Exciting changes coming to the NAC restaurant

Fine dining at the NAC: a look back. © NAC Archives
Fine dining at the NAC: a look back. © NAC Archives
Fine dining at the NAC: a look back. © NAC Archives
Fine dining at the NAC: a look back. © NAC Archives
Fine dining at the NAC: a look back. © John Evans Photography, 1969

The National Arts Centre recently underwent a dramatic renewal, just in time for this year’s 50th anniversary. This includes stunning new public spaces, upgraded performance venues such as a beautiful orchestra shell, and the creation of the first Indigenous Theatre Department in the world.  

The renewal at the NAC has extended to our le café restaurant, which last year underwent a first phase of renovation with significant upgrades to its kitchen and dining room. This transformation continues with a final set of renovations between June and August this year, as well as the announcement of an exciting new national culinary program and… a change of name for the restaurant.  

The NAC’s rich culinary history

Great food and outstanding performing arts have always gone hand in hand at the NAC. Since the NAC opened its doors in 1969, patrons have enjoyed “dinner and a show”, first in a restaurant that was called L’opéra (located in what is now the Canada Room). The place was later renamed Le restaurant and then le café, eventually relocating to its current Canal-side location.

Le café, under the leadership of legendary chef Kurt Waldele, was among the first restaurants in Canada to embrace the diverse flavours of Canadian regional cuisine, becoming a training ground for Canada's next generation of chefs. 

Since joining the National Arts Centre two years ago, Executive Chef Kenton Leier has built on the tradition made famous by Chef Waldele. In the coming weeks, we will reveal a new name and look for the NAC restaurant that reflects our renewed commitment to exceptional Canadian cuisine and the mentoring of this country’s next culinary stars.  

Send us your memories

Until then, please help us celebrate 50 years of culinary excellence at the NAC by sending us your favourite le café memories at lecafe-retrospective@nac-cna.ca, which we will share on social media. Please note that the restaurant will be closed for renovations from June 3 and reopen mid-August. The NAC’s canal-side patio will remain open for business during renovations.