Pub Italia

very good

20 Reviews
Pub ItaliaPub Italia

Type: Bar, Eatery

434½ Preston St
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 4N4

(613) 232-2326 | map

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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 24
Photo of exbrit
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

Found myself in Ottawa for a few days so on tried this place out based on reviews here.

Firstly the selection of beer is quite good. They have tons of taps and a large selection of belgian bottles. That's about it for this place though.

Service was lacking. We had a group of 4 and it took forever to get waited on. The server came very infrequently.

The food was not very inspired. Had a pizza which was very plain tasting. The others in my group were not overly thrilled with the food either.

The atmosphere is quite remarkable. A belgian themed italian restaurant. Unique place.

As far as the beer goes as i said its a good selection considering the province. Ontario is pretty sad. I wouldn't compare this place with beer bars ive been to in michigan but for Ontario it is pretty good. Had a st. ambroise oatmeal stout a great lakes devils pale ale (decent) and a seasonal offering from beaus wich i have to say is quite good.

All in all i would go here again for the beer but not for the food wich was overpriced and plain

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Pub Italia has the largest selection of beer in Ottawa. Period. That isn't to say they have the best, which, in my humble opinion, they most certainly do not.

It's kind of a strange place. Smack dab in the middle of Ottawa's little Italy, it's called pub Italia but it has an Italian/Belgian theme, two countries I seldom think about at the same time. There are mussels and pasta/pizza on the menu, it has a church/abbey theme and it has a pretty extensive beer menu (available on their website). There's a restaurant, a bar and a beer merchandise shop next door.

The food menu is not great, especially when you consider the other eateries in little Italy. Overpriced pasta and pizza, not imaginative and not particularly tasty.

Can't complain too much about the service, it's eye candy. The restaurant staff don't know much about beer, but at least they seem to have an idea of what they have, I never had to repeat my order for them. They're staffed almost entirely by very good looking college/university girls and they all seemed cheery enough.

As for the beer menu, the only reason to really go out of your way for this place, it's a strange sort of selection. I found myself flipping through it about 10 times positive that there was something interesting but never actually finding it. Their beers of the month were good, some of the LCBO seasonals and some harder to find stuff for Ottawa (like Deus) but were really expensive. Otherwise, you're looking at a whole lot of similar tasting lagers, including a large selection of central and Eastern European swill. Who made this menu and how did they make their choices? So many choices from Belgium and yet Barbar made the list? Biggest beef is the lack of local selection. No Scotch-Irish, no Mill Street, no remotely interesting Canadian brews aside from Wellington and Beau's. WTF man? Why open a beer bar and refuse to support local breweries or even wider Canadian brews? Same goes for American beer, only real craft choices were Liberty Ale and Sam Adams I think. Saving grace - ESB on tap, bloody lovely. And, props for serving beers in their proper glasses when available.

Overall, a decent selection for the city, but really frustrating for the reasons mentioned above, not to mention some pretty high prices. I'll probably be back.

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Photo of Quej
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

On my first look at the bar I nearly had goosebumps. The sheer amount of quality and rare draught beer available is astonishing. The offer a huge selection of Belgian beers which are quite hard to find, though the price makes it harder to enjoy. The look of this place since it has been renovated is extravagant. The old abbey was nice, but the new area I enjoy even more. There are no tables in this bar, only old pews from churches which make the benches in the booths which cover this bar. Beautiful place.
I had a good experience with the service, it was fast and helpful. I have tried several plates and the food here is really quite good, but is outshone by its incredible beer selection.
A great place I ought to go more often.

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Photo of Bestuurder
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

An excellent place to find some of the rarest beers in the world. If you can't find it in any LCBO or other restaurant/pub, you can guaranteed find it here.

The atmosphere is excellent, good ambience, without seeming dark. The patio (seasonal) is a refreshing area to sit and bask in the summer sun with friends, and simply watch the pedestrians and traffic go by.

The quality is unquestionable. The only issue I have ever had was ordering a Sinha Stout (Lion Stout in other parts of the world) that I didn't think was all that fresh, since it had some sedimentation in the glass. But was replaced as soon as I even mentioned the issue about sedimentation.

