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Review: Zak’s Diner – Ottawa

14 Byward Market Square, Ottawa, (613) 241-2401 – Website

Date of Visit:  March 23, 2012

Zak’s is one of the two decent places I went for breakfast on my last trip to Ottawa. I have passed by Zak’s many times in the past but this time I wanted to try a place for breakfast other than Dunn’s, my regular spot, since, good as that place is, I just felt like something different. Zak’s, as it turned out, was a very good choice … 

Zak’s serves lunch and dinner as well as all day breakfast in a 1950’s style diner featuring lots of chrome and mirrors.  They are licensed and serve mixed drinks as well as beer.

One of the unique features of the place is the mini individual jukeboxes at the tables. I can’t remember the last time I saw these in a restaurant.

The place has a very comfortable, neighborhood feel to it. I arrived just after 9am and it was already about three-quarters full. From the sound of the banter and chatter I heard, it seemed like quite a few of the patrons were local regulars.

The service I received was very prompt and friendly. The young lady who served me brought me coffee immediately and then left me to peruse the menu. When she returned she asked me if had made any ‘life altering decisions yet’… I told her that I had decided on my breakfast order but added that I hoped my choice wouldn’t be *too* life altering…

A few minutes after I placed my order, another young lady came by and announced that the restaurant was going to test their fire alarms and that I didn’t need to run away, or anything. The alarms duly went off a few moments later but unfortunately, somebody seemed unclear how to turn them off because they kept ringing for the next fifteen minutes or so. The young lady who made the initial announcement gave my a roll of her eyes in commiseration and opined that, given a choice between the alarm and actually burning to death, she would have to sit down and think it over. Thankfully, the noise terminated just as my waitress brought me my food…

I initially was going to have a traditional sort of breakfast but the breakfast club looked very interesting and I decided to give it a try.

The sandwich, according to the menu, is filled with fried egg, bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato. I asked for the eggs to be done omelet style and the restaurant was happy to substitute. For sides, there were home fries, which were nice but unremarkable, and some baked beans as well. I did taste the beans, though I am not a huge fan, and I found them not too bad, except that they seemed to be the canned variety rather than homemade. My sandwich, on the other hand, the first of its kind I have ever had, was delicious and so filling that I could only eat three of the sections. I am going to try making these for breakfast at home sometime.


Zak’s is a great restaurant for breakfast and I would very much like to try a lunch or dinner there sometime. There is really nice ‘homey’ feel to the place and the service during my visit was especially pleasant and friendly. The food is reasonably priced and very filling.

Zak's Diner on Urbanspoon

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Interesting – and good timing, as I’m going to be in Ottawa soon for some conferences. I’ll keep this place in mind. The breakfast club looks great.

    May 18, 2012
    • Please let me know if your experience was the same as mine. There are also quite a few nice places listed in my Restaurant Review Index…

      May 18, 2012
  2. Next time you’re in Ottawa, try Back Lane Café for breakfast (Hintonburg). Wood burning oven means fantastic bread, and delicious inventions (for lunch and dinner too). Plus- Beneigts is the morning – how can you go wrong?!

    May 19, 2012

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