When I got ear that an independently owned gelato shop was opening up on Bank, I got excited. Only 3 weeks old, Stella Luna Gelato Cafe opened at the perfect time. The hot weather in Ottawa is still going strong, which makes it the perfect weather for something cold + sweet!
The story about how the owners met is a really romantic one. Twenty five years ago, when Tammy was 19 years old, she travelled to Italy to explore the sights and sounds the country had to offer. When she arrived in Rome, Alessandro, her now husband, bravely went up to her and asked her to the movies. Just 3 days later, in true Roman fashion, Alessandro proposed! Tammy packed her bags, moved to Italy, and spent a number of years there before moving back to Ottawa with her family.
Tammy had always dreamt of opening up a gelato place, so last winter, she headed to Italy to attend gelato University where she learned the art of making this sultry, luscious, velvety delicious dessert.
Stella has a very warm and open space. A great neighborhood hang out. There is plenty of seating so you don't have to worry about whether or not you'll be able to snag a seat to enjoy your food.
Using the freshest ingredients, and made in house, Stella serves one of the best gelatos in Ottawa. I find the gelato at Pure Gelato does not have enough flavor, and Truffle Treasures gelato a little too creamy, resembling too much like ice cream. Stella's gelato is lighter and packed with a lot of flavor!
Over 20 flavors are served daily, and my favorite flavors so far are Sicilian Pistachio, Chocolate Amaretto, Ricotta and Caramelized Figs, and Roasted Almond. The coffee one is pretty darn good as well! What I love is that the true flavors of the nuts and coffee come through in Stella's gelato, providing a nice intense flavor.
Sorbets and unique fruit flavors are also available such as Mandarin sorbet, Ruby Peach Lavendar and Raspberry Cranberry Hibiscus.
If gelato isn't your thing, there are lots of other options such as granitas, paninis, desserts, coffee, crepes, and waffles.
Stella serves two types of granitas which alternates: lemon and coffee. The day I went, they were serving the coffee granita. It was nice. Creamy and not too sweet.
I also tried their roasted cherry tomato panini, dressed with extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fresh arugula and Fontina cheese on Kalamata olive bread. The tastes were there but I felt it was a little sparse. Maybe not enough toppings? Maybe not packed tightly enough? I couldn't put my finger on it but that little something something was missing.
They've just brought a Cordon Bleu graduate on board to oversee the lunch menu so perhaps it was too early to judge.
This is a great hang out place with great food and service. As you can see, I have been here many times already!
They also have a blog highlighting what's new for the week. It's a great blog detailing the ins and outs of the business, the family, and the ideas brewing in Tammy's head. Reading their blog almost makes you feel like you are a part of their exciting journey somehow.
Stella Luna Gelato Cafe
1103 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada