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“Nice restaurant with a clever menu” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Play Food & Wine

Play Food & Wine
Ranked #9 of 2,713 Restaurants in Ottawa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$21 - US$86
Cuisines: Wine Bar, Canadian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Brunch, After-hours, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighbourhood: Byward Market Area
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
48 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Nice restaurant with a clever menu”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 February 2012

Play is the little brother of higher end restaurant and 'plays' on the theme of small plates with 'tapas' implied. I had the pleasure of eating there and generally loved the food, with the exception of the chicken confit that my guest really wanted to try. I love good food and make my own duck confit. the chicken was boring. the rest of the meal was excellent. The BC Cod and quail were excellent. The pork rillette was a tad salty but nicely done. The cheese plate (3) was more than ample for 2 people. Indeed, although they emphasise 'small' plates. Only in North America could the plates be considered small. My guest and I shared in total 5 plates and two desserts and were stuffed.

I was very impressed with the service. The waiter was professional and had a good handle on the wine list and why certain ones were matched with the dishes.

Overall an very good to excellent evening.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
Thank drsjadfoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,193 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
“The beginning of Ottawa's foodie movement”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 February 2012

Play is very much in keeping with the recent emergence of foodie-centered restaurants that has long characterized cities such as Toronto and San Francisco. Similar in style to Town (Elgin Street), Play offers small plates. The premise is to order a variety of plates and sides (approximately 2/person) to share. Great for an opportunity to try a lot of menu selections! However, if you are the type of individual who wants their own dish/plate and does not like the idea of sharing, go somewhere else.

That being said, as a die hard Toronto foodie and aspiring sommelier, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Play. The menu offers a corresponding wine pairing suggestion below each item, as a decent wine list offered by the glass, half liter, and bottle. A fair selection of ports and dessert wines were also available, which I appreciated. I did notice a lack of the traditional 'drink list' which, although I didn't mind, some may miss. Servers pour glasses of wine at the table which gives you an opportunity to sample your 'by the glass' selection before you fully commit.

As for food, I especially enjoyed the tuna tartare (well-paired with a pineapple salsa), the gnocchi, and the pork belly. I was disappointed, however, in the spinach salad (slightly dull), and the quinoa-stuffed quail (several unnecessary ingredient resulting in an overall puzzling if not somewhat lacking flavor). With regards to side dishes, my only wish would be for more as they were all very delicious, with special mention to the beets.

To be noted for the desserts were the chocolate pate and the baked Alaska although I would steer clear of the oatmeal cake.

Overall, there is a little bit of refinement required to the menu, but I think that a visit to Play is well worthwhile for anyone who enjoys the foodie & wine pairing experience.

    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank lerobert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hamilton
Level Contributor
54 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Interesting Restaurant that Deserves a Visit.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2012

I was in Ottawa for business and went to Play. The menu has a wide variety of small dishes. I had the Pork Rillette, Tuna Tartare and the Chicken Confit.

Each dish was great although the Rillette was my favourite. I sat at the bar by the kitchen and talked a bit to the staff during the downtime. With their input I had the Oatmeal Cake which I recommend highly.

Overall with a Guiness and an espresso the bill was $60, tax in. I had plans of picking up a Beaver Tail later but 3 dishes + dessert there is more than enough.

The place was busy by 7:30 on a weekday so I would call ahead. Overall it is a place I would return to in the Nation's Capital......without the kids.

  • Visited February 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank nonfiction_diction
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago area
Level Contributor
296 reviews
167 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“Inventive, fun, great service”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2012

Really enjoyed sitting at the "kitchen table". (bar overlooking the tiny kitchen). Nice sized portions (not too big).

    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank TravelerChicagoarea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milton, Canada
Level Contributor
111 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Quite Good”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 February 2012

I went here with a friend in January...after reading many solid reviews.
The place was packed...turned many people away at the door...while I was waiting for my friend. Great atmosphere...fantastic waiter- very knowledgable, offered great suggestions. Pretty much every dish was unique/ tasty...with perfect wine pairings. Steak dish was tops as was the pear salad. Trout was a little well done, not moist...but still good.
It is a great date restaurant or going out with friends.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank OttJoe613
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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