Aiana Chef’s Tasting Menu – a PMB team celebration in Ottawa!

by Anthony
a plate of food on a table

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Aiana Chef’s Tasting Menu – The Occasion

To celebrate our first anniversary as a team, the Points Miles and Bling (PMB) team decided to mark this special occasion with a tasting menu at Aiana restaurant in Ottawa. Aiana, a gem in Ottawa’s culinary scene, opened its doors in 2020 and quickly became one of the city’s most talked-about venues. Although Allan couldn’t join us, the rest of us were thrilled to experience the new tasting menu of this renowned restaurant. Anshul took on the role of our gracious host for the evening while I had the pleasure of celebrating alongside Sash, Dalia, and Mohammad. It was a memorable gathering highlighting our collective achievements and the close-knit bond we’ve formed over the past year.

a group of people standing in a room

PMB team

Aiana Chef’s Tasting Menu – Aiana Restaurant Collective

Aiana Restaurant is located at 50 O’Connor Street in the heart of Ottawa’s bustling downtown. It is led by Executive Chef Raghav and his dedicated team, who aim to provide a unique dining experience combining classic cooking techniques and contemporary recipes. Aiana prides itself on offering distinctly Canadian cuisine, emphasizing locally sourced, farm-to-table ingredients to deliver an unforgettable dining experience characterized by impeccable hospitality.

a glass building with a bench

Aiana Restaurant Collective – Exterior

Aiana also embraces a no-tip culture. It aims to redefine the dining experience by ensuring that exceptional service and hospitality are integral to every meal, fostering a more equitable and transparent relationship between patrons and staff. This aligns with other fine dining establishments I have eaten at, like Aletier Crenn in San Francisco and Per Se in New York City. These restaurants also include a gratuity on their tasting menu, regardless of the size of the party, which I think is excellent for both the staff and diners.

Aiana’s space is a beautiful mix of light blue and light grey seating under dimly lit lighting. The main dining space is between their open kitchen on one side, their main bar on the other, and the wall of wines on the other. Instrumental music, mainly piano and jazz, played on the speakers during our visit. While the open-concept kitchen was right next to our table, there wasn’t much sound that came from the kitchen (like the cling and clang of pots and pans) that could be heard from our table.

a group of people sitting at tables in a restaurant a restaurant with many plates of food a bar with a counter and chairs a group of people cooking in a kitchen

a group of people sitting at a table

Aiana Chef’s Tasting Menu

Without further ado, let’s dive into the highlight of the evening – a 9 course journey!


a menu of a restaurant

Aiana Chef’s Tasting Menu

1st Dish – The amuse bouche – The four flavours of Life.

The first four dishes were served together and focused on the tour palettes’ spicy, bitter, sweet, and sour senses. They were meant to be eaten with your hands in one bite (or gulp)

a plate of food on a table

The Four Flavours of Life

  • Spicy – A scallop and crab dish in a light broth. At first, I could not sense the spice; however, when I bit into the meat, the spice kicked in, and my hand reached for a sip of water.

    a bowl of soup on a table

    Spicy – Scallop and Crab

  • Bitter—A dill tart shaped like a boat topped with lobster and lemon. The lobster stood out; personally speaking, my palette could not taste any bitterness. However, it was still a great bite!!

    food on a plate

    Bitter – Lobster and Lemon

  • Sweet – Pickled sweet marinated tomato topped with crab. My palette never associates sweetness with a tomato, so this dish was more tangy than sweet but still delicious.

    a round orange object with food on it

    Sweet – Tomato and Crab

  • Sour – A charcoal shell ( almost like a bread ball) stuffed with caviar, dill creme fresh with lemon gelle. Again, to my palette, it had more of a savoury flavour.

    a cup of chocolate chips

    Sour – Charcoal stuffed with Caviar


In hindsight, maybe I should have cleansed my palette with water after each bite, which may have helped me taste the intended “flavours of life.” While my palette may not have sensed the intended taste of each dish, they were nonetheless a great start to the meal.

2nd Dish – Caviar 

Salmon topped with cucumber, asparagus topped with caviar, and champagne sauce (poured tableside). The pink and green colour stood out on the black plate, and the cucumber’s sweetness helped balance the strong flavour of the salmon.

a plate of food with sauce

Salmon and Caviar


3rd Dish – Truffle 

Porcini mushroom risotto with truffle oil topped with fried enochi mushrooms. I blended the crispy fried mushrooms with the savoury risotto, and the crunchiness of the gnocchi and the chewiness of the risotto perfectly balanced the dish.

a plate of food with brown sauce

Porcini mushroom risotto


4th Dish – Foie Gras 

Foie gras mousse in an almond cake in a dark chocolate shell topped with toasted marshmallow cream with cherry puree and cherry with gold leaf. It’s probably my favourite dish of the night, firstly for its presentation. It looked more like a dessert rather than a foie gras dish. (someone at the table even said, “Dessert already?” as the dish was presented)

a plate of food on a table

Foie gras mousse

Even the filling inside looked like something served as dessert, so I appreciated the chef’s creativity with this dish. While I didn’t think chocolate and foie gras would be a tasty combination, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was wrong.

a plate of food with a spoon

5th Dish – Halibut 

Seared halibut with pearl onions and saffron foam. The halibut was moist and flakey, and the bright yellow saffron sauce was delicious.

a plate of food on a table

Seared Halibut with pearl onions


6th Dish – Wagyu

Our last savoury meal course was Wagyu beef with mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables and a puff pastry filled with mushroom cream. If I had to pick my least favourite dish, it would be this. The beef was soft and tender, yet the root vegetables on the plate weren’t a perfect match for the dish and were quite hard to chew.

a plate of food on a table

Wagyu beef with mashed potatoes

7th Dish – Sorbet

Before dessert, we were given this “Palette cleanser.” An ice-cold lemon ginger sorbet with elderberry flower colouring served with raspberry. The sorbet’s cold, sweet taste flavour with the tangy raspberry prepared the palette for the lovely desserts.

a blue ice cream in a bowl

Palette cleanser – Ginger Sorbet

8th dish – Melon

Lime cheesecake with matcha mousse topped with Honeydew. While I am not a massive fan of the taste of matcha, the lime and honeydew flavours were more robust in this dish. It was sweet and delicious!!

a dessert with a net on top

Lime cheesecake

Last Dish –  Petite Fours. 

Five sweet morsels must be eaten with your hand in one bite. The five selections included a Macroon and a very slippery gummy bear.

a plate of desserts on a table

Petite Fours

Aiana Chef’s Tasting Menu – Service and takeaway

While we had one dedicated server at our table, multiple servers brought our meals and filled our water. Overall, the service was excellent!! I tend to ask many questions during my tasting menu meals, and I appreciated the servers double-checking with the kitchen on my questions. Overall, the meal was excellent!! From the food and the service to the great company at the table, the 3 hours flew by while we dined. I appreciated the multiple forms of presentations of the different dishes and the use of various colours in each dish.

If you are ever in Ottawa and looking for an excellent dining option, consider Aiana. I was told even Trudeau had been known to dine here… though I didn’t see him during our visit 😁

Bon Appetite!!


pmv March 21, 2024 - 2:32 pm


Anshul March 23, 2024 - 10:51 am

$225+taxes per person 🙂


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