The service, at times, leaves something to be desired. It really depends on who is working that day. A couple of the servers have gone on to bigger and better things, and I honestly miss them. But, not to say that the service is horrible, just try and go on a day that isn't too busy, because you might get ignored.

The food is honestly NOT the reason you will go to Pub Italia or The Abbey, its the beer, and the beer alone. I sometimes order the chicken or a nice porterhouse, but rarely will I order anything other than that. But each and every time, the food is very good.

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Photo of dherling
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

The place is seperated into three sections. The first is a store where you can buy memorobilia (shirts, glasses, coasters, etc.). The second is the pub and restaurant, the third is an abbey, a Belgian style bar. There is also at outdoor seating area, but it was January in canada, so that wasn't happening. The atmosphere is wonderful inside, lots of religous relics, stained glass windows, funky seating, pew style benches and tables, lots of old wood and abbey paraphanalia.

The service I had inside was damn near incompetent. I aksed my waiter for some help, I wanted a beer that was good, heavy, from canada, and not available in the US. He first brought me a Molson product, then a well intentioned new Canadian brewery that turned out to be macro lager swill, and then finally brought me a La Fin Du Monde with great satisfaction on his face. I didn't have the heart to tell him the one decent beer he brought me had been available in the US for over a decade. Would not have beenso bad, but I specifically showed him a list of the top Canadian beers as ranked by BA, and told him specifically no Unibroue. Oh well.

36 taps, 200 in bottles, outisde of Unibroue and St. Ambroise, no top Canadien beers. Lots of Belgians and Germans and even some decent US brews. Check out their web site for a full selection. If you're in Ottawa looking for good beers, this is THE place to go. I was specifically looking for good Canadian beer, and was dissapointed.

The food was good for pub food, my mussels were actually pretty tasty. The pastas looked decent, but I wasn't a fan of the bland pizza offerings. I felt the prices were good on the whole, but hey, it's Canadian money.

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Photo of bcollar
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I've been going to Pub Italia faithfully for a number of years because of their unique atmosphere, their selection of beers (both common and uncommon), and their decent food quality.

First --> their atmosphere: It's unique, very unique. Everytime I walk into the building, I get the feeling that I've travelled back in time to the Middle Ages. If you explore the building further, you'll come across a Belgian style pub called the "Abbey". The Abbey has a slightly different selection of beers and mostly focuses on ones originating from Belgium.

Second --> their food quality... Well -- this establishment could definitely improve the quality of some menu items; However, there are a number of choices that in my opinion are very good; including the pizza's and the baked pasta's. If you enjoy dessert, you won't be disappointed, I have yet to find one on the menu that isn't great.

Third --> their service: This can be hit and miss depending on when you go. I've had servers that are clueless about beer, and I've had the opposite as well. In general, if you go in expecting exceptional service, you might leave somewhat disappointed.

Fourth, and most important --> the beer! This pub offers everything from Corona to Orval! They have roughly 170 bottles and around 35 taps. You won't find more taps anywhere in Ottawa (as far as I know). And the only other location that can compete with their bottle selection is "The Vineyard". Periodically, they also bring in something a little different (the "Beer of the Month" and "Draft of the Month"); these can be hit or miss depending on what they have. Price wise, their bottles can range anywhere from about $4-10; their beers on tap are all quite reasonably priced.

Overall, if you do want to experience something a little different when visiting Ottawa; this would be the place to go.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Nice selection of bottle beers and taps for Ottawa (over 150 bottles and probably closed to 30 taps). The Abbey section is the place to go since they have some rare beers not on the regular menu (Cantillon, Rogue). Prices are what I expected for imported bottles. Food is a notch above average for Italian fares. Décor is great and patio is great during the summer months. The only downside is the clueless staff. For out of towner, you should note that this is a bit off downtown attraction and you should plan for cab fare before heading there.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

As Francis mentionned, for anyone in the area this place is Beer Mecca. Since Montreal has little to no "real Beer Bar" because of government restrictions, I decided to take the 417 down to our allegedly sleepy capital city to check it out. The complex is split in 3, the first part being thestore, which sells breweryana of every kind, from tap heads to glasses to parasols and T-shirts. Not bad.

