Dessert at Beckta
Dessert at Beckta
Foods from Beckta

2012 Jun 8
My old friend from high school was visiting me from Boston, so I decided to take her to a special place for dinner. I researched the ottawafoodies forum first, and Beckta seems to be a nice place to spend a night with old friend, so here we came.

The outside of the restaurant was fairly unassuming, nestled between tall buildings on Nepean St. It is an old house with squeaking floor and a nice bay window on the main floor; interior decor is clean-lined modern yet furniture. The washroom is on 2nd level, decorated with fresh flower and hand towels. I liked this place already!

The waiter welcomed us upon coming into the restaurant, sat us down and we quickly decided that we wanted to try the 5 course tasting menu with wine pairing. My friend really likes foie gras, so I made the request to substitute one of the courses with foie gras, and to my surprise, the waiter was very accommodating, we were extremely pleased.

1st Course: Albacore tuna with avocado smoothie, ginger gastrique and sesame snaps. Paired with Muscadet Sevre et Maine "Cuvee Harmonie" Michel Delhommeau, France 2010.

The wine was my absolute favorite in the night! Light and refreshing, with a hint of tree sap, both my friend and I love it! My friend really enjoyed the tuna, I thought the cut could be thicker, and it just melt in the mouth. The avocado smoothie was divine, yum! And sesame snaps, pure delight! My friend kept talking about it days after. For something so common, it added a wonderful extra crunch to the dish.

2nd Course: Pan seared foie gras, maple hazelnut butter on toasted brioche and mango minto float. Paired with Muscat de Rivesaltes "Flor" Domaine Gardies, France 2010

This was my friend's favorite course of the night! The foie gras was seared to perfection, slightly burned on the outside, very tender inside. Toasted brioche complimented so well the foie gras that both of us enjoyed enormously. BTW, the hazelnut butter was GREAT with the all seeds bread too!

The muscat was however not our favorite. It was a little bit bitter and fruity enough. Both of us agreed that a Canadian icewine would be better paired with this dish.

3rd Course: Tagliatelle pasta with shaved truffles, orchid rhubarb vigaigrette and granola. Paired with Sangiovese, Noceto, Amador County, USA 2008.

I cannot remember too much about this wine. The pasta was perfectly cooked, not too hard not too soggy, just right! I thought that the vinaigrette was a bit sour, but my friend thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as the shaved truffle. I, on the other hand, did not really like the texture of the truffle, a king oyster mushroom would do just fine. We also thought that the granola was another nice touch of the "Beckta extras" ^_^

4th Course: Pan seared Quebec duck breast magret. BC morel mushrooms, fiddleheads and asparagus. Paired with Cabernet Sauvignon "Zubiola" Pago de San Gabriel, Navarra, Spain 2007.

This was MY favorite dish of the night! The duck breast was marinated and cooked to perfection! It reminded me of the taste of cured Jinhua ham yet very tender inside. Even though duck is a fattier meat, this one was not, perhaps the searing took away the fatty part and only left the tender juice inside, just wonderful! Picture shown here is half eaten, I forgot to take it when it was untouched, too excited to try.

5th Course: Chocolate mousse, stewed figs, black currant beignets, chocolate soil and a scoop of Verjus frozen yoghurt. Paired with Muscat, Campbells, Rutherglen, Australia N.V.

This was a great dessert dish to end our night. The chocolate mousse was made with dark chocolate, very smooth texture; the stewed figs added that extra natural sugar needed to compliment the chocolate. My only complaint is the frozen yoghurt, it was ginger flavored, and I do not like ginger! However I would also agree to choose a light and refreshing flavor like lychee.

--Continued in next post

2012 Apr 6
Thanks for the suggestion on the round-shaped puffed rice Aisu. Much appreciated!

2012 Apr 5
Hello Steve,

If you wish to use puffed rice for the dish, try Bubu Arare from Japanese food supplier, it is tiny and round shape and it has wonderful flavour and texture, I think it goes well with hamachi.

2012 Apr 5
Hi guys:

After these comments, we wanted to let you know that we have changed the puffed rice. They add wonderful texture and flavour, but visuals are important for sure. Thanks for your feedback.



