Our casual Italian restaurant has made its comfortable home over two floors and three rooms in a former movie theatre in Ottawa’s trendy Elgin Street district. Situated in the larger of the two original theatres our dining room boasts spectacular 35 foot ceilings. This accommodates an open concept kitchen that hosts our beloved wood oven being constantly & carefully tended to by our quick moving Pizzaiolo`s. The main floor was originally designed to feel as though you were sitting in the bustling piazza of an Italian village while two huge windows looking onto a lively Elgin Street offer a great people watching experience.
Twenty steps will lead you to an almost floating booth overlooking the stairway before you hang a sharp left, take three more steps and end up in our open concept loft. The tables along the upstairs railing offer a bird’s-eye view of the busy dining room and kitchen below while the remaining space is ideal for large parties. The mezzanine can hold up to 80 guests with optional private dining for 60 guests or more.
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We opened in October of 1997 as a family restaurant and have since developed a longstanding reputation for excellent cuisine, a warm and intimate atmosphere, and an authentic Italian vibe.
It’s not just the food that keeps customers coming back again and again. Here at Farina’s, guests feel like old friends, and each pasta dish is made with Mamma’s special touch.
The creative composition of our kitchen is a family affair: “Mama Maria” is at the top of the food chain, providing the foundation for every pasta dish, with her fresh pasta made daily.
Our wood-oven pizza is a prized specialty at the restaurant, and our trademark thin, crispy crust is the perfect canvas for a masterpiece of tastes. There’s a pizza for every craving… but why not try something with a twist, like our signature Scallop’n’Bacon Pizza: a pesto cream sauce base topped with thinly sliced potatoes, mozzarella cheese, bay scallops, caramelized onions, bacon and smoked Gouda. If it’s pasta you’re craving, dig into a plate of Penne Johnny Farina: homemade penne tossed with grilled chicken, wild mushrooms and red onions in an Asiago cream sauce, topped with fresh radicchio and toasted pine nuts.
We`ve become a popular destination for business lunches, attracting customers from the nearby provincial courthouse, government and high-rise offices. Lunch at Johnny`s is an escape from the stresses of the office, a place where patrons are greeted with comfort food and familiar smiles. Many lunch customers drop in at least twice a week, and our staff has a close, friendly rapport with the regulars. The restaurant also recently created an ‘eat fresh’ takeout deli in front of the lounge, preparing hot-and-ready Italian meals for a business lunch on the go.
The restaurant’s original design was inspired by the intimate yet open feel of an Italian village courtyard. Inside, 40-foot ceilings give the dining room an airy feel, and the illusion of being outdoors is amplified by two huge windows overlooking Elgin Street. We offer three main dining areas: the upstairs loft, which looks down onto the open concept kitchen and dining room; the main dining area that is modelled after an Italian courtyard; and the newly expanded wine-bar lounge that has an edgier, more modern feel. The main dining room plays Italian bistro music and `rat pack’ styled tunes, while the lounge offers acid jazz and a more modern beat. Altogether we can comfortably seat 240 patrons.
At dinner time and in the evening, the crowd is more relaxed and social. The lounge side is a popular destination for a late dinner and drinks. Three large rooms with different feels can accommodate a dining experience of any kind, with large parties usually placed upstairs and a few cozy, romantic nooks and booths in each section. Dress is mostly business casual, but flip flops and a t-shirt are not out of place in this relaxed atmosphere. Special events are a treat at Johnny Farina’s, with the restaurant regularly hosting weddings, birthday parties, office parties, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, charity fundraisers and wine and beer dinners.
The beer selection is comprised of eight carefully selected, unfamiliar and eclectic craft-brewed draughts that provide a little something for every customer’s palate, 3 of which are continually rotating. The bar offers additional beers in bottles including many local craft beers and some more recognizable ones. The wine list boasts over 120 labels, a remarkable 25 of which are available by the glass.
We meticulously select wines that are not regularly available at the LCBO, with the intent of giving patrons the opportunity to taste something they can’t find in their fridge at home! The ‘nightcap’ list also includes an array of specialty coffees, ports, grappas and dessert wines available by the glass.
Johnny Farina offers something for everyone through three different atmospheres, Italian inspired culinary delights, eclectic beverages and genuinely passionate service. We opened in October of 1997 and our mission was to deliver fresh and authentic Italian food at a great price in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Fifteen years later, we’ve expanded both physically and flavourfully but our goal has remained unchanged.