Wilf & Ada’s, A Scratch Diner – Ottawa – Review

“There’s nowhere else in the city you can get amazing brunch every day of the week.” In fact, Wilf and Ada’s is so amazing that it was featured on the Food Network show “You Gotta Eat Here”, where John Catucci travels Canada, eating at the best, most loved restaurants.

You gotta eat here logo

If you live in Ottawa, you’ve probably heard of Wilf and Ada’s. Located at 510 Bank Street in the core of Centretown, it is known by almost everyone as the go-to spot for breakfast and brunch. At Wilf and Ada’s everything is made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients. The diner specializes in all day breakfast, as well as lunch items such as sandwiches and soups, dessert items such as their famous sugar pie, delicious coffee, and alcohol.

The best part is, they are open 7 days a week, from 8am-3pm on weekends and 7am-3pm on weekdays. Brunch is no longer a weekend luxury only; you can enjoy one any day of the week!

Wilf and Ada's

The diner is so famous that on weekends there are lines to get in. But not to worry! Just leave your name and number with a server and they will call or text you when your table opens up. Wait times can be up to an hour, but it sure is worth the wait!

Their Story

The diner was started in 1993 by a woman named Ada and her husband Wilf. Back then, the diner was just called “Ada’s Diner”. The mom & pop eatery became a hub for citizens of Centretown. Ada and Wilf’s friendly personalities created a warm environment that welcomed everyone, and their food was good, hot and cooked with care.

Wilf and Ada

They loved their business and treated patrons like family, but after 20 years of waking up at the crack of dawn to run the restaurant, Wilf and Ada decided to retire at the ages of 86 and 64. In 2013, they sold the business, which is now renamed “Wilf and Ada’s” as an homage to the well-loved couple.

Although Wilf and Ada no longer run the diner, they haven’t lost that friendly, welcoming atmosphere that originally made it such a wonderful place to go. The current owner retained a lot of the original menu but also sprinkled in some culinary flare. The staff are cheerful, vibrant and warm. They laugh and joke with the customers, and make sure everyone is happy. There are many regulars who keep coming back every week for the food and service.

The Breakfast

Wilf and Ada’s cooks with locally-sourced, quality ingredients wherever possible.

Let’s start with the classics: eggs, toast and homefries, or as the menu calls them, “homies”. The eggs are cooked in any style you want and the homefries are seasoned to perfection. Toast options include white, whole grain and gluten free and the bread comes from a local bakery. There is also the option for bacon or sausage, and baked beans. The bacon and sausage come from a local butcher.

classic breakfast

If you’re feeling like a more decadent breakfast, you can have a slice of bakery bread, dipped in sweet, eggy buttermilk batter, fried and then topped with whipped cream, fruit compote and, of course, maple syrup. This is one of the best French Toasts in town.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, then you might like to try “Eggs in Purgatory”. This was one of the dishes featured on You Gotta Eat Here. It’s two poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce with grated cheese and arugula, served with toast and homefries as well. Another dish featured on the show was “Avocado Eggs”, which is egg yokes baked in the middle of a halved avocado, topped with salsa and feta cheese. It’s like the avocado’s round centre was made to hold egg yokes.

breakfast items

The breakfast items are the optimal mix of classic, well-loved dishes and creative, unique ones.

The Brunch & Lunch

Brunch is the best meal of the day. It’s all the deliciousness of breakfast, but without the getting up early part. And when it comes to brunch, you can eat breakfast items or lunch items, anything goes!

Breakfast sandwich

Daily soups showcase fresh local ingredients, especially the produce that is currently in season. Salads are offered as well, and a variety of sandwiches. “The Dagwood” is a sandwich that was featured on the show and was named after a comic-strip character who would make sandwiches stacked with everything from his fridge. This is a fitting name for it, because it is a triple-decker sandwich! It combines a BLT sandwich with a roasted chicken sandwich.

Dessert

The diner also features a handful of desserts, such as sugar pie, an old-fashioned pie native to Quebec with a filling similar to that of a butter tart, made of butter, vanilla, brown sugar and maple syrup. There is also bread pudding and fruit crumble, depending on the season.

The Coffee

The coffee at Wilf and Ada’s comes from local coffee roaster Happy Goat Coffee Company. Happy Goat gets their coffee from small farmers in Africa, Asia and South America that produce quality coffees that cater to artisan roasters, which is then roasted in small batches locally by Happy Goat. The result is a superior cup of coffee made from freshly roasted beans, as opposed to mass coffee companies that care primarily about low cost.

happy goat logo

Just behind Wilf & Ada’s on Arlington Street is coffee shop Arlington Five, which serves Happy Goat coffee as well. You can check out their review here:

Arlington Five Cafe, Ottawa – My Review

Conclusion

All in all, Wilf and Ada’s is a well-loved restaurant in Ottawa serving top-notch breakfast in a cozy atmosphere. As the Food Network put it, “Wilf & Ada’s is certainly one of the cutest breakfast diners this country has to offer”.

Interior of Wilf and Ada's

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