing. I opted for the rhubarb tart, while my friend took the maple-licious. The cream cheese was of perfect consistency, and eaten with the bits of stewed rhubarb on top transcented the sum of its parts... well, maybe not, but my mouth sure was happy! Even the roasted pistachios were nice. The parsnip ice cream took some getting used to - definitely a unique and new taste, but it grew on me after a while (though I wouldn't go out of my way for it). The juniper berries I left, as I don't like that taste at all, but it was a small portion of a well-balanced plate. I'd have tasted more than a tiny sliver of the maple-icious, but the whisky reduction kept me away - being on painkillers, I had to avoid alcohol. I will have to go back as the wine list looked most interesting, and the scotch and whiskies selection impressed me.

A bit expensive, as I expected, but the portions were just perfect to not be bloated, and the quality was worth the price - for a special treat, for me. The service was never intrusive, and the atmosphere most pleasant. I had high expectations, and they were met.

2013 Jun 27
Well, about time I try this place tonight, for my birthday, with a friend. I live less than two blocks away, so really, no excuse. :) I expect a very scrumptious review, like so many others.

2013 Jun 19
Went to Beckta Tuesday evening with a party of 8 to celebrate my sister being called to the bar (becoming a lawyer).

Beautiful evening. Let me just say, if you haven't been to try the veal sweetbreads you're missing out. These are so creamy and smooth, perfectly seasoned and an absolute delight. A very decadent appetizer.

I had the beef for my main and the beef was cooked perfectly medium rare as requested and again delicious. The very bizarre kalamata olive aioli which should have been great was actually repulsive, it tasted of uncooked alcohol and neither my sister or I could touch it. My other other gripe was the blinking juniper berries with desert, of all 3 who ordered that desert no one could eat them, they were off putting and ruined an otherwise amazing desert.

Service was attentive yet unobtrusive, memorable evening and I would go back in a heart beat.






2006 Dec 31
The fatty, salty foie gras on top of the buttery, sweet banana bread french toast was such a perfect pairing, and then the fresh, tart and clean taste of the grapefruit salsa and greens was a welcome foil. I couldn't finish the appetizer. It was just too decadent. It would have been like eating an entire box of Godiva truffles, or having an hour-long orgasm. Just too much.





2009 Oct 25
I almost always start with a beer when I visit Beckta's because they always have something interesting to serve. On tap, too.

2007 Apr 10
This is in response to Zymurgist's comment re: desired wider beer selection at Beckta.

This restaurant is owned by a sommelier and it is even titled "Restaurant and Wine Bar". The emphasis is intentionally on wine. The main reason to go there is to experience Stephen Beckta's amazing wine pairing with Chef Michael Moffat's scrumptious dishes.

If you are are not a lover of wine, you may not want to eat here. The food is delicious on it's own but the menu is designed around the wine.

The place is very popular and I can't see the format being changed any time soon. Although, even with the short list of available beer, you might go anyway and query Beckta on his knowledge and beer & menu pairings. Given his genius on wine, I bet he knows a lot about all types of alcohol!

2007 Mar 17
Website lists Steamwhistle, Amstel Light, Upper Canada .9, Blanche du Chambly, Stella Artois, Trois Pistoles, St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout. Small, but well-rounded selection. Though sounds like the sort of place that really could benefit from expanding their selection a bit and learning more about how to serve/recommend it like wine.

Based on some of the reviews especially from "Fat Cat" I really want to check this place out sometime. Fine dining and "non-pretentious" normally don't go together :-)







2010 Aug 17
I love petits fours! mmmm
This is what you get while you pay your bill. What a way to sweeten you up!

2010 Aug 17
Dessert was great if you like mousse and strawberries