Tag Archives: SandyHillSeen

Common Eatery: Offers uncommonly good fare

Town and Oz were followed by El Camino, Datsun then Pure and Whalesbone opened branches; Elgin street is experiencing a full-on foodie renaissance and it’s latest contender comes in the arrival of new-to-Ottawa gem Common Eatery.

Common EnMasse

enMasse adorns a wall of Common Eatery

The restaurant, which opened several weeks ago, is part of wider collective aptly named Common that includes the Common Concept Shop next door, Le Petit Salon and the Eatery itself only opens in the evening to operate as Morning Owl coffee during the day. The thinking here is an inclusive destination experience and what a pleasure to amble over to browse fashions between courses.

The Eatery fronted by a glass wall overlooking the pedestrian-favorite strip is casual urban-chic with impressively simple design details.  Polished teak chairs flank long shared tables, a bar runs down one side of the restaurant with brushed gold stools from which you can watch mixologists and chefs work their craft. White walls are minimally adorned by internationally renown graffiti artists enMasse (wow!) while oversized wheel-lights hang heavily overhead creating an relaxed loft cum resto effect. Even the well appointed toilets get some clever art that carries the ambiance gracefully throughout.

To the fare: skillfully constructed drinks, paired with a delicate yet ferociously flavoursome menu served at a price point reflective of Montreal and Toronto rather than Ottawa’s frequently overvalued offerings.

Common Some Ting Lemonade

Some Ting Lemonade & elegant teak seating

The cocktails ($9-13) are creative, colourful and complex.  With quality ingredients and skilled staff a well mixed, artistically presented concoction is assured.  There is a range of beers and ciders from $5-$8, a limited yet reasonable wine list and a flute of Veuve Cliquot (hurrah) is an absolute snip at $8.

The menu’s shared dishes are handsomely presented as much a treat to the eyes as to the palate. The varied flavours include seafood offerings, Asian bites, a Caribbean salad, southern vs Korean ribs and a fantastically artistic tenderloin.

Common Wontons

Flashed Wontons

Firm favourites around our table include the vegan Flashed Wontons ($6) –large stuffed wontons with a rich even meaty texture – a lovely and generous shared starter. The Toke salad ($8) offers a burst of fresh flavours with jicama fragrantly sweetened by mango and peppered nappa enhanced with a chilli-ginger vinaigrette and topped with crisp wontons and nuts – conclusion: we could eat a salad bowl full of this outstanding dish, we’ll be back for more and

Common Toke

Toke Salad

surely trying to recreate a version at home.

Squid Ink Ravioli ($12) gets full marks for presentation but was one of the less overwhelming plates with the lobster filling needing greater seasoning however the Crab Cakes ($11) were a resounding win making this late 90’s dish a new star for 2016 in Ottawa. Each delicately fried bite was rich with luxurious crab meat and the accompanying aromatically flavoured mayo a perfect complement. The Scotch-Egg ($6) light, gooey and topped with chorizo was one of the best I have had in the capital. A meaty challenge, the 2-Way Ribs ($12) pitted Louisiana vs Korea in double-header that will delight any carnivore.

Common Ravioli

Squid Ink Ravioli

If this first visit is anything to go by –  and we will be back to ensure the extraordinary quality and price point remain – then rest assured that Common Eatery is uncommonly brilliant and an outstanding choice for a quality evening.




Common Eatery
380 Elgin Street
Monday – Sunday 5PM-Late


Eye Spy: Yoga in the Hood

A local complement to ‘yoga on the Hill”, Sandy Hill is now fortunately funky and excited to welcome “yoga in the Hood”!

yoga on taberet

Yoga on Tabaret lawn – photo courtesy Twitter.com/uOttawa

The weekly Monday noon hour class is held outdoor on Tabaret Hall lawn hosted by the wonderfully skilled practitioners at Elevate Yoga on Elgin St.

Classes are hosted by a variety of teachers so you can expect a different challenge and focus at each session. Here is a link to the full schedule.  Hopefully these free sessions will bring new converts, provide a quick practice for the dedicated and reawaken the passion in some who have simply not kept their practice up.

To borrow Elevate’s Twitter hashtag, #GetBentDoYoga. See you locally on the lawn.

Shop #Local Shop #NorthDal

Tuesday Dec 9th is Dalhousie Street’s Holiday Shopping Night.

Shop North dalFor the uninitiated North Dalhousie, or NorthDal as the aficionados call it, has transformed itself in to a boutique shopping and dinning destination with an array of independently owned eclectic and high-end offerings.

From 4-8PM the NorthDal businesses between Murray St & Bruyere will be offering tempting and tempting discounts. Adding to the festive fun for every purchase over 20$ you’re entered in to a draw with a chance to win a $700 shopping spree with participating businesses!