We then proceded to the restaurant area, which is a cross between a church, an Irish pub, a medieval castle and an italian restaurant. What? Surprisingly, it works. Besides, with a Beer menu like that in Canada, I wouldn't care if shit rained from the ceiling (just put a coaster on top of my glass and I'll be fine). You'll pay a hefty price for the good stuff, but you'll get what you want. Plenty of Belgians, a few tap selections, but nothing over the top. They could use a bit more local representation, and a little less lagers. They did have St-Ambroise Oatmeal stout on tap if memory serves, but the rest of the taps went downhill from there.

Food was so-so. I wasn't very fond of my seafood pasta platter, the bread wasn't very fresh and the bruschetta entree seemed a little off. But having a nice Westmalle dubbel to go with it was awesome.

We had dessert in the third section, the "Abbey", a more bar-like atmosphere that has somewhat of a Belgian flair, if by that you mean a few flags (anyone ever notice the Belgian flag has the same colours as the old Canucks uniforms?), monk outfits on the walls and Stella Artois signs everywhere. They had the standard Interbrew taps, with Leffe, Stella, Hoeg and kriek. They did have a few goodies not offered in the resto area, like a small fridge filled with Cantillon. I was so happy I almost cried. The waitress who took my order laughed out loud looking at me all giddy like a schoolgirl while she was pouring my glass.

Speaking of service, the resto and bar area were like night and day. Our food waitress was 100% clueless about Beer, and came back twice to make sure she got our orders right. She was drop dead gorgeous however, so my single friend was more than happy to see her again and again. The girl behind the taps next door was pretty easy on the eyes as well, but she knew her stuff, and I saw her pour perfect pints, rinse every glass and make sure the head was good and thick.

All and all, I really liked it here at Pub Italia, I wish a place like this was closer to home!

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Photo of francisweizen
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

This is a nice place, although it is quite a walk from "downtown" ottawa. This pub is in the little italy district of Ottawa, and from the bottom of Bank street (The Barley Mow), it's quite a walk here, let me tell you! The atmosphere is nice and very restaurant like. The bar is long and nice, and the Belgian flare that they took when decorating this place, really shows. The quality of the ales here was nice (we got some tap Fullers London Porter) but the prices here were expensive as all hell! The tap selection was decent, but not better than other places we visited in Ottawa. I guess the stand out thing about this place is their big bottled beer menu. They had nearly 200 bottled ales, but the prices were expensive, and there were no brews represented that are not -easily- available in the states. Perhaps many of these ales are unavailable in Canada, but for someone like me, the beer menu was not that impressive, to be honest. The service was fast and friendly and although we had no food here, everything looked and smelled wonderful (although again, the food items were a bit pricey). Definately worth checking out whilst in Ottawa. A good pub to a US beer veteran, but probably an amazing place to most Canadians.

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Photo of Popsinc
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This is not only a must if and when you're in Ottawa, it's THE place in Ottawa.

Pub Italia is a great beer bar/restaurant. Divided into 2 sections, there is a "pub" side and an "abbey" side. The pub is obviously in the design of a more tradiational Irish pub while the Abbey is more along the lines of something you might find in Belgium. The beer selection also varies depending on which you chose. In the pub you will find more English/Irish/Scotish selection on tap with a vast bottle menu spanning other coutries such as Canada, Germany, Belgium & Italy. On the other side at the Abbey, it's pretty much Belgian fare...Achel, Rochefort, Delerium, Maredsous, Oravl etc etc. The selection is good on both sides, somehwere in the range of 150 total.

The food menu is the exact same on both sides of the establishment, which is not a bad thing. Mostly made up of interesting thin-crust pizzas and unique pasta dishes, you can also find some good sandwiches, salads and starters. I thought the food was good, but not above average.

If that isn't enough, there is a store one door over. They sell glasses, clothing and barware all at reasonable prices.

All in all this is a top notch establishment with a fine selection of beer. Great comfortable interior AND young, HOT waitresses to boot. Yeah. Don't let the name fool ya, this is a top notch beer bar. Check it out when in Ottawa.

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Pub Italia in Ottawa, ON, Canada
3.78 out of 5 based on 24 ratings.
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