We here at Evans Team Ottawa have long been regulars at La Cucina. Carole often visits for both lunch and dinner and enjoys their gluten-free options and says their bruschetta is the best in town! I love their soups at lunch with bruschetta on the side…nothing better. We really love going for the atmosphere and the out of this world service. So when it came time to pick a location for our autumn Tasting Ottawa event, the choice was easy! La Cucina it was.

We have done a Tasting Ottawa event here a few years ago but it seemed appropriate to visit again with a new group because they have recently changed locations to 5547 Hazeldean Road, placing them right in the middle of Stittsville and Kanata. The new space is modern and spacious while still feeling comfortable and intimate. There is space for large groups to hold events, such as ours…or make a reservation for a table for two for a quiet dinner.

Our evening began with overflowing charcuterie boards with a diverse array of salamis, prosciutto, capicollo, cheeses and pickled and marinated vegetables. My favourite was the Genoa salami, the young mozzarella and the marinated mushrooms…delicious! Next, we were served an abundance of their famous bruschetta. It is so fresh and full of flavour! The bread is slightly toasted which prevents it from being soggy but it is much easier to eat than some bruschettas that are served on a crostini. One of our diners even mentioned his dislike for tomatoes…and then had three pieces of bruschetta…it IS that good!

We so enjoy our Tasting Ottawa evenings. While being served delicious food we always have such a great group of conversationalists and topics range from travel, to current events, to personal milestones…I really enjoy being part of such a great network that can easily talk about amazing food, their most recent travels OR the housing market….there is something for everyone!

For our main course we were served traditional veal marsala with seasonal vegetables. Marsala sauce is built around the sweetness of Marsala wine and made earthy and rich with mushrooms, garlic and beef stock. It was delicious with the veal cutlets and I adored the mushrooms in the sauce as they were cooked beautifully, just enough so they still offered great texture. The vegetables were a big hit with everyone at the table…luscious rapini blanched to ease its bitterness and then sauteed with garlic…divine! And one of my personal favourites. The new potatoes were roasted with herb, butter and garlic and were just crispy enough on the outside while pillowy and soft on the inside. Melt in your mouth!

As we continued to sip on Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, we were served our final savoury course….a perfectly cooked pappardelle with tomato and basil sauce. Pappardelle is a wide, flat pasta similar to fettucine but thinner and wider. Again, one of my favourites. The tomato and basil sauce was simple yet delicious and sung of seasonal tomatoes!

For dessert there was a family style tray of tiramisu and cannoli placed before us. Our guests just raved about both but the tiramisu was the winner of the evening. What we also really appreciated was that they catered to a person in our group that had a nut allergy with a delicious nut-free sticky toffee pudding which was raved about.

We knew our choice for this Tasting Ottawa event was going to be a good one and we were not disappointed at all, in fact our expectations were surpassed! We’ve always believed how great this restaurant is and we hope that you will try it if you have not yet! Let us know how you like it!

A big thank you to Johnny, Joe and Meredith for an absolutely lovely evening.