Participating #NorthDal businesses include:

AMANDA MAY LINGERIE: treats and drinks plus gift with purchase.

BRIDGEHEAD: Come in and take the chill off with a warm winter drink. This season bring along Erik Karlsson`s EK #65 Blend. $2 from the sale of each pound goes to the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.

COCOCO CHOCOLATERIE BERNARD CALLEBAUT: in store samples plus free chocolate bar for every $20 spent.

CRYSTAL DAWN: treats and store specials

CYLIE ARTISANS CHOCOLATIERS : free shot of hot chocoloate with $25 purchase.

DAS LOKAL KITCHEN & BAR: Gluhwein stand with firepit plus 10% discount off meal upon presentation of receipt from any participating merchant.


ISABELLE BOUTIQUE: 10% off and 15% on selected items

LOCOCINA BY ELENA JONES: desserts + 25% discount storewide

SPORTIVE PLUS ACTIVEWEAR 14+: 20% off regular price Sportive Plus brand merchandise.

UPWARD DOG YOGA CENTRE: hot tea plus 10% off class packages and merchandise

VICTOIRE: treats & 10% off.

WORKSHOP STUDIO & BOUTIQUE: treats & 10% off.

WUNDERKAMMER: 40% off all Lissa Bowie jewellery.

Seasonal Fun @planetcoffeeott @gallerydotca @artscourt @daslokal & more

Tis indeed the silly season with loads of sparkly gear and nights out.  Here are a few events in and around the Ward that promise good times that won’t leave you too worn out.

Sing-a-long Sundays @planetcoffeeott Every Sunday 4-7PM from now til Xmas you can grab a cup of joe and belt out your favourite festive airs. Come to this local people place and join in the fun or for a giggle critique the warbling. Sing-a-longs rock – thanks for hosting Planet C!

photoParliament Hill Festive Lights Thursday Dec 3rd 7PM is the illumination ceremony on the Hill. Fun kicks off with a Peace Tower carillon concert at 6:30pm and there is free Beavertails and hot chocolate too.

Natl Gallery Tree Lighting Thursday Dec 4th 7PM. Don’t forget this is the evening the Gallery is free so art is accessible for all – so come early and enjoy.

Mayor’s Annual Xmas Celebration Saturday Dec 6th 2-6PM. Don’t forget a non-perishable donation for the Ottawa Food Bank as you take in this fun 14th annual event at City Hall. Enjoy the Rink of Dreams, meeting Mrs & Santa Claus,  get crafty and take in live performances. And leave your car at home – all OC Transpo routes to & from City Hall from 1:30-6:30 are free for kids 11 and under accompanied by an adult.

#NorthDal Holiday Shopping Night Tuesday Dec 9th Get out and shop #local this season on Dalhousie St.  If you like giving than consider that when you shop at a chain store less than 15$ stays in the community. When you shop at a local retailer 45$ stays #local.  Once you’re done consider a Gluhwein at Das Lokal!

HalaladaysBanner_EventKosher Jokes for the Halaladays Feeling left out of the festive season? Well no event list is complete without Arts Court so fear not Jewish and Muslim community as it’s the return of the 4th annual joke fest that unites all communities. Laugh on Dec 10th at Arts Court.

Inclusive Holiday sees Menorah Lighting in front of Ottawa City Hall for first time ever on December 16th.  Well done Ottawa. More of this please.

Eye Spy: Great news for a #local favourite as Dalhousie St qualifies as Trad #Mainstreet

Wonderful news just in from the planning dept that Dalhousie St home to such local gems as Cylie Chocolates, Das Lokal, Mellos, Wunderkammer and more will be designated as a traditional main street.

I hope our councillor takes it a step further and throws in a couple of parklets and bike corrals to further enhance the charm of this stretch.

Read more here in today’s Citizen article

Rideau-Vanier Candidate makes case for Central Library

Libraries HeartVisionary thinking could uplift not only the Byward Market but all of Ward 12. I love libraries, including our 60’s- style current Central library at Laurier & Metcalfe. A library at the heart of the Market in sites that are only car parks and with underground parking could truly transform local perception of why we go to the market. This type of infrastructure would brand the market as a local as well as a tourist destination. Further, libraries world wide are of course visited by tourists so this idea doesn’t negate but only uplifts the current profile. Currently Bayview is under consideration for the location of the ‘Central’ library which may be handy for Hintonburg but what about those in Centretown, Lowertown, the Glebe etc who chose to live downtown so they can walk and bike to use service rather than drive. Ward 12 and the market needs an advocate that stands up for preserving not only the physical heritage but also the historical importance of the Byward market as a core part of our city and not simply a tourist destination. A candidate who proposes workable positive and truly transformative ideas is one definitely worth very serious consideration.

