I remember a time when going out to a fine dining venue meant leaving Barrhaven for one of the many restaurants located downtown. But that’s no longer the case.
Barrhaven and Manotick now feature several fine dining establishments, and today we’re happy to feature one of our favorites, Zizis Kitchen. The restaurant has built a strong reputation in the community based on its excellent cuisine and customer service.
Today, we’re happy to share an interview we recently conducted with the owners of the restaurant.
Zizi’s is considered one of the finest dining destinations in Barrhaven and Riverside South. Tell us about the history of the restaurant.
We started Zizis Kitchen and Wine Bar approximately 4 years ago, in a location that was once a pizza takeout and delivery business. After 3 months of renovations and designing a restaurant from only a vision, Zizis Kitchen opened its doors in November 2013 and was named after Ferdi’s grandmother. Although we looked in other areas of Ottawa, we fell in love with this upcoming and ever-changing community and knew Riverside South is where we wanted to be.
However, even though we were well received by the Riverside South community it was a slow start when we first opened. Then our “stairway to heaven” opened up known as the Strandherd Bridge (Vimy Memorial Bridge), it gave us access to Barrhaven, and we have found more customers are coming in from this very established neighborhood. We are very pleased with what we are able to achieve with only six staff members, as Ferdi, Barb, and Laura have been here from the very beginning.
Your chef is amazing. Tell us about his history and influences.
The owner and chef, Ferdi Ozkul has been involved in the restaurant industry for most of his life, starting in his grandma’s kitchen. His experience working in the restaurant industry starts in New York, which leads to opening his first restaurant in Ireland. Over the years, he has started and owned a few of local favorite restaurants in Ottawa, however, those previous restaurants had been mostly Italian influences in the decor and menu. We felt that we wanted to take Zizis in another direction and decided it had to be more Mediterranean, than Italian with different Mezes or Tapas without feeling like another small plate place, (which was the craze).
In this decision, we were able to take our menu in all kinds of different directions with the food and how we combined ingredients to make each plate unique. We were able to create a menu that offers everything from our Zizis Burger to our fresh fish, featured on our special board. There has always been one prerequisite when creating our dishes, that the food had to be simple and real and within the means of our staff being able to successfully execute what we tried to achieve.
Variety is the spice of life. Your service is consistently good, yet your menu always has a hint of mystery and surprise. Is this by design?
We try to always have something to please everyone’s tastes, and between the options we offer on our menu and also on our special board, is how we try to accomplish this. On occasion, we will change a menu item, which keeps our regular customers curious as to what new item they may be missing out on, while we still keep some of the favorites.
Our specials on the blackboard are created so our regular customers feel they can have a change from their favorite and designed so our new customers may see how varied our dishes are from one another. That is why we try to keep our special’s changing, which can be a challenge but also fun and very rewarding.
The meze plate is one example from our menu that compliments the use of many different Mediterranean spices and ingredients and allows our customers to create their own plate. Our philosophy is to provide a dining experience where the food showcases using fresh seasonal ingredients and preparing them in an uncomplicated way in order to stay true to the origin and flavors and our customers to enjoy these plates in a cozy, fun local atmosphere.
Your restaurant also features great wines. Tell us more about your wine selections.
Our wine selections reflect the Mediterranean with a few of the usual favorites added to the list. We are always searching for new and interesting wines that fit into our concept, while they are still affordable to our customers and complementary to our menu. We try to carry something for everyone’s palate and offer most of our wines by the glass.
Zizis Kitchen is located at 665 Earl Armstrong Road, in the shopping plaza directly across from the Vimy Memorial Bridge.
The are open from Tuesday to Friday for Lunch starting at 11:30 am.
Dinner is served 7 nights a week starting at 4:30 pm.
Reservations can be made by calling 613-822-1066.
You can visit their website and view their menu at ziziskitchen.ca