2012 Apr 4
Oh my goodness, Fresh Foodie, I don't usually comment on others' reviews, but you are so right about the puffed rice on the sashimi. Horrifying! The fish does look marvelous on its own, though.

2012 Apr 4
Hi Fresh Foodie:

Thanks so much for dining with us at Beckta recently, and for sharing such a well thought-out and detailed review with us and the foodies of Ottawa. I'm really happy that you and your wife enjoyed yourselves so much. I only wish I was there to welcome you personally. Hopefully I will catch you on a subsequent visit. I also really appreciate your feedback on a couple of things we could do better (larger lobster portion on the pasta dish for instance), but I'm thrilled that your experience was so good overall. I've always been a fan of your reviews so I'm particularly honoured that you chose to dine (and review) Beckta. Thanks for all of the kind words. I will make sure to share them with the team.

All the best,


2012 Apr 3
2. Rabbit - Rabbit Rillette Croquette, Kiwi Berry Gel, Horseradish Crème Fraîche, Arbequina Tapenade, Porcini Oil, Crispy Mushroom.
This was a tasty and satisfying dish, with the crispy mushroom slices being particularly memorable.

3. Lobster - Butter Poached Lobster, Tagliatelle, Spanish Olive Oil, Sweet Pea Nage.
A delightful dish all around, but super tiny. The picture makes it look quite large, but the food was maybe 3 inches across. Only about a tablespoon of delectable and succulent lobster was present. Quality over quantity, right? The sweet pea nage provided a nice springy seasonal aspect to this dish.

4. Bison - Bison Striploin, Fennel and Barley Risotto, Young Carrots, Pickled Ramps, Fried Leeks, Truffle Butter, Port Financière Sauce.
A most generous hunk of bison, which guaranteed we would not leave hungry, cooked very rare and wonderfully mild and tender. The carrots were a high point while the pickled ramps were somewhat of a woody and sour low (my wife and neighbouring diners left some on their plate -- a discreet message that the kitchen would presumably receive).

5. Maple - Doughnuts, Maple Fudge Glaze, Maple Rock Candy, Espresso Syrup, Greek Yoghurt, Candied Double Smoked Bacon.
Doughnuts seem to be a big thing lately -- we've had good (Backlane) and not so good (Sidedoor) experiences. This one fell solidly in the middle. The doughnuts themselves were surprisingly chewy, giving the impression of having been fried some time prior to serving. The glaze was excellent and the candied bacon was out of this world!

The paired wines were all well selected and enjoyable, but I'm not a hardcore enough oenophile to do them any justice.

The petit fours that accompanied our bill were inoffensive but unmemorable. My wife enjoyed them more than I did, commenting that they would be great with coffee.

All in all, Beckta is a solid place to go. If you want French-style food with little twists of improvement it is hard to do better, especially given the reputable wine list and the exemplary service. Highly recommended!

P.S. Kudos for handing us printed details of the tasting menu at the end of our meal. Without it, this write up would have been relatively vague. :-)

2012 Apr 3
For years, my wife and I have been somewhat embarrassed that we've never visited Beckta, especially since it probably deserves credit for introducing Ottawa to big-city style upscale cuisine. We finally visited this past Saturday.

We quickly decided on the 5-Course Tasting Menu with a wine pairing for me only since my wife kindly offered to drive.

Service was top-notch, with one server (Sarah) anchoring the experience, introducing and pouring the wines, and facilitating a dialog about the dishes. Many other faces visited our table throughout the evening, either serving bread, bringing plates of food and cutlery, or whisking away used equipment. Our water glasses were never more than half empty and we never touched the bottle of water on our table. Somehow, magically, more water simply appeared in our glasses. Very classy indeed!

Small slices of good bread came quickly, accompanied by two butters. Supplemental bread was offered a few times (with extra butter, thank goodness!) but after our first rejection was not offered again.