Eye Spy: Local Micro Brewery joins Wonderful Waller St Businesses

Waller St is going from strength to strength.

First in, the Lunenburg Pub: a top retreat for craft beer, trivia, music, world-cup games, improv and more. There is always something going on in this pub tucked in the beautiful stone buildings at 14 Waller St.

Follow-suite The Loft which opened a few months ago in the upstairs space of 14 Waller. An airy and bright game board lounge with over 700 games to chose from as you sup a pint and enjoy tasty bites including the newly added locally-sourced Gluten-Free range of goodness.

Courtesy of WallerSt Website

Courtesy of WallerSt Website

Now add to the mix the neighbourhood’s own local micro-brewery set in the basement of this heritage building. The Waller St-Brewing company is set to open later this summer and we can’t wait to support this latest local venture. This brewing company gives it’s heritage home a significant nod with fine prohibition style branding and website.  Read more on this newcomer in the today’s Ottawa Metro.

So great to see entrepreneurs embracing and innovating while respecting the neighbourhood’s rich history.  Tucked alongside Nicholas St and Daly Ave favourites ArtsCourt, the Ottawa Art Gallery, SAW Gallery and the fabulous Albion Rooms there is no shortage of great nights out in Sandy Hill.

Eye Spy: Council Challenger Marc Aubin Campaign Launch

Another week, another Campaign launch for the Rideau-Vanier Councillor seat in Ward12!

AubinLaunchTomorrow, Thursday July 3rd, Marc Aubin launches his campaign at local favourite Das Lokal at 190 Dalhousie St. 5-8PM

Wonderful to see so much advocacy and involvement in local politics – with the level of interest being shown there is no way but up for Ward12.

Eye Spy: Community Steps Out & Up for Positive Development

Beautiful Bate’s Hall in the back of All Saints Church at Chapel St and Laurier was alive with foot-stomping and fundraising over the weekend.

Food and dancersThe local community alarmed by a lack of vision from City officials and the dearth of action to preserve heritage architecture (some designated, some not) threw a party to raise money for conservation &  proactive, considerate development planning in the hood.

AuctionLocals are grateful for the tireless volunteer hours put in by spearheading dynamos Jane Gurr, Lynn Marchildon, Susan Young-Audet & Willow Scobie from ASH. SandyHillSeen was happy to be a part of this initiative and work with so many other local contributors including TAN Coffee, Remax, Andrex Holdings – who embrace sensitive development, Roz Matthews, Chez Lucien, C’est Bon Cooking, Rosemary Scagg, Hilltop Restaurant & bar who laid out an amazing spread and Ashton Brewing Company & Wellington Brewery who generously donated wonderful craft Beers.

Tellingly, on the same day as the party the illegal demolition of the Stewart-Dworkin building (under heritage study) on Rideau commenced. Please sign the petition for this building and ask your City to take action.

541RideauFinal note – Another grand old dame at 541 Rideau (formerly housing Culinary Conspiracy) is equally under threat. Lets talk it up and raise the rafters to protect our beautifully evocative & important history.

Chapel St Re-Opening: Meeting Raises more Questions

A Brief History: In 1994 the Sandy Hill neighbourhood and City Council agreed a traffic plan. King Edward was designated for “through traffic” whereas Chapel and Range Road were designated as “interior neighbourhood collectors”.  The neighbourhood initially pushed for a diversion rather than traffic calming plan but accepted, on good faith, the latter. Chapel St was closed at Beausoleil and remained so until the Rideau St reconstruction this summer when one end of the block reopened as the other closed.  The Rideau / Chapel intersection was closed by the construction works when Beausoleil / Chapel opened. 
It is only since the construction team moved off Rideau in early December that Councillor Fleury requested that Chapel / Beausoleil remain open creating the Chapel Street end-to-end cut-through.

At 8am in the midst of a snowstorm with less than 24hours notice a clutch of Sandy Hillers met Councillor Mathieu Fleury and an Ottawa City planner on a wintery corner to discuss the Councillor’s surprise plan to re-open Chapel St to cars without notifying the residents of Sandy Hill.

Chapel BeausoleilAn angry Twitter storm had erupted putting pressure on the Councillor to meet with vocal residents as word of mouth circulated information about the street opening. Angry concerns were articulated about the lack of communication on an issue impacting the liveability of two residential neighbourhoods as the opening of Chapel end-to-end creates an alternative cut-through between the 417 & Gatineau. Chapel St – in the heart of residential Sandy Hill and Lowertown – is already, in Sandy Hill, beset with traffic and speeding drivers. Mann St leading from the 417 turn-off to Chapel had speed bumps installed such was the concern about speed.  Add to this the speculation that developers feel greater car traffic on Beausoleil could make the area east of Chapel more desirable while a new development at Chapel and Beausoleil is set to begin work and the scene for debate is set.

