a peek inside the fishbowl

03 Dec, 2018

Date night at Zoe’s Lounge

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa

A couple weeks ago I was the lucky winner of an Instagram contest hosted by Ottawa photographer, Roland Bast. The prize was a charcuterie board and cocktails for two at Zoe’s Lounge, which is located inside the Fairmont Chateau Laurier.

I was so thrilled to win. I’ve been dying to check this place out for YEARS and somehow never got around to it. And when I learned that Zoe’s had been renovated, I was even more keen to experience this sophisticated downtown destination.

The view at Zoe's Lounge

I made a reservation and planned it all out with Mark. He works downtown, so we were going to meet up after work for a long-overdue date night.

It turned out that our date night was a particularly bitter and cold evening, but the sight of the old Chateau warmed me right up. It’s a gorgeous building, with so much history. We were itching to kickstart our evening and we scampered inside and made a beeline to Zoe’s.

Zoe’s is pretty much the perfect place to people watch, but it’s also a good place to simply let the world go by. We chose seats near the big window facing Rideau Street. Mark faced outward, and as it got darker and the street lights came on he watched buses pass by full of commuters and passers-by hurry to escape the chill. I was on a comfy couch and faced inward, toward the room. I watched well-heeled couples deep in conversation, and dark-suited young men watching the game. A mother and her young son ate dinner together. Girlfriends met for cocktails after a day of shopping.

We had plenty of time to defrost and disconnect from the wider world as we made our way through a delicious charcuterie board (the server had very good cheese know how!) and excellent cocktails.

Cocktails at Zoe's Lounge

Charcuterie Board at Zoe's Lounge, Chateau Laurier

My photos don’t do it justice, but a good charcuterie board is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. This was both! Unfortunately the lighting was dim and it made for a challenging photo op! (No complaints here though.)

Our food was great. The ambiance was pleasant and unhurried. We could have sat there longer but we had to get home and feed the dog. Sigh.

Is it weird to say that our short visit has stayed with me? It was bitterly cold that evening but, somehow, it was the perfect night to go out. It is such a nice treat to take a few moments to slow down during the busiest time of year. It was a gift, really. To have a few quiet moments to ourselves is something I’d like to do more often. To reconnect over a shared plate of great food and drink was, of course, a bonus. :)

A note: if you’re worried about parking, don’t be. We met up right after work, around 5 p.m., and there was plenty of street parking in the Byward Market at that time. (In fact, where I parked it’s free after 5:30!)

Thank you Roland and Zoe’s for a great night out! We will be back.


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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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