At Courtyard Restaurant the four basic food groups are awesome, delicious, amazing and wow. Though if pressed, Chef Michael Hay can add some dairy, meat (or meat alternatives), grains and veggies to your dish. I have sampled bits and bites from Courtyard Restaurant at various events and wonderful Ottawa Food Tours, but this was my first time sitting down to a full meal here. I had some pretty high expectations. There is not a serious foodie I know who doesn’t adore the Courtyard and I have to say I had built it up. But I was not in the least bit disappointed.

I took hubby out to lunch during Winterbites because… well he was sulking that I didn’t take him to Absinthe. After our lunch though, all sulking had dried up! It was truly a wonderful meal. Hubs got the $20 Winterbites menu which included a roasted butternut squash soup (which I helped him to eat), a pulled pork sandwich (which I took a bite of) and a flourless chocolate cake and coffee ice cream that might as well have been mine from the start. I opted for the Ox-tail ragout on house made pappardelle pasta, shaved parmesan and chives ($16).

So good I wish I was eating it right now…

Wonderful prices but even better food. Hubs soup was warm, comforting and had just the right hit of spice. The Ox-tail ragout was tender and succulent with amazing flavours that cause me to drool just remembering it. And, lets face it… I’ve never met any chocolate I didn’t like.

Back off get your own cake! Is what Hubs should have said…

The ambiance at courtyard is relaxed, but elegant. You can class it up for a night out by wearing your fancy pants – or you can come in jeans and a sweater for lunch while you tour around the market. You never feel rushed, the servers are knowledgable, professional and nice – it’s a wonderful spot to sit back and truly enjoy some first class food. They are also a Savour Ottawa member, partners with Organic Ocean and take local food very seriously. And as a cherry on top – they are also some seriously nice people.

5 out of 5 stars.