The reason for opening Chapel to cars initially appears worthy. There are no cross-walks or traffic calming measures at  Beausoleil where it meets Chapel – a popular route to 3 schools: De La Salle, York St Public & St Anne’s. Clearly an unsafe junction there have been near-misses and collisions with school children at this location and this situation – on the table for a number of years now – requires action.

Enter the snowy on-site meeting – the Councillor’s team explained that the Highway  Traffic Act (HTA) requires an intersection for a Stop sign to be erected. Stop signs are not legal mid-street. In calls prior to the meeting and at the on-site the explanation was that hands were tied. Council said they prefer to not open Chapel to cars but the HTA disallows this approach. The Councillor states in emails to residents questioning the unannounced change: “We believe that this temporary solution, a controlled crossing at this intersection, will have a positive impact “.  So it appears in the email that the opening to cars would be reviewed with the Street possibly closed to traffic once the HTA amended their current regulation (up to 2 years for this to happen if at all).

Adding cars to increase pedestrian safety is jarring at best while at worst it both increases the pedestrian danger at one location whilst spreading it beyond. Actions and words began to contradict one another as alternatives were suggested and solutions to legally and inexpensively secure the needed Stop sign without opening Chapel St were put forth.

Attendees suggested closing the other end of the block – Chapel at Rideau as had been done throughout the summer and fall – or the installation of mid-block barrier.  Practical, inexpensive and with little impact.

The next idea was to create a bike-only turn off/on to Chapel which appeared to be a seemingly tailor-made solution. The planner agreed this creates a legal intersection and meets the HTA’s criteria for a stop sign. A solution that is green, inexpensive, legal and allows time for discussion should the Councillor in fact want to open the street to cars. 

Strong positive problem-solving met with resistance from Councillor and City Planner. Blocking off the other end of Chapel at Rideau was potentially too expensive and the bike-only intersection was shockingly deemed “unsafe” because as the City Planner put it, “cars won’t stop for intersections without cars”.  This attitude contradicts the Councillor’s team statement that the Street could in future be closed to cars. If the City bows to drivers that disobey traffic laws for bikes surely it stands to reason the same will hold true re pedestrians regardless of the HTA.  Further there are -as listed- a variety of methods to legally implement a safe-crossing with Stop sign at Chapel and Beausoleil without opening the street to cars: initially stated as the Councillor’s preference. Hands are clearly not tied when it comes to options. 

In a time where cities worldwide embrace the transformational power of pedestrians and cyclists in keeping cities moving and reinvigorating neighbourhoods it should be unacceptable for City representatives to dissuade forward-thinking approaches and visions for urban improvement. Especially with outmoded approaches that reward illegal actions. In Ottawa cars do stop for cyclist – the proof is in the  number of cyclist and pedestrians that safely cross the Corktown (pedestrian) bridge to Somerset West alone. If drivers of any vehicle in Ottawa disobey the rules and put vulnerable road users at risk they need to feel the full weight of the law full stop. 

There may be many more solutions to the current issue but this can only be resolved once all factors under consideration are understood. Should a street need to be re-opened that mustn’t be done in isolation.  One could argue it makes more sense to open all blocked streets rather than a single channel – however this argument would require healthy debate and factual information.

The Councillor has said that the City will review alternatives offered. The Councillor should take immediate action and close the road to car traffic today (mid-block, at Rideau) or make it bike-only.  Implement a safe-crossing as the priority but do so with reduced impact to those that live nearby to keep all street crossings safe.

Sandy Hill and Lowertown will continue to speak-out to preserve their neighbourhoods and to grow progressive forward-thinking urban solutions in consultation with their population.

Should the Council and City attempt to institute changes without transparency or worse yet reward illegal and unsafe drivers by giving them more road – putting more cars at a popular school crossing and in the heart of a residential neighbourhood – they may get a bigger fight than expected.

The Lowertown Community Association (LCA) invites citizens to attend their monthly meeting in January.  Cllr. Fleury will address, amongst other items, the rationale behind his decision to open Chapel Street to vehicular traffic. Please be respectful and considerate as this is a Lowertown Community meeting. We remain hopeful that Cllr Fleury’s office will schedule an open meeting dedicated to the intersection issue shortly. 

Monday, January 13th 7pm, Routhier Centre, 172 Guigues Street.