We started with cocktails:

St-Margarita - I could tell this was pure genius from the menu's description: Patrón Silver Tequila, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, fresh lime. This is a margarita *improved* by replacing Triple Sec with elderflower liqueur. It was served with a lemon twist and it was amazing!
Beckta "Kir" - Sparkling wine with fruit purée. Tonight the fruit was passion fruit and the whole thing kind of fell flat. I'm not big on sparkling wine in general, but my wife is, and she still wasn't very happy with this drink.

We each received a tiny Amuse-Bouche. I can't remember much about it, except that it was optimally varied in texture and flavour so as to perfectly prime our oral saliva pumps.

1. Hamachi - Hamachi Sashimi, Wildflower Honey Gastrique, Puffed Wild Rice, Hazelnut Oil, Remoulade
The fish was absolutely delectable! The gastrique and hazelnut oil were very mild. My wife thoroughly enjoyed the remoulade, although I find tartar-type sauces to be too rich for fish. The one thing that threw me about this dish (and my wife too, although I only mentioned it after the meal) is that the puffed wild rice makes this dish look like it's crawling with maggots. In that context, it's a little off-putting, but the fact that it was still delicious is a testament to its excellence overall.


2011 Jan 18
I can honestly say that this spot is on my top 5 favorites of 2010…and what a way to end off my culinary experiences to roll into a new year full of new favorite spots.

We had heard about this restaurant numerous times, the hype and our curiosity got the best of us. We reserved a table and went in for the culinary kill.

Not knowing what to expect in terms of dress code, we thought we’d go in dressy casual. As you walk into this unassuming house-turned-restaurant you are greeted with a smile and a coach check. (Which is nice because I really hate hanging up my jacket on the back of my seat or having to go to an unsupervised coat rack.) The lighting is romantic and the ambiance is very homey and inviting. (Despite some of the reviews we heard about Beckta’s ambiance, I can assure you there is nothing pretentious about this place!)

I found that every detail at this little spot is looked after. From the greeter pulling out the table for us to squeeze into our little booth, to the very tactful nature of each waiter. (They actually wait until you finish your conversation until they ask you if everything is going your way.)

The great thing about the food at Beckta is that most of the ingredients are sustainable, local and organic. Now, onto the mouthwatering menu.

We started with APPS:

1.) Tuna Tataki - tandoori dusted, jalepeno and yellow pepper rings, edamame mash and lime curd.

2.) Oyster Po’oy Sandwich – fried oysters, in house smoked chipotle remoulade, napa slaw, caramelized onions, double smoked bacon and sunchoke chips.

For Mains We Chose:

3.) House Made Gnocchi - Trio of mushrooms, baby zucchini, roasted ciplollinis, wild ramp & sorrel sauce and 5 year old provolone.

4.) Magret Duck Breast – Spaetzle “stuffing”, roasted turnips, snow peas, house-made sauerkraut and cranberry ginger chutney

EVERYTHING was amazing. Fresh, full of multi-layered flavors and immensely satisfying. It’s really important to also mention that I was also really encouraged to see a diverse mix of diners: young couples in jeans on casual dates, mature couples dressed up celebrating anniversaries, families and groups of foodie friends. This just shows that there is an underground market of sophisticated tastes in this town we call Ottawa :)

*Side Note: Our knowledgable waitress recommended a new liquor for me which I instantly LOVED. If you enjoy ice wine you will LOVE Lillet. It’s a brand of French aperitif wine. It is a blend of 85% Bordeaux wines and citrus liqueurs made from a variety of sweet and bitter oranges and grapefruit peels.

I give this place 10/10

2010 Nov 4
Had dinner here on Saturday for the first time.
We ordered the tasting menu with the wine pairings.

It was the most expensive meal I've ever gone out for and it was worth every cent.

Every dish was perfectly prepared and delicious. We has shrimp, fish, veal sweetbreads (my least favourite part of the meal but still very good), perfectly rare and tender lamb, and an apple dessert.

The service was excellent. There was a small problem in the kitchen with one of the courses which caused a delay in it being brought out. Even though we were enjoying the leisurly pace and didn't complain, they compensated us by offering the cheese course without charge.

This is my new favourite restaurant to be kept for one or two special occasions per year.

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Wine 4





Dessert 3



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



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.

Oysters 1







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 :-)